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Of Lions and Lambs: Thoughts on the Season Premiere of Friday Night Lights

"I'm going to miss this." - Eric Taylor

Those words, spoken by Kyle Chandler's Eric Taylor in the season premiere of Friday Night Lights ("Expectations"), written by David Hudgins and directed by Michael Waxman, are said as he looks over at the minor squabble developing between wife Tami (Connie Britton) and daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden). But that simple sentence, offered in a sweet and rather sad tone, might as well encapsulate the overall feeling of the audience: we're going to miss this too.

Even though the "this" in question might be yet flare-up of adolescence angst from Julie Taylor. But it's the fact that the Taylors are together, engaged in the regular rigors of daily life, that the entire declarative statement takes on bigger meaning. Change is coming for the Taylors, with Julie heading off the school. Their family is once again being split up and those breakfasts, those arguments, those stolen moments are soon to be a thing of the past.

The arrival of the fifth season marks the beginning of the end, as it were, of Friday Night Lights and the installment plays up this sensation by offering a series of farewells, most notably from Julie and Landry (Jesse Plemons), each heading off to a new life at university. At its heart, Friday Night Lights has echoed the rhythms and patterns of quotidian life: seasons pass, people come and go, lovers come together. Life goes on as it always does, with friends returning, children growing older, parents realizing just how quickly time has passed.

I'm tempted to speed through this final season but I also want to savor it, knowing that it's the very end of our stay in Dillon, a town that's largely changed from when we first encountered it in the pilot episode. But, hold on though we might want to, just like Eric, we too can't stop the passing of time.

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