Friday Night Lights is finally over, and after the tears stop flowing, I'll dive into the review. The series ends with Eric and Tami walking off together on a Philadelphia high school football field as the lights dim. The Taylors have always been the heart of the show, the two characters who were there no matter what and firmly dedicated to each other until the end. From an outside perspective, one may wonder exactly how a happily married couple makes for compelling television, since television relationships usually go the route of divorce, affairs, and other shenanigans. But as Eric and Tami prove, a real, stable relationship is as dramatic as any, as heartfelt and moving as any, and they certainly have their share of issues. In the end, though, these mature adults look in the face of adversity and confront it head on, compromise, and it is fine. Tami gets her job as dean of admissions, and Eric coaches a new team in Philadelphia. Sure, Eric would like to stay in Texas, but Tami has dreams, and Eric is flexible enough to move.
"Always" provides closure for most characters (minus a select few--Smash, Lyla, Landry, Jason--although Lyla certainly had a fitting exit in the fourth season), and it's wonderful to watch. Matt and Julie are together at last, engaged 8 months later, despite the initial and vehement opposition from Eric. Tim finds peace with himself and Billy, choosing to stay in Texas to make his house. Tyra knows how much she loves Tim, but also knows that they aren't on the same wavelength. Maybe something will happen between them later, but they are heading on their own separate paths for now. Becky returns to her mother, taking with her a new family of Billy, Mindy, and Tim. Luke leaves for the military, but not before handing Becky his championship ring. Vince is busy training for next season and Jess is already shadowing a new coach in Dallas. Also, Tinker makes the new team! All in all, everyone is doing well.
The state championship is simply a work of art, with a little bit of background noise flowing in. But mostly, it's the soundtrack we hear, tugging us forward through the game as we see opposing sides score and react according. The game ends with one play, Vince heaving the ball through the air. The background quickly shifts and it's Eric and his new team. Just brilliant.
If I really had to have one complaint, it would be the underuse of Landry, who is only in one scene and doesn't show up later. Sadly, the four old characters--Matt, Julie, Tyra (his old girlfriend), Tim--didn't invite him out to drink. But at least Landry dishes out love advice for Matt in classic form.
Regardless of what people may think about some questionable plot decisions, Friday Night Lights will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most emotionally raw television shows. And it wasn't always angst, though, as "Always" demonstrates many times. The characters always had personality and their own special charm, making the cast and character forever memorable.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. Texas forever. (Too cheesy?... nah).