6.3/10. There's poetry in Smash's landing spot being Whitmore. It's obviously not what he wanted; it's definitely not what he dreamed of, and the whole way his dream was ripped away from him was very quick and convenient to the story the show wanted to tell, but it's still a pleasant way to close the season out for him. The way his mom walks in and tells her how proud she is of him, the way that sunshine cuts through his clouds, is magnificent. Whitmore is not where Smash saw himself, but it might just be the best place for him, and the coach's statement that their team is a family, and that he believed in Smash from the beginning suggest that for a man without a father (albeit one hell of a mother), the Coach at Whitmore might slide into the helpful advisory role that Coach Taylor has played thus far.
But yet again, the rest of the episode is a gigantic mixed-at-best-bag.
There were a fair number of amusing moments with the Taylors and Tami's old flame Moe. But again I ask you, how many love triangles does this show need. Admittedly, this wasn't a real love triangle, and there were some subtle displays of why Coach prevailed, namely the fact that he gave the other team a touchdown to be gracious whereas Moe would have kept his foot on the gas, and Tami appreciates that kind of decency that Moe clearly lacks. Plus, it gave us some nice reaction shots from Coach. But the fact that it turned into a drinking contest and brawl reaffirms that much of this season in particular is just a sitcom on steroids.
Speaking of which, Riggins is back chasing Lyla! Joy of joys! Lyla's trip to Chris's cabin was fairly dull. There's a decent sense that Lyla has immersed herself in this world of perfection on again, and years for the rougher edges that Riggins offers. But I just don't by any real romance between the two of them, and throwing in a dead-eyed religious dude doesn't do anything to spark that up. Riggins has improved a lot this season, but his infatuation with Lyla has been a continual drag.
And, of course, we have to deal with more of Jason's dull misadventures. The idea that he got that waitress pregnant after one night stand is such a soap opera twist. As I often say when it comes to Jason, you could tell an interesting story about a young kid wanting to have a child because he's not sure if he'll ever have another chance, but Jason's performance is just so unconvincing, and the character himself so little-likable, that the entire exercise comes off as a giant bore. No moment feels meaningful with him because he just has the air of a self-interested jerk no matter what's going on around him.
This one doesn't feel like a season finale. Who knows if we'll head to the playoffs in the next season or start anew once more. Overall, this was a very, very rough season after the build to quality in S1. Everybody sans Smash was saddled with some unfortunate albatross of a third wheel or ill-conceived storyline. I'm not sure if it's just a sophomore slump or the writer's strike, but this was a significant step down from a season where the show was still finding its footing.