When I watched the previous episode, I assumed that Coach forfeited the game because he was worried about his players, worried they'd get injured and hurt themselves even more than they already had. But now that I saw this episode, I can't help but feel that Coach was simply ashamed to lose by such a large deficit. Which makes Coach a more complicated character when he's the coach of this team. Which also makes him a much more interesting character overall.
This episode was about rising up from rock bottom in any way you can. Coach is at rock bottom as he finds his forfeit made his team lose trust in him. They don't want to play for a coach who doesn't believe in them. As a result, Coach is forced to do some soul-searching and try and find a way to get Vince, the new receiver, to get the team back to practice. It helps that the team has received a brand new running back, the former Dillon Panthers running back Luke Cafferty.
It was Tami who was responsible for getting Luke over the school, and man, Connie Britton has some AWESOME scenes here. Joe McCoy threatens to try and get Coach Taylor's rings taken away from a couple of years ago, but Tami calls his bluff and makes him look like a fool in front of all the boosters. However, Joe responds in full force, getting the entire school to boo her as she attempts to speak at the pep rally.
Another highlight is Matt Lauria as Luke Cafferty. Usually, shows have a hard time meshing new characters after they get rid of some of their cast, but FNL has never had that problem. Cafferty seems like an interesting character, mostly because he's not selfish and obsessed with winning all the time. He seems to be about the team. When he started crying after Tami told him he'd have to leave, that's not the sign of a selfish guy. It's the sign of someone who hates letting his team down.
The downside to having such strong arcs for half of the characters is that the other half get the short shrift. Saracen is barely here and same with Julie. But at least Saracen gets some funny moments with his new internship teacher. Julie goes to school and sort of disappears. We don't know how her time there was. Vince was good here, but Taylor Kitsch as Riggins wasn't as interesting for me. I'm glad he's gotten better over the seasons, but I'm more interested in seeing him on the team as an assistant coach than anything else... otherwise, this is a strong start to Season 4.