Street and Riggins head off on a road trip; Mac collapses on the field, putting Eric’s coaching lineup in an uproar; Tami tries to convince Eric to buy a new house; Tyra struggles to choose between focusing on Cash or on college.
Let’s start the recap with a quick exercise. I’m gonna say – well, type – a word, and I want you to hold on to the first thing that comes to your mind. Ready? Here we go:
Where did you go for that nanosecond? Maybe it was a house, a city or a farm. Maybe you remembered the smell of freshly-cut grass or the cool air in an apple orchard. Maybe you heard the drum of an ocean’s surf, felt the chill of mountain air, or the way sun felt warmer on a porch swing.
Or maybe it went much, much deeper than that.
Maybe you thought of a person.
Previously on FNL: Erin left for the northeast and took Noah, Street’s baby boy, with her; Cash denied that he’d fathered a baby, and told Tyra he’d never lie to her; Street reconnected with Wendell, a former Panther who’s getting ready to go pro, and introduced Street to Grant, his “soon-to-be” NYC agent; Monty decided to motivate his son by yelling at him in the middle of a game, and Coach had to step in and tell Monty to give JD some breathing room; the Idiot Brigade of Snark and Hotness actually fixed up and sold the Garrity house.
Herc, Billy, Timmy and Street sit at a bar having their celebratory drinks. Billy announces that he “loves this life,” and Tim snorts that’s not a cheer. Did you bring the pom-poms, Timmy? Don’t answer that. Street almost has to shout: “To MONEY.” Herc whoops, and Billy interrupts: “Nonono, to being badass… real estate… guys, who…” Herc: “To money!” Hee. They clink their respective beer bottles and talk about how each of them is going to spend their $14,000. Billy’s going to tell Mindy that she never has to dance at the Landing Strip again; Herc’s either going to “buy an orphanage” or see how many margaritas $14K will buy, and Timmy announces he’s in for Plan B; Street’s going to take a trip to NYC and get a job at a sports agency “with my friend Grant that I met.” The others stare at him blankly. “Yep, that’s what I’m gonna do,” Street says, bending down to drink from his beer. Herc asks who the hell Grant is, and Street admits that he’s someone Street’s met once. Tim asks if Street’s talking about just picking up and moving to New York, but Street clarifies that’s totally NOT what he’s talking about… he’s gonna move to New Jersey. Totally different! He’s gonna get a job and show Erin that he can provide for a family, and then she’ll take him back and he’ll commute into NYC for his “fancy sports-agent job.” Timmy asks why Street would ever want to leave Texas, glorious heaven that it is, and Street simply says it’s not about Texas anymore for him; it’s about Erin and Noah. Tim leans back in his chair: “When do we leave, Six?” You knew there was no way Timmy was gonna let Street go up there all by himself, but Street’s surprised by it anyway. Herc and Billy start laughing at the idea of Street and Tim heading up to the Big Apple, and I am gleefully overjoyed. Road trip!
Tami and Katie walk through a big, spacious home with a patio, built-in grill and lots of light as Tami oohs and ahhs over the property. Katie, who I guess is the self-appointed real estate agent this week, reminds Tami that it’s going on the market in three days, and it’s going to sell. Is Texas real estate not prey to the housing bubble? Tami clearly loves it – “it’s everything that Eric and I have been talking about for so many years. It’s like my dream house,” she says – but she’ll have to talk to Eric, because it’s at the high end of their price range. Katie argues that it’s a foreclosure and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Tami looks around, full of hopes and dreams and not a little desperation that Eric might not see it that way.
A truck sits in an open field; Cash and Tyra sit in the back, relaxing in the sunlight. Cash is complaining that he has to go back on the road for six months, and asks if Tyra can’t come with him. Tyra says she has this thing called school, and Cash says he only means for a few days; he pulls her closer and she laughs, saying that she has a college interview that week. Cash allows that that’s important, so she can’t go. Tyra lists all the ways they’re going to keep in touch while he’s on the road, and finishes by smiling up at him: “You’ll be back soon, right?” Cash nods and looks away. “Yeah, I’ll be back,” he says quietly, not sure of it himself. He looks at Tyra and kisses her; she disappears from our view under the brim of his black cowboy hat. They look out at the field, wondering how much things are going to change and whether they’re going to survive it.
Panther practice. JD’s throwing those gorgeous long passes of his, but the wide receivers keep coming up short of the throw. Saracen, who’s been watching on the sidelines for days, finally starts shouting at the wide receivers – Jamarcus, again – for screwing up his routes. Saracen asks Coach for permission to show Jamarcus the play, and Coach is so annoyed he gives Matt the go-ahead. They run it again, Saracen runs out, and catches the pass from JD perfectly. Yay! Fistbumps all around. Mac, who’s been shouting in frustration all this time, finally has something to celebrate and starts clapping – and then he clutches at his chest and falls to his knees. Eric watches his friend fall from across the field and breaks into a run, calling for another coach to call 911 as he goes, and we go into the credits. Augh! Not Mac!
NYC Montage! Ah, the city that never sleeps: big as life and ten times as busy. Horse-drawn carriages carry tourists along taxis and limousines. Some dirty guitar kicks in as we see Tim Riggins, wearing his Brokeback Mountain sheepskin jacket – the one he wore the night he and Street finally reconnected on the Panthers field – holds one arm out to stop traffic for Jason, who’s wheeling about three feet behind him, and it is exactly as hot as you would imagine. NYC Montage! The boys walk through Grand Central station, then past Central Park. This is bringing back crazy memories for your friendly recapper, who spent a year in NYC and can tell you that it’s not the most wheelchair-friendly city in America. Tim asks Street what the plan is, and Street says it’s the same plan since they left Dillon: buy a suit and go see Grant. Tim rushes over to the first suit he finds and asks where he bought it. Heh. The guy does not, astonishingly, tell Tim to back off. Maybe he’s a modeling agent and just saw a huge commission in his future. He tells Tim it’s a Paul Stuart. Tim goes over to a cab, and when he asks the cabbie if he can take them there, the cabbie glares: “Get your hands off my cab, jackass.” Ah, there’s the New York I remember! Cut to a NYC montage: Tim & Street getting hot dogs from a cart (where Tim tries, hilariously, to give the guy a hundred. Good way to get mugged, Timmy!), riding the subway, Tim pushing Six up the Metro’s wheelchair ramp as fast as he can. Aw. Somewhere in mid-town, the boys discover Paul Stuart and amble in like they’ve just fallen off the turnip truck. Inside, Paul Stuart is posh. “You smell that?” Tim asks gleefully. “That’s success.” Heh. He then spies a dandy pin-striped suit – complete with a plum tie – and tells Street that’s the one. A salesman comes over and informs them that they’ve chosen a beautiful wool and cashmere blend, which is just shy of $2,000. Street’s eyebrows go up and he stares at Timmy, who blinks, and we cut to –
A giant plastic “2 SUITS FOR $125” sign. Hee! Latin music plays in the background, and I wonder if it’s near my old ‘hood, which a friend referred to as “Dominican Republic II.” Good times. Tim sees the sign first and trots over, asking Street if he wants “dark or blue.” He asks Street what he thinks, and Street starts to shake his head as the enormity of what he’s up against finally starts to sink in. “What if she says no, Riggs?” he asks, staring up at Tim. Tim doesn’t know what Street’s talking about, so Street spells it out – what if the suit, the job, everything just ends up with him showing up on her doorstep and her still telling him no? Tim shakes his head, trying not to show how worried he is for Street, and says that “you can play that ‘what if’ game all day. I believe you’re doin’ the right thing.” Street stares up at his oldest friend, scared to death: “I just gotta make it so she doesn’t say no,” he says. Another salesman appears and offers the boys the deluxe package – two suits, two shirts, two ties and one pair of shoes. The boys look at each other and shrug; sold.
Hospital, wherein Mac is alive and NOT DEAD. Yay! He’s grumping, of course, even with a breathing tube in his nose, that he just wants to get back out on the field – it’s two weeks until playoffs, and he’s got to be out there! Eric, who is rocking some kind of plum plaid shirt, says that the team will be fine, but he wants Mac to take care of himself. Buddy’s also there, of course, and there’s some colorful balloons scattered around. “Tell the… tell the guys I love ’em,” Mac mumbles as Eric leaves the room. AW. Eric calls back that he will. You know something scary happened if Mac’s talking about love. As Buddy follows Eric out, he tells Mac to “get a little water with your flexi-straw.” BWA! What the hell, Buddy? Eric pauses in the hallway – looking smokin’ hot, I might add – and calls to Mac that he’ll see him later. Once Eric and Buddy are in the hallway, Buddy’s all business – he immediately suggests that Wade Aikmen, JD’s personal QB coach, fill Mac’s shoes, and adds that he’s speaking on behalf of the Boosters. Eric rightly calls that when Buddy says “Boosters” he means “Joe McCoy,” and Eric’s not interested. Buddy disavows any such connection, and lists Wade’s qualifications – he’s JD’s personal coach, he knows JD, he knows the spread offense… “You know what, do me a favor: tell the Boosters that I will handle this my way,” Eric says, getting onto the elevator. “Always!” Buddy says, smiling and spreading his hands wide. Heee.
Tami’s office. Tami tells Tyra that she’s excited about the prospect of “Weston” for Tyra. She tells her that they hold aside space for students like Tyra, who may not have the strongest GPA but who have really raised their grades and put in the effort over the final years of high school. She tells Tyra that she thinks it will be a good match for her: Tyra brightly says that she’s ready and that she feels good. It’s a sign of nervousness that she repeats each phrase. Tami nods and tells Tyra that she’s very proud of her. “You’ve worked hard, gone against a lot of odds,” she says, and Tyra practically glows, thanking her mentor.
Taylor house. Eric overwaters his lawn while he fixates on his coaching staff problem. Matt shows up and hands Eric some tendency charts in a Panthers folder; Eric thanks him absentmindedly, opening the folder and thumbing through the pages. Matt starts to ask something, and Eric shouts Julie’s name at the same time. Heh. Matt pauses and then finishes his question, asking how Coach Macgill’s doing; Eric says Mac’s doing good, and he’ll tell him that Matt said hello. It didn’t occur to me until the second watching that Mac was Matt’s QB coach for two and a half seasons, so that gets an “aw” from me. Matt starts to ask Eric something else as Eric shouts for Julie a second time. Hee! Matt can’t get a word in edgewise. He shifts his weight around and finally blurts his question: what would Coach think of Matt running wide receiver? Eric stares at Matt, stunned, as Matt starts to list all his qualifications – he knows all the routes, he’d be more use on the field than sitting on the bench – until Eric cuts him off. “Matt, you get yourself injured, JD gets himself injured, I’m out of a quarterback, I’m screwed.” Matt stares at Coach and Julie finally opens the front door, calling hello. Matt says a quiet “okay” to Coach and turns away. Julie walks with Matt to his car, recognizing something’s just happened, but neither Coach nor Matt’s talking. Coach calls after them to have a good time.
The NYC montage continues, with a now dapperly-suited Street wheeling around the streets of New York. While Scott Porter is rocking the suit, I am trying desperately to not think of how Street’s wheels must be covered in Hep C and God knows what else. Get that man some Purell, stat. On a tree-lined, sun-dappled street, Tim walks backward, smiling as he talks to Street, who’s wheeling toward Tim. That’s one of my favorite shots in this whole episode; I could watch it for hours. Cut to a reception desk, where Street informs the nice lady behind the desk that he’s here to see Grant Halpert. She asks if Street has an appointment, and Jason’s face falls. “No ma’am, I don’t,” he starts. Behind him, Tim shifts his weight and looks down. She suggests a little snottily that Jason call to set up an appointment, but Street talks over her, saying that Grant told him specifically to come see him when he came to New York. Tim closes his eyes; it’s like he’s praying. The receptionist hesitates, skeptical, but finally calls Halpert, and Street holds his breath. She repeats the name to Grant, and Street rushes to say that he’s “Wendell Foley’s friend from Texas.” Behind him, Tim nods: “There you go.” Sure enough, an office door opens and Grant emerges, welcoming Street into his office. Street looks over his shoulder, throwing a mega-watt smile at Tim; Tim nods and shifts his weight anxiously as Street wheels out of sight.
Inside Grant’s office. There’s a Steelers medallion/paperweight on his desk, which I’m gonna take as a shout-out to my hometown. Represent! Street makes his pitch, and he’s trying not to sound desperate, but really: he came up here based on a throwaway line and a business card, and Grant knows what the score is. He cuts Jason off, asking him what he’s doing. Street says he’ll start at the bottom and work his way up, but Grant tells Street he’s living in a dream world. “This is the big time, it’s New York City. It’s not Dillon where you go get a job at the car dealership because you know one of the Boosters.” Well, OUCH, Mr Big-City. “Do you have any idea who applies for the entry-level positions? They’re Harvard graduates. I’m not kidding you about that. It was a miracle that I got my ass in here, and it’s gonna be a miracle if I get to stay,” Grant says. He tells Street that “your friend Wendell screwed me over”; he signed with another agency, the most powerful one in NYC. He tells Jason that the only reason he’s in his office is because Grant thought he might have some information on Wendell, which of course Jason doesn’t. Jason closes his eyes, most likely because his life is flashing before them: Dream job? Gone. Erin? Gone. Noah? Gone. Just like that. Like they were never there at all. Street blinks and manages to quietly thank Grant for his time. “Welcome to New York City, son,” Grant says, not unkindly but firmly. Yep, that’s the New York I remember.
Chez Taylor. Tami spoonfeeds Baby Grace while Coach meckers in the background about McCoy trying to slip Wade Aikmen into his coaching staff. Tami tells him she hears that, yo, but here’s the thing: Wade knows JD and Eric needs a QB Coach. Way to make Monty’s point for him, Tami! “Maybe I oughta hire you,” Eric grumbles, putting a plate of food down by Tami. Oh, I would pay good money to watch the Panthers try to concentrate on football with the super-hawt Tami Taylor shouting at them. Hee! Tami decides this is the best time to broach the topic of a money pit dream house. She tells him that seeing the home was like walking into their future. Eric asks if she stumbled on this all on her own, and she admits that Katie helped. “Oh, Katie,” Eric fumes. Eric, it’s not her fault she’s married to… oh, wait. Tami tries to get Eric to listen to the part about the house, and not about Katie McCoy; she really wants him to come and take a look at it. Eric finally agrees, looking as trapped as he possibly can.
Nighttime in the city so nice they named it twice; specifically, Times Square. Street, who has abandoned his tie, is wheeling next to Tim, shredding himself for his chutzpah in thinking he could just meet with Grant, and poof! Get a job in the Big Apple. “The only reason he let me into the office is because of the wheelchair. That’s all anyone ever notices, is the wheelchair,” Street snaps, completely disregarding what Grant actually told him, but my heart goes out to Street anyway. Tim, who’s no doubt been hearing this on a loop since they left Grant’s, tells Street to “drop the violin.” Damn, Riggins! He asks Street where they are right now. “The big apple. Takin’ a big bite of it, too.” Timmy, the only thing y’all haven’t done is the double-decker bus tour. He tells Street they’re going to see Gypsy. Wait, what? “It’s got strippers in it,” Tim says proudly. BWA! Oh, Timmy, you gorgeous maroon. Street mutters that his life is falling apart, and the last thing he wants to do is go see a Broadway show with Tim. Timmy quotes from the Gypsy review: “‘You feel you are watching a woman who is peeled down to her… ‘unadorned… id’,” heh, and Street shouts Riggs’ name to get his undivided attention. Street knows Tim’s trying to cheer him up, but what he wants is to hold his son, and nothing Tim says is gonna change that. “You want your boy in your arms? Go grab Wendell,” Tim says, channeling every single member of the viewing audience since Grant mentioned Wendell’s name. “Bring him back to that agency, make him sign there. You’re the only person who’s gonna be able to do that. You know what you’re gonna get out of it? A job that they won’t be able to deny you. And some leverage. That’s all you need right now.” Yay, leverage! I love that show. Street’s contemptuous at first, but then the sheer brilliance of Timmy’s plan dawns on him. He tells Tim that the first thing tomorrow morning, they’re driving down to talk to Wendell. “Right after Gypsy tonight, then,” Tim says, beaming. Hee!
Panthers practice. The team trots off to the lockers, and JD runs up to Wade on the sidelines, ready to keep working. Man, this kid really doesn’t do anything but football, does he? Wade says there’s no extra practice today – they’re going to go get something to eat. JD’s absolutely stunned. An afternoon off? The kid might fall apart. JD runs off to change, and Eric walks up to Wade, telling him he doesn’t want JD pushed right now: Wade smiles and says he was just telling JD to take the rest of the day off. Eric looks away and hesitates a moment before approaching Wade about joining the coaching staff. He adds all sorts of caveats – it’d be temporary, JD would get zero special treatment, but Wade’s already nodding and extending his hand to shake on it. Eric finally does, adding that he’ll see Wade on the field tomorrow, and we cut to…
Matt and Julie, walking down the road with their backpacks. Matt asks if Coach doesn’t like him anymore. Aw, Matt! Bless your sensitive little heart. He says that ever since he got mad at Coach for benching him, he feels like Coach is holding a grudge against him. Julie asks if this is about her dad refusing to let him be wide receiver; Matt pauses before saying that kinda is. Julie tells Matt that her dad can be stubborn and that he just needs to be persistent. “Works for me,” she says. Ah, yes, Julie, but you’re his girl. Different! Matt asks if bugging Coach doesn’t just make him annoyed; Julie cracks up. Well, this should be go well.
Weston Interview. Tyra, working a nice black blazer ensemble, fidgets nervously with a pencil in a school waiting area. Her cell phone goes off just as an administrator comes out and calls her name. Tyra excuses herself and says she has to take the call; the administrator says it’s fine, but it’s an interview faux pas and they both know it. Tyra steps out to the hallway; it’s Cash, who’s calling to say he’s going to miss her. She asks him, seemingly out of nowhere, if he’s going to be faithful to her on the road. [A scene which aired with the DirectTV broadcast, just before this one, had Angela worrying out loud that Tyra was going to lose Cash to the “50 women who’ll be throwing themselves at him every day” on the rodeo circuit.] Cash, who’s literally loading up his truck to leave town, laughs and asks what kind of question that is. Well, since you answered the question with a question, Cash, I’d say it’s probably a reasonable one. Tyra doesn’t answer. “I’m just gonna be honest with you, ’cause I love you,” Cash says, and I *headdesk* on that alone. “Bein’ on the road is hard, it’s real hard. It’s six months, a lot of long, cold nights by myself…” Oh, CRY ME A RIVER, fishy rodeo boy! Tyra doesn’t say a word; in the hallway, her face crumples. I love Tim, but the two of them shredded each other but good. “I’m gonna try,” Cash finishes lamely, leaving off the not very much. “I’m gonna try to be faithful to you, ’cause I love you.” Tyra says she has to go to her interview, and he wishes her good luck; she hangs up and stares at the cell phone in her hands. Dump the loser, Tyra! Go be awesome! Alas, she cannot hear me. She walks into the administrator’s cubicle and shakes the woman’s hand; her eyes are a million miles away. The nice administrator lady introduces herself as Laura Davidson, and asks Tyra to tell her a little about herself. “Well, I’m from Dillon,” Tyra says weakly, all of her attitude and confidence gone. “I’m seventeen, and I would love to go to college.” Her voice breaks and she’s on the verge of tears. I bang my hands trying to reach through my TV screen to give the poor girl a hug, and we cut to…
Tyra, walking into Tami’s office. She asks Tami if she’s heard anything from Miss Davidson; Tami nods and vaguely says that she thinks it “went fine.” Tyra’s face doesn’t move a muscle, but her eyes instantly go cold – she knows that’s code for “the answer’s no.” Tami says they won’t know anything definitive until after the winter break, and encourages Tyra to keep sending out her applications, keep her options open. Tyra holds it together until Tami says this “interview experience” is a learning process, and then the walls go all the way up, ladies and gentlemen, but our girl stands tough and doesn’t let it show. She thanks Tami, who tells her for the third time that she’s proud of Tyra, and walks out of the office; a worried Tami can’t do anything but watch her go.
Panthers practice! Wade’s running some drills with the receivers on the side of the field, and Matt’s in the line-up. Coach comes over to ask Wade what the sam hill’s going on, and once Wade realizes Coach isn’t happy that Matt’s in the exercise, he reassures Coach that it’s just a drill, and he won’t let Matt get hit. Coach isn’t having it, though, and yells for Matt to put his QB jersey back on. Matt walks away, his head hung low; a few of the other players start laughing behind him.
Coach walks out of the locker room to the parking lot, where Monty is lying in wait for him like the slippery snake that he is. He shakes Eric’s hand and says he heard Eric hired Wade: “I’m glad you decided to set aside our differences and do what’s best for the team.” Oh, HELL NO. Eric squints, blindsided by Monty’s backwards compliments and Machivellian moves. “Good,” he says curtly, patting Monty brusquely on the shoulder as if the dude just said something nice. Monty calls after Coach to have a good night, and I have to stand up and do a freaky little dance just to get rid of the heebie-jeebies. SO CREEPY.
Tami’s Barbie House. The realtor sits by the stone fireplace as Tami does the woman’s job for her, leading Eric through her house of dreams and listing all of its many attributes. Eric, still wearing his Panthers cap and polo shirt from practice, is wary. Tami points out the back yard and asks if he can’t envision throwing the ball with Julie out back… “Is that our Julie or another Julie?” Eric deadpans. HEE. Tami says Eric knows what she means, and volunteers that the house is big enough to have the Dillon Panthers BBQ. Oh, well played, Tami! Nice trump card, since Coach was so furious at having the McCoys host it this last time around. Eric nods and stares and nods, and Tami finally walks all the way around him to make eye contact: “Talk to me.” Eric turns away from the realtor to face her. “We cannot afford this,” he whispers. Tami immediately counters that she knows it’s a stretch, and Eric interrupts her again to say that they cannot. Afford it. Tami asks if they can at least have a conversation about it, and Eric says they are having one. Heh. That’s not what Tami meant. She presses the issue again and Eric growls that their mortgage would double. Yikes! “What happens if I lose my job?” Eric whispers, and Tami beams that won’t happen. Right, because it’s not like you all are threatened with that every season! Ahem. Eric asks what happens if Tami loses her job, and Tami calls Eric a pessimist. Eric thinks he’s being a realist, and the hissed conversation melts down into overlapping arguments and frustrations. “This is our dream house!” Tami says, raising her voice. Eric points out that she just used the magic word, our house. “As far as my side is concerned, I say no,” Eric says flatly. Tami says she doesn’t want him to just say no, and he asks her if she wants him to just say yes. Tami says that’s not at all what she wants, which is kind of untrue, and Eric’s had enough – he heads for the door. “Oh, so you’re just gonna walk out?” Tami demands, chasing after her husband and abandoning all pretense in front of the realtor. “I’m just goin’ outside for some fresh air, sweetie!” Eric snaps brightly, and slams the door behind him. Heh.
College campus. Street comments that he hopes Wendell’s home, otherwise they’re crashing on campus until he comes back. “You know, if this goes through – or when it goes through – you’re gonna have to live here. Like, for good,” Tim says, glancing around at doric columns and manicured lawns. Street kindly points out that this is, in fact, the plan. He smiles vaguely, wheeling a few feet behind Tim. “Why, does it bother you a little bit?” Street asks. Tim looks out over the campus and doesn’t answer for a few seconds – when he finally looks down at Street with a “nope”, Street’s already laughing. He says he’ll come back to visit; Tim doesn’t answer. Street heads in alone and tells Tim not to get into any trouble.
Dormitory. Street wheels down the concrete-block hallway and pauses outside Wendell’s room, letting his head roll back and catching his breath; his life hangs on this conversation. “I heard you’re not gonna sign with Grant anymore,” he says, staring at Wendell intently. “And I think that’s cool, if that’s what you really want to do, if you’ve really thought about it… if you really see the big picture here. But I don’t think you do.” Hee! It’s not that I doubt Jason here, but I do think that car sales experience has really paid off. Wendell sits up and leans forward, bracing his elbows on his thighs; echoing Tami in the dream house scene, he asks Street to talk to him. Street tells him that at the big agency, he’s just an athlete on paper, one of a thousand players: he’ll be a paycheck. He tells Wendell that he needs someone young, smart, ambitious, someone who will put all their attention on Wendell. Be his Quan, Wendell! Ahem. Wendell asks if he really thinks Grant is that person; Street says absolutely. “When success is essential to keeping a family, there is nothing that a man will not do,” Street says. Scott Porter channels Coach Taylor so perfectly with that last bit that it will bring a lump to your throat. Wendell shifts his weight, thinking about it. Street cajoles Wendell into at least talking with Grant, and Wendell finally asks what Jason gets out of all this. Street admits that he wants Grant to give him a job, but that he also wants Wendell to succeed. He says that he could have just gone home and hoped for the best for Wendell, “but you know me. I’m not the kind of guy to leave things like that.” Aw, JASON. I’m gonna miss your heartfelt, desperate speeches that inspire people to greatness! Wendell, humbled, tells Jason that there’s really no one else like him. “I’m counting on that,” Street says.
In one of my favorite shots of the episode, we fade in on Riggins, Wendell and Street, all staring down at the ground. It’s a beautiful, quiet shot that pans across former or current Panthers, all of them hoping they’re doing the right thing to get where they want to go. Also, Street’s cheap suit is gone: they’ve all come as they are. The receptionist informs Grant that Jason Street’s in the lobby with Wendell Foley; the door opens so quickly that all their heads snap up. Grant asks what they’re doing there, and Wendell says “my boy Jason brought me down; you can thank him for that.” Grant breaks into a huge grin – he tells Wendell to come back so he can talk, and a second later, he invites Jason. “Need you in here,” he says. Jason looks a little shellshocked and glances at Tim, unsure that it’s happening; Tim smiles at him, like he always knew it would. Street takes a big breath as he wheels into the office, and Tim watches him go.
Chez Taylor, and Matt’s over for dinner! Eee! Matt compliments Tami on the tasty dinner, and Tami passive-aggressives that it’s nice to be complimented on a meal that she slaved over after working all day. “I said it was a very nice meal, too, honey,” Eric says. Julie: “So, dad, why don’t you let Matt play wide receiver this year?” HA! Oh, the gobsmacked looks on both Matt and Eric’s faces are priceless. Eric deflects that they don’t talk about football at the table, but Julie corrects that they talk about football for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coach says it’s none of Julie’s business and Matt begs for Julie to drop it, but Julie puts a stop to that with a sharp “Matt” that stops him dead, and the look of sheer panic on Eric’s face when he hears his little girl talk to Matt the way Tami talks to him is brilliant. Julie argues that Matt’s worked really hard, it’s his senior year, he knows all the routes, and he deserves a chance. Coach suggests they talk about the house they can’t afford (hee!) and Tami’s game, but now Matt’s picking up where Julie left off. He says that he does know all the routes and he can prove it: he challenges Coach to go outside and call ten different plays, and says that he’ll catch every pass. Coach grubs roughly at his mouth with his napkin: “You miss one, we never discuss it again. You make ’em all, I think about it. That what you’re saying?” Matt says it is. Coach throws his napkin down like a gauntlet and heads outside; Julie grins at Matt across the table.
Taylor Street, in the dark. Coach calls a slant; Matt catches Eric’s pass without missing a beat. Tami and Julie stand on the sidelines and whoop for Matt. Coach calls a curl, and Matt’s already running; he catches it almost without looking. “Slide,” Eric says, and Matt yessirs. We get a montage of Matt running down the street over and over, his white T-shirt catching the night breeze; he comes back every time, not even slightly out of breath. Eric starts to coach him in spite of himself, reminding Matt to catch the ball with his arms, not his chest. Julie crows that Matt’s six for six! Matt catches the ball again and again; he asks Coach how he looks. “You look slow. Are your legs gettin’ tired?” Coach grumps. Matt laughs and says they’re fine. “You been stretchin’ them out?” Coach demands, and Matt does a slow-burn to Coach and pointedly says that he hasn’t been using them much, being on the bench and all. HEE. Coach stares out at the road and then glances over at Matt, looking him up and down. Come on, Coach! He’s all heart! Coach calls an “out & up”; Matt zigs and zags, Eric throws a long spiral, and Matt catches it effortlessly. Tami toys with the second football and grins that she’s getting nervous. “That’s nine out of nine,” Matt says. “I understand, I can count,” Eric grumps. BWA! Oh, I love these little snarky ad-libs. Matt says “just one more and we’re good”; Eric tells him to pick his legs up this time, and Matt yessirs again. Eric calls hut and Matt takes off. Eric stares after Matt and pumps his throwing arm twice before throwing the ball as hard as he can; Matt can’t make it and misses the catch by ten feet. Tami winces and immediately looks at Eric; Julie stands on the curb, silent. Matt picks up the ball and walks back, defeated. Eric walks over and takes the ball from him. “It was a piss-poor pass,” he says quietly, and heads back to the house. “I’ll think about it.” AW. Matt watches Coach walk away and stares at Julie; she blinks and starts to smile. We cut to Eric and Tami, quick-stepping back to the house. Eric asks if they have any aspirin, and Tami notes that Eric hasn’t thrown like that in years. HEE. Julie follows her parents with Matt, teasing him that she should get ten percent of his future earnings. Girl, I think you’re headed for getting at least half, if you know what I’m saying, and I think you do.
Chez Colette. Tyra sits alone at her kitchen table, despondent. She stares down at a list of colleges and crumples the page in her hands. Cut to Cash, slamming the door on his truck and walking toward Tyra’s house. She opens the door before he can knock, suitcases in hand and a duffel bag swung over her shoulder. He asks what’s going on, but we already know: she’s terrified of failing, so she’s gonna run before it happens. She tells him that she’s going with him and he kisses her, overjoyed. “What about school?” he asks. “What about it?” Tyra says. She tells him that they should go “before I change my mind”; he hurls her bags into the bed of his truck without looking back.
Chez Taylor, wherein Tami cannot sleep. She tosses and turns and finally reaches across Eric – wearing a Dillon Panthers T-shirt, of course – and turns on the light. Kyle Chandler has the most natural reaction in the world to this, which is to groan, cover his face with both hands and ask what the hell’s going on. Tami says that she just can’t stop thinking about the house, and she knows she probably went about it all wrong, but she wants a do-over. She asks Eric if they can go back, as partners, and really look at it together. Eric drags his hands away from his face and lets her words sink in; he turns to look at her when he says yes. She smiles and says she’ll set it up. He asks if he can turn the light off now. “Oh yeah, go ahead,” she says, rolling over and turning away. HEE. Eric picks up his watch in disbelief to check the time, rolling his eyes, and then he turns off the light.
Tami’s Barbie Dream House. This time the realtor is doing her job, telling Tami all about the original woodwork and the granite countertops and whatnot; Eric comes in from the back yard and watches impassively. The realtor hard-sells that the appliances all come with the house, and Tami brightly says that she had mentioned that, yes, she heard her before. Well, she’s more polite about it than I would be. “Can you give us a second to talk this over?” Eric asks, interrupting. To quote Tim Riggins: there you go. Realtor lady excuses herself, going out to the backyard, and Eric closes the door behind her with a “God she talks a lot.” Hee! Tami immediately agrees, because even her nerves are worn a little thin by the constant accolades of her dream house. They pace back and forth in the wide-open living room, going in different directions. Eric finally circles back to stand in the middle of the room, meeting her halfway; Tami can’t suppress a giggle. Eric walks away and back to the center of the room again, and this time Tami comes forward, meeting him in the middle. I don’t know if it’s choreographed or not, but it’s a really well-crafted dance nonetheless. Eric looks around one last time before he speaks: “Honey, as much as I would love – love – to give this house to you, and to the kids, and to myself… we cannot do this.” Tami nods and looks away, disappointed. Eric paces away and says that if they did buy the house, he would not be able to sleep at night. Tami folds her arms, dejected, and Eric circles back: “We cannot do this. I am sorry,” he says gently. She looks up at him and shrugs. “I don’t need this house,” she says. Aw, Tami! I’m getting a little verklempt. “I got you and I got Jules and I got Gracie Belle, and I don’t need this house,” she says quietly. Eric looks away, nodding, sad that he can’t give her what she wants. She walks closer to him and strokes the side of his face. She thanks him for coming to look at the place and talking with her about it. “Whatever we do, we’re doin’ in together,” she says. That is this show in a nutshell. She kisses him and tells him that she loves him; he says it back to her and hugs her, and we’re all reaching for the Kleenex when the back door opens. “Oh, God,” Eric grumps, closing his eyes. Hee! Tami tells the realtor lady that they’re not really in the market after all and the Taylors, back on track, skedaddle. Beautiful scene.
NYC. In a cab bound for Jersey, Street is making his Erin speech to Riggins, and words cannot truly convey the awesomeness of this scene. “I got this job, and I’m… I need to find a place to live, and I need for that to be with you and Noah, if you’ll have me. No, that sounds… I’d prefer for it to be with you and Noah, if you -” “Jason, I’m pregnant,” Riggins interrupts. BWA! Jason’s all OMGWTFBBQ, and Riggins is all “I was in the moment,” and I am going to miss these two so much, I can’t even tell you.
Panthers practice. JD throws the ball while Monty schmoozes the Boosters on the sidelines. Eric, his arms folded, suddenly calls for Matt to stand in for the wide receiver. JD calls the play, and we get a split-second closeup of Matt in which you can practically see him playing the route in his head. JD calls the snap and Matt runs out and catches it flawlessly; Monty and the other Boosters cheer Matt on from the sidelines. Matt runs back, and the camera zooms in on Coach’s sunglassed stare. Let him play, Coach!
New Jersey fall foliage. Manicured lawns, old-time wood fences, giant restored barns and a few restored McMansions. Where does this girl live, exactly? Tim glances at Street, who’s looking out the window; a few seconds later Jason looks at Tim, who’s staring out at the passing landscape. At Erin’s house, Tim gets the wheelchair out of the back and comments that it’s a nice neighborhood. Street stares at Erin’s house, absolutely terrified at what she might say. Tim helps Street into his chair, for the last time; Street’s feet fall uselessly from the edge of the cab, and he pulls them into the footrests.
Jason starts to wheel up the drive, and Tim stops him with a “J-Six,” which I don’t think I’ve ever heard Tim say before – if so, I’m sure more astute watchers will let me know. Street stares up at Tim, completely freaking out about what he’s about to do; Tim pauses. “I hope you get everything -” he chokes on the words and twists away, laughing at his inability to say it. “I hope you get everything you want,” he finishes quietly. Jason stares up at him, nodding, his eyes full of tears. “But no matter what happens in there, you’re… you’re always gonna be my best friend,” Tim says. Jason thanks him and starts up the drive. He hesitates and wheels back around to Timmy, and you know what he’s going to say before he says it: “Texas Forever?” Tim smiles and fistbumps Jason, saying the same words back to his best friend. I love how that phrase has evolved throughout this show, and I especially love that this time, it’s Street who says it to Tim. Street turns and wheels his way up to Erin’s house; for the last time in this episode, Tim watches him go. Street gets the to front of the house, and I cannot say how much I hate to do this, but the house has a MASSIVE SET OF STAIRS IN FRONT OF THE FRONT DOOR. What the hell, location scouts? Is he supposed to use a really long stick to ring the doorbell? SIGH. You have failed me so seldom, FNL, I can’t believe you dropped the proverbial ball now!
Alright, ignoring that glaring error. For no reason whatsoever (sorry, sorry, letting it go), the front door opens and Erin comes out with Noah in her arms. She asks Jason what the heck he’s doing there, and Jason twitches nervously. “You mind if I hold him?” he asks, and Erin kindly puts him in his arms, sitting down on the front steps. Jason tells her that he just got a job in The City (and aw, he’s got the Manhattan-speak down already!). He admits that it’s entry-level, but he’ll be making $40,000 a year, and he wants her to take some time off and stay home with Noah (which of course you’ll recall that was what she wanted to do), and whatever she decides, he’s going to be living nearby. His voice starts to break. “I would really like that to be with you and Noah,” he says, kissing the top of Noah’s head. “If that’s what you want. If that’s not what you want, I’m still gonna find a place close to here… close enough to be here for you and for him, because I’m never gonna let this baby down, ever.” Erin blinks back tears and tells Jason how much she’s missed him, and that’s when Jason just loses it – messy tears, gulping, voice cracking, the whole breakdown enchilada. She reaches for him and kisses him and the music swells, and just when you think that the storyline’s finished up solidly if a bit too pat, we cut to…
Tim Freaking Riggins, leaning against the taxi cab, who heaves this body-shuddering gasp of relief and devastation when he sees Erin kiss Jason, like he’s just been saved himself; like he’s been holding his breath this whole time. Of course he has. The camera closes in on his weak, bittersweet smile. Jason was always going to leave; he was always bigger than Dillon. I don’t know where these two characters met – on the field in peewee football, I’m guessing, but I think Street has been the one constant in Tim’s life for as long as he can remember. Riggins looks at Jason, at his home, proud of him, happy for him, and devastated for himself… and he simply lets Six go. You can see it in his eyes. It’s one of the best scenes of the entire series – just brilliant.
Kudos and huge thank yous to Taylor Kitsch and Scott Porter: your relationship was the catalyst and the soul of this series, and you were magnificent.