At the end of last season, Joe McCoy’s money and influence convinced the boosters and the school board to replace Coach Taylor. McCoy’s guy, Wade Aikman, took over Taylor’s job. Coach Taylor was hired as the head coach of East Dillon High. East Dillon was a school that previously closed in the 1980s, but is being re-opened this school year. Coach Taylor is basically starting from scratch and building a new team.
In the first episode of season four, entitled East of Dillon, we are introduced to several new characters. Where were they last season? If they lived in Dillon, wouldn’t they have gone to Dillon High previously? Maybe they did. Maybe we just didn’t notice because we were focused on such a small group of students from before. I’m still not clear on this one.
We meet Vince as he’s running from the law. Local cops bring him to Coach Taylor with the hope that putting him on the team will keep him off the street and out of trouble. Otherwise, juvenile detention would be the next stop for Vince.
Tami Taylor is still principal of Dillon High (which is now called West Dillon). This means she has to see those assholes Wade and Joe on a regular basis. Also, she deals with peeved parents whose kids have been zoned to attend East Dillon. The parents don’t believe the two schools are equal because East Dillon is in a poor neighborhood and doesn’t get as much funding.
Tim Riggins, who previously earned a college scholarship to play football, quits school and returns to Dillon. God, I’m so nostalgic for Tim’s old high school days. I miss the love/hate relationship between Tim and Smash. I miss seeing Tim on the field and watching him walk the halls of Dillon High. Sigh.
Tim returns to Dillon with the hope of going back to the way things were before he left, but he quickly learns he can’t go back. Billy is newly married to Mindy and they have a baby on the way. It’s obvious Mindy doesn’t want Tim living with them. Billy physically jumps Tim, and the two of them grapple for the millionth time in the show’s history.
Matt is still in Dillon, though he graduated last season, too. He gave up his chance to go to The Art Institute of Chicago. Instead, he delivers pizza and goes to Dillon Tech’s art school.
At a Panther party, J.D. McCoy picks a fight with Matt. Sweet JD from last season is gone and replaced by a hotshot athlete who is completely full of himself. Matt and JD tussle and roll around ala Tim and Billy.
Julie is still in high school, despite the fact that Tami stated in a conversation with coach during season one that Julie was a sophomore. Therefore, she should’ve graduated with Matt last season. Anyway, they re-wrote history, and now Julie is a year younger than Matt.
Like Julie, Landry is also in his senior year this season. The third fight of the episode was between Landry and a corn-rowed team member of his. Mr. Cornrows, also known as Calvin, totally started the fight with Landry by calling him Opie (sp?). They roll around on the football field in the same manner that Matt and JD brawled earlier in the episode. Landry is the bigger man and apologizes to Calvin in front of the team and Coach Taylor. But Cornrows gets kicked off the team for being a fight-picking dickhead. Coach Taylor prompts all of those who don’t want to be on the team to leave. Half the team walks out of the locker room.
Not only does Coach Taylor not have a full team now, he also lacks an adequate number of assistant coaches. I miss Mac McGill and Coach Crowley, both of whom coach at West Dillon with Wade. In fact, all of Coach Taylor’s previous coaching staff now works under Wade. Mac tells Coach he chose to work at West Dillon because of the job security and salary. The other coaches feel the same way. I don’t blame them.
Coach meets an overzealous man at Sears who volunteers to help as an assistant coach. His name is Stan Traub, and he provides comic relief. He basically just parrots word-for-word whatever Taylor says during the team’s practices.
During half-time of the Lion’s first game, Coach Taylor forfeits. The team is basically a huge laughingstock at this point.
Side note: I was hppy to see that Devon is back in the picture. She’s the sweet and pretty lesbian who plays with Landry’s band. She is forced to go to East Dillon, despite her mother’s opposition. I love to watch her witty interactions with Landry.
Keep watching this series. I guarantee it picks up during the next few episodes. Stay tuned…