'Friday Night Lights' Premiere: 4 New Beginnings


>"Every hero has a journey:" As Tim Riggins listens to a philosophical lecture about heroes at the beginning of his freshman year at San Antonio State, he decides college isn't for him. He gets in his truck—throwing his textbooks out on the road as he drives—and begins his journey back to a divided Dillon that has changed since he last donned the Panther blues.

Riggins isn't the only one starting anew. In fact, life is different for most everyone in Dillon, including Dillon's first couple, Tami and Eric Taylor. Tami is still a counselor at Dillon, but it seems like many—including the football boosters—resent her. And Coach Taylor must build a football team from scratch with players who aren't even versed in the basic rules of football.

Here are four scenes that represent where the characters stand at the start of the fourth season.

1. Tim Riggins

We are introduced to new cast member: Becky, an East Dillon student, when she wakes Riggins up with her singing (Riggins happened to be at Becky's house that morning because he slept with her mom the night before). It's obvious Becky has a quick wit about her. She asks Riggins, "What's it like being the guy who used to be Tim Riggins?"

Good question.

Is he someone who's come home only to realize he's not wanted anymore? A has-been who threw away a chance to be the first in his family to graduate from college? A kid who just won't ever grow up? What, if anything, will become of him?

2. Matt Saracen

When Saracen arrives at J.D. McCoy's mansion to deliver pizza, McCoy asks Saracen, "So, you make, like, your girlfriend deliver pizza with you all the time?" Saracen just can't escape Dillon football, and McCoy has turned into an arrogant prick.

3. Vince Howard

After Coach Taylor purges some of East Dillon's malcontents from the team, he asks Vince Howard if he wants to stay. Howard, a new character who has a long track record of non-violent petty thefts, is given a chance to play football at East Dillon. If he screws up, he'll end up in juvenile hall. Howard wants to play. In fact, he is the only character in this episode whose current circumstances seem better than his past.

4. Coach Taylor

After another patented Coach Taylor speech, his undermanned and under-skilled team leaves it all on the field, making up for their lack of skill with effort and grit. At halftime, East Dillon's players are battered and bruised. But no one wants to give up. In the end, fearing one of his players may get seriously injured, it's Coach Taylor who throws in the towel, forfeiting the game at halftime. How will he and his players be viewed? Will they be applauded for their efforts? Or mocked as losers and quitters? Looks like we'll find out next week.

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Tony Lee contributes to The Atlantic Online. Follow him on Twitter: @TheTonyLee.

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