Theology and Friday Night Lights: season 2 episode #05

“I sin daily and I’m a better Christian than you, Garrity…”
Being there, together, with the people that needs us – that is one of the practical implications of Christianity that emerges in this episode of Friday Night Lights. Riggins and Layla want to stage an intervention to get Jason Street to forget the whole stemcell-surgery. He would have been implanted with shark-DNA! Craaazyyy. But she is reluctant at first and after Riggins threw her that line, she reconsiders. Looks like, so far, she is taking her recent conversion seriously.

So she agrees to the booze cruise Tim suggested, albeit reluctantly at first…the ends we will go to for the people we care about needs to be extreme sometimes!
At the eventual intervention, Layla and Tim tells Jason that they don’t want him to have the surgery, to which he responds with the expected rage and “you don’t know what I’m going through”-type attitude and comments. The Layla in her over-eagerness tries the religious take: “God has a reason for everything that happens to you.”
Jason: “God and I aren’t exactly friends ever since He decided to break my neck.”
Layla: “Okay, fine, you don’t want religion? How ‘bout this is a stupid idea and you’re being an idiot!”
Jason: “Maybe I’ll just let some Jesus freak dump my head under the water and wash all my troubles away. It’s that easy, right?”
Which, of course, it isn’t.
Denial is not just a river in Egypt… So Tim Riggins resorts to giving Jason the cold, hard facts: Best case scenario, he loses 10 grand. Worst case scenario, he ends up dead. He loves him and will knock him down and drag him back to Dillon if he needs to.
So Jason jumps overboard…and after it looks like he’s gonna drown, he starts swimming! With the realization of hope dawning on his face, he swims joufully to the shore. There his friends meet him and he apologizes to them, saying that he’s not having the stemcell surgery anymore. Maybe his realization that his life is not necessarily over when he figured out that he is able to swim got him thinking that God still has a purpose for him after all…
As they go back to the hotel, they pass the Jesus-statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro or San Something (are there more than one of those statues?) and Riggins suggests they go for a drink first “unless it’s against your religion, Garrity.”
Layla: “Yeah, that’s funny, Tim.”
So at the beach pub she kisses them both whilst dancing with them both (apparently quirky threesomes with paralyzed guys and line backers are not against the rules of Christianity or something…) Realizing what she has done/is doing, she says: “I gotta go pray.” And she walks off. Mmmm. Looks like old habits die hard…

We may come to a dead end place in our lives and then we start grabbing for straws, thinking that maybe it will change everything back to the way it was. But things will never be the same as before, no matter what we do. We gotta go forward. Life is not a Turning Back-business. It is a Going Forward-business, where we have to decide what to do now, how to handle life from now on. We might make mistakes again, but that’s okay – as long as we keep on going (remember Dory from Finding Nemo? “Just keep swimming!”). We can’t change things back to the way they were. But we can find new ways to define ourselves in life, to make our lives better from here on.

Another thing: when we enter into an intervention with a person, it is not wise to “pull Christianity” while such a person is not acceptible to it, especially a situation like that on the boat. Layla probably is not far off – I, too, think that God can use us in any state we are, and that He has a purpose for our lives, but you need to read the situation correctly. Don’t try to bring a message of hope while you are confronting a person, you will only infuriate them more. Calm him/her down first, get them to think straight and then witness about hope/peace/love/faith. It is difficult for us to actually agree to the whole “purpose of life”-thing when we can’t see past our problems, but when we are comforted and when we feel loved, then we can start to, little by tiresome little, gnaw our way back to hoping again.

Other stuff that happened in this episode: Coach Taylor’s “taking care of his wife” because now he’s back and like a normal man he wants to have some “together time” with his wife…nice! But aaawww, Tammy’s not ready yet after her pregnancy. So after some incidental advice from another coach he sends her on a girl’s night out, hoping that she will come home and he can take advantage of her relaxing. Turns out, all the other women knew that men do this – and she is still not ready yet.

Landry’s lies (to his very supporting father) are twisting him further down, and his father is calling it – so he forbids Tyra to hang out with his son: “I won’t let you drag him down with whatever it is you are involved with.”

Inspirational winning quote during half time in the Panther Locker Room: Landry’s bit about winnig together or losing alone to which Coach responds: “Clear eyes, full hearts…”
Team: “CAN”T LOSE!”
Apparently Landry is quite a tackler and after a huge hit on one of the opponents, Smash and Saracen want in so bad (they’ve been benched because they have been fighting the past few weeks continuously) that they “decide to kiss and make up”, resulting in them playing in the very last play of the game. At first, Landry gets hit and they lose the ball as the final whistle blows, but then the touch judge calls a fowl, so they get another chance in the end zone and the game ends with Smash making the touch down, causing the Panthers and Coach Taylor to win his first game back.

So at the after party Tyra ends it with Landry, according to his father’s wishes, but she is obviously unable to tell him the truth why, so she lies to him about it and she sucks when she does it: “Did you ever think in a million years if that didn’t happen that we would end up together? Take a look in the mirror. I don’t know what I was thinking with you. This is over.”
Eish. Because Landry, the New Kid on the Block in Football Hero Town, is not an oil painting. Stardom means nothing when your girl dumps you because your father doesn’t like her.

Brownie points to Saracen for telling Julie (who came crawling back to him after they broke up and asking him to a concert, to which he at first agrees) straight that he is still pissed off at her for cheating on him and lying about it. Something all of us men should do when our exes come crawling back. At the Republiek van Kollegetehuis we have the Squash-ball Theory: “The harder you hit them, the fatser they come back to you.” Saracen seems to understand that.

Brownie points to the producers too for not treating Christianity like an easy answer with prayer as some sort of magic spell. It contains far more than that. I’m really looking forward to see what they’re gonna do with it.

And finally, Coach gets lucky after the game when his wife asks him if he wants to fool around.
Coach: “Do you want to?”
Tammy: “Yeah.”
So he responds appropriately…

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