The theme here seems to be that since Coach left, everything has basically gone to hell. There was a certain equilibrium found with Coach Taylor's presence in Dillon, and with him out of the picture, everyone feels out of place and out of sorts. That's a nice idea, it's just not executed very well.

For one thing, Tim's journey here is kind of absurd. I like the idea that you have Jason and Lyla each telling him to take responsibility for himself, and Buddy telling him it's not his fault, but the idea that everything in his life is falling apart, from his brother sleeping with his ex, to his collapse at practice, to his ill-fated visit to Lyla's megachurch and ensuing pass at her. It's just all so much so fast that it feels rushed and lumpy. Plus, neither he nor Jason is the best actor, and pairing them up thus doesn't promise much.

On the other hand, this is the most I've liked Herc the whole season. While the guy is basically a walking cliche, his advice to Jason that people are going to take advantage of his false hope and desperation is the most clear-headed he's seemed in the entire series. In keeping with the general theme, the idea that the Tennessee coach just sees him as a mascot and not a valuable part of the team like Coach Taylor did leaves Jason willing to indulge in his fantasies of walking again is another sign of how Coach Taylor's absence leaves everyone else messed up and making bad decisions.

That's truest for the story of Tami and Taylor. Tami is clearly at her wits end trying to take care of Grace on her own, and Julie feels neglected and is acting out. That's not a bad plot, but the fact that this newbie Glenn is turning subtext into text, and we get a soap opera slap and crying session doesn't really make it work.

We also get a somewhat contrived power struggle between Matt and Smash that seems unmotivated. Matt never seemed like the type who yearned for the spotlight or the leadership, and so his resentfulness felt out of place. Smash's response that he's a senior and it's his recruitment year and that Matt will have his turn is a good retort, but it just seems like a fight out of nowhere. But again, Matt too is in disarray, with his ex-girlfriend quickly dating another guy, his starring role on the football team reduced to game-manager, and a new home arrangement that leaves him out of control as well. It's not particularly well done, but at least it's plausible that Matt would resort to this because so much in his life elsewhere is going wrong. That said, do we really need him to hook up with his grandmother's caretaker, as this is clearly headed toward? She too feels like a walking cliche, with her "I'm putting myself through college, lets begin at odds but slowly develop a mutual respect and eventual attraction" routine.

And Buddy's attempt at a coup seems implausible as well. They do a good job at showing why Coach would want to leave -- having to treat his players like cattle that are useful or aren't rather than young men to be molded, but him getting involved in a conspiratorial plot to dethrone his successor seems strained. It's also obvious why Buddy, who particularly finds himself on the outs after Coach's departure, would want a return to the status quo, but his machinations seem pretty convenient here.

That said, the one pairing that seems to be on an even-keel is Tyra and Landry. There's not much to add since the last episode, but I like the idea that even in the midst of this ill-considered storyline, the budding relationship between Tyra and Landry, and Tyra's growing realization that while Landry isn't the type of guy she usually dates, he has lots of qualities that make him better than she initially realized is a sweet one. It's an odd plot to wrap this all in, but at least there's some good person-to-person stuff in the middle of it.

All-in-all, a lot of the storylines here seemed out of nowhere or overboard, but the individual moments are enough to save the episode from being outright bad.

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