Luke Cafferty's mother goes to Becky under the guise of just wanting to know "what happened." Becky tells her the whole story, and then Mrs. Cafferty then tries to get Tami Taylor fired for "advising" Becky to have an abortion. The complaint goes all the way to the school board; but Tami holds her ground when faced with questioning from an overly politicized board lady -- insisting that all she did was counsel a girl according to protocol while also managing to act like a human being -- and they ultimately vote to keep her principal. But Mrs. Cafferty isn't satisfied and goes to the press, launching Tami Taylor, exemplary human being, into the midst of the most inhumane cultural war there is.
Mrs. Cafferty isn't the only Cafferty having a hard time. Luke's side still looks like a tenderized piece of meat, and his pharmacist has gotten wise to his overly quick Oxycontin refills. So left without "legal" drugs, Luke is driven to Carroll Park to seek out some from the dealers there. But even illegally procured Oxycontin can't keep Luke on his feet during Friday's football game, where he takes one hit too many, and finally can't get up. Traub does a quick sideline diagnosis, declaring that he'll be out for the season.
Vince is drawn deeper into the thug lifestyle, being forced to ride along with Calvin and the other bad guy to collect money. But things go awry one night and Calvin gets shot and killed.
Matt (is back! but oh so briefly) is in Chicago where it is grey and rainy. Oh, my dear Chicago. I miss you so. He is lonely in his enormous artist's loft and picks up the phone to call Julie. It takes him a few times to get her to actually talk to him, and when she does, it's a doozy. She breaks down crying, and tells Matt that she hates him for leaving her. Matt is left with a lot to brood about, so it's helpful that he has that big loft to do that in.
Finally: has anyone else noticed that Coach is starting to spend a little too much time in bars?
Luke is trying to get his prescription refilled again, but the pharmacist is onto him. Luke tries to lie that he lost the pills that he got refilled last week, but the pharmacist isn't going to play loosey goosey with Oxycontin. Luke tries desperation, saying that he's got a huge game coming up and he needs the pills, but the pharmacist only asks if he needs to call someone -- Luke's coach, his parents -- about this. Luke stammers his way back out the door, muttering that he guesses he'll just have to "find" those "lost" pills.
Matt carries groceries home in a grey Chicago drizzle. CHICAGO!!! Oh, wait, but also: MATT SARACEN!!! I just got overwhelmed, confronted by two things I miss very, very much. He gets upstairs to his HUGE drafty-looking loft (c'mon, I miss and romanticize Chicago real estate as much as anyone but this is not the kind of place you live when you are going to art school) and looks longingly at a snapshot of Julie pinned up on top of yet another drawn hand (lay off the hands, Matt, it's starting to look kind of serial killerish).
Julie has her hair curled and coiffed into "sweet" for a little interview-type thing she's doing with Habitat for Humanity. She explains that she just felt really rewarded building that last house, and wants to get more involved. The guy she's talking to asks if she's ready to make the kind of time commitment that becoming a team leader would require and she assures him she will. He mentions that they'll just need parental consent since she's seventeen, and she kind of tightly lies that that shouldn't be a problem. I smell a gap year coming for Julie Taylor!
Becky answers the door to find Luke's mom, who introduces herself and says she just really wanted to meet Becky and extend a hand and tell her that she wishes she had been able to be there to help her. Becky is clearly moved by the gesture. Luke's mom asks if Becky has a few minutes to talk to her and help her understand better what happened. Becky invites her in. And, even knowing what Margaret will do later in the episode to go after Tami Taylor, I think this was a nicely done, real moment between her and Becky. That is, I think she really does want to connect with Becky, and that while what she does with the information that she gets from Becky is offensive and wrong, I think it comes from a real, hurting place in her.
Vince is in the Cadillac, getting lectured by the head bad guy car stealer. Calvin pulls them up in front of a house, and Vince has to go in and watch the Head Bad Guy beat someone up with a tire iron over not being able to pay for whatever car parts he's gotten from him. Vince watches, looking vulnerable and young, and when the Head Bad Guy hands him the tire iron, Vince can't do it, opting instead to just kick the guy over a bit. Out at the car, Head Bad Guy yells at him for not participating, and Vince pleadingly asks how much longer he has to do this for, how long until they're even. Head Bad Guy: "Rehab ain't cheap, man."
Coach drives by Panthers field, listening to his radio interview taped earlier that day. On the radio, sounding bitchy and superior, he insists to Buddy that he's only focused on the game right in front of him, not the Panthers game; but his obsessive stalking of the lavish field that used to be his home tells us something different.
Credits. Lions practice. Coach lectures his team to focus on today, on practice, on Friday. He sends them onto the field. Vince passes to Luke, who then takes a big hit to take him down. Luke goes crosseyed with pain through his helmet and struggles slowly to his feet. Tinker comes over to see if he's okay, he swears he is. Coach notices ("You alright?") but doesn't really heed his obvious injury. The kids take five, Luke runs under the bleachers to pop some pills that he's got wrapped in newspaper and tucked into his waistband.
Tim marches into the real estate office and dumps a bunch of cash on creepy Real Estate Lady's desk. She's shocked and jokingly asks if he robbed a bank; Tim deadpans, "You're not gonna tell anyone are ya?" Then breaks into a wide grin. She tells him that she'll submit his offer on his dream Texas Forever land and let him know what they say.
Tami's in a meeting with the weaselly superintendent. He tells her that Luke Cafferty's mother is trying to get her fired. Tami assumes it must be about making Luke transfer to East Dillon, but Paul clarifies that it's because "you instructed a girl carrying, in her words, her grandchild to get an abortion." Tami is flabbergasted and says she had a conversation with a girl but never instructed anyone to do anything. Paul pushes to hear exactly what she told the girl and Tami reminds him that the conversation is confidential, and then explains that the girl sought her out, it wasn't on school property, and Tami followed protocol. Paul says there will be a school board hearing, which flabbergasts Tami even more -- "Well, why?" -- and that this is a hot button issue with a parent who really wants to be heard: "This is turning into a very serious situation, Tami."