Friday Night Lights, Season 5

Where's J.D.?
Talking television.
Dec. 16 2010 6:38 PM

Friday Night Lights, Season 5

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Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor.

I loved the scene between Eric and Ornette, too, because it revealed that Eric is the one blinded by anger here. He is seething at Julie, even if this week that was offstage. And in the confrontation over Vince, Ornette has Coach's number. He is the ex-con who can be violent or smooth as needed. Ornette relished that line about the little bitch parents Eric can boss around. He's determined not to be a sucker. The flaw of course is that his vision of Vince's future is all cheap flash. He wants the free gear, and his questions for Jason Street are about which school will get Vince the most TV time. If Vince makes it to college under Ornette's wing, he'll be sold to the highest bidder.

Emily Bazelon Emily Bazelon

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

This is the inverse of the Taylor morality. And yet Ornette no longer seems evil or even entirely misguided. He's trying to make his son trust him again. I found it hard to watch Ornette push Vince's buttons by reminding his son of his little-boy tree-climbing moment, when Ornette was actually around to promise not to let his child fall. Maybe this was one of the maudlin moments you've complained about, Hanna, or maybe it was just the show at its sentimental core—sometimes I have trouble deciding. I'm ready for lots more of this triangle, though. When Eric roared off as Ornette and Vince chatted up the college coaches, he had a wild, cornered look about him, and for me that's the FNL version of a cliffhanger. I'm also interested in the competition between Vince's self-interest and the team's future, which that misbegotten 60-yard pass underscored. What do you do when your star player goes rogue for what he thinks is his own good?

I had mixed feelings about Tami's encounter with Derek. I'm starting to wonder whether it's time for the Taylors to lodge a complaint with the college on Julie's behalf. I know, I know, this would be heresy, not at all in tune with the lesson that Julie has to get off the couch and grow up. We're meant to see that Tami is exercising restraint where Allison didn't. I suppose that's what I'd want my parents to do if I were Julie, but as a parent, I'm not sure. Derek looks like the wolf in the freshmen pen to me, and for the sake of all those other 18-year-old girls, I think a brief phone call to the administration is in order.

Three small wonderful moments to call out:

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-Jason Street, surrounded by the Panthers. Plus, I am so glad he showed up to tell us that he married the nice person he knocked up and to flash photos of his kid.

-Buddy protecting the Lions' field with his gun-toting new pals. An advertisement for interracial harmony.

-The Panthers fans wearing prison garb in the stands to mock the juvie delinquent Lions.

Last, a small complaint: What happened to J.D.? He wasn't old enough to graduate, so he should have been quarterbacking that game. Did I miss the explanation for his absence, not to mention his dad's and that slickster coach's? Or did J.D. have to go because he has no place in the script now that it's the Lions who are the violent marauders? (David, you should take a moment to gloat about this, since you have been proved totally right.)

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