Television’s best show kicks off its final season (for the second time) by saying goodbye to two of its biggest characters — get out the handkerchiefs!
The fifth, and final, season of Friday Night Lights started right off with goodbyes. After watching her grow up and struggle with life in Dillon, Texs, our very own Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden) is finally heading off to college — much to the dismay of her parents Eric (Kyle Chandler) and Tammy (Connie Britton), who isn’t even allowed to drive her to school. Instead we have to watch as the normally stoic Coach and his wife both choke back tears as their eldest daughter drives off alone into the sunset. Break out the Kleenex kids.
Julie wasn’t the only one heading off for higher learning though as after a quick stop by Grandma Saracen’s (Louanne Stephens), a sparsely attended Crucifictorus concert, and one delightful lap dance from new friend Candy, resident braniac Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) was headed off to Rice — “the Harvard of the south.”
We also got to visit the always amusing and never frowning Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) who has now become emotionless and vacant after just a few months in prison. Watching the always exuberant Tim stare blankly as brother Billy (Derek Phillips) showed off photos of his son got the waterworks going a mere two minutes into the episode.
Then there were the girls of Dillon, who are now having to do everything on their own. Becky (Madison Burges) is stuck with her wicked stepmother and never home father while mom is away working on a casino boat while Jess (Jurnee Smollett) is forced to raise her younger brothers as dad is off opening BBQ franchises in Dallas. It seems like this plot development is more a result of Steve Harris and Alicia Witt‘s lack of availability, but both girls play their situations so well it works perfectly.
The real focus of the episode though was, as always, the Taylor family. Watching the always amazing Connie Brittion as she fought with her daughter about not wanting to stay and eat peach cobbler with the family and Kyle Chandler challenge Julie to one last ping pong match were the highlights of the episode. Television’s two best actors were at the top of their games this week, as if they’re ever not, and let’s pray they finally, FINALLY, get those Emmy Awards that are so overdue.
It is bittersweet knowing we have only nine more episodes of television’s most consistent, brilliantly acted, and perfectly written show, which has been saved from cancellation more times than we can count. Coach Taylor seemed to sum up our feelings perfectly as he looked at the breakfast table days before Julie headed to college : “I’m gonna miss this.”