We're closing in on the bitter(sweet) end of Friday Night Lights now so this is when our old friends start dropping in for a final wrap-up of their stories. Last night it was Matt's turn as Julie ran to Chicago to see him instead of returning to school. Our Julie has never been good at dealing with the consequences of her poor choices - remember The Swede? If you thought that hiding at home and throwing childish temper tantrums were the extent of her "I slept with a married man and all I got was this slap in the face" coping catastrophes and that she was going to start acting her age now, you don't know Julie at all. She had one more bad choice up her sleeve (or is it merely an extension of her previous bad choices?) as she ran away to see Matt.
Apparently she spent an entire weekend at his apartment in Chicago and the two of them never even kissed. I admire their self control? No, I don't. Anyway, after a whole lot of talking (by her) and sight-seeing, he finally kisses her and their old romance is promptly rekindled. During a morning snuggle, she tells him about the TA debacle and assumes he'll be pissed but he's all "we weren't together so whatevs" and because he is such a nice guy, he let the "also I've been having quite a lot of sex with people who aren't you" part of his reaction go unspoken. Once the they've hooked up, she starts getting really comfortable in Chicago and Matt realizes that her running away from the shit she doesn't want to face in her real life isn't the same as running to him. Matt Saracen is so wise, you guys. But you know who isn't wise and doesn't really recognize wisdom when it's served up with her pasta? Julie. She just pouts and makes to leave.
I don't want to give the impression that I don't like Julie, because I think that character is hands-down the most believable portrayal of an 18-year-old girl on television and for that alone, I love her. And the romantic in me would also really like her and Matt to end up together - if not at the end of their lives, then at least for the end of the show. Still, Matt's right and she needs to go back to her real life. So she packs up the car and drives away with nary an emotion or smooch for goodbye. Just when I thought these two were never going to get the happy ending I wanted them to have, Matt ran after the car and pulled her out and they kissed and said their I love yous and he promised they'd figure their relationship out. I cried.
Back in Dillon, the Lions lost a game because Vince is spending too much time trying to be the star and not enough time running his offense. The team is disjointed and too busy in-fighting to focus. Since Vince has started to believe the hype his dad as been feeding him, he dishes out a heaping helping of attitude to his friends, Jess and Coach. Coach benches him for a practice and asks him to help Luke learn the QB plays so that they have a reliable backup, just in case. Vince thinks he's allowed pout and disobey so he doesn't show. Jess tells him she's sick of his bullshit and that with Ornette's head so far up Vince's ass, Vince can't seem to see clearly so they're over. Jess is so awesome she makes me wish that she and Landry were still together. God, I miss Landry!
Ahem, sorry. Luke is left sitting alone with no clue how to be a quarterback so Jess swoops in with all her football coaching genius and helps him learn the plays. When Coach finds out what his QB has pulled, he benches him from the next game and lets him know that only one of them is in charge there and it sure as fuck isn't the one who's a junior in high school. The Lions manage to win their next game with Luke as the QB, though the victory is squeaked out in the narrowest of fashions.
Ornette is ready to throw down with Coach for keeping his star out of the game but once Coach showed Vince who was boss, Vince's mom helped him understand that he knows right from wrong himself and he doesn't always have to listen to his cocky, son-of-a-bitch father and now Vince is stepping in to get his dad under control and keep him the hell away from Coach. I'm glad to see Vince come back to the senses he took leave of a couple weeks ago, but this might be a case of too little, too late.
Tami's plot Siberia suddenly makes a whole lot of sense to me as Epyck lost her shit when she was accused of stealing money out of a teacher's purse and during a scuffle in Tami's office, she threw Tami head first into a window. Despite Tami's assurances that she was fine, Epyck was hauled off in hand cuffs. This whole Epyck saga (heh) has existed to provide the impetus for Tami to want Coach to take the job in Florida - a way of letting her see that she isn't making the difference she wants to make at East Dillon.
Luke and Becky are the cutest things ever and now that they're officially together, he re-introduces her to his parents as his girlfriend and his dad is all welcoming and his mom continues to be a crazy Christian nutbar.
Speaking of Becky, she fills in for Mindy waiting tables at The Landing Strip one night and is suddenly enthralled with the possibility of making boatloads of dough from creepy drunk guys who want to stick something down her pants. I just threw up in my mouth a little. Anyway, she expresses an interest in working there again and Mindy ain't having it because one of the many ways in which Mindy is awesome is that while she is not ashamed of being a stripper herself, she cares enough about the young people in her life to want more and better than that for them.
And hey, the nausea that Mindy had that prevented her from waiting tables? Morning sickness. As Billy put it, Min has a new Rigglet in the oven. He's excited, she's not so sure it's a good idea. The two of them are a whole lot cuter than I ever expected them to be.
One other scene of note - after breaking up with Vince, Jess is in the locker room alone, setting out every one's equipment for game day and crying to herself when Coach comes in and hears the sniffles. He asks if she's ok and she tells him why she's crying but that she's sorry, she thought she was alone and she's alright. He says "you know I have two daughters right? Take all the time you need." Coach is my favorite person in television history.
So many people are still working under the misconception that Friday Night Lights is about high school football and only high school football and I guess that's why a show this good has never found a very broad audience. It's a real shame because in four weeks, those of us who know that it's about people, and life in a small town, and growing up, and getting by will have to say goodbye to one of the most beautifully affecting shows that television has ever brought us.