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Article

'Friday Night Lights' recap: 'In The Skin Of A Lion'

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One of the best things about Friday Night Lights this season is one of the worst things happening to Coach Eric — his overwhelming feelings of frustration at his new job, his new team’s lousy skills, his unconscious neglect of his family during these trying professional times. Kyle Chandler is playing all this material beautifully. Last night, it couldn’t have been easy to do all that constant yelling at the team without becoming a hoarse nag, but Chandler pulled it off.

Even better was one of those amazing married-folk fights Eric had with Tami. Seems the new Dillon Lousys needed new uniforms, and Coach’s powers of persuading the local boosters to donate cash equals his ability to smile on the playing field, so he had to write a personal check. For $3,000. Which they don’t have in their bank account. Without telling Tami. Hoo boy, what a terrific, snapping, both-sides-have-their-reasons argument those two had! I could watch Eric and Tami argue for an hour, I swear.

In other subplots, Luke was frustrated because Coach isn’t praising him enough, or acknowledging his sacrifice in playing for the lousy team. They had a verbal showdown, and Coach imparted his non-yelling wisdom to the kid. Looking Luke square in the eye, he gave the boy the ol’ Coach Murmur: “I want you to lead.” Damned if it doesn’t do the trick.

Tim Riggins was pretty busy for a laid-back, laconic guy. Helping Coach coach; putting in a good word for Luke (you could tell Tim felt he saw a little of himself in Luke, so he reassured him: “Give it a chance, trust the coach”); and fending off the flirtations of cute-but-too-young-for-him Becky.

And how about Richard Sherman, the Mean John Chamberlain-Type Artist to whom Matt has apprenticed himself? His very first meeting with Julie, and he calls her Matt’s “ball and chain,” thus planting the seeds of doubt in Julie’s mind about how this relationship is going to turn out. Mean Artist may be an a-hole, but he’s also The Voice of Artistic Freedom, a quality that will be tested in Matt this season, no doubt.

We finished up with a fantastic on-field confrontation between Coach and Michael B. Jordan’s Vince, getting up in each other’s face about strategy, willingness to literally play by the book, and general angry resentments both of these alpha-males explode over. Again: great acting while yelling, this time from two actors. I don’t know how FNL does it.

Random final exclamation points:

• Buddy Garrity got to tell Joe McCoy, “You’ve been a cancer to this team!”

• Landry’s going to be a punter! And that sweet-but-strong Jess gives him punting pointers! Is there nothing this girl cannot do? She may be the one to make Landry forget he once murdered somebody and plays in Crucifictorious!

• Rare misstep for FNL: the Julie’s questioning her faith and thus making her mom sad subplot. That’s a non-starter that only led to lines like, “You’ll always be my little girl.” Connie Britton should never have to utter words unworthy of her goddess status!

What did you think of this week’s Friday Night Lights?