Season 2's murder plot, where (spoiler alert) Landry murders a man who tried to rape Tyra, was met with a lot of scrutiny. Co-writer Kerry Ehrin told Entertainment Weekly she thought a lot of the reaction was that people felt NBC had wanted it. "There was a sense of like a political thing… like, they were like, 'oh make it more network-y.' It could not have been farther from the truth."
Time called it "The Landry thing. That Bad Thing. That awful, out of nowhere, suddenly-we-ware-watching-a-different-show thing where Landry attacked a man who had tried to rape Tyra, and killed him with a metal pipe. That thing that FNL fans laugh about in retrospect, or try to hurry past."
Although Cinema Blend said the murder plot will never be one of FNL's best, the show ended up recovering and becoming a cult favorite.
And it will for us, too, although it’s hard to imagine at the moment. We’ll miss the Landing Strip, Riggins’ Rigs, the Alamo Freeze, breakfast at the Taylors’ house, and late-night drinks at Buddy’s bar. We’ll miss Matt’s stammer and Smash’s smile, Tyra’s sass and Landry’s smarts. Fare-thee-well, evil JD! Adios, pious Lyla! We already forgot about you, Voodoo! Stay dead, Tyra’s would-be rapist — and stay sober, Glenn, Tami’s would-be mouthrapist! We could write a paragraph about Tim Riggins’s hair — and we have! (Look for our slash-fic blog, Lone Star Pecs & the City, launching this spring.) What will we do without Billy’s time-bomb temper and Tami’s eternal patience? Or the chance to make jokes about Santiago, Carlotta, and the immortal Ferret Guy? More important: What will we do without you loyal commenters and stalwart Panther Lion Panther fans? Your intensity and fandom for a program that was too often overlooked were an inspiration throughout these last two seasons. You knew the truth: that while universally lauded Hall of Fame shows like The Sopranos or Mad Men may make us gasp or think, only Friday Night Lights makes us cry like this, with joy or sadness. Those shows belong to the culture at large. Dillon belongs to us.
In the fifth season, Julie heads off to Burleson College, a fictional university in Texas. But once she arrives, she feels like a social outcast. She sees her Derek Bishop . watching "36 Throwback" and the two begin to bond. Julie discovers that Derek is married, but he claims that he is separating from his wife. The two begin a short-lived affair. When Derek's wife, Allison, discovers their affair, she finds Julie in her dorm and slaps her across the face, exclaiming, "Julie slept with Derek Bishop, head . of the History department, and my husband." She then repeatedly screams, "Julie Taylor is a slut!" After this humiliation, Julie returns home to Dillon for the weekend, surprises her family, and acts as if nothing is wrong. When she "goes back to college," she intentionally crashes her car to avoid returning to Burleson. Julie is still hesitant to tell her parents about the affair, but as usual, Tami suspects something is wrong. Julie confesses to her Mom that the whole affair, and Eric says that she has to go back. She refuses, as she sulks around the house, refusing to do anything. Then, Derek shows up in Dillon at the Taylors' house, which leads to a confrontation between Derek and Eric, and at Tami's office. Julie finally agrees to go out to dinner with Derek, and he says to go back to college, that he resigned, and his door was always open. Julie finally decides to go back to college, but on her way, she calls Derek and he admits he just wants her back. She heads up to Chicago instead to see Matt. She feels she no longer fits into Matt's life, and Matt kisses her right after she says that, saying, "I've been waiting to do that since you showed up." The two rekindle their relationship, but Julie tells Matt about the affair, and is at first unaffected by the news, but then realizes that he's just Julie's "safety net" and tells her she should go back to college. As shes driving away, Matt runs up to her car, kisses her, and says that they'll find a way to make it work out. In the Finale, Matt shows up for Christmas and proposes to Julie, and Julie accepts. They attempt to convince Eric and Tami that they're making the right choice, and convince them near the end of the episode. Eight months later, Julies is happily living with Matt in Chicago.