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3 Minute Recap: Friday Night Lights

Zach-gilford-fnlZach Gilford shines as Matt Saracen struggles to come to terms with his father's death and funeral.

This episode, named "The Son," should be Zach Gilford's crown jewel in his submission reel for an Emmy.  He played Matt's mixed emotions for his dad with all the delicacy that we've come to expect from the writers and his character, while mixing in the rage of an angry young man who is still trying to get over the hurt of feeling abandoned by his dad who he has always presumed joined the army to get out of his responsibilities at home to his son, wife, and demented mother.  It was really a masterful bit of acting that, honestly, had me in tears in every scene he appeared in. 

Matt-saracen-coffinIt has killed me to watch poor Matt shoulder so much responsibility throughout the previous three  seasons, this kid has truly had to work to keep his life on track.  It was painful to watch all the anger and frustration he felt for his father start to bubble to the surface at the Taylor's house as he breaks down over dinner, tearfully saying "I'm just having a moment. I don't think I'm okay... I hate him [his dad] and I don't like hating people but I just put all my hate on him, so I don't have to hate anybody else... and so I could be a good person. For my grandma, ...to your daughter." He practically runs out the door, apologizing. Julie starts to give chase, but Coach Taylor stops her and goes out to comfort him.  On a show that was less confident in their actors, I think there would've been some big, moving speech from the Coach to Matt on their walk home. For FNL, they need do nothing more than show Matt regaining control of his emotions and Coach putting his arm on Matt's shoulder as they walk into the night. 


Tim Riggins and his brother Billy provided some much appreciated levity in their drunken heist of the grieving Matt, talking "old times" while drinking beer on a empties-littered football field. Hearkening back to the state finals game, three years earlier (gotta love those 'old times'!), Billy dubs Matt "Mayday" Saracen and Tim retorts that he needs a real nickname and hilariously refers to Matt as "Cobra" for the rest of the night. Awesome.

Tim is also continuing to get closer to Becky, supporting her in her bid to win the Miss Junior Texas Pageant when her father doesn't show up.  After he returns drunk from his night out with Matt, she kisses him but he rebuffs her advances. A bit feebly, but I'll blame that on the booze because I know in my heart of hearts that Tim Riggins would never go for a girl like her. Why? Because he is really into older women (let's say, just for conversation's sake, 37-ish blondes who are young in spirit and have a passion for video games?).  Ahem.  Anyway, as I was saying... Becky beats a retreat to the nearest convenience shop to try and buy herself a consolatory six-pack of beer (truly emulating that Riggins mystique). Luke Cafferty, stopping by the shop after another run-in with J.D. "McDick" (more nicknames, whee!) McCoy, ends up buying the beer for her before they ride off in his truck together. 

Tami-taylor-funeral-director-smackdown Tami Taylor Watch(wherein I highlight a scene that the radiant Connie Britton spins into gold): Tami accompanies Matt to a funeral home to make the arrangements for his father's funeral and fiercely sets the funeral director straight when he tries to take advantage of the fragile and naive Matt by overselling him a $9,000 "veteran's" funeral package. I think anyone would want a woman like Tami on their side, as she gently sends Matt out of the room and then proceeds to dress the man down with a pointed, "Does that boy look like he can afford a $9000 funeral?"

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The coach/Matt walk home? EXACTLY why I love this show. You nailed it.
Also, I think Timmy (yeah, I can call him Timmy) prefers 36ish brunettes. I'm pretty sure-I have his jersey.;)
Glad there is someone out there who loves this show as much as I!!


You just listed all of the reasons why this show is my favourite current series. I love everything about it... including Matt's door-slam in McDick & Papa McDick's face ;)


I'm with you on every account in regards to this episode. It was SO good.

I loved the part with Coach Taylor walking Matt home, as well. In addition to what you said, I felt another show would have had Coach try to give him a hug, but this is Texas and that just wouldn't have felt right. It was perfect the way they did it.

I loved seeing Lyla, and thought that her barely-there presence was just right.

I sure hope that Zach Gilford has an awesome agent and that he gets a role he deserves in the near future. His acting was impeccable, in a way that many movie 'stars' don't even seem to be able to pull off.

And I'm hoping that Tim Riggins goes for 28-year-old brunettes. I am technically a little younger than Taylor Kitsch in real life, though, so maybe not, if he goes for older women too. :(

Bitchin' Amy

Cristie: I'll only warn you once. Do not get between me and my man candy! ;)

Mrsgryphon: That moment was PRICELESS. I was so happy that is how he responded to McDick Jr. & Sr.'s (love it) bogus flower offering. DOUCHEBAGS!

Jennifer: See the first comment to Cristie. ;)
Also: I can't believe I left out that Lyla was at the funeral! Thank you for mentioning. Their whole relationship, I'm afraid, has tainted Tim for years to come. Do you get the feeling that he thinks that he can never do better than her or his football glory, so it must be all downhill from here? Or am I projecting?

jen from boston

I knew ZG was good in this role - but this episode I was in awe of (although props to the writing/directing, too). Good God, this is the best damn show on television.

Also, the scene where he is burying his dad as Julie looks on - I was a wreck.

Speaking of Julie - the scene where she's sitting on the couch, about the breakdown, and Coach comes over, pulls her in and says "I'm not going anywhere." Damn, I'm getting watery eyes thinking of it.

Yes, thank God for the Riggins boys for the needed levity. And the nicknames. "McDick". Heh.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

I cried pretty much the whole way through this episode. I LOVE this show. So glad Matt Saracen is still in the series.

And can I just express my undying adoration for the Taylors? They may be the best and most likeable TV couple EVER.

Amy - I go back and forth between thinking, as you implied, that Tim thinks he's not good enough to have a life better than the one he has... and thinking that he's just purely happy with the simplicity of where he is. He knows he can succeed if he tries hard enough. But maybe it's not worth the effort? Maybe he is fine with his lot in life and sees no point in trying for something else?

Clearly FNL runs deep with the "purpose of life" ruminations.


"Why did you kill Cobra's beer?" still has me chuckling. I must say though that there's something wrong with #33's hair this season...it's just (sorry) so limp. Now, Luke's hair....(sigh) Luke's hair is so vibrant and young and fresh. He's the new #33.

FreeRange Pamela

Becky picked up a whole 12 pack, not a measly 6 pack, before she hooked up with Luke! Other than that... awesome recap!

Agree on the Coach/Matt walk home moment, totally. And, honestly, what GUY -- and Coach Taylor is definitely a guy's guy -- is going to be a blabbermouth at a time like that, anyway. Men just don't support each other through talk, and this show is great at showing men's relationships with one another.

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