Notes after the jump ...
Once again we were reminded what a very good actor Jesse Plemons is, and how very tortured Landry is. And that's the problem. The murder story has been resolved, but Landry's feelings about it have not. As he says in the episode, he has to choose between jail and hell, and by the end he has chosen hell. Doesn't matter what Tyra believes. Doesn't matter how his father hurts. Landry's got hellacious baggage, damaging him and the show, where the ghosts will lurk even if they are never spoken of.
Once again we are reminded how very, very, very good Connie Britton is. And Tami and Julie fighting is quite a spectacle. ("FNL" really knows how people fight.) But the Big Speech payoff before the christening felt too obvious, too manufactured.
Once again I have to say that I am disturbed by other things in the show. Street and the Internet date. Can I get an ick? Followed by a, how long did he know that waitress before she melted for him? What do they feed the women in Dillon? Which brings us, of course, to Matt and Carlotta, and as sweet as they could seem together, I still want no part of that story. Let's hope the writers spend some of their strike time thinking about how to get out of that without too much more damage.
I love Buddy as a character. I've been intrigued by his relationship with Santiago, and I like that Santiago didn't immediately prove to be a heroic player. But tonight? Not so sure. A big reason is that his big dramatic play was sure reminiscent of Landry's big dramatic play. (And what happened to Landry and the football team, anyway? If he's still playing, we should be seeing it. If he's off the team, shouldn't we have seen more conversation about it -- especially since he was briefly the big hero.)
But I also felt dread when Santiago was being pressed into stronger action on the field; this guy wasn't in jail on a too-soulful-expression charge. So I'm not sure how I feel about him being heroic (for one play; what did he do the rest of the game?), whether that means the show went the right dramatic way or the wrong one. One of those stories where I wonder what the next episode or two might hold. And I will keep sticking around, in spite of all my reservations.
What's left? Right, Riggins. It was OK, I suppose. But in an episode as densely plotted as this one, it also felt like the most expendable of the stories.