Commercials. Friday. With just two minutes to go, we open on Coach Taylor sitting across from Nasty Sweaty Buddy Garrity at his car dealership. I'm not exactly sure why we need to see this scene again; I think we've established that the boosters are horrible, that Coach Taylor keeps them at bay by being vague, and that Nasty Sweaty Buddy Garrity is indeed both nasty and sweaty. This scene establishes these facts again, but does little else besides. Buddy reminds Coach that he has to do more than just "give it our best" and that if the team loses tonight, the town will simply fall apart. Kyle Chandler does this awesome thing where he sort of crookedly bites his lips, tilts his head to the side while rubbing the back of his neck, and good-ol'-boys back at Garrity, "Naw, we don't want that." Buddy stands up to shake hands and say goodbye, and the camera shoots him from below, two huge stuffed deer looming above him, the prey he's successfully felled symbols of what could happen to Taylor if he's not careful.
Cue music -- a cover of Daniel Johnston's (love!) "Devil Town" -- and we start a really beautiful montage in the key of the one set to Tears for Fears in Donnie Darko which, like that montage, manages to make the most mundane aspects of high school appear sublime through the magic of slow motion. The rally girl brings Matt his chocolate cake, which he accepts with complete confusion and a goofy grin; football players all over the school eat the cookies the girls have made them; Tim's rally girl brings him a crumpled paper bag, clearly containing a six-pack, and he thanks her by pressing her against the lockers and planting a huge kiss on her lips; beautiful light plays across Tim and his rally girl and the lockers, he walks away with a charming grin on his face and she watches him go in amazement; Lyla walks through the hospital, that ponytail swinging, to bring Street a big cookie; the camera drives through the closed-up town, the boys in their locker room suit up, the cheerleaders are in the cafeteria warming up their pretty legs and putting on mascara, the sun sets, the boys in the locker room sit closed up inside their own minds, anxious and expectant, feet bouncing with nerves, and outside the Friday Night Lights flash on against the enormous sky, and we cut back inside to the locker room where Coach Taylor has a few words.
He tells them that it is natural to be scared and pissed off after suffering the loss they have. He says that football lets them channel that energy. While Coach speechifies, we flash forward a bit to the team taking the field, Taylor stalking the sidelines in those luscious headphones, and then back into the locker room where Coach prays for his players to have "a safe game, a successful game" and then back out to the field where the cheerleaders cheer, the fans chant. Like it's all part of one big thing, the kids go from shouting "Amen!" to shouting "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!" and then run out of the locker room, pumping their helmets in the air. Pulling up the rear is Matt Saracen, who looks pensive and, well, to tell the truth, like he's about to shit himself. Coach Taylor takes a moment for one last pep talk and asks him, "Let me ask you one question. Last Friday when you threw that winning pass, were your eyes closed?" Turns out this is the exact right question to ask, as the camera swings around behind Coach Taylor's shoulder and catches Matt's eyes turn to flint as he realizes he can do this: "No sir. My eyes were open. My eyes were wide open." Out on the field, chaos and cacophony, blue and gold, as the cheerleaders screech, the drum line drums, the fans holler in slow motion, the kicker kicks the ball into the black sky, and...fade to black.