Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday Night Lights, episode 1.6: "El Accidente"

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Git Er Done again. Not having seen it since it aired, it struck me this time as the first episode since the pilot where the show felt almost wholly confident about what it did well. El Accidente, though, finds the show indulging in a more schematic, self-contained story in which characters learn valuable lessons. There's nothing wrong with the execution, but it's not as thrilling as the show can be when it is doing more complicated things.

Coach Taylor finds himself negotiating two sets of other people’s lies. Buddy has told the district athletic commission that Voodoo Tatum had been a Dillon resident for 30 full days before he joined the team. The truth, that Tatum had been in town two weeks before starting against Arnett Mead, would result in Tatum being deemed ineligible and the game’s outcome reversed. Eric isn’t happy about being implicated in the lie, but he’s willing to sit quietly and let Buddy tell the commission (represented by one of Buddy’s old University of Texas teammates) whatever he has to protect the team and their victory. Eric is also willing to not ask too many questions when his star safety, Bobby Reyes, tells a series of lies to justify having assaulted one of Saracen’s nerdy friends.

The episode’s other storyline is much better. Riggins finally goes to visit Street in rehab and, after his old friend shames him for abandoning him for so long, takes him (along with Lyla) out for a joyride and evening spent on the lake. There’s a lot in these scenes that the show is great at: showing characters just being familiar with each other, caring about each other, making heartfelt declarations to each other, goofing off with each other, etc.

These scenes are also surprisingly graphic about detailing Jason’s new life. A few shots show the surgery scar running down his neck. There’s also a fleeting shot of the bag collecting his urine peeking out from under his sweat pant leg like a sock. He describes his day as consisting of lying in a bed, being poked and prodded, having catheters replaced, and teaching his body to “crap on cue.” He’s thrilled that he can still get an erection, but quickly deflated when he’s told that ejaculating can cause semen to backflow into his bladder, giving him a severe urinary tract infection. These sorts of details make the Reyes/Tatum storylines (“There’s what’s right for the team, and there’s what’s right”) seem a little trite.

Other thoughts on this episode

  • There are hints of the future version of Tim Riggins in this episode. He’s mischievous and funny in most of his scenes with Jason, and it suits the character and/or Taylor Kitsch much more than the dark and brooding version of Tim Riggins.
  • The only downside to the scenes between Jason, Tim and Lyla is Tim’s totally inappropriate obsession with Lyla. While she seems relatively practical and mature, and also regretful, about their affair, she's also clear that it needs to end and never be spoken of again. Tim seems to think they’re having some kind of romance. Lyla’s exasperation with him is totally understandable.
  • Her scene in the guidance counselor’s office with Tyra is the first time we learn anything biographical about Tami: that she was the pretty girl in school and was bad at math. Revealing little bits of her past like this is going to be a somewhat regular strategy for establishing rapport with someone in trouble (generally either Tyra or Julie).

Trivia/Historic Moments

  • Voodoo gets fed up with Eric’s new preference for Saracen at QB (even though, practicing on defense, Tatum knocks down his passes) and tells a local reporter about his illegal recruitment before leaving town. Buddy reports that his school in New Orleans has re-opened, though the next time we see him he’s playing for another Texas school.
  • Buddy played defense as a UT Longhorn
  • When Tami confronts Eric about how he’s going to handle the situation with Reyes he gets defensive and asks if he’s talking to his wife or the school guidance counselor, and exchange that gets repeated and extended in the episode “Black Eyes and Broken Hearts,” though Tami regularly serves as his guidance counselor, too.

Notable Music

  • Explosions in the Sky, "Inside it All Feels the Same" (As Jason, Lyla and Tim relax at the lake, Tami and Eric drink wine together at home) (Replaced for the DVD)


Eric Galvan said...

Did you ever buy a Prius?

Bryan said...

Yes I did.