Even if the second season hasn’t quite lived up to the first, it really has been a gift in this strike-plagued season to have had this many episodes of "Friday Night Lights" — and still a few more to come.

Rather than spend this post rehashing the most recent episode, I thought I’d do a spot-check on how things are going for the myriad "Lights" characters.

Eric_2 Eric (Kyle Chandler): All in all, Eric has found a nice equilibrium since returning from his short-circuited assistant coaching venture at TMU. The past two episodes all but brought peace to his and Tami’s household, with sister-in-law Shelley ankling the household, toddler Gracie finally settling in at daycare and daughter Julie in one of her calmer phases. This could mean that Eric’s football world is ready for some drama. As promised by showrunner Jason Katims last summer, the games have gotten less attention on "FNL" this season. That, in a sense, has given Eric some cover — but for how long? After all, the defending state champion Dillon Panthers have lost at least two games, maybe three, if I’m counting correctly. The team hasn’t been playing solid football, and the community wouldn’t figure to be tolerant of that forever.

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