Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's a Pretty Sharp Thorn

Friday Night Lights: Every Rose Has It's Thorn
Season 3, Episode 5

Remember when Poison's original line-up fell apart in the mid and late 90's, times were tough and they threw out your standard Greatest Hits album to kill some time before they rediscovered themselves for the inevitable reunion era? Well, you should!

This week's episode of Friday Night Lights is a lot like that as we begin to establish the next big farewell and rehash several tired plots we've seen before (Tyra rebelling against everything, Julie and Tami fighting for little reason), here in "Every Rose Has It's Thorn."

Behold the spoilers below the cut to read more.

The main storyline for the next four weeks is the end of the line for Jason Street and it's important they do it properly since his crippling injury was the most impacting event of the series, changing the lives of virtually every character on the show from his family to the team and school and all the main characters.

And it's wonderful to see him living with fellow paraplegic and laugh machine Herc, "You throwin' away my porn again?... Dude, you do not have to hide porn from babies. Babies are not freaked out by boobies. What vaginas? Babies love vaginas. Man, they just took a great trip through one. It's like looking at a postcard."

Of course, the best part of the show is Street's storyline. The fact that he's trying to spend more time and provide better for his child (one he never imagined having anymore) and the waitress that obviously turned into something a lot more important to him. The scene where he promises a better future to the baby is just a great job by Scott Porter. I'm always caught by how wonderful and realistic so many of these characters can come off every week.

In the other half of the storyline effecting Street, old buddy Riggins' idea to flip Buddy's old house, comes of as an incredible long shot, but it is humorous to hear him repeat the ideas of Mr. Garrity, himself, to Street, Herc and Billy. And the scene with the Riggins boys selling the wire is just a bad scene... just bad. It never works when any guns are involved in this show. it... just... DOESN'T. Thank god that Herc, "knows a guy."

I enjoy how Coach's swapping quarterback strategies wasn't working out for so long, since it was a rather mediocre attempt to keep Matt involved when it was obvious the better player was on the sidelines and even with him coming through in the end, Saracen really knows and sells it that his era as QB-1 is over. But him not getting mobbed after that touchdown is sacrificing the reality of the show for attempting an emotional gut punch... and it just rings false. Despite being a pretty depressing storyline for just about the nicest guy on the show everything feels authentic because life really isn't fair. And we've known that especially in Saracen's case for the last three years.

Gilford and Chandler manage to say so much in just a few moments on that porch when the decision is handed down before they are interrupted, it's a wonderful job by both and I love that Shelby (that's Saracen's mom) catches on so quick and recognizes she still hasn't been around long enough to really say anything to comfort him. And her moving to Dillon for the immediate future is really a nice win for Matt, even if he can't admit it at the time.

The second scene between Gilford and Chandler in the locker room just does not work. Like a terrible soap opera drama scene, it's the same mood as the Tyra-Tami scenes and it doesn't work. So many of these actors do quiet well that showy moments like this stand out as sub-par and inauthentic.

Unlike the tattoo and Tyra is a bad influence beats between Julie and her parents. Even Connie Britton can't sell going back to "how could you do this" and "of course, Tyra was involved" wells anymore.

The entire Tyra stuff just reeks of mistakes from a storytelling point of view. This girl was a wild-child TWO YEARS AGO. To repeat the same beats thanks to a new boy, Cash the Cowboy, as if she would forget this multi-year journey she's been on to get out of this town and into college, the idea that she would toss it all away when this close after winning the Student Council presidency, is too much. I just don't buy it. For now, this is the weakest storyline of the year. That it negatively impacts the scenes in the Taylor household just infuriates me more. That's were we go for some of the best scenes in the show. That's my happy place! Let the countdown to her affair with Cash begin! I just hope it's a short one.

Other highlights this week:

Landry and MAtt jamming to power ballads to soak their sorrows over Tyra and the new QB-1 with Skid Row's Remember Yesterday... "How cliche can you be."

Billy realizing he is a visionary. as well as him "needing to confer with my people."

Tami - Everyone is calm. Eric - What the HELL were you thinking? Don't like the storyline, but just a cute beat between those two lines. And while the last bit in this storyline isn't their very finest moment at least Tami and Julie get something good out of things at the end.

Overall, the episode had some highlights (Street's scenes mostly), but the Tyra-Cash the Cowboy storyline dragged it and everything around it down. The final scenes shows us fairly obviously where Street will end up and we know it will end with him and best friend Tim Riggins together one last time. And while that storyline might work out, the others need to all step it up a lot or these are going to be hard episodes to watch on DVD someday.

Final score: 2 stars out of 5

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