Dillon has had a series of oil boom-and-busts that apparently ruined a good number of people in town, including Tyra's father (as far as I remember, this is all we ever learn of him). The oil rushes and the cycles of big wealth and big losses are the first clear parallels between Dillon and Odessa, and both the book and Tyra use drug metaphors to describe the town's behavior during the boom times. Connor never talks about what he learns from his geologists, but we can probably surmise something about Dillon's future by how he cuts his trip short and heads back to Los Angeles. Not to spoil anything, but nobody ever comes to re-open the oil fields.
In the rehab center, Herc takes Jason to see his possible future: quad rugby, a chance to be an athlete again.
Voodoo Tatum is also thinking about the future. In the only scene that ever elicits any sympathy for him, he tells Eric how unhappy he is in this new town, in this new school, with this new food, this new weather, and with how people keep going on about Texas; he wants to go home, to Louisiana, and getting noticed on the field and winning a scholarship to LSU is his best chance. He's got talent to go places while Eric, since losing Jason Street, is struggling to hang on to his job; the two of them, according to Voodoo, are a marriage of convenience, nothing more.
Still, though, Tatum makes no effort to work with Eric or even befriend his teammates. His talent alone wins him the start against Arnett Mead, and his touchdown wins him a reprieve from Eric for having called his own play. When he does it again, and the result is a touchdown interception, Eric jumps at his chance to pull him for Saracen.
The morning after Saracen leads the Panthers to a come-from-behind victory against their arch-rivals, Eric is beloved by Dillon. He's stopped in the street for handshakes, hugs, and well-wishes. The tension between him and Mac that's been hinted at (and is elaborated upon somewhat in a deleted scene) evaporates, Buddy seems warmed up to him, and his Saturday morning press conference, in contrast to the one following the South Milbank game, seems very friendly.
Even with the district officials in town to investigate Tatum's eligibility, Eric's place seems a little more secure in Dillon. Jason's discovery of quad rugby seems to have energized him, too; he gets up early to work out by himself. The same morning, Tyra is waking up in Connor's room and learning that he's going back to Los Angeles, and his ladyfriend, without her. Eric has earned the right to stay, but if Jason and Tyra ever want to get out, they'll have to earn that for themselves, too.
Some other thoughts
- Lyla is a straight-A student but her college plans have always depended on where Jason ended up playing football and, to Tami's distress, they still do. Tami's suggestion to her, that she should have future plans that aren't contingent on following her boyfriend, is ultimately what Julie will do in the fourth season when she's invited to follow a boyfriend someplace.
- Herc was once a runner, and his injury is the same as Jason's: C7, T1. I looked this up on the internet, but couldn't figure out exactly what it means; I saw more references to nerves than vertebrae.
- Herc's real name is Vincent Gossler (deleted scene, see below)
- There are 16,000 people at the Dillon-Arnett Mead game.
- The band playing over the opening scene, Heartless Bastards, is who Julie and Matt travel to Austin to see at a music festival in season 4.
- Camera Obscure, "Let's Get Out of This Country" (as Tyra wakes up, the Taylors eat breakfast and Jason works alone on his rehab Saturday morning)
- Explosions in the Sky, "Look Into the Air" (as the team visits Jason on the way to the Arnett Mead game) (Replaced on the DVD)
- Explosions in the Sky, "With Tires Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept" (as the Panthers stage their comeback to win the game) (Replaced on the DVD)
- Heartless Bastards, "All This Time" (as Lyla dresses and jogs over to Tim's)
- A sequence in which: Smash brags on how he's going to win the game; Landry gets shot down by a girl he tries flirting with; Arnett Mead guys who beat up Matt in the last episode vandalize the diner; Eric and Tami go out to dinner and run into Mac and Buddy having a drink together; Riggins, Smash and Matt catch up with the Arnett Mead vandals and start a fight with them just as Eric and Tami are leaving dinner; Eric sees the fight and breaks it up.
- Jason getting a sponge bath while Herc tells him stories of his sexual conquests; Jason's mom comes in, but in embarrassed to interrupt Jason's bath (though Jason doesn't seem bothered by it) and meets Herc.
- The coaches watch Voodoo and Saracen practice, and note that while Saracen is stepping up, Voodoo spmething special. They also note, though, that the team seems to like Saracen more.