The theme for the episode is 'negotiations,' but there were and you can see the negotiating going on all over Riggins' face, thanks to Kitsch great piece of acting here. In the span of a few seconds, happiness, sorrow and reconciliation are presented -- all without the need for words. And while the strings that the writers pulled to get us to this point were often questionable (flipping the house,) convenient (old teammate showing up at right time) or both (Jason somehow getting a job at a sports agency*) all was forgotten in those final moments.
*To be fair, Jason Street is a master negotiator -- whether it's convincing Buddy to sell your house to him, or talking his one night stand into keeping her baby, he can sell ice to Eskimos.
The scene was backed by the hauntingly beautiful "Gentle Moon" by Sun Kil Moon, a song that could have a couple interesting meanings in this context. The repeated line "dreams escape fire, they won't tire," is both Jason's escape from Dillon and overcoming all the obstacles set before him to reunite him with his new family. Singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek has said the song was written about September 11th, so having the action here be in New York makes it an even more appropriate song.
There were plenty of other negotiations going on in the episode, including the rather pointless Eric and Tami real estate storyline. But my favorite has to be Julie's take no quarter negotiations with her father about Matt getting a shot at wide receiver. And that led to the other highlight of the episode, the ten pass test that Eric gives Matt, complete with Eric asking for aspirin under his breath after wearing out his arm in the process.
Getting back to the music, besides the ending, I think my favorite placement was T. Rex's "20th Century Boy" playing while Tim and Jason wander through the streets of New York. It's been used a lot, to be sure, but here it takes on new meaning, with the Texas boys looking every bit like 20th Century boys in a 21st Century New York. Besides that, any inclusion of Drake fave The Hold Steady is always welcome, and "Stay Positive" is the perfect song for Coach Taylor to cave into Matt's request to be a wide receiver:
There's gonna come a time when the true scene leadersThat's negotiations, y'all.... The Hold Steady style.
Forget where they differ and get the big picture
Playlist: Friday Night Lights: Episode 3.08
1. "Feel Alright" - Steve Earle - celebrate the sale of the house
2. "Guilt By Association" - Louis XIV - practice
3. "20th Century Boy" - T. Rex - Jason & Tim wander around New York
4. "The Inspiration" - School of Velocity - Jason & Tim go to meet sports agent
5. "Forever" - Chris Brown - Tim tells Jason how to get what he wants
6. "This Isn't It" - Giant Drag - practice with new offensive coordinator Wade
7. "Stay Positive" - The Hold Steady - Matt gets a chance at wide receiver
8. "Gentle Moon" - Sun Kil Moon - Jason is reunited with his family while Tim watches
Previously: Paternal Instincts (Episode 3.07)