‘A Season With Notre Dame Football’ – Episode two recap
Miko Malabute | Thursday, September 17, 2015
Sometimes, you need to be reminded to be careful what you wish for. Although I was initially ecstatic about last week’s episode, after discussing it with friends I realized that although it was a fantastic episode for Notre Dame football fans, there was little drama or conflict to keep non-Notre Dame fans interested.
Emerging from this past weekend’s last-second thriller against Virginia, it was painfully clear what would be the main storyline behind this week’s episode of “A Season With Notre Dame Football.” After Heisman hopeful Malik Zaire went down for the season with a broken ankle, backup quarterback DeShone Kizer stepped up and pulled out a come-from-behind win. With that, the story for this week was set into motion.
Early into the episode, the producers truly laid on heavy the theme of “next man in,” having other people step up in the face of injury and adversity. Except this was all made in reference to other starting players lost to injury, such as Tarean Folston (who admirably showed his dedication to be on the field with his football brothers in any capacity). However, viewers all knew which injury in particular producers were alluding to, and with every heartwarming scene of Zaire learning under the tutelage head coach Brian Kelly came a pang of heartbreak anticipating what was to come.
There were references and highlights of Notre Dame’s dominant win over Texas two weeks ago, but this episode definitely focused on the team’s business-like mentality and focus. The phrase “burn the boats” was a central theme across the episode, alluding to how the Vikings supposedly burned their boats to demonstrate their dedication to an irreversible course: no going backwards, only forward.
However, for all of the maturity and intensity these players demonstrated, the cameras were still able to capture the innocence and playful sides of these student-athletes. The players bonded, played a game of FIFA, laughed and joked with each other on the trip to Charlottesville, Virginia. The playfulness and innocence was exemplified when room checks were being done in the team’s hotel. Room after room, the players were all messing around with the staff, while the staff reminded them that it was almost time for “lights out.” Pretty routine, except when they finally get to Romeo Okwara and Andrew Trumbetti’s room. As the staff opened the door, only Trumbetti is to be seen in the dark room … and a very mild “Boo!” out of Okwara in an attempt to scare them came from just beside the doorway. He had been waiting there for about five minutes just for that. Good effort.
But the climax was, naturally, during the Virginia game. The cameras once again showed Zaire’s leadership and determination in the midst of a tightly contested game. Then, it happened: Zaire called his own number, gets caught in an awful pile and, just like that, his year is over. The tears shamelessly poured from his eyes: It was a powerful display of raw emotion and pain even the viewers at home could feel.
With everything turning to chaos, two men in particular stepped up: Kizer drew up the middle to convert on fourth down and then threw an absolute beauty to Will Fuller to reclaim the lead for good. The mood in the locker room following the win was bittersweet, to say the least. People were broken up over Zaire’s injury, but the determination and grit of this team was on full display as they debriefed.
The next episode is sure to be as entertaining and thrilling as the first two — let’s just all hope there are no new injury storylines to follow next week.