The Lions prepare for and play a televised game against the undefeated McNulty. Coach tries Vince out in quarterback position, and the Lions nearly pull off the huge upset. Vince teeters on a razor’s edge between his new life as upstanding young football player and his old.
But the heart of the episode belongs to two heartwrending farewells. Lyla comes back to town just long enough to remind herself how much she loves Tim Riggins and how much it won’t ever work between them. They spend three days in his trailer and, oh, if only the whole world were a ochre-lit Airstream trailer in the warm early Texas fall….
Julie and Matt take off to Austin to go to a music festival, causing Tami (who explicitly said no to this plan) to spend two days freaking out. But no parental anger will even register against what’s going on in Julie’s heart as she and Matt finally realize that him staying in Dillon is not working. Julie blurts out that she doesn’t want the responsibility for making him stay, Matt asks her, perhaps too hopefully, whether she wants him to leave. Julie tells him no, and she truly doesn’t want him to leave, but she also can’t bear to make him stay.
When he drops her off back at home they say goodbye, as if it’s for the night, but it’s obviously for much more. Julie walks in and instantly dismantles her mother’s anger by crumpling in sorrow, realizing that Matt’s going to leave. And leave he does, as we end on a shot of Matt driving a long road in his beat-up Taurus, his very slight smile only making us cry harder because the only thing more poignant than teen heartbreak is Matt Saracen inching toward happiness.
Photo credit: NBC