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All American - Ludacrismas - Review

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Fans will recall that the season 4 finale left us with Spencer and Olivia at an impasse in their relationship. After waiting 5 months to find out where the two stand, fans finally got their answer at the end of the season 5 premiere. The episode began with a montage featuring shots of Spencer making winning plays on the football field, intertwined with Olivia pouring over game footage in an attempt to uncover Coach Garrett’s illegal activities, which she got wind of last season. Olivia sees this as her big break into journalism and is committed to cracking this story wide open. Meanwhile, Spencer realizes that the only way that he is going to get Olivia in the same room as him is to get creative, so he decides to throw a Christmas party. However, it is a running joke between the crew that Spencer doesn't know how to have a good time, so Asher, J.J. and Jordan take over the party planning. J.J. decides to play the party to his advantage by fixing the Secret Santa assignments in an attempt to mend rifts between people in the group. His meddling, however, ends up causing more drama than repair. 

Olivia spends much of the episode reviewing game footage, focused on exposing Coach Garrett and establishing her journalism career. It isn’t until Asher makes a comment to Olivia about GAU’s team that she realizes just how incriminating the tapes actually are to the coach and together with Billy, she discovers that GAU’s opponents often walk away with serious injuries. Billy explains the concept of bounty plays and they realize that the coach is paying his players bonuses to injure star opponents. The reality of this would not only end the coach's career, but it would jeopardize Spencer’s future and the future of the entire GAU football program. Despite their distance and the difficulties that the pair face, Olivia wants to continue with the relationship. She is shocked and saddened when Spencer tells her that they should break up. He explains in poetic fashion, that when he sees her working on her articles, or with her journalism friends and when she speaks about her future career she exudes joy, but her light dims when she’s with him and he doesn’t want to be the reason why her light dims. I could almost hear the throngs of Spelivia fans screaming “no” at their TV screens during this scene. Olivia tries to change his mind and tells him he’s wrong and that she loves him. Spencer retorts that she loves her dream more and that’s okay, that he would never ask her to give up anything for him. Olivia knows he’s right and as she leaves she states, “this is not where our story ends, I’m sure of it,” leaving fans of the couple holding on to hope that somewhere down the line these two will find their way back to one another. The dialogue in this scene was beautifully written and completely in character for Spencer. He’s always going to put the people he cares about before himself. That’s especially true for Olivia, the woman he loves. This break up is especially heartbreaking since they still have so much love for each other, the timing just isn’t right. Hopefully their paths will lead them back to each other before the season ends, as the show has not been renewed past this season. 

The premiere featured a crossover by Simone and Keisha from All American: Homecoming, who are visiting for the holidays. This is the first time Simone and Jordan have seen each other since their break-up in All American 4x18, and it is clear that Simone still has lingering feelings for Jordan. She is upset that he is pursuing Layla, and Jordan insinuates that it shouldn’t matter because Layla and Damon are dating at Bringston which insults a defensive Simone. Although it is clear that Jordan has feelings for Layla by the way he looks at her longingly, the two are not a couple. However, J.J. has paired Simone and Layla up for Secret Santa and when Layla gives Simone a pair of charms for her charm bracelet, it is clear that Jordan has been sharing personal information about Simone to Layla, including information about baby Shay, which infuriates Simone. Clay also continues to be a thorn in Layla’s side. He has no plans to give Layla control of her dads record label and on top of that, he’s purposely signing artists that Layla is hoping to sign out of spite. Keisha also has her own relationship issues to deal with. Her reason for coming to the party is to support Cam, but he keeps blowing her off. The truth is that his football scholarship has been terminated at Bringston and he is too ashamed to admit that to Keisha. 

Meanwhile, Coach Garrett decides to rush Jordan back on the field as soon as his hand cast comes off. Fans will recall that Jordan broke his throwing hand last season and had to face the reality that he may never play football again. Jordan is hesitant to begin playing again so quickly, so he seeks a second opinion from one of his father’s friends who is a physician. When he recommends more physical therapy and time to heal, Jordan attempts to tell Coach Garrett that he’s not ready to play but it’s pointless as the coach already has his mind made up. 

This leaves us with Coop, who ended her romantic relationships last season, leaving room for her to explore her newfound passion, criminal justice. Surprisingly enough, Coop is the only character without any drama so far this season which is a relief for fans who saw her go through her fair share of trials and grief over the years. Although Coop is initially hurt when Laura hires a new assistant with a law degree, Coop decides to take her future into her own hands and plans to transfer her online courses to pre-law courses at GAU. Hopefully big things are on the horizon for Coop, it is definitely earned and deserved. 

Were you heartbroken by Spencer and Olivia’s break-up? Do you think Coach Garrett will be exposed soon? What do you hope to see for your favourite characters this season? Interact with me in the comment section below or engage with me on Twitter @miss_c_almeida.

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