Why Friday Night Lights Season 3 Dropped Landry’s Murder Storyline


Friday Night Lights season 2 introduced a murder plot for Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons), and here’s why the Landry Friday Night Lights murder plotline was dropped when season 3 began. The acclaimed NBC football drama followed the Dillon Panther team in Texas as coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) attempted to build a winning program and shape the lives of many young men. This included characters like Jason Street (Scott Porter), Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), and Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), as well as Landry. Though they all faced hardships throughout Friday Night Lights, Landry especially became wrapped up in a surprising murder storyline.

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Landry’s involvement in Friday Night Lights grew over time, as he originally wasn’t a member of the Dillon Panthers football team. Plemons became a fan-favorite part of the cast for playing the nerdy best friend of Matt. Landry got involved with the football team in Friday Night Lights season 2, but a big part of his story revolved around his relationship with Friday Night Lights‘ Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki). The unlikely duo first connected in season 1 as Landry was helping Tyra with schoolwork. This led to a stranger sexually assaulting Tyra in the season 1 finale as she waited for Landry to meet her, but he arrived in time to chase him away. However, Friday Night Lights season 2 continued this storyline in an unexpected way.

In the Friday Night Lights season 2 premiere, the show introduced Landry Clarke’s murder storyline. The stranger from before was still following Tyra and attempted to attack her again. This time when Landry arrived, the confrontation ended with him hitting the man in the head twice with a pipe. In a shocking moment for Friday Night Lights, Landry killed Tyra’s attacker which resulted in them trying to figure out how to hide the body and cover up what Landry did. The Landry Friday Night Lights murder storyline was messy, and it took a backseat as Friday Night Lights season 2 progressed, ending up completely dropped by the time season 3 began. The decision to move past Landry’s killing was likely due to its poor reception and the hope of soft-rebooting the show in season 3.

Why Friday Night Lights Ignored Landry’s Murder

Audiences responded negatively to the Landry Friday Night Lights murder storyline in season 2, so the decision to move past it makes sense in that regard. While there could’ve been a way to have this storyline play out better, Friday Night Lights season 2 stumbled in part due to the 2007 writers’ strike. This included losing four episodes on the season, which may have impacted the original plans for Friday Night Lights‘ Landry murder plot. Some people, including The Power of the Dog cast member Jesse Plemons, believed the entire storyline was an attempt by NBC to draw in more viewers by sexing up the series, but it was one of many decisions that didn’t fit with what the series established itself to be.

Although Friday Night Lights never delivered a satisfying resolution to the murder storyline, moving past it allowed Landry’s arc to get back on the right track. Still, it is a section of the show’s story that largely feels unnecessary, considering how later seasons never again address this dark moment. Landry is instead allowed to continue playing football for Dillon, including his time at East Dillon. However, Landry’s prior actions don’t result in him getting the girl of his dreams, as Tyra moves past her feelings for him during season 3, and their friendship is effectively over during Friday Night Lightsseason 4.

Landry’s Ending Was Just Low-Key Enough To Fix The Murder Plot

While it was strange to see Landry’s murder coverup fall right off the table in Friday Night Lights season 4 and beyond, Jesse Plemons’ Friday Night Lights character wound up getting a conclusion that fit the character and allowed the murder to fade from memory just enough to let it slide. Landry doesn’t end up with Tyra, nor does he get to play football in college, but the conclusion of his arc is about something more. In the end, Landry’s journey is about enjoying the simple pleasures, and by forgetting about the murder plot and his romance with Tyra, the show afforded him more time to be happy with his friends. By the time Friday Night Lights concluded, it’s believable that Landry had a good future ahead of him at Rice University and beyond.

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