Turns out life is what happens when you're waiting on the results of a football game in the next county. Or something like that.
Word is out that the Streets are suing Coach Taylor, and the town is not happy about it. Jason can't even roll grittily down the street accompanied by gritty guitars without getting dirty looks anymore. But even Jason realizes that his parents are between a rock and a hard place, financially, and so...they wait.
Tyra apparently lives in the middle of a Lifetime special with a stepdad named Bob who ogles her butt and punches her mom, so she goes after him with a fire poker and drives him away, but her ratty mom almost goes right back to him until Tyra tells her mom to pick between her or Bob, and her mom lurches out of her Valium haze long enough to do the right thing. Meanwhile, Tim apologizes to Tyra and tries opening the door between them again, but for that we'll have...to wait.
Smash is still after Waverly even though she'd rather polish her trumpet than listen to him talk about football, so he hatches this plan to pretend like he hangs out with Matt Saracen and talks about I-raq and stem cell research, and so Smash and Waverly and Matt and Julie go out on a double date to the rodeo, and Smash tries to act like he goes to Cocteau films. But an arm-wrestling contest is too much to resist and he starts talking about himself in the third person again. And so...oh, Smash isn't waiting for anything much 'cept for Smash!
In the end, the game in the next county turns out in the Panthers' favor, so Dillon is going to State, and Matt sends his dad back to Iraq.
Shots of an empty stadium, empty hallways, a grey, colorless landscape in the early morning autumn light, and Panther Football Radio expositing that all of Dillon will be waiting on the outcome of a game between Arnett Mead and Buckley to see if they'll get into the playoffs. Limbo. Coach Taylor drives and furrows. Cut to the field, the boys are in practice while Coach spouts quite a monologue about how they have to stay focused: "Some things you can control and some things you cannot. Time you cannot control. Time is our enemy. I do not want you all driving yourselves crazy this week. Whatever happens happens." The boys run and ram, the cheerleaders practice off to the side, Tim shoots a look over at Lyla. Coach keeps yelling, telling the boys that if "God or Buckley defense decides we get one more shot at this thing, then we gotta be ready!"
At the Alamo Freeze, Smash sits in Smash's booth and talks nonstop football, strategizing that Buckley needs to play some kid named "Denny." Waverly is sitting across with him, sighing and rolling her eyes, bored. She finally gets up and leaves without a word. Smash asks where she's going and she tosses back: "I got a trumpet needs polishing." Left unsaid: "...and that trumpet is made of brass, not Smash." Smash watches her leave and shakes his head, muttering to his boys that "She gonna play me. She don't get it. She don't even get it."
In the Saracen household, Grandma paces in front of the television in her nightgown, tossing a football between her hands and muttering her own strategy about what Buckley needs to do to beat Arnett Mead. Matt goodnaturedly jokes that he'll tell Coach about her suggestions. As he rushes to leave, he knocks a glass off the table and it shatters. Henry comes in and the two men kneel down to wipe up the mess. Henry asks his son if Grandma is talking any sense, whether Buckley has a chance in hell to beat Arnett. Matt tells his dad that Arnett is heavily favored, but that Buckley has this Denny, who is the kind of player who can just break a game wide open. Henry looks at his son and sweetly tells him that he hopes this Denny beats the crap out of Arnett, because he'd like to see Matt QB in the playoff game. Recapper Heart Check: slightly thawed toward Henry, with scattered ice crystals around the edges. Matt crankily replies that his dad won't even be in Dillon by that time anyway. Henry replies that actually he will be there, that he isn't going back to Iraq, "if that's all right with you." Matt stutters and sputters by way of saying "hell yes, it's okay" before reaching out and shaking his dad's hand. Sweet.