Bravo Coach Taylor. Our Panthers won the second playoff game after an eventful week in Dillon, Texas. Many relationship dynamics changed this week, as Julie and Matt were caught in bed together, JD McCoy was caught sneaking out, and Landry finally realized how one-sided his relationship with Tyra was. Lyla’s relationship with Buddy took a turn for the worse as well, after Buddy’s investment of her college fund went sour. It was a great episode of Friday Night Lights, answering some questions while posing a few of its own.

The referees seemed to line up against us, per usual, this week. They wouldn’t throw a flag to save their life, letting the opponents get away with late hits and pass interference. It seemed as if the other coaches were encouraging it, which is disappointing that a team would be satisfied cheating to win. It’s games like these that I’m glad we have a coach of such integrity in Taylor. In the second half, however, the no-calls finally got the best of him, as an argument with the refs got him kicked out of the game. Wade Aikman took over the reins and led the Panthers to victory, perhaps creating a future feud between Taylor and Aikman similar to Matt and JD.

The title of the episode was “The Giving Tree,” after the children’s book published in 1964. The moral of the story, about a young boy who selfishly takes fruit from the giving tree until there is nothing left of the tree except for a stump, persisted throughout the episode this week. It seemed like every relationship was called into question, none more so than Tyra and Landry, who actually used the story to describe their relationship.

It didn’t seem like Coach Taylor had any more control over his family than the second half of the football game this week, after he caught Julie sleeping with Matt. I don’t expect that to play in future episodes, but it played heavily this week. Coach was very frustrated at having lost the control over his family, and Julie seemed upset ceasing to be daddy’s little girl. Of all parties concerned, I think Tami handled it the most professionally; she explained the ‘rules’ regarding sex and let Julie know that it was her decision to make. It seemed like Julie made an informed decision, especially given their relationship two years ago.

JD found a nice young lady this week named Madison. Despite the joy his mother showed, he was told in no uncertain terms by his father that he couldn’t chase skirts during the season. This created a conflict between father and son, especially after Riggins called JD out for being a leader but not making his own decisions. Only time will tell what the fallout from the decision to sneak out will be. Joe McCoy muttered that JD was a bastard, which was a surprising thing for a father to say. Joe probably thought of himself as the tree in this instance, having given JD so much and so many second chances.

Buddy Garrity seems to be a shell of the man he once was. Apparently business is bad and he needed to scare up some money, so he invested his savings in a deal that ultimately went bust. After hearing the news of the bust, Buddy assaulted the business partner, damaged property, and was arrested. Adding insult to injury, Lyla lost faith in him after hearing the news of his altercation and his squandering of her college fund. Buddy couldn’t find any reason to blame himself about what’s been happening, that it’s too expensive to support his children in California, and his ex-wife is bleeding him dry, but Lyla finally put him in his place, letting him know that he was the greedy little boy, and she was the tree who had given him her last fruit. I doubt we’ve seen the last of Buddy, but I must say I don’t like seeing him down and out.

The Landry and Tyra show finally came to a climax when she interrupted band practice to ask him to help study for her SATs. Landry being Landry, he said he’d help her out, but the rest of the band stepped in and made him realize how one sided the relationship was. When it became apparent how he was viewed in the Collette home, he rebelled and confronted Tyra about it, explicitly comparing himself to the giving tree. Unable to sugarcoat their relationship any longer, Tyra convinced a local bar owner to have Crucifictorious play his club that Saturday Night. We’ll see what happens, maybe there’ll be a little Matt and Julie redux or maybe Landry will be able to cash in on his newfound celebrity.

It was a great win for the Panthers this week and there is nothing but anticipation for next week. It’s frustrating to see an interim offensive coordinator be viewed as a star in the making, but Coach Taylor kept a good head on his shoulders and hasn’ taken it personally yet. I’m looking forward to see how JD embraces his new role as rebel, and how the team reacts to it, that was a step forward for the Panthers and the show. We lost contact with Street, hopefully temporarily, until he gets his feet wet in New York. It would be a shame to have lost him, Herc, and Smash this season, as they formed the initial backbone of the series. Enough dwelling on the past, we gotta look forward to this week because the playoffs are on the menu and our Panther have only started working on the appetizers. Until next time Panther fans, this Slammin’ Sammy checking out. Go Panthers.

Recap by Leon Phelps