Football has been removed from Friday Night Lights in the same way that sex is removed from R-rated movies that run on television. The event and the ramifications of it are still represented, but we don’t get to enjoy any of the details. The second game of the Panthers’ season was dispatched in a rapid-fire montage, just long enough to convey one important message — that Coach McGregor is a one-dimensional dunderhead loath to make midstream adjustments to his game plan. Which, it turned out, was all that was required for Buddy to succeed in his scheme in deposing the new coach and reinstalling Coach Taylor. Man, that was fast — and borderline implausible. But at least McGregor didn’t go down without kicking a crotch or two. The scene where he goes to Taylor’s home and accuses him of complicity in the scheme was the best of the season so far. “I’ve got a family, too,” McGregor said, which is socking Taylor right where he lives.
Even with Taylor back in the fold, though, all is not well in Dillon. Jason and Riggins’s south-of-the-border sojourn — Jason in pursuit of a sham surgery to regain use of his legs, Riggins just along for the booze-soaked ride free of hectoring football coaches and people who don’t love him back — is going about as disastrously as one might have imagined. But here’s the funny part: Riggins, emerging as the voice of reason, is trying to stop Jason from having the surgery. We learn that next episode he’ll be summoning Lyla down there to help make his case.
Lyla, meanwhile, is dragging the show down with her tiresome evangelism. It’s just boring and conventional. She visits the state juvie school, where the rough kids ask what color her panties are and taunt her about why God can’t prevent wars, etc., and naturally she takes a keen, condescending interest in helping a kid who’s just getting out. This will end in romance or violence or possibly both. In any case, Lyla is due for one major crisis of faith; it’s just a question of when. Given the velocity of the show so far, that could be next episode.
Landry and Tyra are still agonizing over the stalker that Landry killed, especially now that the dude’s body has been found. There was the obligatory scene where Landry talked about wanting to confess and Tyra told him not to be stupid, but it had no tension because the exchange was over so fast, with Landry more or less deciding that he wasn’t going to do it. Tyra had to go to the police station to verify that this was the guy who had tried to rape her, which turned out to be a big relief because they didn’t seem to have any idea that she had a hand in his death. Or at least the cop talking to her didn’t. Landry’s dad, the sheriff, gave her a searing glance as he passed the interrogation room, suggesting that he must have found the old family watch that Landry lost when they disposed of the body. Which means he knows. He’s not going to implicate his own son, obviously, but he sure isn’t going to look too kindly on the young lady who got him involved in all this nasty business. So their young, hot love will once again be tested.
A word about Julie Taylor, the show’s reigning cutie. She got all dolled up for a date with Pool Guy, whose name apparently is Anton, and went over to his complete sty of an apartment, where, while waiting for him to emerge from the bathroom — nothing like the sound of a flushing toilet to put you in the mood — realized that her mother was right and he was after only one thing. So she wisely split for home, leaving Pool Guy alone with his bong and empty beer cans. —Hugo Lindgren