The Lions are getting it together and Luke and Vince starting to become a powerhouse combination. Vince gets named Co-Conference Player of the Week, along with J.D. McCoy, and is invited to go talk to little Pop Warner players. J.D. does and says everything right, probably because his father has bought him all the scripts he'll ever need for the rest of his life, while Vince doesn't know what to say to the kids, so opts to tell them what the guy who's teaching him to steal cars (yup, now we have to worry about that!) just told him: "Don't panic, stay cool, and you get paid."
J.D. may have a daddy-smoothed path in life, but his father hasn't resorted to buying him friends... yet. Luke tries to keep hanging out with J.D. like in the old days, but the kid with the golden arm, is becoming more and more of a privileged douche with every passing moment, and the two have a fantastic break-up scene following a paintball rampage. Quick thought experiment: imagine if it were Vince and his black friends hanging out of a truck pointing (paintball) guns at people and property. Possible outcomes?
Becky gets third at her shopping mall beauty pageant and her dad isn't even there to see it. Tim is, though, making it even easier for her to go down her little Freudian checklist. Lack? Check. Desire for the phallus? Check. Displacement? Check. She ultimately tries to kiss him but he rejects her-- just like daddies always do.
And I've been putting it off until here, but really, the story that all the other stories sort of emanate out of and orbit around is Matt's mourning for his father -- tracked through the reassuring but entrapping social forms of wake and funeral, with all their structure and ritual. Matt is hard to read, nobody is quite sure how he's doing only that he's, as Julie says, "trying." The guys take him out for a much-needed guys night during which they all get drunk and Matt makes the spectacularly bad decision to go to the funeral home and insist that the director open the casket to show him the body of his father -- who was killed by stepping on an IED. All possibilities of magical thinking end the moment he sees that terrible sight. The Taylors are there for him, though, in the most perfect way, as all the guilt he has internalized over having hated his now-dead father comes pouring out. The breakdown Matt finally allows himself to have in front of them is the greatest argument in favor of family (however you define it) I've ever seen. By the end of the funeral after everyone but Julie has left the graveside, Matt, stifled by all the ties and visiting hours and casseroles, picks up a shovel and starts burying his father himself: it's a very particular kind of male mourning, and I don't quite understand it, which is why I love this show so much, because it doesn't tell me things I already know.