We had our final Friday Night Lights Twitter party this past Friday night, and aside from the show itself, I’m genuinely going to miss the live-tweet sessions we hosted each Friday. We got the opportunity to know (and also know better) so many Friday Night Lights fans, and talk through so many different plot lines together, from the head-scratching ones (Julie and the TA!) to the heartbreaking (Vince and his dad). As the finale cued up at minute one and then faded at minute ninety, we also got to say goodbye to Dillon, Texas together, which felt so much more fulfilling than saying goodbye alone.
Some highlights from the finale and the final Smart Pop Twitter party!
First, we gave away a handful of books to those answered some FNL trivia the fastest. If you won (@maiqu20, @_comewhatmay, @Cate_Wahlberg, @AmazingGraceTx, and @Julaver, who nabbed her copy by tweeting a few fantastic thoughts throughout the episode), you should receive your free copy soon (but make sure you sent your address via DM).
Now, onto the episode:
I was lucky enough to watch the finale on DirecTV in February (for those not aware, DirecTV aired all of season four and five (commercial free) a few months before NBC did, so any an all DirecTV subscribers lucked out), which made this experience a little bittersweet because I wasn’t watching it with fresh eyes, but there are two reasons I’m so glad I didn’t wait: 1) DirecTV had no commercials (even with stellar production, the break-up of the scenes felt like it stole a little bit of movement and emotion from the show’s last episode) and 2) the pre-finale montage DirecTV gifted viewers with (which you can see here, and you should watch it, if you feel like crying once more about the show’s end).
As the episode kicked off, Jen Chaney (@celebritology) noticed that: “Friday Night Lights begins with a press conference, just like the pilot did.” Spot-on observation, Jen! Then, Landry showed up, which earned a lot of LANDRY! and LANCE!’s from across the Twitter-verse. We were happy to see him, it’s fair to say, and Leah tweeted that “I like to think Landry and Tyra have an awkward closure coffee meeting planned for later.” (Me too, Leah!)
Tim spends most of the finale with his nephew, Stevie, and I think we can all agree that a baby is the only thing that could have made him any sexier throughout the past five years. (As Leah said, “Riggins + baby is almost as good as Riggins + puppy.”)
Next, Matt shows up to ask for Coach’s blessing so he can (re)propose to Julie. How great was Kyle Chandler in this scene? Those facial expressions should earn him the Emmy alone! Then Coach goes home to tell Tami, and their interaction is the epitome of why we love this couple. Their banter, their timing, their physical acting, it’s all just pitch perfect.
The episode carries on, and we cry a little more (me, specifically, when Mindy brings Becky back home). We see Tyra and Tim slow dance back into each other’s hearts (as @julaver said, “I’d drive Tim Riggins to Alaska myself if he looked at me that way”) as they celebrate Julie and “Seven”‘s engagement. We see Tami defeatedly say she’ll pass on the Philadelphia job only for Coach to finally step up and give her the turn she deserves. We see the team trip to Dallas for the state championship game and we see (but don’t hear) one of the most poetic scenes in all of television play out. The team wins (we learn eight months later) and so does every other character, in their own way.
Tim and Billy toast to “Texas Forever,” as the second-to-last scene shows us that beautiful Texas sky one last time, and then we see Coach in Philadelphia, with a new group of kids to mold, and a new home to do it in. He and Tami walk off the field together, the lights go out, and we say our final goodbye.
(And tomorrow we get to crown our official favorite character. Who will it be? Vote between Coach and Riggins if you haven’t yet.)
There are dozens of really beautiful finale recaps out there, and you should read them all (a few: Allison Winn Scotch’s [@aswinn's] on Paste, Sarah Blackwood’s on Awl, and, of course, the complete oral history on Grantland, plus the ones we were able to quote in our anthology from earlier this year) because, it seems, the incredible show inspired some incredible writing (let us remind you, once more, of the writing it inspired of us: A Friday Night Lights Companion). I don’t think another show will come close, at least not for some time, but we’re eager to see what the Emmy’s outcome holds and, if you’re anything like me, you’re enjoying re-watching the show from the beginning once more.
Now, though, we want to open our comments to you: the reader, the viewer, the true Friday Night Lights fan. What did you think of the finale? Were you pleased? Were you disappointed with anything? Your favorite scenes? Your not-so-favorite ones? Share all your thoughts below. We’re all ears. (And full hearts, of course.)