Game day. The Lions file into the locker room, looking sharp in their suits, folks lining the walkway cheering them on. Filmed with a hand-held, from a little below, Vince has the appearance of being pursued. He rushes past the crowd and into the locker room. Inside Hastings tells Vince that Coach wants to see him. Vince heads in. And there will be no storming out on Coach, I can predict that much. Coach asks Vince what's going on with him. Vince starts with the top layer -- he's annoyed he wasn't asked about Jess being in the room. Also, he's annoyed by these new rules, the shirts and ties and stuff. But Coach knows this is only the top layer. And he is not just a molder of men, but a spelunker of hearts. He will get to the bottom of this! Coach asks Vince to close the door and then starts in: he tells him that when he first met him, he was climbing out of a police car and people said that he was a punk. Vince says "screw you" but Coach doesn't take the distraction bait. He tells him that they're talking about character, about striving to be better than everybody, and Vince has done this and everyone is proud of him. And with this, Coach breaks through to the cave within Vince's heart. "Coach, my dad just got out of prison, and I can't stand him." He tells him about how his mom is asking him to be better and forgive his father, and now Coach is asking him to be better. And then he just lets it all out, yelling, "I don't know how to be better! Cuz he never taught me how!" An assistant coach butts his head in and Coach tells him to shut the door as Vince keeps yelling. Coach leans forward and tells Vince this is all about the striving to be better, not the actual being better. "You gotta try. That's character. It's in the trying." Coach gives the emotional Vince a few minutes to gather himself up. And perhaps maybe a few of us need those minutes ourselves.
Commercials. Game time. We're in the huddle, Vince calls a complicated play. The Lions are down by a touchdown. Vince throws the ball, then runs the ball, then throws the ball again for a touchdown. Game is tied. The other team gets the ball and Vince leads the crowd in a chant of "De-fense!" The Lions not only stop the ball, they force a fumble and recover it. So with under a minute to go, they've got the ball and a chance to win. Vince looks into the crowd and sees his mother cheering him on. Just as the ball snaps we see his father make his way onto the sidelines. The announcers tell us that Vince has been carrying this team all night, and back on the field, sure enough, Vince just runs the ball himself for another touchdown and the win. His dad smiles and the kids on the field celebrate, so much that they get a flag for it. Coach comes out to shake Vince's hand, and Vince looks so young and pure in his joy here as Coach tells him that this was one hell of an effort, that this is character. Vince sort of just leans into this makeshift father (and that lean is, by my estimation. the surprise tearjerker of this episode) as his real father looks on from the sidelines, finally realizing that he totally and irretrievably fucked up with this whole "father" thing.