Friday Night Lights Review: Clear Eyes. Full, Sad Hearts.

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Where to begin to say goodbye to such an incredible series? In "Always," the time came for the lights to go out in Dillon. And you bet your ass I was misty-eyed.

Friday Night Lights has always had incredible writing (minus the season two murder plotline, of course), so it came as no shock that it produced an episode so full of heart, one that allowed us to come full circle in so many ways. The player interviews under the tents mimicked the same scenes in the pilot, except this time it was Vince and not Jason Street. It was a wonderful way to bookend the series and stay true to the story of these people.

Eric and Tami

We got to revisit the Alamo Freeze, the site of so many Dillon memories. But forget the ice cream sundaes with jimmies, Matt Saracen had a serious question for Julie Taylor. The engagement was just so raw and real, no fancy pretenses. My first tears of the episode flew when Matt said it was Grandma Saracen's ring. I mean, who doesn't get emotional about Grandma Saracen?

Tami and Eric continued to argue, with Coach more pissy and tense than usual. Still, it's funny when he gets that way. It was hard not to laugh when he barked at Saracen.

But there are few things more troubling on television that Eric and Tami not getting along. They are too strong of a core duo to be at odds. It was seriously disturbing. 18 years...

When Coach and Tami took Matt and Julie out to dinner to discuss the engagement, the scene became more about the Taylors than the young couple. How can you possibly feel authentic as a role model to your daughter when you're just lying to yourself and fighting with your spouse?

Elsewhere, Tim finally brushed that chip off of his shoulder. Billy is family and family is important. I loved the scene with Tim taking Stevie to practice and teaching him about boosters and rally girls. Texas football is Texas football and Stevie is bound to follow in the Riggins' footsteps. Coach remarked to Tim that he'll always be there if he needed anything and, once again, I'm tearing up about these characters.

Tyra wanted to celebrate with Matt and Julie. Tim cheered to the new Mr. and Mrs. Saracen, prompting a classic with him chugging from a bottle of Jack Daniels. Tyra and Tim may not have been romantic for a few years, but, as Tyra remarked, she's been in love with him since she was five years old. It's not easy to shake something like that and these two have an undeniable chemistry.

It was slightly hard to focus on the newer characters with my old favorites around, but there were definitely some standout scenes: Becky moving out and embracing Mindy. Vince taking care of his mother and the amazing sense of pride she has for her son. There was even a brief appearance of his father at State. We also had Coach telling Vince how proud he is of him and Vince telling Coach he's changed his life. Michael B. Jordan is just phenomenal.

Most importantly, Coach realized that it is Tami's turn. Why should he go back and work for a team that fired him for no reason? As much as he loves his players, he loves his wife more. When he asked Tami to take him to Philly, my heart squeezed a little. Sometimes I think Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton are married in real life.

Maybe some people will think that the most important part of this episode was that the Lions won State. They overcame odds and achieved their dream. But for me, Friday Night Lights has never really been about football. It's been about family, community, and, most of all, heart. Season five delivered the latter in droves.

Flash forward eight months and Vince is now a Panther. Billy is one of his coaches and Buddy's back to putzing around in a golf cart with the boosters. Matt and Julie are living together in Chicago. Becky kisses Luke goodbye as he takes off to serve in the army. Coach and Tami are living their new life in the northeast. And last, but not even close to being least, Tim and Billy Riggins are building Tim's house together, throwing back beers, and watching a perfect pink Dillon sunset. Everyone may have gone their separate ways, but there's one thing we can all agree on: Texas Forever.

Friday Night Lights, thanks for the ride. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose. Always.

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (165 Votes)

Leigh Raines is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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I watched this show 100 times, still keep on watching in Netflix.
Hope we can see them again in Movie or TV show.

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I too am extremely upset to see this show gone. Although I watched the series after it ended, it was probably the best tv show i have ever seen, other than the murder in season 2. The show was so real, with the camera movement, and really showed how football brought a whole town together, how everyone became connected. It also showed real life trials and tribulations, and how everyone really is tested. The one thing I really like is how it shows how everyone goes their separate ways. That is reality for every single person in this world. Overall, besides the phenomenal acting and amazing characters and story line, it was the realness that got me.

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As Kyle Chandler said: "there are 2 types of people when it comes to the show. It's people who have either seen it and love it or have never seen it before. There hasn't been anyone in between who's said "I've seen it and I don't care for it too much." Let me tell you, I just finished all 5 seasons. I finally watched it when it was long over and I'm so glad I did. One of the best shows I've ever seen. I don't think there's one person on the entire planet that could hate this show. There's nothing to hate. It's just perfection. I just wish Smash returned! I would love to see the Julie/Matt wedding & maybe Jason being Smash's agent after he goes pro! :p (Just some ideas for the movie Peter Berg!!!) Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose.

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I enjoyed the original 'Friday Night Lights' movie, and when the TV show first aired I took to it immediately. Normally I don't like watching TV dramas, but 'FNL' didn't turn out to be typical fluff. I so much wished that the show could have found a bigger audience in its first two seasons so that it could have stayed on NBC for all of its five seasons instead of having to spend their last three seasons on DirecTV first with about half the number of usual episodes per those three seasons. But in the end, anything was fine as long as the people involved with the show got to tell their stories the way they did. This finale episode was perfect. Happy (or at least 'satisfying') endings for everyone and all in ways that didn't come off as too forced or rushed. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I teared up often. I'm going to miss this show so much. 'FNL,' thanks for five unforgettable seasons! :)

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Pam - We knew they won the State Championship because it showed many of the players in the flash forward with championship rings on (Luke, Vince, etc.)

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I´m gonna miss it. I's like losing part of your family. Anyways, it may be over but Dillon...Dillon belongs to us.

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I have loved FNL from the very beginning and own the first 3 seasons on DVD. I was quite emotional as I watched the very last episode and loved every minute of it. The only regret I had was that Lyla did not return and was not mentioned. I loved seeing Matt again and Landry. I feel like I am saying good-bye to family and I will miss these characters. Thank you to the writers for giving us the series finale we all hoped for. (Marie, I agree with you about all the trash that they air on TV while cancelling good quality shows like FNL and Life.)

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I feel like I am watching family grow up and move away! Like changing stuff!

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Watched it last night and Hulu this am, keeps getting better. SO glad they didn't leave any ambiguity ala Sopranos. Got what I needed tho I still want more.

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We loved the show. The characters were so likable it is like losing friends.