Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Night Lights "In the Bag": Fill the Void

In the wake of last week's goodbyes ("Stay"), "In the Bag" focuses on the characters left behind, specifically on how they cope with their loss. That, and poking fun at Twilight.

"Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated."
Lamartine (French poet)

One-man wrecking crew Matt has really done a number on Julie here. Not only is our Thomas Wolfe wanderer out of the picture, but he's left no word save for Grandma and Shelby, and just ask feckless Becky how finishing 2nd runner-up feels. After a few good nights of crying, Julie begins the desperate business of filling up the emptiness she's feeling with whatever she can find, and that leads us to our theme for this week's episode: filling a void.

Besides Julie, we have Landry, Tim and, by episode's end, Becky all finding a way to fill the vacuum left behind thanks to a loved one's departure. On the football side of things, Coach finally fills the empty position of quarterback by naming Vince QB. Heck, even Billy's financial situation is a hole that needs filling, both by some (now) classic FNL fully-clothed stripper dancing and the "business opportunity*" that Vince's Friend of Bad Influence hints at near the end.

*What business could a car thief have with an auto repair shop? Mmmm ... my hope that Tim wouldn't get dragged into some chop shop work went out the window with the last scene of #33 looking longingly over some real estate that he has no funds for. Run while you can, Skeeter!

Getting back to Julie and her empty void-filling, we should be glad she drags fellow Matt victim Landry into her Academic Smackdown endeavor, as it conveniently counts one Jess M-E-R-R-I-W-E-A-T-H-E-R as a member, and she's a perfect fit for the Tyra hole Landry's no longer leaving vacant. Aimee Teagarden, who's whiny portrayal of Julie has been a weakness in the past for FNL, shows how much she's grown as an actress with her scenes of denial ("It's not about Matt!") and acceptance (falling apart to Tami backstage). That she can make that final scene work with both a telegraphed literary reference (Thomas Wolfe) and the schmaltzy "Fire" by Augustana playing in the background makes it all the more impressive.

The satellite story of Tim and Becks took a another turn with Tim trying to take on a big brother role by stepping in to protect her against a villain he recognizes all to well: the deadbeat dad. Protecting Becky may backfire, though, as she's still keen on him filling the role of boyfriend, not big bro (or, for the again vacant father). And we get introduced to Skeeter the whining dog, who gets thematic double duty, first filling the void as proxy for trucker dad, then for Tim, who's feeling a bit lonely after Lyla's departure.

So much more, but let's just leave it to the bullet points:
  • Not sure what point the karaoke kiss storyline has except to show how great Tami is under pressure. Connie Britton's facial reaction to Glenn's "I mouth-raped you"? Priceless.
  • "Get the food!" Glad to see priorities are in order for Billy -- burgers first, then baby.
  • While it's true that Julie was reading Melville when we first met her, it's not too unlikely to think she'd rip through some Twilight post-breakup. Matt left her high and dry like Edward ... maybe there's a Jacob to fill the void?
  • "Does anybody need to read Stephen Crane anymore?" Yes. Come to think of it, Crane's The Red Badge of Courage might serve as a nice metaphor for a certain group of football players struggling to turn their season around.
  • This is the second time we've (barely) heard an Obits song this season. Someone is obviously a fan.
Playlist: Friday Night Lights - Episode 4.07
1. "Talking To The Dog" - Obits [download]: Mindy has contractions in drive-thru w/ Tim & Billy
2. "Something Bigger, Something Better" - Amanda Blank [download]: Tim & Billy get idea for Landing Strip
3. "Car Wash" (Rose Royce) [download]: Tami & Glenn watch teachers singing karoake
4. "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (Simple Minds) [download]: Glen does karaoke
5. "Girls' Night Out" - Jessica Erin [download]: Glenn tries to kiss Tami while waiting on a cab
6. "Fire" by Augustana [download]: Julie listens to Matt's CD mix
7. "Top Of The World" - Pussycat Dolls [download]: Mindy's baby shower / fundraiser.
8. "Outta Control" - Baby Bash featuring Pitbull [download]: Billly is offered a 'business opportunity'.
9. "Patron Tequila" - Paradiso Girls [download]: Becky shows up at the Riggins' Rigs party & Tim tells her the truth about her father.

Previously: "Stay" (Episode 4.06)

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