“Keep Looking” wasn’t a great episode as a sixty minute run, but was a phenomenal piece of television in its closing musical montage. And while breaking down the whole episode into its necessary components has its benefits, one need only watch the last five minutes to gain a full picture of the story behind Friday Night Lights.
And so rather than write my usual analysis, I think “Keep Looking” works more as a barrage of bullets (mostly to the tune of “Start a War” by The National.)
Beginning with Buddy tracking down Buddy Jr. (the most realistic high schooler in the FNL run besides maybe Epyck) at the gas station, chasing him down and just stroking his hair, papa bear style. The poignancy of fatherly love from a guy whose soul focus, up until this point has been Eric Taylor-led football, was remarkable. It made me think back to The Sopranos and Tony rescuing AJ from the pool. It was a father not casting judgment, but rather lovingly wondering where it all went wrong and how it could all go right again.
To Vince giving the f#$% you line of the series with “October 9, 1993, Pop.”
To Jess smiling proudly at understanding football and somewhat legitimatizing her equipment manager story line. I didn’t think this arc was redeemable until that moment. And for a second it all made sense. As a female on the outside looking in at the football culture, knowing she’d never crack it, she can at least influence it. It was a small victory.
To Buddy Jr’s football tryout as a moment for Buddy Sr: failed car dealership owner, East Dillon booster, aspiring father.
To the Riggins’s and Becky playing Boggle with Tim’s picture looking on. The most poignant of scenes. It isn’t easy having an absent character play a quasi-major role in a show and yet Tim’s incarcerated self does it by simply reminding Becky, Billy and Mindy that they are bound by something more than circumstance and shitty fathers.
To Luke and company strolling the grounds of TMU. A shoutout to the high school football ideal of something bigger and better. That all their hard work achieves something. That these kids are part some larger fraternity. That they mean something.
To the trip as a ploy to lure Vince in by playing on his commitment to team while skirting obvious NCAA regulations regarding recruitment. Because of course they want Vince, and of course Luke is just still the second fiddle.
And though the episode wrapped up rather nicely there is a certain naivete in believing it’s all for the best, that life is just that simple. That believing Buddy will cure his son’s angst with a little dose of Texas high school football, or Vince walking away from his father is the last word on the subject, or Jess will make it into the boy’s club, or Becky’s life will go back to normal with Tim around, or Luke will be a college football star and back to Vince, who won’t be taken advantage of.
It all sounds great, until it all goes wrong.
Other thoughts in a few more bullets
Not sure if I’ve written this before but I really think Epyck is the character the FNL writers wanted Tyra to be early on, but just couldn’t introduce a character who was that raw. Tyra was a nice depiction of what an incredibly hot, yet dramatically flawed character could be, replete with stripper mom and teenage angst out the wazoo. Epyck is just incredibly flawed. The latter is much more believable.
When Julie shows up I just yell, “Nooooooo!”
Buddy Jr. might be the best casting job of all-time. Not only does he play the disaffected teenager to a tee, but he actually looks like Buddy Sr. Nice job everyone.
Some great music in this episode including “When the Wheels Dont Move” by Son Volt and “Lools Gold” by The Middle East