So, like, I could write this recaplet IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THIS EPISODE WAS SO GOOD. Or, I could use...a lot...of...ellipses...because...it...has...left me...speechless. Or I could describe my heart literally, physically thumping in my chest and how I leapt from the couch multiple times during the game. Or I might describe how pretty much for an hour I felt like I wanted to puke, my heart was so full. Is that enough for you Peter Berg? Jason Katims? Jeffrey Reiner? EVERYONE ELSE? The critic PUKING FOR JOY?
So, the Dillon Panthers go to State. AND THEY WIN. They fucking WIN STATE. Because they KNEW we were all sitting on our couches, all cynical and "no way are they going to win, that'd be too cheesy. That would be too much for us to watch these characters we know and love receive just reward for all the heart and muscle they've put into this drama. No way they'll win." BUT THEN THEY WON. Because this show flips scripts.
But before we get to that win: the Panthers have their quiet music montage of awe, arriving at the Dallas Cowboys stadium and seeing their accomplishment writ large. But when Coach's decision to take the TMU job goes public during a pre-game interview, the boy's rightful pride in their strength and potential is slightly undercut by doubts in their leader.
Meanwhile, the town is making its way to Dallas. Tim gives his tickets to Jackie and Bo, "no strings attached." Lyla refuses to drive one of her father's cars to the big city, a decision that results in her getting stranded on the side of the road. Landry thinks he's going to get four hours in a car alone with Tyra driving to Dallas for the game, but it turns out he gets four hours of To Wong Foo when he ends up with Tyra, Ole Sis, Angela, Grandma Saracen, and Lyla Garrity in the wagon, and let's be honest, the only person who couldn't play a tranny in that car is Jesse Plemons.
And Tami confirms that she is pregnant, something she might have found exciting but unremarkable ten years ago, but which throws her for a loop now. She tries to tell Eric a few times without success, but when she does tell him, well, I can't tell you exactly how PERFECT his reaction was because I was leaning over the back of the couch PUKING FOR JOY. (And, no, it wasn't the Indian food.) In the end, Coach tells Tami that he will stay in Dillon with his family, but Tami insists that he go to Austin. She admits that she isn't sure how they'll work this situation out, but she's sure that they both need to live out their dreams.
Speaking of dreams, here's one: RENEW THIS SHOW.
It's our last episode (THIS SEASON) and I've loved every minute I've worked on this show. Including the back aches I get from hunching down in one position because I can't move because I'm up against deadline, including being charged with the difficult and important task of translating what it is that Kyle Chandler's hair is saying, even including the show's one misstep, the angry Latino episode. My day job pretty much involves reading, writing about, and teaching narratives -- how they work, how they make meaning for people and communities -- and I can honestly say that I approach watching this show carefully and writing about it as an extension of that "serious" work I do. Only here I get better hair, a little more hotness, and far more excellent cleavage than I can count on getting from Henry James.
Open on a pep rally, Smash leading a huge crowd in a "Let's go Panthers!" chant. The dance squad is on stage dancing while we cut down to Smash and Matt Saracen talking to the press, full circle from those virtuoso opening scenes of the series where we started establishing characters as they spoke to reporters about the upcoming season. Matt speaks first and quietly says that he has "nothing but respect for Voodoo and that whole team" before Smash jumps in and trash talks that "No, no, no, no, no. We gonna shut Ray Tatum down." (In a tremendously sad turn of events, on the iTunes version of the episode from which I am recapping, the music that the dance squad performs to has changed from that awesome LCD Soundsystem "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" song to some anonymous and terrible Pussycat Dolls kind of song.)
Cut to Lyla winding her way through the crowd, her father trying to catch up to her to talk. She ignores him. Cut to Jason looking toward Lyla as he half-heartedly speaks to the press about how good it feels to be part of the team again. Right about now, on first viewing of the show, I remarked on how I loved this frenetic press interview opening, that it was so "full circle" from the Pilot. Jason then says "It feels like I've come full circle." Call me, Show.
Cut to Tyra walking up to Landry. He says it's good to see her out of the house, and she snarks back, "Thank you, Dr. Freud." She pauses before spitting out that even though going to this game runs against her principles, Tim gave her his extra tickets and made her feel like it was important to him that she go. Landry doesn't miss a beat: "So...you want me to drive you to state?" She mentions that the tickets are on the fifty-yard line, but Landry wouldn't care if the seats were on some bleachers along Harry Hines Boulevard. He stutters, "so, uh, uh, go with you? To Dallas?" before saying -- holding himself like if he moves he'll break into a million totally psyched pieces, "Yeah, sure. Sounds good." Tyra leaves and Landry slowly spins around in a circle, mouth hanging agape.