Serial Watcher Friday Night Lights – Episode 1-16

The name of the game, this week, has been leadership. On every single storyline we could see examples of leaders and followers.

The “message of the week” is that Smash is a leader, despite Mac’s comment about his leadership abilities. He leads the Black Panthers in the walk-out and he also leads them back. But he doesn’t just lead the black players. We’ve seen Matt go to him for advice earlier this season and this week even Riggins came to him. Sure, you can say that Riggins went to Smash because they need him on the field, but Riggins knew that if Smash comes back everyone will. They’ve been doing a great job developing Smash’s character this year, as he went from an arrogant smash mouth (no pun intended) who only cares about himself, to an insecure kid, who’s so worried about his future he’s willing to do steroids, to a politically aware young man, who’s willing to pay the price for his convictions. But still, the one thing consistent for him is that he always listened to his mom, and that was the key to getting him and everyone else back on the team some wise maternal advice.

Coach Taylor, on the other hand, also seemed to get some advice, but unlike Smash, he ignored it. Everyone in town told him to fire Mac for his statements. That included Tammy, who gave him that advice under three different hats, with three different reasons. While it was obvious that Taylor wouldn’t take Buddy’s advice so seriously, he usually listens to Tammy, especially when he’s the one asking for her word. But then again, it shouldn’t a complete surprise that he didn’t Mac, as he’s been known to stand by people who have slipped (assuming they’ve only slipped once) and Mac wasn’t portrayed as a bad person, just an ignorant one.

Julie continued her downward spiral, with guidance from Tyra. If last week it was just cutting class, this week Julie managed to get herself (Alongside Tyra, Matt and Landry) thrown in jail for a few hours, after they spent their time backstage at The Landing Strip. Of course the Taylors didn’t like that, and ordered Julie to stop hanging out with Tyra. Now here’s what I don’t get. Tammy is a guidance counselor, and seems like a good one. Doesn’t she know that their attitude will only drive Julie more and more into the “Dark Side”? It’s classic teenage rebellion, and even someone with no psychological background can see it. However, this plotline was also used to drive home the fact that Matt, while being the leading quarterback, is no leader. He’s so insecure in everything he does, that he’s always following someone else. Whether it’s on the field or off it, Matt does not lead.

And then there was the big game. The Dunston team, probably aware of everything that went on in Dillon, focused all their energy on getting Smash off his game, using dirty tactics galore. And here’s where Smash and Riggins shined. Smash by keeping his cool head (Something out of character for him) and Riggins for stepping up and standing up for his fellow teammate. The fight between the two teams was a great visual, and Riggins’s actions seemed had two positive outcomes. First, they allowed everyone to blow off some steam, which was much needed after everything that happened, but it also won the game for the Panthers, as the game was thrown out when they were leading. Dunston’s dirty trick trying to get Smash arrested after the game, backfired, as it seemed to just bring everyone closer together, even Smash and Mac.

There’s one thing still brewing below the surface, and that’s Smash’s drug use. They can’t just let it go, and I’m pretty sure it will come back to us in a more critical time during the playoffs. Until then, Go Dillon!

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