NBC's Friday Night Lights begins counting down the final five episodes with "Gut Check." This is a real turning point in the season, when things get dark and characters go down paths they shouldn't. The Lions lose their first game of the year. Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) asks Vince (Michael B. Jordan) to help train Luke (Matt Lauria) to fill in as quarterback. After listening to some bad advice from his father, Ornette (Cress Williams), Vince doesn't show up for his practice session, and is benched. After an accident, Epyck (Emily Rios) is arrested and transferred away from Tami (Connie Britton). Julie's (Aimee Teegarden) stay with Matt (Zach Gilford) sours as he encourages her to face her problems, rather than continue hiding out with him.
Vince has been having a rough year, and things are only getting worse with Ornette's continued presence. After overcoming all of his personality difficulties last year, with no small thanks to Coach, Vince is backsliding when exposed to someone who is an enabler, immoral, and good at saying what people want to hear. It's apparent Vince knows he's making the wrong decision, but his pride is getting in the way of him admitting it, and is causing a serious obstacle. Hopefully, being benched will be a wake up call for Vince, who is looking so promising until Ornette begins taking over.
Something else that will help Vince is if he stops pushing people away. He isn't paying attention to Eric, and he gets into a big argument with Jess (Jurnee Smollett), leading to their break up. Jess is a positive influence in Vince's life, helping him make correct decisions and stay away from bad situations. Without her, Vince loses a serious source of support. Luckily, he is still as close as ever with his mother, Regina (Angela Rawna), who, despite her love for Ornette, recommends to Vince that he not always listen to Ornette's advice. It's a sound judgment call, and one Vince needs to take to heart. There's hope, as Vince prevents a potentially volatile confrontation between Ornette and Eric.
Jess has some real potential as a coach. She is the one that takes Luke aside and helps him learn to play the top position. This dream of hers does seem to come out of left field, but her family's passion for the sport, as well as her spending the summer helping Vince prepare, keeps it from being completely unrealistic. What's more, while she is far from perfect, as evidenced by Luke's rough struggle to win, she has some raw talent. She helps both Vince and Luke become better players this year. Hopefully Eric will pay a little more attention to her as she continues down this path. He's already starting to see her like a daughter. It's a logical progression. Unlikely as it is, how cool would a spinoff, set years in the future, with Jess as a head coach, be?