We’ve been waiting for it, and here it is. A Mindy Riggins (Stacey Oristano) episode. After a quick open of Vince (Michael B. Jordan) and Jess (Jurnee Smollett) finding it way too funny that her three little brothers have been watching them have sex, we find Mindy, sweatin’ to the ’90s and acting like she doesn’t love having Becky (Madison Burge) around to watch her baby while she gets her stripper body back. [Editor’s note: Though we’re almost positive that Mindy was always just a bartender at The Landing Strip, apparently she dances too. Because she wants her pre-baby butt back, stat.]
Becky has a dance-planning committee meeting in Casa Riggins, and though she pitches various themes for Friday’s dance, her classmates are all on board for “Texas Luau.” And no offense Becks, but they got you on this one.
Her trucker dad calls — mom is still working that casino boat — and demands she comes home. Becky reluctantly agrees. Mindy looks concerned that she’s about to lose her free labor.
Buddy Jr. is back, and recast with a surly teen that could honestly be mistaken for Brad Leland‘s actual son. His likes? Snide remarks, Tami Taylor’s (Connie Britton) boobs and cargo shorts. Dislikes? Imitation meat, school dances and his father’s disciplinary caress.
Another father/son duo that aren’t doing so hot are Vince and his handsomely-attired ex-con pops. Much to Vince’s displeasure, dad is still around, coming to practice and taking his mom out on frustratingly cute dates. Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) is trying to score an intro, but Vince says no, so he pumps one of the other football dads for information. Apparently Mr. Howard was in jail for assault and drug-dealing. “He was one of the baddest cats in the town,” says unnamed spectator.
That’s right, Vince’s dad is Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.
We’re already half-way into the episode and no Jul…
There she is. Now, don’t get us wrong. We would die for Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden) — die for her! — but every moment of Dillon storyline she steals from us, is one we’ll never get back. This is a boon to Gracie Bell’s stock, who’s made quick habit of peppering Season 5 with her slurred one-liners.
Anyways, Julie isn’t going to see married T.A. (aka: “Miami Vice’s” Crockett), but then she does. Zzzzz…
All Tami wants is to talk to her non-toddler daughter on the phone, but she’s do busy having ill-advised sex, so she really struggles with Epyck — yes, that’s how you spell it — who’s gone from eager beaver back to loose cannon. She gets a day’s suspension, crashes the dance, knocks over a few decorations and disappears.
Oh, that dance! It’s a buy week, so there’ll be no football — only dancing! — and the Texas luau looks like a lot less fun that it originally sounded. But it’s good for our young couples. Becki and Luke (Matt Lauria) are increasingly rekindly, and Jess and Vince seem to warm up a bit after an episode of tense locker room interaction. Vince is just worried about Leroy Brown getting his mom back on the drugs. Awe.
And Becky’s staying at the Riggins’ for the foreseeable future. The drop-off at her house, didn’t go so well, and Mindy is now fully committed to helping the girl out. This development makes us happy, because Mindy’s always been an untapped resource. And Imagine Tyra’s reaction when she returns later this season to a sister who’s actually a real character.
After stealing his father’s car and waking up barefoot, in a pile of broken Jack Daniels bottles, it’s clear that only one thing is gonna turn Buddy Jr. around… football. Welcome to the Lions, Buddy Jr. Please don’t steal any of our starting lineup’s thunder, because we’re quite happy with the team as-is, thank you very much.
Because “FNL” has been all about warming our hearts this season — seriously, things are going too well…. we’re braced for something awful to happen — the Lions head down to TMU, where a courted Luke gets a bunch of tickets to a game. While touring the gym, the head coach invites Vince in to meet the coaching staff. They all eagerly stand up to meet him and he just beams.
Photo credit: NBC-Universal