Friday, March 20, 2009

The Conversation, a.k.a. The Talk Version 2.0

Friday Night Lights: The Giving Tree
Season 3, Episode 10

For the second time this year, we get past funny Buddy to sad and regretful Buddy Garrity and it's nice to see this character stretch out. Usually just played for laughs, he makes a big mistake and of course proceeds to make it even worse. And yes, I am keeping track and there's only three episodes left. Don't remind me. And yes, I have been going crazy hoping for confirmation about rumors of a renewal... possibly one of the multi-year variety. Of course that raises the question on whether or not the show will be able to last with a significant portion of the class graduating this year.

But for me and most of you I'm sure, this week the episode revolves around the Taylors and Matt and certain... discoveries. We'll talk more with some spoilers beneath the cut.

This week is another big rock bottom moment for Buddy Garrity. Worse than being caught cheating a couple years back, now he's apparently near broke and utterly alone. Considering how funny Brad Leland usually plays Buddy, it's nice to see him stretch out in these darker moments. And unlike his previous fall from grace which the show balanced out with humor in having him crash at the Taylors' place for a few days, this time the keep it more straight dramatic. Well, except for the tens of thousands of dollars he owes at The Landing Strip... that's pretty funny. He gets tossed in jail after assaulting a man who lost him a significant amount of money on a bad investment and any chance Lyla had of standing by his side went out the window when she found out her college fund was included in that big loss. Between that and his philandering, I think Lyla's all betrayed out. Of course, Minka Kelly just can't sell her anger as anything deeper than petulant... even in a justifiable situation like this.

If nothing else, it's excellent that Riggins gets to play the calm voice of reason between the two of them. For such a hot-head, he knows to dial it back here to calm and firm... I think he'll do some good work with this story in the coming episodes. And the very next scene he drops some nice relationship knowledge on JD... he's like a drunker, more sexual Buddha running back.

Her brief stop-gap enroute to the rather inevitable move-in with the Riggins brothers is a stay at the Taylors. The family dynamic takes a big hit this week when Eric... hmmp...heh... walks in on Matt and Julie. This means home runs all around for Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler as Tami and Eric. Their reactions are every bit as funny and dramatic and nuanced as you'd expect. From Eric walking into and out of Matt's house, going straight to the car and locking the doors, the fact that he hesitates to let Julie in could come off as angry, but he manages to look so utterly lost. For him it isn't some character having sex, its his daughter... and selling that without a word is part of what makes one of my favorite shows.

Tami bolting up in bed when Eric breaks the news to her is the comedy highlight of the evening. We're all set for another Talk. The Talk being the best Tami Taylor highlight ever when she explained sex to Julie in season one's "I Think We Should Have Sex." This version once again doesn't get off to the most cooperative start.

"Is there anything you'd like to say?"

"He should have knocked."

Getting to the conversation is hard because Tami isn't sure what to say and Julie is putting up an adversarial front and expecting punishment. You can tell she's handling things badly when she tells Matt to act like a man. But when Tami finally sits down, she gets right off on the right put asking if they love each other before diving into the specifics of birth control.

"Why are you crying?"

"Cause I wanted to you to wait. And not just cause I wanted to protect you, it's 'cause I love you and want to make sure nothing bad ever happens to you."

It might not be the talk, but its a great moment and great performances by both Teegarden and Britton. Matt's first trip to the Taylors after the incident is just a great scene for him and Eric. And it certainly is permiated with a different vibe than the girl's conversation and much more concerned about respect and action than feelings.

Eric's week doesn't get any better at the game. For some reason that isn't really elaborated the refs are the worst and most crooked we've ever seen... well at least the worst I've seen since the last time I watched an NBA game. Eric gets kicked out of the game for arguing against a late hit that's too egregious to believe... but I suppose it has to be since even in game mode, Eric has always been loud, but professional. This leads to Joe McCoy's old buddy, Wade Aikman, stepping out to call the plays for the winning touchdown drive. It's a nice parrallel to set Wade up to be Eric's own version of what JD was for Matt. This rather unexpected development has be very worried for Eric the rest of the way this season.

Some nice developments off the field come for JD this week. With his mom's blessing he starts spending more time with the lovely, young Madison (let's think of her as Lyla Version 2.0 complete with hot cowgirl boots). Unfortunately, Madison isn't made out of tanned brown leather and thrown to receivers, so Papa Joe doesn't approve of his son showing any interest in her ever. There'll be plenty of time for girls and fun when JD retires from the NFL in 2039 as far as his dad is concerned. Once again this solidifies the difference between Buddy loving the sympathetically loving the Panthers too much and Joe being an asshole.

Finally, as far as my good pal Landry standing tall to Tyra after being kicked to the curb for a certain we-won't-mention-his-name cowboy, I'm divided. I mean it was a story so bad, even Julie calls her best buddy to task for it. On one hand, I want to just pretend that none of that story ever happened, so it's cool to get back to the status quo. On the other side, it's tough to root for a relationship that only came about because of the season two storyline that I'll write a dissertation on Rocky V before talking about again. But with only some pushing from new friend, Devon, our man Landry makes a stand and will not roll over again. He is not a stump, ladies and gentlemen!

Of course, they will get together in the end (I think), so it's a moot point. I give Landry standing-up to Tyra a big thumbs up though because it leads her to try and earn her way back into his good graces. And that means a gig for Crucifictorious where they rock as never before! For the sake of consistency, if nothing else, let's have Tyra not get all flaky with Landy again, alright? But a strong episode, with some decent game scenes and terrific performances nearly top to bottom. I just can't give it a straight A with Minka Kelly being upset... which in her case means skreeching, not acting. It's be nice if she'd pick up some tips from the rest of the cast.

Final score: A-

No comments:

Post a Comment