I wonder if Tami’s decision to send Luke packing to East Dillon is a Rorschach test. I was with both of you, so maybe it was obvious. But I’m sure my rule-bound son would disagree. Readers, weigh in! I wanted Tami to make an exception for the sake of the kid because I basically think that all rules are made to be broken. Shouldn’t school redistricting have some give in the joints? There is one school with a great football team and another with barely a team at all. Shouldn’t a very talented player get grandfathered into the school with the great team, especially given the history of the mailbox you both laid out? (Yes, because the team had a legacy of cheating, one more cheater should get to use the mailbox. And then they should dig it up.) What if we were talking about a gifted violinist forced to leave a school with a great orchestra? I like my bureaucracies to be more benevolent than Tami’s.
The counterargument, of course, is the slippery slope. One exception breeds requests for more exceptions. With all those parents who were yelling at her last week, how could Tami justify not being a strict constructionist? I still think she should have come up with an answer, though. For a moment, I wanted Eric’s whole Lions endeavor to fail so poor Luke could argue that Dillon High represents his only chance to play. Though I see that the narrative demands that I get over it. I did like how the first episode set us up for Buddy’s defection by showing Joe and Wade dissing him out on the Panthers’ field. And you’re right, Hanna, Tami’s sweet-as-sugar end-run around Joe at the boosters’ meeting was one of the highlights of the series.
I’m not going to defend Richard Sherman, his art, or his underwear. But I do appreciate that Matt isn’t wilting at the slightest discouragement. He didn’t fall apart when Julie said he might be taken less seriously because he’s going to community college. And he held it together when Sherman ripped his drawing in two and gave it back with that awful “doesn’t make me puke” line. Go, Saracen—I want you to succeed enough in Dillon to get the hell away from it and your grandma eventually.
I wrote down a bunch of lines from this episode (including the one you picked about Tami and her wine, Meghan—so satisfying). The one I liked the best was part of Becky’s breezy con to get Tim to take her to school: “My hair was doing this weird flip thing I wasn’t too sure about.” Tell me about it, sister. About Tim moving into her mom’s trailer, though: I am not so excited about the Mrs. Robinson vibe I’m getting. Is that creeping out anyone else?
As for Eric’s humiliation when the team deserts him—and his intense relief as they come back—I’m glad he was humbled, and humbled himself. (As a wife, I also appreciated his gruff but audible apology to Tami. Husbands everywhere, take note.) I like how the writers underscored his plight by having him repeat words a lot. It was like he was revving up his own engines. To Vince, “We both know where I’m going. We don’t know where you’re going.” And then, of course, to the team, roaring along with the ritual burning: “Who will finish this fight with me?” That’s a great point, Meghan, about how this season’s split forces us to reckon with how team spirit can cast either a rosy glow or a sinister one, depending on our perception. We have the same split views about intense group identity of many kinds—socialist or fascist?—not just identity forged on the football field.
Does anyone else recognize Jess Merriweather’s dad? I know I’ve seen him before but I can’t quite place him. Readers, clues?