"Fracture" aptly describes the disintegration of Dillon's various bonds and bones. The Lions' team unity, hard won in a still undefeated season, is being tested by a bright spotlight on Vince, who appears on TV and then takes an overnight trip with his dad to Oklahoma Tech (lol) which is heavily recruiting him, deploying flirty girls to give him the grand tour, and a weird non-conversation with the head coach trying to stick to the rules. Vince doesn't tell Coach or Jess about the trip (so she wouldn't have to lie on his behalf) and misses practice, causing Eric to threaten to bench him if he misses another. Jess is upset at his sudden egotism, Luke decks him in practice, and Coach catches him in a lie. Never a good idea. And now it looks like Vince, not Luke, might be the one caught breaking recruiting rules.
Eric's coaching staff is undergoing some rifts too. His old school assistant coach is at odds with Billy, who teaches the team a pre-game psych-up haka dance (which, let's face it, rocks). Buddy Jr. manages to break his leg doing the dance, frustrating his dad. Just when he seemed to be doing all right, too. All these things do not portend well for a repeat of State, eh?
Becky enters a pageant with the support of a newly adopted posse of Mindy and her stripper friends, who give her fashion advice and ream out the judges when she places second. There's something hopeful in this makeshift family situation, where Becky watches little Stevie while the other gals are working the poles and laps. When (presumably) Tim gets home, expect hilarity and drama to multiply exponentially. Becky and Luke are trying to get intimate at his house, with his parents out buying farm implements, but she freaks out, recalling the result of their one and only hookup and the wrath of his lovely mother. After repressing it, it seems like the residual emotional trauma of the abortion is unleashed. Would it be different if she weren't with Luke? In any case, they agree to start afresh.
The most awful story line since Landry's homicide returns: Derek shows up at the Taylors' house asking for Julie so he can convince her to return to school. After being rebuffed by Tami and then chased away by Eric brandishing Gracie's trike handlebars (pure comic gold), he manages to meet Julie and make his case after telling her he quit and is splitting with his wife. She seems to agree to go back to school, and we see a retake of her saying goodbye to her family and driving away, only to do yet another "swerve" and u-turn to what we think is Derek's cabin retreat in Tennessee (?). I'm going, NOOOOO, but who should open the door but ... MATT! There is hope, and it's in Chicago.
The other big disposable story line is back, about Tami trying to save Epyck, who seems to be misbehaving just so she can spend time with Tami and eat her lunch or whatever food is lying around. Tami visits her foster home, which she has described as terrible, only to find it apparently fine. With so many old and new story lines, this one felt like most of it was left on the cutting room floor, with Epyck an ugly caricature. In general, this episode felt frenetic and a bit desperate, trying to do too many things with just five precious eps left. And we expect to see the continued return of the original kids, which squeezes things even more. But that's just fine if it means Tim and Tyra return!
(Image courtesy of NBC)