So the title of this week’s episode is “Keep Looking,” and I’m assuming that the writers are using that metaphorically because at the episode’s onset, everywhere we turn, the kind folks of Dillon still haven’t found what they’re looking for.
Certainly Becky hasn’t, which is where we start. Becky is shacking up with Mindy, Billy and their baby, and still trying to carve out her little space in the world. She’s hoping to fit in at the Riggins’; she’s hoping to fit in by helming her school dance; she’s hoping to fit in with Mindy. And part of her thinks it might be working: she’s bonding with Mindy and she’s planning a kick-ass dance (theme: Texas Luau – oh, how I wish I could attend), so when her dad calls and announces that he expects her to move back in with him, she’s rattled. She thought she found what she was looking for, but now, it’s being tugged from beneath her. She begrudgingly packs her suitcase and hitches a ride with Mindy, who is a little begrudging herself: begrudging the fact that she’s slowly coming around to Becky. Such that when Becky’s dad proves to be an abusive douchebag, Mindy insists that she returns home to the Riggins house to stay with them for good. Maybe, ultimately, she will find what she’s looking for with Billy and Mindy: a solid family, someone to look out for her, a place she can call home. For now though, we’re just left hoping this small break might turn into Becky’s bigger break. Her brief and sickeningly cute (and I mean that in the best way) moment with Luke at the school dance has me hoping so. (More on that below. Hello, Matt Lauria – you’re killing it!)
While that’s the synopsis of Becky’s plot, there was so much comedic gold happening throughout, that I’d be remiss in my duties not to point them out:
-Mindy frantically exercising to a fitness show on TV while having a convo with Becky. OMG. Every new mom has been there, done that.
-Billy trying to make a move on Mindy after she agreed to let Becky stay. Mindy totally, totally shutting him down.
-Becky wisely offering negotiation advice to Mindy on how to get better shifts at the strip bar.
Elsewhere, Vince still hasn’t found what he’s looking for either. While Jess is working as equipment manager, his teammates are all up in her face (I’d call it sexual harassment if she didn’t embarrass them with her much-smarter quips right back at them), and Vince is (justifiably) annoyed and distracted. His dad is still loitering around too — tossing out advice from the bleachers and wooing his mom with nostalgic stories about when they first started dating. The boy is understandably put out about any of this, and good lord, I just wish he could catch a break. It seems hard to believe that this is the same kid who was being chased by the cops the first time we met him. Vince has tried so desperately to rehabilitate himself, and I wish the rest of the world could catch up to that. But as with all things on FNL, art imitates life, and well, life doesn’t always work out as we’d like it to. He’s still lookin’.
The one person who’s may actually have found something to hold onto in this episode is Luke. And I’ll be damned — slowly but surely, I’m head over heels, full-blown smitten with Luke. I may go so far as to say that he could be my Riggins 2.0, the high school student I inappropriately lust after, safely knowing that the actor who plays him is well into his 20s. Luke is being recruited by TMU, and Matt Lauria, as always, just nails it, with his sweet but still edgy enthusiasm. (Seriously, this is the same actor who played a gay assistant on Lipstick Jungle, and who now, week after week, convinces me that he is this 17-year-old Texas football player. Lauria is fantastic in everything he does, and I hope he works for a very, very long time.)
Anyway, Luke’s so hopped up on joy that he strides up to Becky at the school dance and delivers what I thought was one of the most realistic high school boy speeches I’ve seen on TV:
Luke: “I was just trying to impress you. You’re so pretty…did you hear about TMU? They invited me down, and I’m going to go and check it out tomorrow with some of the guys…gotta tell you something. You like me. You’re beautiful. And I’m gonna take you out sometime. I’m just letting you know…I’m coming for you, Sproles. Get ready.”
(Okay, when I type it, it doesn’t do it justice. But trust me, my inner high school girl was swooning.)
But back to the downers: turns out the Taylors aren’t still lookin’ for a little satisfaction as well, Julie is still screwing around with her TA (show of hands: does anyone think this will end well?), Tami is still trying to tame Epyck, and Coach is stuck dateless on date night while Tami works the school dance. Instead of romancing his wife, he cruises around town with Buddy, frantically searching for Buddy Jr., who’s been shipped back to Dillon and has opted to stir up some hell as his welcome-home present. He’s stealing cars, getting drunk and talking back to his dad. Nope, he’s certainly hasn’t found what he’s looking for either.
But you know what might cure everyone? You know what’s coming!
Football! Yes, in Dillon, Texas, football is the cure for all types of hangovers. Buddy and Coach decide that what Buddy Jr. needs is a little straighten-up, Texas-football style, and after a hilarious try-out, Buddy Jr. is on the team. Luke and Vince take a recruiting trip down to TMU, and in a musical montage that only FNL can pull off (i.e, the good kind of montage, not the eye-roll inducing kind of montage), we see them touring the campus, and it’s one of those glorious, golden moments that these kids deserve — that captured snippet when we all earned the right in high school to be invincible. Turns out, there might be hope for these kids yet. And by season’s end, they might just have found what they’ve looking for.