Friday Night Lights: "The Son" Review Season 4, Episode 5


Wow. This episode was Friday Night Lights reminding us that yes indeed, this is still one of the best show's on television - one that can pack a punch like few others can.


As a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I've always held the episode "The Body" in very high regard. Dealing with the immediate aftermath of Buffy's mother, Joyce Summers, unexpectedly dying, the episode expertly chronicled the grief of those left behind in the wake of the passing of a loved one. I'd never seen a show deal with this subject so powerfully - until now.


Seriously, can we get Zach Gilford an Emmy for his performance here? Despite the widespread critical acclaim, Friday Night Lights has inexplicably found itself in that horribly frustrating Battlestar / Wire zone, where it never gets any major nominations. Hell, maybe the fact that Gilford is technically a guest star this year can help his odds, though I wouldn't hold my breath. Suffice to say, he hit it out of the park (football field?) here, giving an incredibly poignant and touching portrayal of a guy going through the toughest, most complicated emotions of his life.


Matt Saracen is a great character, defined by his earnestness and decency. What was so notable about this episode was that it not only took us through Matt's grief, but also made us understand more about who he is and the struggles he goes through. In the wake of his father's death, Matt was behaving very uncharacteristically, in the face of all the surreal experiences he was going through - from being offered the "American Hero Memorial Package" for his father's funeral, to finding the odious Joe and J.D. McCoy coming to his door on the day of his father's wake, offering condolences "from the boosters." That last event caused him to slam the door in the McCoy's face, but he also found himself being oddly rude to Tami, when she served him dinner.


Among an episode packed with wonderful yet painful scenes, there were two true gut wrenchers, in which Matt was able to articulate his agony. The first was when Matt drank with Tim, Billy and Landry and bemoaned having to deliver a eulogy for a man he barely knew and didn't have very fond feelings for, to say the least. Gilford had pretty much killed me by that point, but he still had one more amazing scene - as he broke down while having dinner with the Taylors.


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