Friday Night Light’s Series Finale Review: Texas Forever (2023)

One of the greatest shows, possibly ever, came to an end last night. It’s hard to form words on the beauty and grace that was last night’s finale. This show, which I started watching from the very beginning, has been a gift to all who have watched and to all who will watch in the future. It’s the type of show that awakens the soul and makes you realize howgreattelevision can be in this country.

Friday Night Lights has always been about the characters, the relationships, and the bonds that were formed in the small town of Dillon, Texas. It showed the heart and soul of America through the eyes of Coach Eric and Tami Taylor and it ended with these two starting over again, somewhere new, ready for a new beginning. The show ended with everyone starting a new beginning, a new chapter in their lives, optimistic about the future and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Last week we saw these characters in some pretty rough places and it looked like there was the possibility that we wouldn’t see everyone with a totally happy ending.

The Riggins

I’ve gone on and on this season about how amazing this family has been. If you had asked me back in Season 1, 2, or 3 that I would miss Billy and Mindy, I would have probably said no. However, after last season and this season, I have totally fallen in love with them. We never really got to see who Mindy was back in the earlier seasons; she was just Tyra’s white trash stripper sister who didn’t look like she was going anywhere. Mindy became the most interesting character this season in my opinion and I cried right along with her when she dropped off Becky at her mother’s house. Becky was/is so lucky to have Billy, Mindy, and Tim as her surrogate family. They took her in at a time when she needed a family the most and they stayed with her until she realized that she could go back and live with her mom. Yes, Mindy was devastated but Becky was there to tell her, just as Tim had told her early on in the episode that they were family and sisters, and that type of bond never dies.

I was also glad that Luke came back and told Becky that he loved her and that he wanted to be with her forever. This was kind of the only scene really got with him in this episode but it was still enough. We had the touching scene between him, Vince, Tink, and Hastings last week, this week, it was about the relationships and to me that was OK. It was interesting to see that Luke had joined the Army but I am glad they choose that path for him. Out of every player we had seen come and go on this show, Luke was by far the most loyal and brotherly football player. The Army is exactly the type of organization and team that Luke belongs in. He will excel there and to me Becky will stand by his side, and be the perfect Army wife when the time comes. Becky, like Luke, is a very loyal person and she loves Luke because he too is her family; ending the series with these two together was very fitting.

Tim Riggins

How I do even begin to say goodbye to such an amazingly complex and beautiful character? Words can’t express how much his character will be missed. I loved every scene he had in this finale. I loved that he slowly started to believe in himself again and that he started to forgive Billy. I loved that he told Tyra that he understood that she had dreams but that he did have hope for their dreams to merge on day and the smile she had on her face, you could tell, she wanted the same exact thing. But for now, that dream of them being together is a long ways a way because she has plans and he does not. In my opinion, these two found each other down road again, Tim coaching football and Tyra superintendent of the county schools (she wants to go into politics remember?). I loved seeing Matt and Julie and Tim and Tyra together at Buddys bar celebrating Matt and Julie’s engagement. It was great to see four of the main original characters back together for one scene and I was equally glad that it was these four.

And how could I forget that final scene with Billy and Tim. It was beautiful to see these two end the series together building Tim’s dream house together. Apparently this scene could have ended with Jason Street and Tim building his house together and while that could/would have been just as moving, I have to agree with Jason Katims that ending with Bill and Tim was better. This scene was a redemption seen for both characters. They had begun to move on from their past and look towards to the future in the most beautiful place in Texas. For them Texas was theirforever.

Vince Howard

When we first met Vince he was a messed up kid who was pretty much headed straight to jail. He didn’t have a future. Then he met Coach Taylor and Coachchanged his lifeforever. Vince went through so much these past two seasons. He really had to find out who he was and decide what it was he wanted. Seeing Coach Taylor mold this boy into a man was some of the best scenes I have seen throughout this entire series. Vince really grew into a man and seeing his confidence grow so much over the past two seasons was really something special. I was glad that hisfathershowed up to the state game. I am glad that things worked out between Jess and Vince. I do wonder though what happened with them in the future. We never really got that answered. All we saw was Jess going to Dallas with her family and getting to help coach her new football team there, thanks the the help of Coach Taylor. I imagine that they found a way to stay together. Who knows, maybe her high school team met his Dillon Panthers in the next state game the following year. That would’ve been something. I am just glad that these two embraced their new futures and were seen happy with them. To me that was a beautiful ending.

The Taylors

I guess I should start with Matt and Julie. It was nice to see these two get engaged, even if Eric and Tami did not approve at first. I absolutely LOVED that Matt proposed to her at the Alamo Freeze. What a perfect place to get down on one knee and propose to the girl you love, at the place where it all began. I have to say that really tugged at my shipper heart. I loved how Matt went to Landry’s to ask him for advice on how to talk to Coach Taylor about asking for his blessing. It was a great scene that reminded me why their friendship was just so amazing and so fun and uplifting. I would have loved to have seen a scene with Landry and Tyra, but hey, what can you do? Anyways, Matt and Julie got their happy ending. I guess Julie moved to Chicago which I think was a good fit for here. I also loved that Mrs.Saracen told Julie to call her Grandma now because they were family. That was truly one beautiful scene. Matt and Julie will always be one of my all-time favorite couples and I am glad they ended this series together, happy and in love.

And it all comes back to Eric and Tami. Man I am going to miss these two being on my television screen together. Seeing Eric struggle for half the episode about trying to decide where his future was headed, where his wife and daughters’ future were headed, was a really tough thing to watch. I really felt for Tami when Julie sat at that restaurant table telling her parents that they were inspiration and that she understood that Marriage was about compromise. So I was very very happy when Eric came to Tami at the Mall where she was having Gracie-Bell get a picture with Santa Clause, and he told her that he was moving with her to Philadelphia. It was nice to see him come to his senses and be there for his wife.

Then there was that final scene. I had pretty much kept it together for most of the episode(except the credits, I balled at the opening credits and see all of the smiles on those characters faces) until I saw Coach Taylor sit with his new high school team in PA, and tell them that they had a long road ahead of them, but that he was excited to be there with them. And then he said “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts…” and there was silence. He realized that they didn’t know that saying yet, but that he would get to that another day. I pretty much lost it right there because you could tell that he was content and happy with the decision he had made. He had made his underdog team win State and now he had the chance to start over and do it again, probably with less stress than in Texas, and mold these young boys into men. He then met his wife out on the field and they walked off together with as lights went out behind them and that was it. The show was over, frozen in our memories forever.

The happiness in Tami and Erics eye’s as they walked off that field together showed us that it was OK to move on and be at peace. That’s what this show wants us to do, to remember, but to move on and be a peace that the show is over. Yes, I sobbed myself to sleep once it was over. However I woke up this morning at peace. This show inspired me, it inspired it’s viewers, and it inspired it’s fans. This show will never be forgotten. It was one of the best shows to ever grace American television. I am at peace. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts…andTexas Forever.


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