I thought that maybe FNL
would go easy on Tim Riggins after having him take the fall and do time for Billy's transgressions, maybe give him some well-deserved happiness, but no. Tim may be free physically, but his soul is still locked up in a dark space, festering with resentment and anger. As Mindy notes, Tim's different. The good news is that it gives Taylor Kitsch a reason to glower darkly and shoot threatening looks at everybody (and later punches), which is a pretty great thing.
In "The March," at his own welcome home party, Tim stares out the window and Becky approaches and says he looks lonely. His relationship with her is complex. Sure, he rebuffed her. But his brotherliness may have evolved into romantic affection for her all those months in jail from the looks they exchange. You also get the sense that upon Tim's return, their distance comes in part from Becky's disappointment with Tim breaking the law. But he throws it back at her when he confronts her about waitressing at the Landing Strip, saying stripping pays way better than waitressing. "Ya gotta do what you gotta do, right?" he says to her, implying that's what he did to survive and that things aren't always cut and dried. Later, as she's waiting tables, he yells at her best customer that she's only 17 and threatens to break both his arms if he touches her again. Enraged, he gets tossed out, and winds up punching Billy, saying, "We had a deal. I screw up my life, you fix yours." Sob.
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This dustup gets Becky fired, and Tim tells her she could do much better. Luke drives by warily, and keeps going. Tim's all shut down, repeating "I gotta go." (Before, Tim walks in on them making out and tells Luke to wear protection this time. Sheepish looks all around.) The next day, Luke clearly doesn't trust Becky any longer. Tim leaves the house once more for the Airstream, saying there are too many people in the house, but he has to basically break in. He's now even more lethal physically than ever before, and matched with that rage, it's pretty potent. He can't even get radio reception of, I guess, the game, powerful symbol.
The Lions are in the playoffs. It's all the more important they win as budget cuts in the school system mean only one football team will survive in Dillon! What? Isn't Texas football pretty much the only mandated thing in life? But the team's psyched, united with Vince now, and they go to the Taylor's house, chanting in the yard "State!" as Coach plays the old man, yelling, "Get off my yard!" They also visit the Riggins' house, doing their haka chant and getting a smile from Tim for the first time. Jess gives Coach some scouting notes on the opposing team, saying she'd like to get on the coaching track some day. The other assistant coaches laugh. But he allows her to shadow him. The Lions win! Twice. Thrice? I couldn't keep track.
Tami's now got an offer from a college near Philly to interview for assistant dean. Suddenly, East Dillon's door is closing, and Philly's is opening. Nice and symmetrical. Eric's initially supportive, but driving Tami to the airport he indicates some trepidation. Tami butts heads with the hiring dean and thinks she blew it, but guess who's job she's offered? His, dean of admissions! Will she or won't she?
Vince's dad's descent continues. He's drunk, abusive, and as he tussles with Vince and his mom, drugs fall out of his pocket. Later, he tries to beat the door down, but the lock's changed. If one story line was written long ago, it's this one. His mom begins to fade backward, too, skipping his big game. How much do you love Michael B. Jordan? He absolutely captures all the fear, joy, pride and love needed for the role. Thank god he's on Parenthood so I can keep watching him.
I have to say, the music in this episode was strange. Some oddly optimistic banjo during dark scenes plus oldies like "Spirit in the Sky." And seriously, two more to go? Period?
(Image courtesy of NBC)