Friday Night Lights, “After The Fall”

During the events of the premiere episode, a number of characters made choices. “After The Fall” is all about them dealing with the consequences of those choices. For Coach, he had to handle his decision to forefit the first East Dillon game of the season. The haters leave white flags in his yard, the radio folks aren’t happy. But most importantly, the team is irate with Coach for not even giving them a chance to voice their opinion. They played their hearts out until they were beyond bloody and Coach went and axed their chances to get even more bloody. Landry won’t talk to him, Vince won’t talk to him and nobody’s willing to show up for practice.

This was a wonderful writing choice because from Coach’s perspective, canceling the game was the only thing he could have done. He was trying to protect them from embarrassment and physical harm. Yet, for the players, it’s a complete slap in the face and acknowledgement of their failures for a group of people who already feel like failures. Plus, the conflict allowed for Coach to get some more information on Vince’s mom situation — which is surprise! not good — and helped Vince become more of a leader among his teammates.

One thing though: I think it’s a little disappointing that we’re now seeing this whole new side of Dillon that is so stereotypically ghetto and full of African-Americans as if it didn’t exist before. I get that this new East Dillon allows the series to tell new and different stories, but it’s partially odd to have the veil pulled back and BOOM, urban issues!

Anyway, consequences. Riggins finds himself with nowhere to stay, nowhere to sleep after ditching college and coming home. Billy won’t take him in, he can’t sleep in a field and so he ends up renting a trailer from the young(ish) bartender. Though Riggins is currently aimless, he at least knows who he is. It’s just a question of how his identity fits into the rest of the world. He can’t the artist formerly known as “Tim Riggins” forever. Or at least he shouldn’t want to be.

Finally, Matt is really still dealing with the consequences of staying in Dillon. So instead of spending his days at a fancy art school in the Windy City, he’s an intern for a local artist that lumbers around in his underwear and puts a lot of heavy stuff together. That Matt Saracen, kid cannot catch a break. Even his breaks are just more mountains to climb.

Though her circumstances don’t quite fit my theme for this recap — doh! — Mrs. T makes a decision early in the episode that…wait for it…has consequences! Buddy, in a bit of a tiff from getting ignored by the new West Dillon regime, tells Coach Taylor about a mailbox that West star Luke is supposed living at, which means he’s really supposed to go to East. Mrs. Taylor finds this all out and ships Luke off to East, enraging Wade and Joe McCoy. They try to scare her into not going through with it, but Mrs. T sticks up for herself, for the rules and for her husband — and it’s awesome. So what if she gets booed by the school at the pep rally.

Strong second episode.


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