Written by Duana

Season 5, Episode 10

You went to turn on this episode, ready to follow the lives of the Taylors and Vince and probably Tinker, because who doesn’t love Tinker, and your brain short-circuited with an algorithm something like the following:

Taylor Kitsch Kitsch Kitsch Taylor Tim Tim Riggins Riggins Tim Taylor Hairline? Riggins Tim Taylor Taylor Taylor Shirtless?

There’s a tenet in writing that says if you consider the audience (not everyone does) you must give them what they need and not what they want. Hence, seeing Taylor Kitsch is more important than giving you an episode where he’s all better and happy and actually able to function in the world. So…better than nothing?

Seeing Tim Riggins haunt me like that is, well, haunting. Seeing him turn from the gruff but still recognizable Riggins he was into the fierce, silent automaton he is now is disconcerting. But his resentment over Billy is something else altogether.

I’ve never been in jail, happily, so I don’t have much to compare this to. But I wonder whether hardened, angry Tim is as a result of the indignities of prison, or whether he just finally had the time to consider what he did for Billy, and what Billy did to get them there in the first place.

This is the flesh of FNL that I cherish. It’s heartwarming and makes men out of boys and all that, but just as often it reminds us that the wounds inflicted by family are the ones slowest to fade from our all-too-keen memories. Billy papers over what Tim said about him - and I appreciate that Tim has yet to really address him directly. He's able to forgive Coach for not calling or writing but when Billy - who has made this sacrifice, sending his brother to jail, in order not to be away from his son - tries to begin to make up the debt he's incurred, Tim can't even hear of it. How angry will he get when he finds out there's a second baby on the way?

Speaking of babies, I need Becky to get out of there right about now. There's a stable home environment, and then there's an environment with Tim Riggins living there, conveniently recently divested of his moral fortitude. Even if he and she weren't about to have a torrid affair, Luke is more or less asking her to promise they'll be together forever. And you know who wouldn't be up for that? Mama Alicia Witt. Can we get her back off the cruise boat or wherever now?

While I don't know what Luke is thinking (and neither does his scandalized mother) I can't scare up the energy to get worried about him. You'll notice Tami didn't, particularly, either. Just made sure he knew what his options were and nodded as he told her he might have new plans for his future.

I can't shake the feeling that Tami's burnout - whimsical education conference or not - could have been staved off by a few years in a new locale. She was seriously sweating that Florida house - and starting over in a place where she could begin again as just a young mother and coach's wife - holding herself at Arm's length. Freedom, from the kids she can't abandon, from her unfulfilling job that is so close to being a real respite to her and yet isn't...she was really ready for it. But Eric chose not to go.

Is this the rift from which the problems we've heard rumoured will start? Has he finally put his coaching 'feelings' above having a conversation with his wife, his friend? For years she has been his support; what happens if she needs a break from that role for once?

We know that the Taylors are rare, built on something real, the very same something which allows them to argue and feel that it will all be OK in the morning. So of course, you have to see the flip side. What happens when love isn't a strong foundation? When it isn't enough? You're intelligent people, you know that's what the Ornette and Vince story is to show us. The only question is how badly Vince will feel when he finally figures out the truth, and that everyone else knew before he did.

And what he'll do with himself then.