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All American - Feeling Myself - Review

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Breaking up with someone that you still have a lot of love for is difficult, but it’s especially difficult for Olivia and Spencer, whose personal lives are so intertwined with one another. Not only do they need to try and move on, but they also need to figure out what their role in each other's lives will look like now that they are not a couple. This episode finds Spencer and Olivia working through trying to make sense of their place in each other’s lives. When Olivia asks Jordan to help her with her story on Coach Garrett, she is unhappy to discover that Jordan has asked Spencer to assist as well. She tells Spencer that she was keeping him out of it until she had solid proof, but he tells her he wants to help. Spencer still feels the need to protect Olivia, and he wants to support her in the best way he knows how. Olivia reveals that Isaiah won’t speak to them about his dirty hit, which means that they have to contact former players who received scholarships without the skills to warrant them. Jordan bows out, stating that he wants no part of it. Spencer and Olivia tackle calling the list of former players, but have no luck. Spencer tries to help Olivia by telling her to ease off a bit with her approach, stating that she needs to be more sensitive if she expects the players to talk. She gets defensive and tells him that he’s overstepping. Spencer decides to back off and give Olivia space. The two are not able to identify or communicate what they need from one another, and it is clear that boundaries need to be established if they are to remain friends. 

Spencer shifts his focus from Olivia to the other important woman in his life, his mother. At the beginning of the episode, Grace tells Spencer that she wishes she could elope, because she doesn’t have a lot of girlfriends to wedding plan with. Being the empathetic and loving son that he is, Spencer surprises his mom at the dress boutique and helps her pick out the perfect dress. The sales clerk who is assisting Grace, is clearly taken with Spencer. When she asks for Spencer’s signature, he mistakenly thinks that wants an autograph. He becomes embarrassed when he realizes that the sales clerk needs his signature for paperwork, and she doesn’t even know who he is. The sales clerk finds his mishap adorable and is clearly smitten by the handsome guy who came dress shopping with his mother. Grace wants Spencer to give it a shot with the clerk, but he tells her he’s not ready. She explains that he is feeling a loss because he has lost the person that he was when he was with Olivia. Grace tells him that moving on is hard, but he will get through it with one foot in front of the other. The sales clerk overhears their conversation and asks Spencer out on a date. 

Meanwhile, Olivia talks Jordan into going to the valley with her to speak to a former player who she thinks will talk. He tells her that Spencer is right about her being too aggressive with her approach, and compares her to a bull in a China shop. Jordan tells her to take it easy with the former player that they have come to meet. She takes his advice, and the guy decides that he is willing to talk. After dress shopping, Spencer surprises his mom with a party at a restaurant, where he’s invited all of his friends. Spencer sees Olivia, and she fills him in on her success. Spencer apologizes for overstepping, and Olivia tells him that being around him is messing her up. She tells him that he doesn’t have to worry about her or her feelings anymore and that he needs to live his life or she won’t be able to move on either. Her words are the closure Spencer needs to feel comfortable with moving forward. He goes to pick up his mom’s dress, and asks the sales clerk out by giving her an autographed football with his phone number on it. It is difficult to believe that this is truly the end for Spencer and Olivia, but it is clear that they are heading down very different paths and whether or not their paths will cross in the future is unknown. Olivia choosing to press forward with her story instead of passing it on to someone else is concerning. Although Coach Garrett definitely needs to be exposed for what he is doing, the cost for Olivia is just too high. She is too close to the story, especially because writing the story could mean the end of her brother and Spencer’s football careers. It is still unclear what her motivating factor is when she knows how much is at stake. Hopefully the people she loves are able to understand her intentions when all is said and done.

Elsewhere in the episode, Patience is upset that her album hasn’t gotten much traction. Lucky for her, Layla has hired Gia to be her PR director and Gia has scored tickets for Patience to walk the red carpet at the Millennium Gold Gala that night, as a way to promote her album and hopefully push sales. Gia shows up with designer dresses for Patience to try on and Jordan convinces Layla to walk the red carpet in a gown with her. Layla playfully invites Jordan to help her pick out a gown and he happily obliges. He picks out a sexy see-through number, and sparks fly between them. Patience and Layla rock the red carpet and their pictures end up all over social media, which will likely lead to Patience’s album getting much more attention. The girls show up to Grace’s surprise party in their gowns and Jordan and Layla steal away from the group to share a long-awaited kiss. A drunk J.J. ends up catching them in the act, and they worry that he is going to tell everyone. The next day, Jordan attempts to assess whether or not a hungover J.J. recalls seeing the kiss. He doesn’t, and Jordan is relieved. 

J.J. spent the episode getting drunk at a toga party at the frat house, much to Asher’s chagrin. Asher, meanwhile, gets asked by Coach Montes to do some local recruiting, which he is more than happy to do. He ends up at South Crenshaw where Billy introduces him to Jabari, who is a diamond in the rough. Jabari is a hardworking, talented kid that would have more interest if he had more playing time. Asher talks to Coach Montes about Jabari, but he is not sold on the idea. When Asher witnesses J.J. 's drunken behaviour at Grace’s party, he feels hurt that J.J. isn’t making more of an effort since Asher worked so hard to get him a scholarship he didn’t even need. Asher decides to talk Montes into watching Jabari’s game tape and the two end up signing Jabari on a full scholarship. Although not stated, it was implied that the scholarship that was given to Jabari was J.J. 's, and the fall-out could be monumental for J.J. and Asher’s relationship. 

A character that was all but forgotten, Preach, was resurrected in this episode. He was served with court documents while at the park with Amina. Amina’s grandparents are fighting for full custody of her. Preach turns to Coop, who immediately decides she will work on the case with Laura. On the advice of Laura, Coop asks Amina who she wants to live with and she states that she wants to remain with her dad. Coop promises Amina that she will make sure that happens. The problem with this, is that Coop does not have the power to keep that promise. Darius attempts to make that clear to Coop, and tells her that Preach has a record and judge’s don’t always care whether or not someone has turned their life around. Coop needs to see the case from the judge’s perspective. Unbeknownst to Coop, Grace has overheard the entire conversation and makes the decision that Coop is too close to the case, and Darius will be handling it from here on in. Coop has a big heart and would do anything to help the people she cares about. She is just starting out in her law career, and will hopefully come to learn the ethics that come along with it. Hopefully she will understand the reason for Grace taking her off the case, and not do anything to jeopardize her future career. 

What did you think of the episode? Do you think Spencer will be able to move on from Olivia? How do you think J.J. will react to the loss of his scholarship? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below, or by engaging with me on Twitter @ms_c_almeida.

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