TV Recap: Friday Night Lights - The Giving Tree

Kyle Chandler is amazing. Even though Coach Taylor is one of my favorite characters on television, I cannot wait to see what he does after Friday Night Lights ends (hopefully a few years from now). While there are many sides to him, there are two Coach Taylors that are my favorite: Befuddled Coach and Angry Coach. I was a little disappointed in Angry Coach last week, when he didn't run over that rodeo clown with his SUV, but this week, he was back-- and awesome.

Poor Eric had a lot to be angry about in this episode. We're not ten minutes in, when he goes over to pick up Julie from Matt's house-- only to find them in bed together. I love the way this scene was shot: Eric knocks, walks in, and while the camera stays far away outside, you hear Julie scream at him to get out, and then Eric speed walks back to his car, with his head to the ground. He doesn't say a word to Julie (who is the fastest dresser in history), but the moment where he has an internal debate about whether or not to unlock the door and let her in is wonderful.

His mind is so blown about what he saw, that he can't even bring himself to speak to Julie, or even tell Tami until they're both in bed. Even though he's outwardly calm, Angry Coach Taylor is quite clearly just under the surface, as is evidenced by the ferocity with which he cleans off his grill and how heavily he's breathing when he simply tells Matt, “women are to be respected.”

Eric's anger finally bubbles over on Friday Night during the game when the Panthers are playing against a dirty team and contending with dirty refs. While he has a lot to be legitimately pissed about, he probably wouldn't have been ejected from the game, had this little incident not happened earlier in the week.

Even though the Panthers end up winning the game, thanks to J.D. and Riggins, Eric's position is looking a little precarious. Since he was ejected, temporary assistant coach Wade stepped in for him, and it looked as though the media was giving him credit for the win. This does not bode well for the rest of the season for Eric.

While Eric is certainly not having a good week, I don't think he would even argue that it's worse than the week Buddy Garrity is having. He starts out in a business meeting in The Landing Strip, like the classy professional he is, and finds out that some shady dude lost his $70,000 in a risky shopping center investment. The loss of the money coupled with the guy immediately “giving him the opportunity” to invest in his next project, sends Buddy completely over the edge and he kicks this guy's ass.

Despite his prestige in the community, Buddy ends up having to spend the night in jail and is hit with a host of criminal and civil charges. While this is bad enough, what's worse is he has to tell Lyla about the state of their affairs, which is that he lost her college fund. Lyla, as you may guess, is not pleased and goes to stay with Riggins.

As someone who worked her way though college, it's kind of difficult for me to feel too sorry for someone who just found out that it won't be completely paid for for her, but I get where Lyla's coming from. Her parents saved from the time she was a baby and told her that if she got the grades, then the money was hers. She worked hard and kept up her end of the bargain, so to find out that her father didn't has to be heartbreaking.

I'm hoping that this storyline is just a bump in the road, and not leading up for Lyla to be hanging around Dillon if FNL gets picked up for another season. I know that it's a small town and a lot of people stick around after high school, but I think it would be disingenuous to make Lyla one of them. She would find some way to go to college somewhere.

Tyra's college dreams are also up in the air, since she missed so much school and is now woefully behind. Julie suggests that she get Landry to help her study for the upcoming SATs, and of course Landry agrees. Landry quickly realizes that this is completely wack though, when Tyra tries to get him to skip band practice to help her more. He finally stands up to her and uses The Giving Tree as an analogy to explain how one-sided and ridiculous their relationship is.

Tyra doesn't see the problem, and it's not until Julie tells her that Landry is totally right that she starts to actually believe it. Tyra tries to make a peace offering by getting Landry's band a gig at a local bar. It's hard to tell if Landry thinks this is enough to make up for her constantly using him, but something interesting happens. When Landry is up on that stage, Tyra gets a look in her eye like she's going to eat him up. Apparently in addition to Rodeo dudes, Ms. Collette is into rock stars as well. Big surprise.

The other thing going on in Dillon is shaping up to be the big storyline in next week's episode. J.D., despite his built-in popularity as QB1, is kind of a social leper. This, of course, is completely due to his nutbar father. When J.D. finally goes to a party and meets a girl, his dad quickly puts the kibosh on it and tells him that he can't have a girlfriend while he's in the playoffs.

J.D. listens to his father and cuts it off with Madison—that is until Riggins becomes the Devil on his shoulder and tells him that the team won't respect him unless he learns how to make his own decisions. This leads to J.D. sneaking out with Madison after the game on Friday night. His mother, not being completely insane is kind of proud of him, but his father is pissed. If the previews for next week's episode are any indication, J.D. isn't going to get away with crossing his dad.