It's five months after the Panther's State Championship Loss. It's baseball season, and Buddy and Coach Taylor are playing golf. It's also time for the Panther's seniors to start facing the future.
At the annual senior pancake breakfast, Tami announces where all of seniors are going to school. Tim and Lyla are off to San Antonio State, Matty got into the Art Institute of Chicago and Tyra is still waiting to hear back from University of Texas.
The Panthers have had their last practice of the school year, until August 1st. J.D. has been named Dave Campbell's high school quarterback of the year. Coach Taylor's contract is up at the end of this season and the board asks Tami to abstain from discussion of it. Coach begins to suspect that his contract renegotiation is not going to be straightforward when Buddy drags him off to recruit a gigantic farmboy for next years offensive line. The kid's parents tell Buddy and Coach that they've already had a visit from Mr. McCoy and Wade Aikmen and they were under the impression that he was the head coach. Ruh roh!
Coach heads over to the McCoy mansion to confront Mr. McCoy about trying to recruit Panthers players behind his back. Coach reminds Mr. McCoy that he does not represent the Panthers football team but as far as Joe McCoy is concerned without J.D. there is no team so he can do whatever he wants. Coach asks Mr. McCoy point blank if he's trying to get him fired. Mr. McCoy smiles his skeezebag smile and tells Coach if he wants to keep his job he has to guarantee that J.D. will start every game and that Wade Aikmen will get to call all the plays. You can guess how well that goes over with Coach.
Tami urges Coach to come to the meeting and stand up for his job, but Coach thinks that the board should be able to look at what he's accomplished and make their decision from there. Coach doesn't want to give up his pride and play games with Joe McCoy, but Tami thinks that if they don't fight for Eric's job they'll regret it. At the meeting, Joe McCoy does a lot of smooth talking and informs the board that Coach Aikmen has agreed to accept the Panthers coaching job should it be offered. Coach ends up coming to the meeting to speak in his own defense. He tells the board that he loves his job, he loves Dillon High and he loves the kids on the football team. Anyone who would be willing to give him up for a man with a lot of money and a kid with a good arm is dead wrong.
Coach and Tami have bought Julie a brand new car for all her hard work at school and help taking care of Gracie Bell. When they present it to her, Julie is a little less over the moon than Tami expected. And Julie spills that she's just feeling left behind as her friends all leave school and Matt moves away to college. Tami gives Julie the motherly wisdom that if her and Matt are meant to be together then they'll be together.
Over at the Saracen house Matt, Shelby and Julie are helping Gramma pack up all her things for her move into a nursing home. Julie finds an old picture of Matt from 7th Grade in one of the boxes and Gramma picks it up and announces that she's going to put the picture up right on her wall over her bed so if she wakes up one day and can't remember Matt all she'll have to do is look up at his adorkable face staring down at her. When the time finally comes for Matt to take Gramma to the nursing home, he has a hard time leaving her behind. Gramma has to practically push him out the door, insisiting that she'll be fine.
Lyla made up her mind to go to San Antonio with Tim a few months ago, but Buddy enlists Tami's help to make one last effort to try and convince her to go to Vanderbilt instead. Tami makes a call to the admissions counselor at Vanderbilt and they've agreed to allow Lyla until Monday to make her final decision. Buddy for his part, offers to call Lyla's Uncle Gary to see if he can borrow the money from him. Lyla takes a day or two to mull it over, but she eventually asks Buddy to talk to Uncle Gary.
While Lyla is busy agonizing over her college decision, Tim and Billy are hard at work trying to get Riggins' Riggs in working order. They head off to an auction in the next town to bid on a hydraulic lift. After they get their lift they have some money left so Tim talks Billy into buying a Longhorn Steer. Yeah, I don't know either. Unfortunately, towing the steer seems to be a little too much for their truck's engine to handle and it breaks down on the highway on the way back to Dillon.
While Billy is trying to fix the truck, Tim complains about going to San Antonio state the next year. Apparently there aren't any bars in San Antonio where Tim can just relax and be himself, and his class schedule doesn't leave a lot of room for 'me time'. Billy is a little too preoccupied with the engine to pay much attention to Tim's 'deal'. When Tim manages to fix the truck's engine after Billy can't, he starts to question whether opening up his own repair shop was such a great idea. Tim gives him a pep talk about living the American Dream, owning your own business and coming home to the wife and kids every day etc, etc. Tim wishes he was in Billy's shoes. And then Billy drops the bomb: Mindy's preggers and Tim's gonna be an Uncle!
Tyra is having a tough time dealing with being on the waiting list at U of T. She is still working at Applebys and she keeps having to serve other seniors who have gotten into great schools. Landry suggests that Tyra just go to U of T and find the admissions officer and talk to him directly. When they get to U of T, Dr. Garth gives Tyra the bad news that there are about 1000 people on the waitlist.
In the car on the way back to Dillon, Tyra has a freak out about her chances of actually getting into college. Landry ends up pulling the car over because he can't take her feeling sorry for herself anymore. He tells her that he believes in her and it's about time she started believing in herself. When they get back to the Collette house, Tyra's letter has arrived. Mindy wanted to hide it from her until after the wedding, but Mama Collette is hell bent on doing the right thing and hands Tyra the letter before Mindy gets a chance to hide it. Tyra runs back outside to flag Landry down and they open the letter together. Tyra got in to U of T! And there was much rejoicing.
Mindy and Billy Riggins' wedding is everything you'd expect it to be and more. Cowboy hats, Mexicans singing 'Baby I Love Your Way' as the bride walks down the aisle, hideously ugly pink bridesmaid dresses and the piece de resistance: butterfly wings on the back of Mindy's dress. It's amazing. Tami sneaks in to the wedding late because she had to stay until the end of the school board meeting. When she sits down next to Coach she grabs his hand right away and tells him that the board has offered his job to Wade Aikmen, and they'd like to offer him the position of head coach at the newly reopening East Dillon High.
At the reception, Lyla finally talks to Tim about going Vanderbilt. She tells him that she went to her Uncle and got the money to go while he was away at the auction and she feels terrible for not telling him. But Lyla also tells Tim that she doesn't want to go anymore, she wants to go to San Antonio with him. But Tim Riggins totally mans up, yo! He tells Lyla that she needs to go to Vanderbilt because she's so much better than San Antonio State, and he doesn't want to be the guy who holds her back.
As Billy and Mindy are getting ready to leave for their honeymoon, Tim pulls his brother aside to tell him the good news that Lyla is going to Vanderbilt. Tim seems to think that if Lyla is not going to San Antonio State then he doesn't have to either. But Billy tells him that he's not allowed to wuss out on this one. He tells Tim to think about the kids he doesn't have yet, and about Billy's kids because he wants to be able to tell them that they can be whoever and whatever they want because Uncle Timmy went to college. Billy tells Tim that they need to do better by their kids than their parents did for them. Way to man up Billy Riggins! I guess it runs in the family.
Meanwhile Matt and Julie are also working out their future at the Riggins reception. Julie chooses this moment to try and break up with Matt- she tells him that she doesn't want to be the high school couple who tries to stay together just to prove everybody wrong. She loves him, but she thinks they should break up. But Matt says no, and refuses to break up with her. He insists that they'll be fine. Then Julie makes a comment that Matt's Gramma would have loved the wedding, and Matt realizes there are two ladies in his life that he doesn't want to leave behind.
Matt heads back to the nursing home to pick up Gramma and take her to the wedding. He says that Gramma is the only person who's never left him so he can't leave her. Then Matt says that he's going to stay in Dillon. Oh no, Matty don't do it! Gramma is excited about the prospect of going home, and she doesn't say anything about Matt's apparent decision to not go to college. We'll see how this plays out next season.
On the dancefloor, Coach asks Tami what they're doing at the wedding because he doesn't even know Billy Riggins. I was wondering that myself, Coach. Tami tells Coach that she'll support him no matter where he goes or what he decides to do. After the wedding, Coach takes Tami to the dilapidated football field over at East Dillon High. The two of them take a good look around at Coach's future.
That's it for this season- it's been a pleasure recapping it for y'all. If you haven't heard, NBC and Direct TV have picked up Friday Night Lights for two more thirteen episode seasons. So we'll be back with more Panther (or Lions?) football for you soon. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose.
Tags: Friday Night Lights, S03E13, Finale
This was a good refresher; it's been so long since I actually watched the episode. So thanks.
On the bright side, at least Matt's back for next season? o/?
It amuses me how American culture seems to place College as the Very Height of Success. You go to College, you can do Anything! (Random caps are not random.)
Yeah, it's true. It's a way bigger milestone there than it is here I think. But also it probably opens a whole lot more doors for people there than it does here. And it's way more expensive so not as many people go. These are my theories. I think for Tyra it just represents possibility, you know?
I don't want Matt to leave but I don't want him to stay in Dillon either.
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