Previously on Friday Night Lights, we were forced to say goodbye to Jason Street (Scott Porter), who landed a job as a sports agent and moved to New Jersey to live with Erin and baby Noah.  Tim’s farewell to his best friend was heart-wrenching enough to make the most hardened cynic shed a tear, but that wasn’t the last emotional moment for Riggins.  This week’s episode finds Lyla battling it out with her boyfriend over his plans for the future.  Will Tim find the ambition needed to get into a good college, or is he destined to chug beers at The Landing Strip for the rest of his life?

This week’s Friday Night Lights kicks off Tim (Taylor Kitsch) coming home from New York to find his truck smashed up in the front yard.  Billy is passed out in his underwear on the couch, sulking because Mindy dumped him.  We all thought those crazy kids would work out, but it’s not easy settling down with a Riggins boy.

The Panthers are headed to the playoffs!  Eric (Kyle Chandler) gives them an inspirational speech to get them pumped for practice, but the thing that really gets them excited is Buddy’s announcement that the Friday night game is going to be broadcast on national television.  Eric isn’t thrilled with the news, but all the students go crazy.  It’s not long before guys are running around the school shirtless, making asses of themselves for the cameras.

Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) is on the road with the rodeo, which is a decision I still don’t approve of.  While she gets fitted for the perfect hat and and a comfortable pair of boots, Cash has a confrontation with some guys over money he owes.  Cash owes people some cash.  How fitting.  At Dillon High, the student council members are wondering where the hell Tyra disappeared to.  They corner Landry (Jesse Plemons) for some info, but he has no clue where his ex is.

Tim gets a visit from a San Antonio State recruiter, who’s very interested in sending the boy to college.  The guy wants to sit down for a discussion over dinner, but Tim doesn’t jump at the prospect.  Lyla (Minka Kelly) pushes him into it anyway, knowing that he needs to go.

Tami (Connie Britton) has no desire to celebrate her upcoming birthday, thinking that it’ll just make her feel old.  Eric, being the wonderful husband that he is, knows that she secretly wants to be lavished with attention.  He plans to surprise his wife with a hotel room, chocolates and champagne after the big game on Friday.  He tells Julie (Aimee Teegarden) to secretly pack an overnight bag for her mom so he can surprise her.

Tyra sees a different side of Cash after he comes in second place in the rodeo.  His money problems have him drinking and exploding into angry outbursts.  He tells Tyra that he owes some guys “a lot more than two grand,” and if he doesn’t pay up soon there’s going to be trouble.  I think Tyra needs to run far, far away before Cash ends up recreating Josh Brolin’s No Country for Old Men role.

Grandma Saracen still doesn’t want Matt’s mom staying in her house.  Shelby reveals that she’s been thinking of sticking around to take care of Lorraine if Matt goes off to college next year.  Grandma flips out over the idea, tossing a big, heavy guilt trip right on Matt’s shoulders.  At school the next day, Landry reveals that he’s been asked to do an interview on national television.  They’re interested to talk to someone who successfully balances both athletics and academics, which Landry is great at.

Billy is drowning his sorrows with shots of vodka, which Tim joins in on even though his big dinner meeting is in 15 minutes.  Lyla slaps some sense into Riggins, cleans him up, tosses him in the car and tries to prep him for the meeting.  The only thing he’s looking forward to is the free steak, so Lyla pulls over and kicks him out of her car.  If he’s not going to take his future seriously, she’s not going to bother helping him.

Landry gets a call from Tyra as he preps for his interview.  She doesn’t tell him exactly what’s going on, but she’s happy to hear a familiar voice.  It’s obvious Tyra needs to get back to Dillon, and not just to appease the student council members.  The next morning, Lyla runs into Mindy and finds out that she dumped Billy because he wanted her to quit working.  They bond over their anger toward the Riggins boys, and even decide to hang out for a while.  They’re definitely an odd couple, but maybe they can find a common bond in their hatred of men and become the next Thelma and Louise.

It’s Friday night, and the national attention has thrown the Panthers off their game.  Riggins manages to make a touchdown, but the rest of the team doesn’t have any luck in the first half.  Eric gives the team a little piece of High School Musical advice and tells them to get their heads in the game.  He also decides to send Saracen in to play wide receiver, which excites Lorraine and Shelby so much that they rush to the school to see Matt (Zach Gilford) in action.  Luckily, he kicks ass on the field, helping the Panthers win the game by making a crucial first down.

Cash thinks it’s a good idea to gamble his money away, so Tyra goes to a bar with him.  The instant he loses, he gets angry and walks out on her.  Tyra calls up Tami for help, interrupting her romantic birthday celebration with Eric.  She asks Tami to come pick her up, which Tami agrees to do because she’s awesome.  Eric isn’t excited about driving all the way to Dallas, but his wife promises that they can take the chocolates and champagne on the road.

The San Antonio recruiter still wants to meet with Tim, despite the aborted dinner meeting.  The college football coach thinks Riggins has what it takes to be a star.  While Tim ponders his future, Lyla and Mindy get drunk, eat chips and listen to Katy Perry.  It’s pretty hilarious watching these two bond over hating men.  “No Billy in my chili,” Mindy declares after downing too much vodka.  It’s not long before Billy shows up to make amends, and Mindy allows him to get all up in her chili again.  They kiss and make up, which makes me weirdly happy.  I kind of love those two.

Cash has no intention of letting Tyra leave, but Eric and Tami show up to save the day.  Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to date cowboys, no matter how hot and charming they may be.  Tyra thanks Tami for rushing to come get her, but it’s obvious Tami is a little disappointed that one of her favorite students made such a stupid decision.

Shelby picks up some college prep books for Matt, but he’s still worried about his grandma.  His mom assures him that everything will work out, and if money is a problem he can always get a scholarship.  Speaking of college, Tim has given some thought to his educational future.  He shows up at Lyla’s to tell her that he’s going to San Antonio State.  Tim is now the only Riggins ever to make it into college, which is a feat impressive enough to earn Lyla’s forgiveness.  I guess those Riggins brothers aren’t so bad after all.  The women of Dillon no longer have a need for Katy Perry.

Next week on Friday Night Lights, Eric and Tami find out that Matt and Julie have been indulging in a little S-E-X.

– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)

Henrik Batallones

Staff Writer, BuddyTV