Friday Night Lights Episodes

2006, TV Show

Friday Night Lights Episode: "Underdogs"

Season 3, Episode 12
Episode Synopsis: The team prepares for tough opponents; the Taylors make a decision about the McCoys; Tyra writes her college essay with help from Landry; Matt frets over telling his grandma about his plan for college; and Lyla moves out of Tim's house.
Original Air Date: Jan 7, 2009

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Season 3, Episode 12
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Length: 43:16
Aired: 1/7/2009
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Friday Night Lights Episode Recap: "Underdogs" Season 3, Episode 12

Tami and Coach are forced to call Child Protective Services about the incident between J.D. and Joe, Tyra works on her college essay with Landry and the Panthers head to Austin to play the South Texas Titans in the state championships.

Protecting J.D.
Before the gang leaves for the big game, we see the school gym all decked out — it looks a little like a school dance with the strobe lights and streamers, but it's really the big old rally celebrating the Panthers' trip to state. Everyone seems to be in a festive mood except for Tami and Coach. The vice principal tells Tami that she has no choice but to call Child Protective Services (CPS) on Joe McCoy for beating up J.D. in the last episode. She doesn't think she can do it, after all the counseling and support she gave Katie... it feels like a betrayal to her. She tells Coach she can't do it, but he says they have no choice. She knows he's right, but still looks sick about the whole thing.

CPS shows up at the McCoys' house and separates J.D. and his parents for questioning. Joe is furious and acting like a defensive a-hole, while J.D. looks like a scared little kitten. J.D. tells the officials that he is not afraid of his dad and that everything is fine now. I wish the CPS could ream Joe for his behavior, but they just ask him a bunch of questions that piss him off.

At school the next day, J.D. asks Coach if he was the one who called CPS. Coach says he did and he had no choice, but J.D. is appalled. He says, "I play football for you and that's it." Don't these people know that it's a legal issue! Teachers are required to call CPS if they witness or even suspect child abuse! Later, Coach approaches Joe to see if they can talk about helping J.D. through the situation. Of course, Joe wants nothing to do with Coach and shoots him down. Big mistake, Joe, because that boy is headed for a meltdown and it's gonna be on the field!

Once the team is in Austin, Coach tries to have another chat with J.D., but this time it's because he's being a little punkass. He tells J.D. that he needs to keep his attitude off the field. Back at the hotel, Tami runs into Katie and gets some attitude from her as well. Tami tries to apologize but Katie, but she says she wants nothing to do with her anymore. Ouch. 

Riggins and Lyla's Future
Billy wakes Tim and Lyla up to show them his new toy: a beat up old space to start their own garage. Tim is excited for Billy, but I'm hoping that sad look in Tim's eyes means he's going to college and will never come back.

Buddy and Lyla share dinner, and things seem to be a bit less icy between them. Maybe it's because Lyla says she'll move back in with Buddy...just before she tells him she's decided to go to San Antonio State with Riggins and they'll probably get a place together. Buddy tries not to look too annoyed, nervous or pouty because he doesn't want to risk alienating Lyla again. You can tell she's baiting him, but Buddy handles it well.

Matt...the Artist?
Matt shows off his art portfolio to Tami, who is quite impressed and thinks that with his excellent grades, he has a great chance of getting into art school in Chicago. You can see how excited Matt is at the possibility of being in the big city and doing something he loves. Julie is thrilled for him, but a little sad that he'll be leaving her behind and getting to experience new things... like culture! (Her words, not mine).

Matt is so cute: he flutters around his kitchen talking a mile a minute to his mom about the possibility of getting into school. Shelby tells him she has money saved and will send him some every month. But, the love buzz in the room is killed when Lorraine walks in and shoots the idea to hell. She's such a selfish old biddy sometimes. Matt is crestfallen that his grandma doesn't approve, and so am I.

Lorraine has a moment alone with Julie and asks if she knows anything about Matt wanting to be an artist. She says that yes, she knows he'd like to do something more than football. Lorraine says she encourages him in whatever he wants to do (whatevs, Grandma!), but she just doesn't want to lose him. Jules agrees. Aw.

The College Essay
Tyra, who we all know is a smart girl, is struggling with writing her college essay. She gives it to Landry, and she can tell he hates it. He tells her it reads like a five-page needlepoint (ha!) and that she needs to dig deeper.

Later at practice, Coach tells Landry that because of his excellent work off and on the field, he will get to play in the state game! He's so excited and tells Tyra to ditch her crappy seats, because he's got better ones! She tells him she can't go because she has to redo her essay. Talk about being crestfallen! Come on, Tyra, get your sh-t together and write the essay so you can go to the game and support your friend!

Landry goes to a pre-game rager and gets wasted. He passes out and misses the bus to Austin, but luckily Matt wakes him up with a phone call and tells him to start driving. He has to agree to help Tyra with her essay so she'll drive him to the game. On the way to the hotel, Landry tries to help Tyra but she gets so frustrated, she just yells at him. But, by yelling at Landry, she discovers exactly what she should write about: her journey from hateful hellion to sensitive dreamer. She says that Jason being paralyzed taught her that life isn't fair for anyone, and that she needed to get over herself. She changed for the better after she became friends with Julie; Tami took an interest in her and she met Landry. It's a very moving scene, and wonderful to see her realize how far she's come.

Later we hear Tyra's new essay as a voiceover, and Landry is blown away. It's all about the things she wants for herself in life, and how college is a way for her to begin making her dreams become a reality. Of course, after such a heartfelt moment, they must kiss!

State
Coach always knows the right thing to say at the beginning of every game... hell, he knows the right thing to say all the time! As my friend said on Facebook, "Everything I know, I learned from Coach Taylor." Love it! Anyhoo, he tells the team, "I have one question for you: Can you play like Champions?" Goosebumps!

The Panthers are up against the undefeated South Texas Titans, and right off the bat, we can tell this is gonna be a rough game. They're bigger, stronger and more aggressive, and J.D. is not on his game. He's distracted and pissed off, and blames his fellow teammates for not giving him enough coverage. Come on J.D., you know that's not what this is about. Coach tells him to get his head in the game, but it doesn't work. By the half, the Titans are winning 27-0. Coach gets tough with the team and rearranges their approach to the game. He also takes J.D. out and puts Matt back in. That does the trick, because the Panthers make an amazing comeback, scoring four touchdowns, and gaining the lead. However, the Titans get the ball back and with six seconds left, score a field goal for the win.

After the game, Coach brings the team's friends and family into the locker room to address the players. He says he could not be more proud of the team and that this will be the game that everyone talks about for years to come. They played amazing football, and regardless of the outcome, they are champions.

As the team readies to leave, they notice Riggins is missing from the bus. We then see Riggins walk on to the empty field and take a moment. This was his last high school football game, and they didn't win. But, it's an intensely personal, almost sacred moment. He places his cleats on the field, like an offering on an altar, and heads to the bus. Tears!

What did you think about the outcome of the big game?

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Tami and Coach are forced to call Child Protective Services about the incident between J.D. and Joe, Tyra works on her college essay with Landry and the Panthers head to Austin to play the South Texas Titans in the state championships. read more

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Premiered: October 03, 2006, on NBC
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (1,777 ratings)
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Premise: Creator Peter Berg's drama centering on the players and coach of a high-school football team in Dillon, Texas, a small town in which football is near religion. The critically acclaimed series is based on the best-selling book and 2004 film of the same name.

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