'Friday Night Lights': The Luckiest Man Alive?

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In a standout scene in this week's Friday Night Lights, Coach Taylor is approached by a stranger (a cameo by former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach) while gassing up his car. The stranger tells Coach: "You might be the luckiest man alive and not even know it." Perhaps he is.

Taylor may find joy in building a program from scratch. But right now, he has a squad who essentially quit the team because they feel he embarrassed their manhood by forfeiting.

Or he could find being a father figure to Vince rewarding, but Vince wants none of it. We got a peek into Vince's life this episode when Coach went to look for Vince at his home and encountered his spacey mother, who asks him for $20. Vince later confronts Coach and snaps at him. "You're not my father. I support my family," Vince says while defiantly giving Coach back the $20 he gave to his mom. Still, Coach asks Vince to convince the players to come back on the squad.

And then there's his old friend Buddy Garrity, who tips Coach off to Dillon Panther star Luke Cafferty's fake West Dillon address. Cafferty really resides in East Dillon, and Tami Taylor informs him that he must immediately attend East.


Coach Taylor calls a special practice, and Cafferty is the first to show. Moments later, Vince shows up with the rest of the squad behind him. Coach apologizes for giving up on them and asks them to join them him in finishing the fight that they started. Coach wants everyone to forget the past. To symbolize this, he starts a bonfire and throws last week's game film into the pit. Cafferty throws in his Panther t-shirt. And the East Dillon players throw their jerseys into the fire.

I liked this scene's symbolism. It made me think of East Dillon as the proverbial phoenix that rises from its ashes. You certainly get the sense that if these kids are to survive in the new environment into which they are thrust, they'll have to first run away from their pasts before they can begin to run towards their future.

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

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