This is an episode about interlopers, and the good and bad that comes with them.

Contrary to the less than auspicious start from the end of the last episode, I actually liked Riggins bunking with the Taylors. His sarcastic wit is growing on me, and while Julie and Shelley flirting on him is hacky, I liked Tami and Coach's reactions to him. What's more it makes for a good stop in his development, showing how despite his cromagnon style, he's looking out for Julie and connecting with Coach and trying to earn his keep. Unfortunately, the Three's Company-level misunderstanding with Coach seeing him deposit a drunk Julie into bed is such a contrived way to move on from that plot. Like a lot of FNL narrative, there's some really good individual moments, but the story as a whole doesn't hang together.

In the same vein, we get a similar fight between Tami and her sister to the one between Tami and Julie last week, and the results aren't as good as even that less-than-flawless bit of story execution. I'm not sure what they've been doing with Tami this season. Obviously she's got a lot on her plate and that makes her at wit's end, but she's been a lot snippier with people and less likable in general. But the sister is a pretty stock character who doesn't engender much sympathy from me, so the whole thing lacks a lot of force.

And then there's Landry and Tyra hitting an inexplicable roadblock. I thought they'd gotten past this thing already with Tyra's conversation with Landry's dad at Applebees where she realized all the reasons she likes Landry. This seems like an arbitrary roadblock to them inevitably getting together. The third wheel of "Chip" from the rivalry school playing Victor Krum to Landry's Ron Weasley was weak, and the whole deal of Tyra seeming embarassed by being with Landry feels out of character for her too. The show does a good job of trying to explain it with her saying that she feels so much for him that it freaks her out, but still; it's a handwave. Thankfully, Landry's speech about thinking Tyra's so much better than this, but not being willing to wait around forever while she figures that out. As Mrs. Bloom said, "Good for him!"

In keeping with the interloper theme, the story about Dillon High having to share with the Laribee people was pretty weak given how cartoonishly evil they made everyone from Laribee. Sure, the moment where Coach Taylor comes out of nowhere, and gets physical with the Laribee Coach after he gets into it with Tim is a great moment, made all the more salient by Coach Taylor taking the high ground despite the opposing coach's dickishness throughout the episode, but it's such broad, predictable stuff. Again, the magnitude of the moment gives meaning to Riggins thanking Coach and their shaking hands, which gives some stakes to Coach kicking him out later, but it's such a mixed bag given the larger storytelling problems in the episode.

Oh yeah, and there's Pam Garrity getting married and Buddy's reaction to it. A lot of it is played for comedy, but also for pathos. Again, Buddy can be too broad of a character for stuff this heavy to work, but I like the idea that he's someone used to being able to make anything he wants happen, and he's being truly humbled and left scrambling by all of this. There's some pathos there, even if it's pretty slight.

Yet another episode where some really great individual moments help counterbalance a fair amount of cruddy overall stories.

loading replies
Loading...