Tuned In

Friday Night Lights Watch: Back So Soon?

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NBC Photo: Bill Records

Well, that was fast. For all the attention that’s gone to the Tyra-Landry stalker-killing subplot, I’m more bothered by how quickly Jason Katims decided to undo Coach Taylor’s abandonment of the Panthers to coach college ball. Yeah, I realize this is TV; yeah, I realize that everyone expected that somewhere, somehow, Taylor was going to be back in Dillon, most likely before the season was over. But four weeks in? Even The Office managed to have Jim stick it out in Stamford longer than that.

On the plus side, I’m feeling better about Landry’s storyline. Distracting as it may have been, it’s provided Jesse Plemons with some fine, deserved scenes, notably the one of him sweating it out in church this week. It’s been said before but is worth repeating: it’s refreshing–even, or especially, to a nonreligious viewer like me–to see how well this show works faith in, neither pandering to it nor denigrating it, but simply showing it as a powerful part of life. What’s good or bad about it, whether it injures you or sustains you, depends on what you do with it. It’s God’s football.

Likewise, I find Lyla a lot more interesting this season having found God–and now, trying to figure out what to do with him–than agonizing between Riggins and Street. (Speaking of her emerging story with the convict she’s trying to help, I’m glad to see that this season seems to be doing more to acknowledge that there are Hispanics in Texas, not that they were totally absent last year. It might be nice also to see some that aren’t convicts or employees–though as the Saracens’ home health-care aide made a point of stressing, she’s not a maid.)

It looks like Lyla will be pulled back into Riggins’ and Street’s orbit again next week, as Tim calls on her to talk Tim out of his experimental therapy–after that gripping karaoke scene in which Riggins realized how far gone and desperate his friend was. It looks like, a month into the season, FNL has set the pieces in place for its second-season storylines, and–if the show survives long enough–next week we’ll start seeing how well their plans play out.

I just hope that, with both the Coach and the Tyra-Landry storylines, the show isn’t just wiping the slate clean and hoping we forget both stories ever happened. So far I have faith that it won’t (Taylor’s embittered replacement is still out there, as is Landry’s watch). FNL is too good a show to just forget anything.