In the parking lot, Grandma's like, "MATTHEW YOU SURE CAN MOVE! YOU REMIND ME OF A BOY I MET IN THE WAR!" He begs off to help clean up, and tosses the keys to Carlotta. "You looked good out there," she says, and "Because of you," is his answer, and they look at each other for a second too long, and he kisses her. Awesome! She's like, "Whoa!" And gets in the car and squeals the fuck out of there. He just gets that Matt look on his face, like, "Oh, hell."
Good morning, Saracens! Grandma's like, "YAY, BREAKFAST! IT COMES EVERY DAY BUT IT IS STILL SPECIAL! DO NOT PUT ME IN A HOME! I WANT TO PLANT APPLE TREES AND ORANGE TREES AND SAUSAGE TREES AND BACON TREES AND WAFFLE TREES FOR BREAKFAST! IT'S THE BEST!" And while all of this is going on, there's a family happening right in front of you. Matt smiles at Grandma, and smiles cautiously over at Carlotta, who serves him his breakfast finally, and she smiles carefully at him, and they both smile about Grandma, and Carlotta puts her hand on his shoulder, so carefully and sweetly, and they are a family. He gets that man look again and eats his waffles, and I know everything has to go to hell because that's how TV works, but for a second I just want to keep them there, having breakfast. This preposterous, beautiful family, made up of wrong turns and fears and sadnesses twisted straight. The morning is my favorite time because it's the only time you get to feel like this.
Smash sits with Pete From Miami, studiously not taking bribes, not discussing school housing or the hot tubs that come with it, not getting his meal paid for, not getting a ride home, not getting totally worked over by Pete and his white devil succubus. Eric rides up on a literal white horse with his to-go boxes and informs Pete From Miami that he will not be screwing Smash today, will not be breaking rules, will not be screwing up Eric's chance at State, will not be getting murdered in cold blood by Eric Taylor. Pete scampers and Eric sits down. Smash is like, "Oh, man. Another person who cares about my welfare and loves me and recognizes my awesomeness? What have I done to deserve this?" He admits that he arranged the meeting without Eric's office, because "nobody wants all the red tape" and he doesn't need Eric to "hold [his] hand." He assures Eric that he's making good decisions and not acting like a total idiot like usual. And he's not. Eric trains those awesome burning eyes of Coach Taylor love on him, and says the thing you want to hear him say every single day: "You've got heart, charisma, and a lot of skill. You're probably one of the best athletes I've ever coached." And Smash, of course, thanks him politely, because he's secretly wonderful. "My old man gave me a hard time on every damn decision I ever made. Every single day I lived under a roof with that man, we went head-to-head. I'm here. I just wanted to remind you of that." I never thought about Eric's dad before. I only know how to get better through awfulness, because I was the Tyra, so maybe I'm reading my own shit into this, but: somewhere between Cider House Rules and Cotton from King Of The Hill is what I'm picturing. I love you, Eric Taylor. "You got money? Good. You buy your own meal." He stands up, having made his West Texas poetry point, and Brian's like, "I am still angry and dissatisfied and arrogant, but on the other hand, Eric Taylor rules the entire universe. Hmm."