The moment that I have been waiting for all summer is finally here. The new season of Friday Night Lights
The premiere opens at the Dillon town pool. It's the last week of summer and the first week of the new football season. Julie (Aimee Teegarden
) is working at the pool as a lifeguard, probably as an excuse to make eyes at the fellow lifeguard she refers to as “the Swede.” Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford
) is none too happy to have spent his summer watching Julie watch the Swede, and thinks that maybe he should be asking himself WWRD (What Would Riggins Do). Landry (Jesse Plemons) is too distracted by Tyra (Adrianne Palicki
) to care. Also arriving at the pool is a very pregnant Tami Taylor (Connie Britton
). Julie is mortified that her mother is there, and we learn that Julie has been sullen and moody all summer. Tami's water breaks while she's in the pool, which, um, ewww. Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler
) has been in Austin, coaching at TMU for the past eight months, and he hops on a plane to Dillon, just barely making it to the hospital minutes before baby Grace is born.
In football news, the new coach who has replaced Eric is Bill MacGregor, the Tennessee tyrant. He is very different than Eric Taylor was. For starters, he holds closed practices and doesn't let Buddy Garrity watch practice. And his method of dealing with a recalcitrant Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch
) is to make him run stadium stairs in the Texas heat with all his equipment on, until he throws up. Jason Street (Scott Porter
), who is now a full-time member of the Dillon Panthers coaching staff, tries to intercede on his friend's behalf, but they don't call the new coach the Tennessee Tyrant for nothing.
Lyla (Minka Kelly
) has accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior over the summer and is shown getting baptized in the river. She goes about town distributing flyers for Christ Teen Messengers. She very self-righteously gives one to Riggins, who tells her that despite having just had a three-way with the Stratton sisters Lyla is still the best he's ever had. Riggins is not the only one who gets Lyla's uppity Christian treatment. Her mother Pam's new hippie new boyfriend makes a dinner of tofu and beans for the family. Lyla says grace before dinner and uses her prayer to call the boyfriend out bitchily for taking advantage of a newly separated woman and to insinuate that her dear, sweet mother is dressing like a slut. Awesome.
Eric, concerned about Julie and Matt's relationship, tells Matt not to stand idly by while Julie flirts with the Swede. He tells him to fight for her, during which I swoon uncontrollably, and then tries to have a heart-to-heart with Julie. But Julie is resentful that her dad has been away for the past eight months, so she refuses to open up to him. Eric gets a call from TMU saying that they need him back by this Friday. Tami is heartbroken to hear this news. Connie Britton is seriously amazing in this scene—the way she chokes back her tears until Eric leaves the room turns me into a big ball of mush. Eric gives his wife some alone time and heads over to Buddy Garrity's car dealership, where it appears Buddy is living, post-divorce. Pam arrives to tell Buddy to stop following her around town. Buddy explodes in a fit of rage when he sees that hippie boyfriend is in tow. Hippie boyfriend drives a pickup truck, however, which diminishes his street cred as a hippie. Maybe they don't have Priuses in West Texas.
Julie blows Matt off that night to go to a bar at which the Swede's band is performing. Sadly for her, the Swede, whose name is Anton, by the way, has a hot girlfriend whom Julie did not know about. Also sadly, she is stranded at the bar, and is forced to call her father to take her home. He lays into her for being at such a seedy bar at 12:30 at night, and she finally admits that she is unsure about her relationship with Matt. She sees Matt turning into her father and she into her mother, and that terrifies the crap out of her. She's only 16 and wants more. Girlfriend, let me tell you, it never stop being hard. Eric is totally awesome super-dad and tells her that he'll love her even if she breaks up with Matt.
While all this is going on, Landry is still obsessing over how he can make Tyra like him. He even tries out for the football team to impress her. The two are adorably cute, hanging out together. At the pool, she asks him to put sunscreen on her back, and she invites him to watch a movie sometime. There's an awesome scene during their movie night when Landry calls Matt from Tyra's bathroom for advice on how to get his arm around her. She, naturally, is oblivious to all his awkward teen lust.
They decide to go to a convenience store to stock up on Pringles, nachos, Kit Kats and Ding-dongs, when Tyra's stalker who nearly raped her last season shows up. He had been stalking her all week, and finally makes a move to attack her in earnest outside the store. Landry comes out of the store and before he knows it, he has hit the man twice on the back of the head with what looks like a lead pipe and kills him. Panicking and not knowing what else to do, they dump his body in the river, perhaps the same river in which Lyla washed her sins away. It's a really tiny river, more like a creek, so I'm sure the body will turn up sometime soon. This doesn't bode well for Tyra or Landry. Or for Friday Night Lights
, for that matter, because it sort of resembles One Tree Hill
Near the end of the episode ends, Eric contemplates the importance of his family. He holds baby Grace—who is unusually bug-eyed and active for a newborn—while Tami sits next to him and Julie does the dishes behind them. It's scenes like this one that make me love Friday Night Lights
: not a word is spoken during the short scene, but the Eric's love for his family is completely apparent. The family then goes to the football stadium for a pep rally to announce this season's football roster. Landry made the team! Eric also presents the members of last year's team with state championship rings. He immediately gets on a plane to fly back to Austin.
-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)