|Friday Night Lights – “Always”
The funny thing about saying goodbye to Friday Night Lights is that I’m not really sure when I started liking the show. I remember thinking the first season was overly melodramatic, and that the second season took some really stupid subplots and dragged them through more of the season than they should have. The third season upset me because the show’s dedication to making characters that were clearly in their 20s in the first season still high school students was bothersome. The fourth season was the dreaded paradigm shift, with new characters that weren’t instantly that likable. But by this fifth and final season, I couldn’t get enough of Friday Night Lights.
Friday Night Lights has always been about underdogs, be they individuals or an entire team, which is fitting because the show itself was an underdog. It never got the best ratings, despite being a great show with a dedicated fanbase and tons of critical adoration. But unlike so many great shows that buckled under the ratings monster, FNL endured, lasting long enough to let itself grow and finally deliver a satisfying conclusion to this big drama set in the small, fictional town of Dillon, Texas.
The heart of the show was always Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his wife Tammie (Spin City veteran Connie Britton). So it was a shame that so much of the finale was dedicated to an argument between the two. Not because they shouldn’t argue, because the whole point of the episode was how couples have to make compromises, but because the argument was so unnecessary. Everyone knew what the right decision to make was at the end of the penultimate episode, so this episode had to go out of its way to make the audience understand why Coach would want to go back to West Dillon. But I get that Coach’s time in Dillon has been the best he’s ever had, and it’s not easy to let go of that.
Of course everything is settled by State, as what kind of sports series would have conflicts that can’t be resolved by a championship? In the meantime, we got speedy conclusions for all the remaining season one holdovers: Matt proposes to Julie, Tyra somewhat rekindles with Tim, Tim makes peace with his family and decides to stay, Landry gets left alone, even though he had a more meaningful relationship with Tyra. All of our East Dillon friends found a home on the super team, even Buddy, Jr. and the other new guy who were set up as important characters but didn’t end up doing anything for the story. Luke gives his championship ring to Becky as he leaves for the military. All is well.
There’s still more to list, but that’s all getting pretty tedious. Needless to say, any of the plots that had made it as far as season five were put to rest. Basically I just wanted to post this review because I’ve come to really appreciate the time I got to spend with FNL. It was amazing to see how talented the cast became over the years, how well put-together the show remained. I’ll especially miss it’s marvelous score. I don’t particularly like football or high school melodrama, but someone this show made it work. For that, I’m grateful.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.