Damn, what a delightful episode with lots of callbacks. Another beautiful hotel balcony scene, another great bonding-around-the-campfire scene. The Lions are set to play Kingdom again, the team to which they forfeited in that heartbreaker of a game last season. Kingdom, TX is 250 miles away, so they all pile into a yellow school bus and make their loud, teen way there, where they then pile into a hotel, alienate non-teen guests, spend some quality time bonding with one another, then go on to win the game by playing dirty (by Coach's fiat even!) for once in their lives.
Post-game, Hastings hooks the kids up with some hippie party out in the woods, while the coaches stay in to drink whiskey and play poker. On the bus on the way home each generation tries to hide its hangovers from the other. Speaking of generations, so much wonderful material in this episode regarding what it's like to be an adult among free-spirited teenagers. As Coach tells his kids, he hears everything they say. What he doesn't note, but we do: he doesn't always act or comment on everything he hears, and that is why he is so damn awesome.
It's a good thing we got all this bonding in now, though, because some bitter things are brewing. TMU seems to be recruiting Vince more than Luke, though Vince and Luke remain innocent of this intention. Vince is letting his father into his life a bit more, and you know that is not going to end up so great.
Back home, Tami has a ladies night with Laurel involving white wine and tears over the incommunicative Julie. For her part, Julie continues to be out on a limb all by herself (and apparently attending a school named Burleson, not UT like everybody thought!). That limb snaps when Head T.A. Derek Bishop's crazy harpy History professor wife finds Julie in a student lounge, slaps her, and starts screeching about what a slut Julie Taylor is. Tumbling to the ground, Julie scurries back home as quickly as she can, somehow manages to keep her face correctly comported when she sees her mother for the first time, and tells her she's just home to do some laundry. Well, metaphorical laundry maybe.
We open on the Lions' practice field. Coach talks some complicated juju about pockets and slant and "the three" to Vince. The gist is that Vince isn't running the play the way Coach wants him to. Vince heads back to the huddle as Coach yells, "You know what way we're gonna do it, right? MY WAY. Every time." The play runs well and Coach crows about "MY WAY" some more. Over on the sidelines, Carl-- a TMU recruiter-- tells Coach that Vince is a natural scrambler and he doesn't think Coach should limit him in that way. Coach just tells him that he's slipping.
Back in Coach's office, Coach fries up some bacon in a skillet on his portable burner while Vince talks about getting recruited by TMU. Wait, hold up-- since when does Coach make himself bacon in his office? I have so many questions! Is the bacon just for himself? For the team? The coaches? Does his office have proper ventilation? If not, does he come home smelling of delicious smoked meats? If so, could he possibly make himself MORE DELICIOUS?! Anyhow, Vince tells Coach about being recruited, and, yes, it is true that his recruitment by the school that seemed to initially want Luke is, in fact, shady. Coach asks about his father. Vince says that he's "found some middle ground" with his father and then exposits that his dad will go with him to the away game this weekend. Coach tells him that the three of them will sit down together and discuss this TMU stuff, and then asks if Luke knows about any of it. "No, it was his moment, I didn't want to take it away from him." "Good. Keep it that way."
Chaotic locker room. Assistant Coach Crowley takes off his reading glasses like he's a robot from the future. They come apart at the bridge of the nose!!! He exposits that they are taking a road trip this weekend to Kingdom, TX, 250 miles away, to play the team that they had to forfeit to last season. The boys are all rowdied up, as they get their itineraries -- including study time (boo!) -- for the trip. Coach Taylor comes in and tells them that he hears EVERYTHING that they say and he knows they've been talking about last year's forfeit. And that's okay. But he doesn't want to hear them talking about revenge, because playing for revenge is not playing good football. "Success is not a goal, it's a byproduct." Coach keeps going with his Oprah-isms (ONLY SEVEN SHOWS LEFT Y'ALL) when Staub, from the background, just basically shouts "SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!" and the kids all cheer.