Commercials. Landry and Jess pull up in front of her house joking about Landry's mom's Obama gaffe. Landry quietly says that he sure didn't see Jess coming. She jokes that she knows, he hit her with his car. They smile at each other and she leans in to kiss Landry. Oh, I'm sorry to say this Landry, but this just isn't right between you.
At home, Tami struggles with a non-nap-wanting Gracie when the phone rings. It's Superintendent Paul telling her that the board voted 5-1 in her favor. Tami's shoulders collapse in relief, and Paul says that this is over, he just doesn't want it to get outside of the board. "This is the kind of thing some parents could go nuts about if they hear it out of context." Oh, dear. The foreshadowing.
Vince is at work at Ray's BBQ when Head Bad Guy comes in, telling him that he'll need him on Friday night. Vince protests that he has a game on Friday night, but Head Bad Guy reminds him that crime waits for no games. He tells him that he'll pick Vince up after the game. Meanwhile, Jess is snooping on the conversation. Head Bad Guy leaves, and Jess comes over muttering that she doesn't know why Vince even bothers talking to him. Vince lies that he's doing some extra work for him at the shop and Jess realizes why "Help pay for your mom?" She asks Vince if his mother's okay and he stops lying: "I don't know."
At the Cafferty's, Luke comes home to find his mother raging on the phone. "The school board votes and that's it? Well, not if I have anything to say about it." Luke tells her that this has to stop, that she should not have gone to see Becky. Luke's mom, hand on hip, growls that "A woman like that should not be in charge of children." Luke can't believe his mother is serious. He tells her that Principal Taylor didn't do anything, he's the one that got Becky pregnant, so why is she blaming Coach's wife. His mom spits, "Oh, Coach Taylor. Football. Is that all you care about?" She cries, "That was your child. That was my grandchild." NO IT WAS NOT LADY. This completely wrong-headed logic that equates a cluster of cells with "a child" drives me completely insane. Luke takes a second to compose himself and says that he's sorry, but his mom can't keep taking out her sorrow on Mrs. Taylor. He storms out, his mother yelling after him.
Tami sits at the table when Coach comes in, tired. She shares her good news that the board decided to keep her as principal. "Woo hoo!" she snarks. He asks how she feels about it, and she says that she's heartbroken that it happened, but happy to have her job. He asks what she's doing tonight -- "Nothing" -- and then tells her he'll go get the wine.
Carroll Park. Luke limps up to some bad looking dudes, and asks where he can get some Oxycontin. They ask how much he needs, and Luke too quickly assures them he's not a narc, he just needs some painkillers. He takes out his wallet and the guy shoos him away. Luke limps over to another guy and we cut over to Tinker who's hanging out there with his little brother, watching Luke with concern.
Buddy comes into Eric's office and asks him what's different about him. Coach can't and Buddy tells him: "I took the ring off. The Panther ring." Buddy says he was trying to see if he could last 48 hours without it. Buddy says that he loves the old Panthers, but doesn't love the new Panthers, and he can't wait for the Lions-Panthers game. Coach agrees, it'll be a good one. Buddy asks Coach what he thinks their real chances are. Coach tells him to buzz off, he's got a kick-off in four hours.
Jess goes to visit Vince's mom at rehab. Jess is gentle with her, telling her that Vince is proud of what his mother is doing. His mom says "He's a good boy, isn't he?" and Jess says that he is. Vince's mom breaks down into sobs and Jess hugs her. Later on, as Vince walks onto the field in uniform he catches sight of Jess in her dance uniform walking out, too. They exchange smiles, and poor Landry is just not going to be able to compete.
Julie's phone rings as she's walking down the hall. She slips into the empty cafeteria and answers. It's Matt. "What do you want?" Matt is at a gallery, but he snakes out to go stand outside in the cold, cold rain. Julie is silent for a while. Matt starts to stammer that he knows she's mad and he thinks he'd be mad, too, if that happened. Julie is like "Great, can I go now?" He tells her that he's in Chicago, has a job at an art gallery, and has an apartment. Julie: "Sounds like you've got everything worked out." Matt continues, kind of oblivious to the emotional storm that we can clearly see brewing in Julie, "That's just it. It doesn't feel right, cuz....cuz you're not here." Julie starts to cry a bit, "Well I'm glad I mean something to you. Just, not enough to call me until now." Matt tries to apologize, but it starts to really pale in the face of Julie's superior female powers of articulation: "Matt, we were together for almost four years. I know everything about you. You were my other half. I hate you so much for leaving me."
Cut to poor Matt, in Chicago, leaning his head on a chain-link fence, maybe just now realizing what he's done. She asks how he could do that to someone he loved and he mutters that he just felt that that was what he had to do. "Well," Julie says, "I have to do what I have to do. And if there's anything missing in your life? I suggest you go out and find it." Matt weakly protests, "Julie don't...." but she tells him goodbye and hangs up. Oh, it hurts. And what hurts most is that neither of them is really in the wrong. Matt needed to get out Dillon, to do something for himself, by himself. But Julie is right that the way things happened dishonored their relationship. But that's how, in my experience, those relationships often end. One person realizes that he or she needs to do something that is incompatible with the relationship; and it isn't really fair to think of that as selfish (in the way that an adult pursuing his own pleasure or satisfaction at the cost of a deep and true relationship might be) but just as the way it has to be if we believe (and I SO do) that teenagers can really love one another but also that teenagers should probably move beyond that love at some point.
Commercials. Lions locker room. The boys sit around, nervous and focused. Tinker sits down next to Luke and tells him that he saw him at Carroll Park last night. Luke lies that he was nervous last night and couldn't sleep so took a drive around. Tinker's like "I heard you brought some cash with you." Tinker asks him what's going on; the first few weeks Luke was talking like an announcer in the huddle, last two weeks it's like he's saving his breath for something. Luke looks at him, obviously longing to share this with someone. He lifts his jersey and shows Tinker his bruise, to Tinker's horror. Luke tells Tinker that he can't tell anyone about it and walks away.
Game time. Lions are down 7-0. Vince runs a 27-option-left. Snap, toss to Luke, who runs it nicely, but at the prospect of getting tackled on his right side, instead chooses to step out of bounds. Coach yells at Luke as he walks back to the huddle, "Whadyou run out of bounds for?!" and calls the same play again. In the huddle, Vince calls the play, but Tinker speaks up: they can't run that play. He explains that Luke's right side is hurt, and running that play means him getting crushed on that side. Some weird voiceover asks "Luke how bad is it man, can you make it through this one play?" and Luke shakes his head and says it depends on which way they run. Vince calls a 28-option-right, much to Coach's severe chagrin once they snap. Luke makes a nice run, though, and is able to take some hits to his left side. Coach is pissed on the sidelines and calls Vince over. Vince covers by saying that he got the signals mixed up; back on the sidelines Traub and Coach are flabbergasted that he mixed up left and right, Coach snarks that they'll have to review that in practice he supposes. Back in the huddle, Vince calls 27-opt