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'Friday Night Lights' recap: Second chances

Season 1 | Episode 16 | “Black Eyes and Broken Hearts” | Aired Feb 14, 2007

“Black Eyes and Broken Hearts” is one of the more subtly beautiful episodes of Friday Night Lights. It picks up right in the middle of the mess that started in the previous episode. Mac McGill got himself into some serious hot water when he made racially charged remarks during a postgame interview.

Rather than copping to his mistake and accepting responsibility, Mac chose to ignore the outrage, remaining adamant that he said nothing wrong and offering an empty public apology in an attempt to appease his angry players. But the problem isn’t going away. The black players have all decided to strike, stating Mac’s termination as the condition of their return to uniform.

Coach had hoped the situation would blow over on its own, but as he realizes that it won’t, he needs to make a tough decision. He talks to Mac and lays out exactly what’s at stake. Mac had been hoping the situation would right itself too, and the realization that he could lose his job over it is devastating. As Coach grapples with how to proceed, he goes to see Tami. Tami the guidance counselor, not Tami his wife. She has him repeat the remarks that Mac had made and then objectively points out that it’s a fireable offense. Coach doesn’t like the idea of firing Mac, so he asks to speak with Tami his wife instead. Tami switches hats and tells him that she knows he is going to make the choice that’s best for the team, not the one that’s best for Mac McGill. He doesn’t particularly like this answer either. But it’s another example of the depth and beauty of Tami and Eric’s relationship. She supports him unconditionally. He looks to her for guidance. It’s symbiotic and perfect.

Mac recognizes the position he’s put Coach in and he knows that they can’t win with the JV stand-ins that Coach has recruited (though watching Tim attempt to train them is a highlight). He visits Coach at home and tenders his resignation. He tells Coach that he grew up with racist parents and that he never agreed with it, but maybe some of it seeped in. Coach points out that Mac was one of the driving forces to integrating the Panthers in the first place. Coach can’t allow a man who devoted his life to this team lose his job and half his pension. He goes in front of the press the following day and tells them Mac isn’t going anywhere.

Smash and all of his striking teammates are beginning to feel real concern. They never planned on actually missing a playoff game. How is this going to affect their futures? Smash doesn’t have the answers, and fears he’s making a mistake. Waverly encourages him to continue with the strike, feeling confident that Mac will get fired since even she knows the team needs Smash to win. But when Coach makes it clear that this is not happening, it is Smash’s mother (as usual) who offers up the real wisdom. She tells him he’s not going to throw away his future to try to teach a lesson to some morons in a tiny Texas town. Instead, he’s going to get back at the Mac McGills of the world by showing up and getting the job done.

Smash takes his mother’s advice; he and his crew head to the game. Mac attempts to talk to him, but Smash cuts him off. We’re here, but that doesn’t mean anything. The game is intense and the other team is playing dirty. Remember, Mac got into trouble in the first place when reporters questioned him about the race implications of this very game. The refs are missing blatant calls and the Panthers are being abused. When the fighting gets too violent after just three quarters, the refs call it off. Three quarters is considered a full game and the Panthers are ahead, so the Panthers win.

As they head home, they are pulled over by local police. They say there are witnesses claiming Smash started the fight on the field and they need to take him in. Either Coach can get him off the bus or the cops can go on and drag him off. It is, of course, Mac who shuts them up. He asks them for a warrant, and when they can’t provide it, he calls their bluff. They’re not dragging Smash anywhere. “We’ll get you next year, Coach.” High school football in Texas is so crazy.

Meanwhile, Julie continues spending time with Tyra, much to her parents’ dismay. They are convinced she’s bad news, which is confirmed (in their minds, anyway) when Julie winds up in jail. A quick stop by the Landing Strip—the (brilliantly named) strip club where Tyra’s sister Mindy works—got complicated when Matt and Landry showed up and Landry got busted for being underage. Tami, who typically amazes with her poise in challenging situations, completely flies off the handle. Eric doesn’t support her to the degree she would like, and the whole thing is a big family mess.

Loose Ends

  • Matt is desperate to find a gift that will make things right with Julie. After Tyra informs him a CD isn’t going to cut it, he buys her a necklace with her birthstone and officially asks her to be his girlfriend. She gleefully accepts.
  • Jason is on his way to Austin for quad rugby tryouts. Tami is worried that he’s putting all his eggs in one basket. He completely agrees that that’s what he’s doing, but he couldn’t be less concerned. Bring it on.

Quotables

Tami and Eric leave Julie in jail after her friends have all been picked up:

Eric: How long are we gonna sit out here?
Tami:
A little bit longer.
Eric:
All the other parents have already picked up their perps.
Tami:
I want our perp to sit in there a minute and think about what she’s doing sitting in there.

Landry contemplates his chances of dating Tyra:

Landry: Stranger things have happened.
Matt:
No, stranger things have not happened.

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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