It may be July in the real world, but it's Christmas time in Dillon, Texas on Friday Night Lights, as the five-year series comes to a permanent end with "Always." Knowing the Lions will soon be no more, the team still faces one final game - the state championship. Eric (Kyle Chandler) is pressured to sign a contract to coach the Panthers "super team" next year before leaving for the game, but wife Tami (Connie Britton) goes cold every time he brings it up. Matt (Zach Gilford) finds it easy enough to propose to Julie (Aimee Teegarden), however, getting a blessing from her parents proves far more tricky. Tim (Taylor Kitsch) ponders his future. And eight months later, life goes on.
Friday Night Lights spends most of the series only covering football seasons, so it is not unusual for fans to have to imagine what happens during huge gaps in the characters' lives. Yet, the final scenes, set eight months later, or what would have been the beginning of a sixth season, should there have been one, are the last glimpses viewers will ever get. It's bittersweet, seeing how things continue, but already missing those people so many have grown to love. Even with only a few brief cameos by some long departed series stars, seeing the current crop's stories come to an end, along with the Taylors', is a moving finish.
The transition is brilliant. Just before the skip ahead, the Lions are playing in their final game. Little ambient sound is heard, but a series of plays are shown over trademark music. The faces of the Lions' fans as they cheer are panned over. In stereotypical sports drama fashion, the favorite team is down by a touchdown, and there is only one play left to win the game. But between the musical strains and the camera constantly switching perspectives, the minutes spent on the field are anything but typical. Even more surprising, as the final pass goes for the player's hands, no resolution is shown. Sure, soon enough there are indicators that the Lions won, seeing the championship rings on their hands in the future. But choosing not to air the game winning catch is a bold choice that really pays off.
Happy endings do come true. The interesting thing about Friday Night Lights is that the happy ending is merely a temporarily stop as lives continue on. Only five brief seasons play out, and despite learning all of the characters' back stories, little of their futures are shown. Many of the principal players are just graduating high school, or early into college. There is no completion. The only thing that ends is the Lions football team, and the Taylor's residence in Texas. So to sum up the entire show, Friday Night Lights, it's about when the Taylors briefly move to Texas and change many kids' paths for the better.