The cruel hard fact of portraying high schoolers in a small town like Dillon is, if you want to be realistic, inevitably most characters will have to leave. Last season's goodbyes to Street and Smash were earned over the course of a few episodes, and this season we've had the same brewing subplot for good old #7, as a storyline in these first six episodes. Why is it then that his inevitable exodus still felt abrupt? Grandma Lorraine doesn't even get the benefit of a "see ya," Best guess here is Matt felt he wouldn't be able to handle the ensuing tears and assumed he might chicken out. Better to make a clean break and smooth over things later. That he did it to Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" sure made it easier to for us to swallow, though.
We kind of already said goodbye to Lyla at the end of last season, but her 'lost weekend' with Tim served as a nice epilogue. And any chance to see Derek Jeter's main squeeze riding a mechanical bull is fine by me. Minka Kelly always seemed more eye candy than dramatic force in the series, but her chemistry with Taylor Kitsch is hard to deny in their scenes together.
Besides Matt and Lyla, the theme of inevitable goodbye even bubbled up with Julie. By taking off to Austin* against Tami's wishes, she unwittingly forces her parents to confront the fact that she will be leaving the next soon -- a thought that simultaneously makes Tami panic and puts Connie Britton's acting chops on display. Her final sobbing acceptance of the truth was something, making her "let's just beat her ass when she gets home" line pretty damn funny.
*The Austin Music festival appears to be a fictionalized hybrid of SXSW (location) and the Austin City Limits Festival (time of year).
Other themes tying the episode together included one of unrequited love. Julie loves Matt, Tim lusts after Lyla, Becky longs for Tim, Luke kind of likes Becky, Landry wants to like Jess but can't forget Tyra (like the writers have so far), Vince is into Jess and Vernon's foot has eyes for Vince's ass. Teen love is so hard! The other odd theme sprinkled throughout was one of verbal diarrhea. Crazy Stan guaranteeing victory led to all sorts of big mouth fun with media day. Landry's ill-advised rambling included our first acknowledgement that there is a character named Tyra, and ended with a face slap. Julie let slip that she didn't want the responsibility of keeping Matt in town (and we all know how that ended). Becky's always rambling, so it was funny to hear Tim finally just tell her to shut up.
The music did a lot of work this episode, between A.A. Bondy's "To the Morning" (then you'll return where you'll be shining"), Patsy Cline's "Crazy" ("Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you") and of course Dylan, there was a lot of lyrical subtext at play. Plus we got to see some Heartless Bastards at Emo's, so I can cross that off my bucket list.
And that leaves us with the bullet points:
- "When your dad dies, you should most likely probably go to a music festival. Preferably in Austin." Where can I get a copy of this book on grief?
- Tami to Gracie after leaving another desperate voice mail message on Julie's phone: "You are my favorite daughter."
- Not sure where they're going with Crazy Stan, but his take down of J.D. McDick in the Sears home entertainment section sure felt satisfying.
- Matt will be back later in the season, but we've seen the last of Richard the pantsless artist. That storyline ended up being kind of waste of time, no?
1. "Soft Shock" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs [download]: Julie offers to go with Matt to music festival
2. "To The Morning" - A. A. Bondy [download]: Tim and Lyla on the bed, Becky interrupts
3. "Let Me Fall" - Peter Case [download]: Vince visits Jess at the BBQ joint
4. "Crazy" - Patsy Cline [download]: Matt and Julie have an argument; Tim and Lyla come to an understanding
5. "Sway" - Heartless Bastards [download]: Matt and Julie at Heartless Bastards show
6. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" - Bob Dylan [download]: Becky tries to console Tim, Matt leaves Dillon
Previously: "A Sort of Homecoming" (Episode 4.05)
Post simultaneously published on Film.com