6.5/10. Look, you have to give the show some credit for having a vision when it comes to Jason Street, for hinging a lot of this story on the idea that Jason is able to persuade people, to give a big speech and convince someone that what he's saying is right and they should listen to him. The problem is that these big moving speeches never sound right coming out of Scott Porter's mouth, so the whole thing ends up falling flat. It's like having a story about someone moving through the ranks of the music scene and everyone being in awe of her voice when the real life actress can't sing very well. There's a disconnect that sinks the ship before it's even out of the harbor.
It doesn't help that everything that happens to Jason continues to be implausible. It's a really dumb idea for him to just go to New York without calling his job prospect or his babymama or anyone. I thought the show might at least give it a dose of realism after the sports agent basically told him, "this was crazy, and you're not going to get a job by just showing up out of the blue." But of course, there's a contrived situation where Jason can use his friendship with the character we met for two seconds last episode to get a job, and he can use that into getting his babymama to accept him back. The whole "a man will do anything if it's for his family" is a really on the nose speech that lays out the moral of this story in incredibly loud terms, and it completes the perpetual crap sandwich that has been nearly every Jason Street story this entire show.
But it's not all bad. For one thing. Tim Riggins (and Taylor Kitsch) has improved by leaps and bounds and his presence elevates Jason's storyline. And while his tearful zoom-in-and-nod scene lays it on a little thick, there's real emotion there that Street/Porter can't muster. Plus, god-willing, this is Jason Street's four-episode exit the same way Smash (who's sorely missed) had one, and we don't have to deal with him anymore. An appropriately maudlin, miscalculated ending for a character the show has never really known what to do with.
Speaking of bad ideas and bad storylines, we return to the saga of Tyra and Cash. Cash is so clearly a cad, and while it's plausible that a 17-year-old (it takes a heavy dose of willing suspension of disbelief to accept that Adrianne Palicki or Taylor Kitsch are 17) would buy his B.S., it's painful to watch her give up the difficult-if-rewarding path of getting into college over the easy pleasures of following some cute boy. I guess I appreciated that Cash was straight up with Tyra about being faithful while going six months on the rodeo circuit, but you just want Tyra to wake up and realize this kid is bad news already and that this is going to blow up in her face. I suppose that's what the show wants you to feel, to see this car crash coming, but the whole "boy vs. future" conflict is so trite that the whole storyline is just an exercise in frustration.
Fortunately, the rest of the episode is much better, and it centers around different people trying to persuade Coach of one thing or another. Mac's heart attack is convenient, but it does create an opportunity for more of the King/Taylor cold war to progress with Coach feeling pressure to hire J.D.'s private QB coach to fill the spot, and Coach doing it because it makes sense but feeling uneasy about it.
At the same time, you have Matt making his pitch (with a lot of help from Julie) to play wide receiver if he's not going to start as QB anymore. It's a canny way to get Matt back on the field (though I may just feel that way with rumors swirling today about Longhorns' QB Jerrod Heard making the same transition), and the way the Taylors' dinner with Matt devolves into Coach running Matt through the route tree to prove himself is a nice way to dramatize that.
And I really love the dispute between Coach and Tami over the house, because it's one of those situations where FNL could take the easy route and have Coach give in on buying the fancy new house and giving Tami what she wants and this whole episode could have been about persuading people to do things they don't want to do. Instead, Tami and Coach fight, and both are unhappy about how things go, and yet they still don't buy a house. Coach gives it a full and fair consideration and that's all Tami wanted, and it's a great look at how mature adults can resolve disputes and appreciate one another and not get something they wanted but still be okay with it because they worked it out with their partner and they both reached an understanding. Tami and Coach are such a great couple and great role model for how you can be wrong even when you're right, but still be able to make it better without some grand, idiotic, Jason Street-esque gesture.
Daw, and there goes my favorite character...