The last scene of the episode left me feeling cold (and not necessarily in a bad way). If this is the last we see of Matt Saracen, I'll be upset. Gilford has been such a strong presence on the show that it would boggle my mind if his character were to just up and leave, especially with his grandmother's health deteriorating. But my faith int he writers is at an all time high right now. Besides a few story arcs that haven't fully developed yet, this season has been perfect and could end up being its best yet.
Following the funeral in the last episode, a number of different people are in limbo, heading away from Dillon or at least feeling unhappy with where they are in life. Saracen is the obvious example, who is feeling like he needs to get away more than ever when it comes to Dillon and the people around him. He obviously loves Julie, but he's messed up right now and feels like DIllon isn't made for him anymore.
We also have the return of Minka Kelly as Lyla. Her return doesn't have much of an impact, but it does give us more Riggins/Lyla scenes, which are always well-done. It also gives us the sense that Riggins is one of those people who will always be in Dillon, regardless of who or what tries to get him out. Becky (the new character) sort of fits in here, mostly with how she's jealous of Lyla, but as I mentioned above, this is one of those character arcs that hasn't been fleshed out yet but has the potential to get better.
Finally, there's Coach and Tami, who are forced to face the fact that Julie will be leaving home soon for college... but is it really necessary to comment on how great Chandler and Britton were here? They're always giving powerhouse performances and this episode was no exception.
Once again, it seems as if I'm taking all the time to write about everything but the football scenes. The football scenes her were great as well, as exciting as any Panther game that Taylor had coached. This time around, they went up against an undefeated team and nearly beat them; it helps that Vince and Luke are finally starting to get along better.
Equally interesting is the way Coach Taylor is running the team. Technically, based on what we saw, there wasn't a whole lot of order to the plays. There was no official QB or receiver and the offense would sometimes play defense. It's a cool way to play. I also enjoyed the scene in Sears where Luke and Vince are watching game tapes and are confronted by J.D McCoy and the Panthers, only to be turned away by Assistant Coach Staub. It shows that the Lions are slowly becoming a team.
There was very little development with Landry and Jess so I'll write about it when it actually blooms a little bit more. Overall though, this was another strong effort by the FNL cast and crew.