Monday, April 13, 2009

'Friday Night Lights' Finale: Whaddya Think?

*Warning, spoilers from the Friday Night Lights finale ahead*

EAST Dillon High? The former, dust-binned high school with the dilapidated field? The one whose future football team's roster has already been looted by its crosstown rival West Dillon Panthers boosters and compliant crooked local officials?

Kyle Chandler -- who plays Coach Eric Taylor, who used to be the West Dillon Panthers football coach who took his team to the state finals more than once -- told Vanity Fair that he thinks the Friday Night Lights season three finale sets "up a whole new slew of characters that could come into the show. The show can re-invent itself. When I read the last episode, I saw a phoenix coming out of the ashes."

And while Chandler is right when he says that the ending provides FNL with a wide open field of opportunity, with new players, new administrators, new parents, new stories, etc. I feel as if we skipped a step, as if I missed an episode explaining what went on between the Dillon Panthers' loss at the state final and Coach Taylor getting the boot to coach the East Dillon Lions. There was a disconnect, at least for me.

For example, it's entirely plausible that Joe McCoy would still, five months later, be barely able to conceal his simmering rage and hatred toward Coach Taylor after the coach and his wife Tami, the high school principal, contacted child protective services after witnessing Joe McCoy battering his wonderkid quarterback son J.D. in the Applebee's parking lot. What I don't buy is that all the Panthers boosters would hop on board the rich hothead's crazy train and dispose of Coach Taylor. McCoy notwithstanding, the only beef people seemed to have was that Taylor was indecisive when he was juggling quarterbacks before finally settling on J.D. But that can't be the entire reason for shipping him to East Dillon, that and losing the state final after staging a gutsy come-back against an incredibly tough opponent, can it? I would've liked to have seen the deliberation, the debate, the reasons before I'm ready to buy into this next phase of the show.

While discussing the finale with another FNL fan, he suggested that Buddy Garrity might've been in on the whole thing, although I don't think Garrity's capable of pulling off such expert subterfuge. However the fan did agree that this demotion seemed abrupt and not well explained.

Yes, next year will be an opportunity for FNL to go in a completely new direction and, as Chandler said, rise from the ashes of this season. I just wish the viewers had been witness to something more than Coach Taylor's clipped statement to a board and Tami Taylor showing up to a wedding to tell him he's going to be running a team which has already lost promising players courtesy of a district line drawn in such a nonsensical zig-zaggy fashion by Panther boosters that it would make Massachusetts and Chicago pols proud.

So, FNL fans, what do you think of this East Dillon High turn of events? Do you think it came out of nowhere?

Image credit: NBC.

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