Unlike many of you, I am a DirecTV subscriber and therefore have been able to see season three of "Friday Night Lights" in its entirety. What is to follow will likely be chock-full of spoilers, so for those of you who were not motivated enough to find a way to watch something that was readily available for the resourceful, you may want to avert your gaze and kick your curiousity's ass, right now.
This third season seemed to veer away from the errant path that many fans took issue with, namely the somewhat odd Landry/Tyra storyline that ate up a lot of the first half of the series' second season. Instead, season three goes back to what works for "Friday Night Lights"--telling the stories of small town life, focusing on the people connected in some way to that town's high school football team.
Season three saw Berg, Katims, & Company go back to revelling in the simpler things. Focus returns to the relationships, the mistakes everyone makes, the great lengths regular people will go to make their own way, and the making of boys into men. The awkward pauses are savored.
The dynamic of marital equality between Eric and Tami Taylor is brought back to the fore and is spiced up with a twist when Tami begins the year as Principal Taylor. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton play well with one another and command the screen whenever they're on it. Following the final Panthers game, the speech he delivers is perhaps the most moving passage in the whole series. His saintly self-control and preternatural ability to stay above the fray--to not get sucked into the base endeavors of the less honorable--drive both Coach Taylor and the trajectory of the show, regardless of the benefit in deviating from those principles. Tami is his rock but much like he does guides others to paths that can enable them to break free from the trappings of the lives they can so easily fall into.
The send-offs for Street and Smash are befitting the characters and give hope. The characters did not have much further to go within the confines of the series, but their future--enabled by grit and determination in the face of adversity--seems bright.
The iniquity of life is illustrated again and again through the struggles of the likeable Matt Saracen. The senior who has started for the greater part of two straight years sees a challenger of the douchebag variety unseat him, and the senior captain is suddenly a man without a position, left to drift much of his senior season, left to tend to his slipping grandmother, left to deal with the conflict of whether to do what is best for himself or best for those he loves--flawed as they may be.
Taylor Kitsch takes the role of Tim Riggins and steeps him with a cocksure swagger that at this advanced stage in the series there is little doubt must be innate--the affable man's man intent on "making memories" who carries himself as a bit of a fuck up but is really the glue, the ignitor, and the model of a man, living his life to his own code of honor in which only he is culpable for his own actions but will bend over backwards to make right by everyone he holds dear without want for recognition or appreciation.
As the season (and sadly, likely the series as well) closes, the McCoys act the foil to the better Coach Taylor, sullying the just with the sway of their money, and the arc of a new season seems to be at the ready. Its potential is certainly there, and while the likelihood of its continuation is next to nil, we can all hope for more.