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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 05/28/2011

‘Friday Night Lights,’ the final farewell: ‘Perfect Record’

“Friday Night Lights” already came to a close on DirecTV and on DVD. But the final episodes of the Dillon, Tex., drama are now airing on NBC. And that means it’s time to bid the final-for-real farewells by assessing each installment shortly after it airs on the Peacock network every Friday at 8 p.m. EST. Why? Because “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Must blog.” Or, um, something like that.


Well, look who’s visiting Dillon: good ‘ol Jason Street (Scott Porter). (NBC)

In the “Friday Night Lights” episode “Perfect Record,” the East Dillon Lions were confronted with the online equivalent of a “Mean Girls”-style burn book: the Web site Lionhater.com, which revealed the criminal pasts of several East Dillon players and appeared to have been generated by someone associated with the West Dillon Panthers. (I’d blame Joe McCoy, but he has been notably absent from Season 5.) This brought out the best in the team — they crushed West Dillon in a crucial game, 37 to 7. It also brought out the worst.

Showboating quarterback Vince Howard and company exhibited a lack of sportsmanship that resembled school in the summertime (translation: no class) and confirmed what that silly Web site implied: that Coach Taylor’s team is nothing but a bunch of thugs. Which is not true. But the Lions certainly didn’t help their case.

But that wasn’t even the main focus of “Perfect Record”; the common thread throughout this episode involved characters who either chose to take control of the future (Vince, Tami, Jess) or played it purposely passive (Coach Taylor, Julie and Luke, who apparently thinks it’s wise to take romantic advice from Billy Riggins).

Read on for more and to watch the episode online.

Related links:

Episode 6 recap: "Swerve”

Episode 5 recap: “Kingdom”

Episode 4 recap: “Keep Looking”

Vince Howard and his dad

As expected, Ornette Howard (that’s Vince’s dad) isn’t abiding by the ol’ agreement he made with Coach Taylor in the episode “Kingdom.” Instead of letting recruiters “go through” Coach, Vince’s dad is bringing them straight to him and, in the case of TMU, willingly taking some lovely TMU apparel and a fly pair of sneaks. Ornette even had the audacity to tell Eric he doesn’t remember the terms of that agreement (really, dude? It was only two episode ago), and to back off because he’s handling things for Vince. And he told him this right in the middle of the morale-building barbecue for the Lions! As I think we all know, that is a massive violation of morale-building barbecue etiqutte.

Meanwhile, Vince has completely fallen under his dad’s spell. By the end of the episode, he was listening to another pitch from a talent-hungry recruiter and seemingly buying his promises about a college career filled with ocean waves and mountaintops. “You know you got a problem there, right?” Jason Street (Street! He was back!) asked Coach at one point. Yes, Eric certainly does know.

Eric Taylor and Jason Street

As noted above, Eric’s No. 1 QB1 of all time, Jason Street, paid a visit to Dillon for the big East/West Dillon rivalry game. In addition to revealing that he married Erin, he also noted that he’s working for a sports agency and has been fielding inquiries from college coaches who want Eric Taylor to come work for them.

After warmly welcoming Jason home with the gift of an East Dillon cap that has Gracie Belle spit-up on it, Coach graciously said he was perfectly happy remaining at East Dillon. Or at least he was, until he got that call from Shane State about a possible head coaching job. Should Eric Taylor stay or shoud he go?

Julie and Tami Taylor

Speaking of the stay vs. go question, I think it’s clear to all parties that Julie Taylor should go back to Burleson University. But she’s not budging, so Tami Taylor — mother extraordinaire who, in Eric’s view, is completely coddling her older daughter — went all the way there herself to pick up Julie’s assignments. Naturally, she bumped into Derek the Wussy TA, which was super-awkward. (Did you notice how Derek started breaking a sweat as soon as he realized that Julie’s mom knew exactly who he was and what he had done?)

Of course, as soon as Tami returned home with a stack of independent studies for Julie, all the girl wanted to know was what Derek had to say. She didn’t say, “Hey, thanks for driving all the way to college and back because I’m afraid everyone at my dorm thinks I’m a slut.” Or: “Crud, am I going to flunk out of my freshman year?” All she wanted to know was whether Capt. Frybread, King of the Cheeseballs, had asked about her.

At least Julie had the decency to help with the morale-building barbecue for the Lions and clean the kitchen that one time. You know, Julie’s problems are keeping Tami from focusing on what’s important: reforming Epyck, Eliza Doolittle-style, before the season ends.

Luke Cafferty and Billy Riggins

Can I just say that I love this relationship, just adore every mentoring moment that involves Billy drinking a beer, wearing a Baby Bjorn and encouraging Luke to fender-bench?

In fact, I love it so much that I am willing to overlook the fact that the “Friday Night Lights” writers resorted to a classic guy cliche by having Billy tell Luke that the best way to win Becky Sproles is by ignoring her. The ol’ “girls love mean guys” routine has been recycled endlessly in movies and TV shows, but there was still something delightful about seeing the decidedly sweet Luke attempt to be a mega-jerk.

Once he turned off the attitude, Becky was confessing that she likes him and pressing her lips to his, prompting Luke to declare: “It totally worked.” Shoot. He’s right. Stinkin’ romantic cliches, why must you always turn out to be accurate?

Now here’s the by-the-numbers assessment of “Perfect Record,” followed by the best quote poll.

The Final Season Cry-o-meter Rating for “Perfect Record,” on a scale of 1 to 10: 1. My eyes may have almost watered when Luke flipped the switch from aloof guy back to nice kid that has a heart on his sleeve with Becky Sprole’s name etched on it.

The Tim Riggins Hotness Scale Rating for “Perfect Record,” on a scale of 1 to 10: 0. As God is my witness, we won’t go hungry for Tim Riggins much longer. I swear it.

Julie Taylor Irritation Spectrum Rating for “Perfect Record” on a scale of 1 to 10: 9. The rating has been downgraded just a tad from last week’s 10. It’s irritating that Julie still hasn’t returned to school and seemed so curious about what Derek had to say about her. But she did do all the shopping for the morale-building barbecue. And she cleaned up the kitchen. No one likes to clean up the kitchen.

Quote of the week poll, coming right up:

By  |  11:10 AM ET, 05/28/2011

Tags:  Friday Night Lights

 
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