Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review - Friday Night Lights Season 5 Episode 1 Expectations

The fifth season of Friday Night Lights sits in a weird place. It's the final season, and nothing is going to change that because the ratings suck. And it does serve as a natural ending point of sorts. Most of the original high schoolers have gone on, and the remaining, Julie and Landry, depart in "Expectations."

But at the same time, there was the new crop of kids introduced in the fourth season. As much as the writers tried to balance them last season with the old characters, they were kind of given the short end of the straw and ended up not having entirely fleshed out stories from beginning to end.

"Expectations" does its part in beginning the transition, which ultimately will end in 13 episodes, a short season of television. We get the emotional moment from Julie and Eric playing ping pong before Julie's departure, the fun moment from Landry at his last band gig and at the strip club, and the haunting moment of Tim in prison. By the end of the episode, the old is out and the in is new.

I'm still ambivalent on the new characters, so we'll see what happens. Jess's father is out of town, trying to open more franchises, leaving her behind to care for her siblings, including Andre who is out of control until Vince talks to him. Becky, left behind by her father and mother to be with her father's girlfriend (wife?), turns to Billy for a place to live. There's also this new basketball player named Hastings who is recruited for football and has a thing for Jess.

On the football side of things, Billy becomes a coach and already gives an embarressing speech. Somehow, the Lions manage to beat last year's state champion, no doubt helped by an almost Jason Street injury. In the past two games, these lowly Lions have managed to beat both West Dillion and the former state champions. Really? It'd be cool and all if Coach Taylor won another state championship in the final season, but with the Lions who were awful last season?

Tami tries to deal with the East Dillon high situation, but faces a mountain. The students, most of whom come from broken families, etc, are unable or unwilling to turn the corner and grab their futures, and the faculty is content to let them proceed indefinitely.

Without knowing what happens next, it's hard to tell whether the final season of FNL will live up to previous season. "Expectation," by itself, is a solid if not spectacular beginning to the season.

Score: 8.8/10
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