That being said, the subtle things that made the final montage unforgettable in my opinion are: 1) The pass and pan into daylight 8 months later. 1st jarring and you wonder who won the game... which leads to #2 2) Showing the "rings" throughout the montage. You see it on Vince while he practices for the Panters, etc. This is a great way to tell people that they won without "saying or showing." Sometimes it feels good to discover things as an intelligent audience on your own! 3) Coach is coaching in Philly. Whether you wanted coach to stay or to go with Tammi, if he went with Tammi you would just assume he wouldn't be coaching as that was never on the table. He is a good coach and should do what he does best and the fact that he is able to do it adds another star to this montage.
4) All the Lions you wanted to see stayed with the Panthers... including the coaches motto. Again, going with the theme everything is alright.
5) When you see Matt and Julie in their apartment getting ready for work, you see she has her college books so she stayed din college. Not only that if you notice the way they perform the scene, it is with assuredness. Not like kids.
6) The coach saying to his new players, we have a long way to go and I'm looking forward to it... This has been the theme for the past 2 teams we watched on TV... to see him in another familiar position once again being able to do his magic with the Braemore college team leaves you feeling good about how his character was left off.
7) The symbolism at the end of the show when the field lights are turned off. Meaning Friday Night "Lights" is off. Very sentimental.
That is my thoughts.... The best series finale in the way it was shot, written, and done I have ever seen.
I can't believe they brought Landry back for that one tiny scene. I feel like we should have at least seen him watching the state championship given that he was a Lion this time last year. Also wished we'd seen Matt's Mum. I know that she's really not an important character but would've been nice to have seen her in the background like we did Tyra and Mindy's Mum. Also, like I said before, in an ideal world we would have all the old gang back .......
I didn't like where they put the flashforward. Don't get me wrong, I think it was ingenious and artistic and, yes, surprised me BUT as a selfish viewer in love with the characters, I wanted to see that moment of glory for the Lions, I wanted to see them all celebrate, we only got one Vince/Jess and Luke/Becky scene (in real time) and although this episode wasn't about them and their relationship, I wanted one more scene with them hugging and kissing.
Coach leaving Dillon and going to Philadelphia........ I love Tami, I think she deserved the job, I think all her arguments for moving were valid, I thought that Coach should have been more supportive (though I love the way he finally announced that he changed his mind), I don't think realistically he could have handled going back to West Dillon, I think moving was the right decision........ But a part of me wished they had stayed in Dillon just because in a hypothetical Season 6, they would obviously be in Dillon. I'm torn.
Dear God the Luke/Becky. I think that scene got me the most. I mean it was realistic. I think that is pretty much the only option left for Luke in a small town. That or farming or maybe Army and then farming in a few years. But if we're meant to look at each last scene as telling us all we need to know about what happens five years from now then surely they kill Luke off? I mean artistically from a writer's point of view, if we were to revisit the show in five years, they could go with that right? That might be THE event that brings Coach back to Dillon for his funeral etc. etc. etc.
And the fact that Jess moved away? That killed me too. I also think that was unnecessarily cruel. Necessary for Jess to have story development in the finale but still. I mean what happens with Vince/Jess? They were more OTP than Luke/Becky and we never get to find out if they even try to give things a go since the last ever Vince/Jess scene was before he knew she was moving.
So, yeah, the above things aren't things I disliked. I don't really wish that TPTB had done it differently because the way they did it was probably realistic, in-character etc. etc. etc. It's just me wanting a fluffy ending, rather than a realistic one.
Overall a perfect ending, definitely one I am happy with. *sniff*. Someone buy me a one-way ticket back to denial land?
While still always keeping the Taylor family as its "base camp", Season Five pretty much makes the complete transition from the "old gang" to the likes of Vince Howard, Luke Cafferty, Becky Sproles, Jess Merriweather, & Billy Riggins. It is their stories that dominate the better part of the season, with the old favorites sprinkled in from time to time leading up to the big finale.
Though completely remaking the cast of a TV drama is very tricky business (and I would argue that it can never fully recapture the "glory days" of old), "FNL" does it in about the best way possible. The Taylors are the one constant, and then the solid writing & character development does the rest. Ironically enough, this new batch of characters (while never quite living up to the first season or two of stories) is far more interesting to watch then, say, the Third Season when even the beloved regulars began to get a little stale.
The series finale is, of course, a major highlight of this experience, and it is done in a touching fashion despite all the cast turnover. The writers knew exactly what to focus on and how to wrap things up while walking the fine line between sappy and realistic.
Overall, the Fifth Season of "Friday Night Lights" is still solid dramatic television. Though it may start off a little slow compared to other seasons, within an episode or two it will continue providing those emotional/inspirational moments you have come to expect.