Julie and Matt sit in Matt's house studying for midterms. Grandma's in her recliner reading the paper. Shelby comes to the door with two big bags of groceries. Matt asks her what she's doing, and she says she just picked up some things at the store. Leaning in, she calls back to Grandma, "Vanilla creams, right?" Grandma ignores her, gets up and storms back to her bedroom, slamming the door. Shelby comes in, and Matt introduces her to Julie, who is wide-eyed and trying to roll with it. Matt mutters that this is "my mom." Shelby says she found some baby pictures of Matt, and Julie eagerly says she'd love to see them. Matt interrupts them, "You can't do this." Shelby immediately gets quiet and says she knows she can't just come around like this. Matt tells her that he doesn't need her help. This shot of Matt is beautiful, in close-up on the right side of the screen. Zach Gilford is bringing it this season; his awkward adolescence being slowly eclipsed by this forceful personhood. He tells her that he needed her help ten years ago, but he doesn't need it anymore. Shelby is completely abashed. Matt thanks her for taking Grandma to the doctor; "you wanted to help, you helped. Now please go home." Shelby quietly says, "Sweetheart, I didn't mean to--" but Matt tells her, just as quietly, "No. Don't call me that." She leaves, Julie stands there, once again witness to something totally personal in the Saracen house, Matt goes to check on his grandmother. There are so many terrifying things about intimacy, about really being a part of another person's world so fully, and its the most terrifying the first time you do it, in high school. Watching these teenagers try to manage such moments makes that sensation just so real again.
Commercials. Tami sits on the bed, with pad of paper and pen. Coach comes in, and she tosses her pen down. Tami, tears in her eyes, says that she should never have picked this fight. Coach tells her that yes she should. She doesn't think he means that. He tells her that it is obvious that she is right and they are wrong. She asks him if he really thinks that, and Coach is like, hell yes I am. "You think we need a Jumbotron? We don't need a Jumbotron. We need more teachers. You're right, they're wrong." Tami sighs that she's going to lose anyway, and Coach responds that "Okay, yeah, they're gonna get the Jumbotron and in that sense you lose tomorrow. But you stood up for what you believe in, and in that sense, you win tomorrow." The language is corny, but this scene is a perfect companion to the central bar scene, the Taylors are coming back together. And the thing is, that much as part of my brain chafes a bit that Tami's crisis is a B-side to Coach's, my heart realizes that this show says what it has to say about gender by putting these people into real world situations, with real world obstacles like the golf course. Tami made a mistake because she is new to the job and the world is still oriented against women in the workplace in a lot of ways; if she were breezing through, her gorgeous hair flowing, that would say so much less to me than her stumbling. That said, we do need more scenes of girls hanging out with each other, not just always with the boys.