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'Friday Night Lights' recap: Desperate times

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “Wind Sprints” | Aired Oct 17, 2006

We all have moments that define us. When we look back at these moments, we can divide our lives into the “before” period and the “after.” Sometimes they are obvious, other times more subtle. For Jason Street, at least one is clear as day. The football game against Westerby at the start of his senior year was a catastrophic defining moment that changed the course of his life forever. Everything that has happened from that day on was set in motion by that one event. It has all been the after.

And it hasn’t been the after for Jason alone. The game was a turning point for Coach Taylor and the Dillon Panthers as well. A team that could feel victory in its bones is now unsure that it can even win a game. Last week’s episode ended with Matt Saracen heading out to the field after a one-on-one session with Coach that included a rousing pep talk. It seemed to be exactly what Matt needed. As this episode begins, we pick up right where we left off: The Panthers are doing everything they can, but they are getting mauled on the field. Coach reams them out during halftime, but they aren’t able to swing the momentum in the second half. They manage to keep it close (their defense must be doing something right) and as the seconds wind down on the game clock, Matt manages to evade a tackle and attempts to run the ball in. It looks like he scored and the Dillon players are all signaling touchdown, but ultimately, the officials rule that he was down a few inches short of the goal line. Panthers lose 13-7.

Jason watches the game from his hospital bed and is legitimately disappointed about the loss. It tells us a lot of the kind of person Jason is that he continues to root for the success of his team after what he’s been through. But Jason isn’t looking to gain any validation from Matt Saracen’s failure. He doesn’t hope everything falls apart without him. He loved the Dillon Panthers when he was their leader and he loves them now. The kind of accident that Jason had would be terrible no matter who had to endure it, but there is a particular sting that comes with knowing what a good person Jason Street is.

Lyla has, of course, always known this, and she is still holding on to the notion that Jason is going to return to his former glory. She is getting increasingly angry with Tim for avoiding the hospital and not visiting. She even shows up at his house and tries to get him to go with her, but he has Billy tell her he’s not home (she’s is not fooled). Tim is having such a hard time dealing with Jason’s accident that he walks out of a practice after Coach tells him he needs to play harder. Mac, the Panthers offensive coordinator, posits that Tim blames himself for Jason’s accident even though there was clearly nothing he could’ve done to prevent it.

Meanwhile, since Coach Taylor has only lost one game, one might think it wouldn’t be such a big deal. One would be wrong. The failure to pull out the win signifies to the die-hard fans of Dillon that Coach Taylor likely isn’t the right man for the job. It’s hard to know exactly what they expect of him, given that he lost the lynchpin of his offense only a week prior, but Coach is experiencing all kinds of criticism—from strangers, the boosters, and even his own players. When Smash goes on television and comments on Coach’s inability to win, Coach Taylor basically loses his mind. He calls Mac and has him round up the team in the middle of the night to take them to a practice in the pouring rain. He loads them all on a school bus and drops them off in the middle of a field for wind sprints, up and down a hill. And as they run, Coach reminds them that they don’t get to be champions simply because they put on the Panther uniforms. Champions don’t give up. Champions give 200 percent. Championships are earned.

At the end of practice, Coach tells Tim he needs to stop blaming himself for Jason’s accident. “I didn’t even try,” Tim admits, horrified at the idea that had he done a little more, maybe his friend would still be walking. Coach points out that he never could have gotten there in time. This was an accident. Tim has to let it go. Coach, once again, shows his incredible ability to relate to his players as human beings. He is a coach to these boys, but also a mentor. The paternal part of him certainly comes out in these conversations. But then, when the reassurances are over, without missing a beat, Coach tells Tim that if he ever walks out of a practice again he’s off the team. Coach points out that Tim now owes him a practice. In lieu of that, he tells Tim he can walk home from practice, then they’ll be even.

While the Panthers were running til they puked, Lyla was celebrating her birthday with Jason at the hospital. Earlier in the week, Jason’s catheter had leaked while Lyla was attempting to get intimate. The mortification of that experience really pushed Jason to acknowledge that things aren’t ever going to be OK for him. As Lyla insists on pretending they are, Jason is getting more and more frustrated with the reality. He finally snaps at her as she’s leaving and tells her how every night he dreams that he can walk again and then every morning he has to deal with the truth all over again. She is making it nearly impossible for him by holding on to a fantasy that isn’t going to happen. He’s never going to play football, he isn’t going to Notre Dame. They aren’t getting married. And then he tells her, or rather yells at her, to GET OUT.

Who knows what would have happened had Jason not fallen apart at that moment, not screamed at Lyla to leave at the exact time that Tim was walking home from practice. But as far as the defining moments of Jason Street’s life, perhaps this was one of the subtle ones. Because as Lyla left Jason’s room, sad and hurt, she drove past Tim. Everything she was feeling, all the horror of the situation that she’d been refusing to see, comes rushing out of her in a gush of anger and frustration and sadness. She’s hitting Tim and screaming at him and telling him how hurt she is that he never visits and then, somehow, they are kissing. It is shocking and it is wrong, but grief is a tough thing to judge. These two people have been privately denying their pain and then finally, here in this moment, it comes out in the most reckless way possible. Lyla shows up at the hospital the following day to help Jason with his move to the rehab facility. Jason immediately apologizes for his outburst and asks her if they can please just forget everything that had happened the night before. Can she?

Loose ends:

Buddy Garrity is unhappy with Matt’s performance at quarterback and takes it upon himself to go out and find a replacement. He finds a talented Katrina refugee who has recently moved to Dillon from New Orleans. Buddy makes the family all kinds of promises that Coach is uncomfortable with, but it clearly works, because Buddy brings him—Ray “Voodoo” Tatum—to practice to introduce him to the team. Coach has made it clear to him that the starting position was something he’d have to earn, so nothing is a given. But, Saracen better watch his back.

Tim and Tyra have a big fight after he doesn’t show up to a fundraiser being held to raise money for Jason’s rehab. She tells him if he lets her walk away, they are done for good. He lets her go.


Talking about Tim blaming himself for Jason’s accident even though he was on the other side of the field when it happened:
Mac: You can blame yourself for just about anything if you think about it long enough.

On the way to the midnight practice:
Smash: What’s he gonna do? Kill us?
Matt: Maybe

Lyla approaches Tim at school and asks him to come to a prayer circle for Jason:
Tim: What are we praying for Lyla? A new spine for Jay?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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