It took Dave and me a while to get to Friday night's episode of Friday Night Lights--kids, baby, Treme from two weeks ago, all these things get in the way. But it was worth the wait. In a show that is consistently amazing, I think "The Son" was the best episode yet.
I may be a bit biased--I'm a Matt Saracen gal, myself. If I were to play the cliff game, Tim Riggins would be the one night stand (and oh, what a night it would be, I'm sure), but Matt Saracen would be the real deal. I spent the entire first season cracking up over how freaked out the Taylors were, since honestly, you couldn't ask for a better boyfriend for your daughter. They just don't exist.
So while "The Son" may be my favorite episode of all time, it's also extremely sad (for more reasons than the obvious) because it confirms what that "guest starring" credit hinted at: we are not going to be seeing much more of Matt Saracen. I give him an episode. Two, tops. (I didn't read anything about the season's DirecTV run. I was a good girl. Also I had no time.) A quick imdb search tells me that Zach Gilford's got a bunch of movies coming out (with Julie Benz! And Elizabeth Mitchell! Worlds collide!), and I'm happy for him, but I'll miss him.
Because God, that guy can act. He's understated, as everybody is on this show, but he was given a lot to work with here, and just about anybody else would have taken all that rope and lassoed themselves with it, but not Zach Gilford. He stayed true to his character and had a nice, quiet, heartbreaking implosion. I think the moment that touched me the most--because it was so childlike, and so broken--was when he couldn't eat his chicken because the carrots had been touching it. Matt Saracen is so young, really, and while he always seemed ages older than Julie, and clearly he had to grow up so fast, he is just a kid. I spent that whole scene gripping Dave's hand. Well, really the gripping started in the funeral home. Another moment I won't soon forget. (I like that we got a good chuckle in right before that, though: "Why'd you kill Cobra's beer?" Also when Matt slammed the door on the McCoys. Beautiful.)
Dave saw some exchange between Lyla and Riggins that I missed (mostly because I was confused as to why Lyla was there; it's not like she and Matt were such great friends that she'd haul ass back from Vanderbilt). He thought Riggins looked pissed, as though there's more to their breakup than we thought from when we, you know, saw them break up (obviously I think Dave's just trying to make Lyla's return more interesting than it is). But it did remind me of something I hadn't really thought of--every season before this one has picked up with lots of stuff happening over the summer. Smash's knee getting, er, smashed, Julie and Matt heading down the road to The Swede, etc., but this season gave us nothing we weren't expecting from the credits of last season's finale.
I'm not complaining, mind you--just noting. I have nothing to complain about this season, except possibly that I miss Tyra, and I will soon miss Matt, and then after that I'll miss Riggins, and so I'd better learn to start giving a crap about Luke and Vince and Becky, but if nothing else, this show has taught me that it can make me care about anything so I'm sure that'll come soon enough. And in the meantime I'll just, you know, cry.