"Texas Whatever" is the penultimate FNL episode, and we're not much closer to learning answers to big questions, mainly about who will remain in Dillon -- but since the series is ending, maybe it's the perfect time for everyone to take flight. The Taylors potentially to Philly, if Eric would only discuss Tami's job offer. Tim to Alaska, to get away from it all and make some money. Luke to college, if only it didn't look even bleaker than Dillon.
No surprise: The Panthers have been chosen to survive as the one Dillon high school team, no matter the outcome of the Lions going to State. Buddy's been courted by his old boosters, and Vince is preordained as the starting QB -- the ideal conditions to lure Eric back to the Panthers, although he says he'll never go back. And yet he still won't give Tami the courtesy of even talking about her offer. As ideal as these two may seem, we're starting to see the effects of the egotism involved with being a coach at this level. Have we been deluded about this perfect man from the start?
Speaking of beginnings, Tyra and Tim reunite! She's possibly the only one who'd look fondly at Tim as he's about to beat the crap out of a rude bar patron at Buddy's. Tim is now perhaps closest to how he was in the first season -- dark, despondent, hair-trigger violent, all of which were very attractive to Tyra then and still are. She's moved by his confession, which is the first time he's told anyone. And she's maybe the only person Tim would listen to at this point, as she tells him he needs to reconcile with Billy, but he's still so bitter he can hardly see. In fact, she's the one who gives Tim the news that Mindy's expecting twins, and he realizes how quickly families can tear apart. They fall back into each others' arms for a night of companionship, a moment of comfort for the constantly-suffering Riggs and neat symmetry to our first memory of them together, with Tyra lying on Tim like a panther on a limb.
He's talking about going to Alaska to pursue one of those hellish, high-paying jobs which might suit him well if he didn't seriously hurt someone (himself?) along the way with all that rage. And he still owns the property, which is confusing, because this whole time we've been led to believe he has nowhere to go, needing to seek shelter in his old trailer on the Sproles' property. We see him losing it, kicking open the door of the Airstream and chucking out his mattress (bedbugs?), which I guess is meant to show his anger yet again, but it's a non sequitur, other than a reason to show him shirtless. Doesn't Tim seem like the type to camp for long spells in the outdoors? A survivalist in the making? And yet the first we see of the property is when he takes Tyra there (although there is a "for sale" sign on it -- his?) and she gazes upon it, saying questioningly, "Alaska, Tim?"
With Eric's help, Luke's got a nibble from a college in Arkansas, but when he visits, it feels even more podunk than Dillon. He confronts Tim about his feelings for Becky; Tim says he's fond of her, but nothing more. But clearly Becky still harbors distant hopes of getting with Tim, even at the expense of the sweet and polite Luke.
Christmas approaches, a good reason for Matt to come home as well. Gramma Saracen gives Matt a big hug, but sadly her dementia is worse as she asks after his dead father. And Julie makes a surprise early return home and hangs with Tyra. No sign of Vince's dad. Jess thinks all her hopes to coach hang on the Lions winning State. And bringing us full circle to earlier seasons, we hear "Devil Town" and watch our new gang of boys sitting on the field drinking, possibly saying "Texas forever." It reminds us that life will continue after it ends in the fictional Dillon, even without our favorite show. Right?
(Image courtesy of NBC)