Okay, how many of you thought Friday Night Lights had been cancelled for good? Yeah, me too. So I was really surprised to see a commercial two weeks ago announcing the final season! Of course, we fans know what "final season" only too often means: loose ends tied together in crappy ways that betray everything about the show (yes, Lost, I'm talking about you). But then, by the time the "final season" rolls around, most shows have already lost their way and "final season" just means one last round of paychecks.
Friday Night Lights has never lost its way though. So what would the "final season" mean? I was nervous and anxious and hopeful as the opening credits rolled for the premiere. And then I was surprised: I'd never imagined last night's episode would be so poignant, so elegant.
It's late summer in Dillon, with school about to start. One of the first scenes is of Tim Riggins and his bumbling brother Billy. Tim's still in prison, his guilt-ridden brother rambling during a visit. Prison has made Tim depressed, bitter, simmering in anger. A heartbreaking contrast to the last time we saw him, Tim the valiant, willing martyr. He doesn't say much but he does ask his brother not to visit him so often. It's the last time we see him. The rest of the show focuses on Julie Taylor and Landry Clarke; they're preparing to leave for college, saying their farewells to Dillon and childhood. These scenes are so real, I found myself thinking about that time in my own life, personal remembrances riding along the fictional. Again, I marvel at the excellent direction the actors receive, lines delivered naturally, in full context to individual lives.