Friday Night Lights, Season 5
Slate originally published its TV Club on the final season of Friday Night Lights during its run on DirecTV. We're reprinting the entries to coincide with the series' run on NBC.
David, I have a quibble or two with your seamless five-paragraph essay on The Communitarian Values of Friday Night Lights. I don't think Mindy actually rejoiced over Rigglet No. 2 when she told Billy to spit out the pregnancy-test stick she'd peed on. I think she remained mighty ambivalent, legitimately worrying about rushing a second kid when she has a feckless husband, a job she likes, and not much money. I say Mindy has more thinking to do about this baby, even if it would be asking too much of the show to take its second trip to an abortion clinic with a happily married mother. (Most women who get abortions do have kids, actually. But I will save that lecture for another time.)
I also don't think that Julie is heading back to Burleson sunny and sure of her place in the world. Hanna, you wonder if Matt has outgrown her. I found him the opposite—self-protective but still smitten. She is chatterboxing away, and he can't bear it because he doesn't know what it means. He puts down his fork and delivers, for our Matty, a long interrogation: "What are you doing? What are you doing here in Chicago? Don't you have to go home at some point? Do your parents know you're here? I wish you lived here. But you don't live here." This is the question, where does Julie live? For the sake of every fiber of her Taylor being, she has to go back to Burleson and face the slut-shaming music. But she doesn't have to stay there, if you ask me. She could transfer, say, to the fake-name equivalent of Northwestern. Is this a bad retro idea or a perfectly acceptable out for a confused 18-year-old with a gem of a high-school boyfriend?
I share your relief that Vince talked down Ornette after the game. It's time for the spell his father has cast to break, though I hope they are left speaking to each other. Still, were either of you more than a tiny bit smug that the Lions won without him? I was, not just because of Vince's self-promoting blindness and obnoxious TV posturing, but because all of us non-QBs out there want to think a team can win without its star. Now Vince can come back into the fold, but he should be like Joseph after his brothers cast him out—humbled.
Did Epyck really hit Tami by mistake, or was that speedily shot melee in her office Bug Eyes' fault? Does it matter whether Epyck actually stole the $20 from Bug Eyes, as opposed to being falsely accused? The ambiguity surrounding both questions kept me interested in this subplot. Also, the resolution was stark and terribly unfair, and I do not agree with Eric that Tami did absolutely everything she could for Epyck. She could have explained about Bug Eyes' accusation. She has three more episodes to come up with a better future for Epyck than a step down in foster-care placement. Tami, get moving.
If your theme of the week is communitarianism, David, mine is the cusp of adulthood. I will do it fast. Becky, sallying forth to take tips from grubby guys at the Landing Strip: "I'm basically an adult." Vince, talking down his dad, as we've mentioned. Jess, breaking up with Vince to get through to him (this one is a stretch but I am throwing it in). Julie, getting in her car to head back to Burleson, for real this time. Matt, snapping Julie out of her reverie but then also running after her car to tell her he loves her. I can't believe you guys are cracking jokes about his gallery lasses and his Sketchers, you heartless Rosinplotzes. He only makes me melt.