For Friday Night Lights diehards — and if you’re an FNL fan, that means you’re a diehard — it was the black eye on an otherwise gorgeously adapted television series.
We’re talking, of course, about that fateful Season 2 premiere episode from October 2007, where Landry (Jesse Plemons) avenges the assault on Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) by straight murdering the perp with a metal pipe. A massive tonal departure from the otherwise funny and inspiring (and very un-CSI-like) show, the polarizing plot misstep has since been blamed on network tinkering by NBC, desperate to amp up the beloved but underperforming program. In other words, it was a ratings stunt.
Plemons, who came by Yahoo Studios to promote his new film, Game Night (which coincidentally reunites him with his FNL coach, Kyle Chandler), looks at the episode with, ahem, clearer eyes, 10 years later.
“I mean, I’m kind of conflicted by it because it also provided me with an opportunity to do something totally different than I did in Season 1,” Plemons told us (watch above). “It was obviously some network influence there in Season 2. Along with the murder storyline, there were, all of a sudden, more shower scenes. And [direction to] go hang out by the Gatorade coolers.”
The FNL cast was onto NBC, Plemons assured us. “It was obvious at the time they were trying to amp up the action. Give the people what they thought they wanted.”
So how did the actors respond? “We just sabotaged all those scenes so they couldn’t use them, pretty much,” laughed Plemons, who has racked up multiple TV hits since (Breaking Bad, Fargo, Black Mirror).
Friday Night Lights ultimately prevailed, and thankfully, beyond Season 2, the whole murder plot was never referenced again.
But does Plemons think Landry ever killed again? “Oh yeah, many times,” he joked. But seriously, “No.”
Game Night opens Feb. 23.
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