Tim Riggins stands in the locker room in his football uniform, sweaty and thoughtful, staring down at the football he's holding in his hand


Title: Friday Night Lights S1.E07 “Homecoming”
Released: 2006

Drinks Taken: 16 drinks and 5 shots

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Welcome back to the Friday Night Lights Rewatch Project, Panther fans! I feel both very qualified and not qualified at all to join the team here. I’m not qualified because I have never – ever ever! – made it past, or even all the way through, Season 2, lol. But I’ve watched Season 1 many times! And more than that, I grew up in Lufkin, Texas, home to Panther Pride football, a Class 5A division team that has, in fact, won state. Plus, I actually like football. I had season tickets to the Longhorns all four five years I was at UT, and I’m in an all-women’s fantasy league called the Vagina Monoleagues.

In other words, I’m basically a jock. Last week, Kandis asked me who I’d ask to a Dillon High dance. No way would I have the guts to ask out Riggins, and Saracen’s too busy mooning over Julie. Jason Street has plenty on his plate with Lyla, so I think I’d hedge my bets and go with Landry. I’m more likely to get a “yes,” and I feel certain we’d have a blast together.

In Kandis’ episode, Tim and Lyla sprung Jason from rehab for a good old-fashioned Texas Forever retreat. They also made the wise decision to stop sleeping together – just in time for Jason to get suspicious. Voodoo went back to Louisiana (byeeee), but not before making sure officials knew that he hadn’t been eligible to play, so their win against Arnett Mead is forfeit. One of Matt’s and Landry’s band friends was beaten up by a Panther, and Matt eventually did the right thing and took a stance against his bully of a teammate.

Let’s drink to my being contractually obligated to finish S2 this time!

The Official FYA Friday Night Lights Season 1 Drinking Game

Drink once every time:

You want to give Matt Saracen a hug
Tami Taylor drinks a glass of white wine 
Tami Taylor says “y’all”
Landry Clarke goes off on a tangent
You’re Team Tyra Collette
Buddy Garrity makes you roll your eyes
You think, “It’s JUST football, people.”
The quick camera cuts make you reach for the Dramamine

Drink twice every time:

The Panthers score a touchdown
Tim Riggins makes poor choices
There’s a classic Coach Taylor pep talk
Grandma Saracen says something sassy

Take a shot every time you hear:

“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!”
“Texas Forever.”

Finish your drink when:

Hands slap the Panther “P”
Jason’s incident happens
Book club admits they don’t read the book

On to the episode!

Jason Street sits in his wheelchair, back to camera, overlooking the enormous crowd of Panther fans for the homecoming game

1.07 “Homecoming”

Get out your comically oversized mums because it’s homecoming in Dillon! Spirits are high despite the deluge of bad luck raining down on our boys this season, and at the town-wide alumni rally, alumnus Lucas “The Maneater” Mize has returned to join the fun. He’s mostly here to illustrate how unlikely it is that a high school football career will lead to a lifetime of success – after an injury and dropping out of college, he’s asking Coach for a job. Coach doesn’t have one for him.

Pay attention to the above, Smash. Football recruiter Grady Hunt’s in town and Smash is pulling focus with all that patented big Smash talk. During practice, he walks the walk, too, impressing the recruiter, but he gets in his head before the big game and plays so poorly that Coach has to bench him. Smash is CRUSHED, telling his mom he knows he’s “this family’s meal ticket,” and between Smash and The Maneater, FNL’s doing a great job of showing us how for some of these kids, football means a lot more than fame and glory: it’s a path to financial security for themselves and their loved ones. After Grady Hunt tells Smash multiple times that he might be too small to make it in the NFL, the episode ends with Smash injecting himself with steroids. SIGH.

But Smash’s crisis of confidence gives another player his time to shine: yep, our boy Tim Riggins steps up the plate! Or the, uh, 10-yard line! After Lyla rightly tells Tim that it’s pathetic that he’s drunk at 7 in the morning, Tim decides to clean up his act. He stops drinking for the week, starts practicing hard and exercising, and when Coach benches Smash, Tim’s ready, winning the game for the Panthers with a few very impressive plays. It’s all quite handsome and exciting!

It’s great timing, too, because Jason saw Lyla and Tim’s extra-long hug last week, and after Coach invites him to the homecoming game, Jason decides to attend to see if he can pick up on any sexual tension between his girlfriend and his BFF. Everyone gives Jason different advice about representing at homecoming: his dad thinks it’ll be great for him, his mom thinks it’s too soon, Herc thinks they’re treating him like a pitiful little mascot. In the end, Jason mostly looks proud of Tim, and as in love with Lyla as ever, and his moment on the field is incredibly moving.

And finally, Tyra’s teamed up with Tim’s big brother Billy to pull off a Risky Business-style scheme. They decide to throw the “Anti-Homecoming,” investing in a shocking amount of booze and all the dancers from the gentlemen’s club where Tyra’s sister works in the hopes of making money. They do make money – thousands of dollars, actually – and I love seeing Tyra’s entrepreneurial spirit, but not as much as I’d love to see her share a storyline with at least one (1) other woman.  

How many times do I have to take a drink?

16 sips and 5 shots (play with Gatorade, guys – it’s better for your liver and on theme for the show!)

Did the Panthers win?

They did! Thanks to our would-be Homecoming King, Tim Riggins.

MVP of the Week

Tim Riggins, a handsome white guy with messy, chin-length brown hair, wearing a blue Panthers football jersey

I mean, do you have to ask? While Tim maybe only stopped drinking and started thinking to impress Lyla, I’m a firm believer that doing the right thing for the wrong reason still counts, because it can change you in important ways.

Least Valuable Brother of the Week

Meanwhile, Tim’s big brother Billy gets the L by mercilessly mocking his impressionable younger sibling for making an attempt at sobriety.

Best Taylor Couple Moment

As Coach is sweating The Maneater’s job request, Tami sums up the theme of the episode and also sort of the entire series by shrugging, “This town makes these teenage kids into idols. And then they get out of here and everybody’s not just giving them something all the time. They don’t know what to do with themselves; they fall flat on their faces. It’s a shame. What are you gonna do?”

Tim Riggins’ Finest Moment

Tim Riggins pushes Jason Street out onto Panther field. The banner billows behind them and Jason raises a fist, looking tearfully off-camera

When he and Jason go out on that field together, I cried. When he gave the game ball to Jason and told him he was the heart of the team, I cried. Listen, I NEED these boys to stay best friends, ok? It’s important to me!! *sticks fingers in ears and hums forever*

The Taylor Advice of the Week

Coach tells Smash not to worry about the man with the clipboard (Grady Hunt), so of course Smash does nothing but worry about the man with the clipboard. (Just because it wasn’t heeded doesn’t mean it’s not good advice.)

Post-Game Breakdown

I love this episode. I mean, in a show about high school football, the episode called “Homecoming” had better be an all-timer, right? And it is! It’s got all the factors I want in an FNL ep: it stirs the blood, warms the heart, and Local Boy Tim Riggins Makes Good.

Next week Sarah returns to cover 1.08 “Crossing the Line.” My question for her – and for you, readers! – is if you were attending Dillon High, what table would you be sitting at in the cafeteria? Panthers, cheerleaders, band nerds, outcasts – any cliché will do!

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Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.