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All American - O.P.P. - Review

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Tensions were high as long overdue conversations were had, on this week’s All American. Spencer is furious about being the last to know about Billy taking the job at GAU, and no one was spared his wrath. First up on his hit list was Jordan, who had the opportunity to come clean with Spencer when he confronted him the first time, but chose not to. The one thing that Spencer values more than anything else is honesty, and although Jordan didn’t directly lie to him, his choice not to tell Spencer by omission felt like a betrayal. Spencer heads to tell Coach Kenny the news, but is shocked when Kenny isn’t as upset as Spencer thought he would be. Kenny is an honorable man, and he understands why A.D. Barnes didn’t feel like he was the right person to carry the team forward under the scrutiny of the NCAA. Kenny encourages Spencer to talk to Billy, telling him that Billy helped raise him and he is owed the chance to explain himself. Heeding Kenny’s advice, Spencer heads to Crenshaw to confront Billy. He finds him on the football field and doesn’t hold back, delivering cheap shot after cheap shot, even throwing in Billy’s face that he is the one that looks out for people when no one else will, and now he only seems interested in looking out for himself. 

Amidst the GAU drama, Spencer also found himself caught in a love triangle with Alicia and Olivia. Now that Olivia has decided that she wants Spencer back, she loops Layla in and decides to enact a plan to make it happen. The vortex’s fundraiser to help pay Jaymee’s hospital bills, serves as the perfect opportunity for Olivia to hook Spencer in. Jaymee is back at the beach house recovering from her stay at the hospital, which was almost forgotten about considering the show chose not to show the outcome of her 911 call, even leaving an episode in between without any word of what happened to her. Viewers learned that Jaymee was suffering from a lung infection due to her Lupus, and was in the hospital for some time. The friends decided to auction off the guys at an aptly named, “Dollars for Dudes” event, with all proceeds going to pay Jaymee’s hospital bills. Olivia ceases the opportunity to start her quest to win Spencer back, by unashamedly entering into a bidding war with Alicia for a date with him, ultimately outbidding Alicia. Alicia senses that Olivia still has feelings for Spencer and even tells him as much, but he naively reassures her that Olivia is just trying to raise money for their friend. Olivia and Spencer head out to a destruction room and have a heart to heart about Billy’s choice to take the GAU job. Alicia had tried to have the same conversation with Spencer the day before, but he had his back up and wouldn't open up to her. Spencer had no trouble letting Olivia in, however, and their talk instantly puts him at ease which Alicia notices and is not impressed by. She tells Spencer that if he wants her to be his girlfriend, he has to let her in. 

Taking Olivia’s advice to talk to her dad about his feelings, Spencer heads to the Baker house in Crenshaw to give Billy another chance to explain. He runs into Olivia, who confesses that she wants him back. Before Spencer can respond, Billy walks in and Olivia leaves, allowing a visibly shaken Spencer to talk things out with Billy. He tells Billy that he is abandoning Crenshaw, and the kids at GAU do not need him in the way that the kids at Crenshaw do. Spencer tells him he is not just a coach at Crenshaw, he is a father figure to all of the kids and if he leaves, the impact on Crenshaw will be detrimental. Spencer leaves Billy with the parting words that although he will be a great coach at GAU, he is a great man at Crenshaw and perhaps he shouldn’t walk away from that. Spencer’s words definitely struck a chord with Billy, but whether or not it will force him to reconsider taking the GAU position is yet to be seen. Coaching a D1 school has always been Billy’s dream, but perhaps he is exactly where he needs to be at Crenshaw and hasn’t allowed himself to see that. 

Billy’s positive influence was definitely felt by Preach this week, as he worked to win custody of his daughter back. Coop attempted to prepare Preach for his upcoming custody hearing, by asking him tough questions about his job and living situation. However, she inadvertently made Preach feel as though he needed to take drastic measures to improve his financial situation quickly, so that he can make a better impression on the judge. Preach heads to his old gang and asks for a one and done job. Coop senses something is up, and worries that Preach is back in the game. She asks Billy to talk to Preach, as Billy may be the only one who can talk Preach out of whatever he is doing and prevent him from going back to prison and losing his daughter for good. Billy speaks to Preach and tells him that although he may have been dealt the better hand in life, him and Preach are a lot more similar than Preach realizes, and Billy has made his fair share of mistakes as well. He pleads with Preach to be the man and father that his daughter needs. Billy’s words strike a chord with Preach, and he calls off the job. Billy sweetens things for Preach, when he talks the school board into offering him a full-time teaching job at Crenshaw. Billy’s influence at Crenshaw extends much further than just the students, and Spencer is likely right- Crenshaw needs Billy more than he realizes. Billy is way more than a dime a dozen principal. He is a man with heart, a change maker and most importantly, the positive influence that the students need to be able to meet their full potential. The effects of Billy leaving Crenshaw will be felt by many, but whether or not Billy realizes this remains to be seen. 

This episode also marked the return of J.J., who has been absent since the Fall finale. Butler filled him in on what was going on with Jaymee, and he surprised everyone by showing up at the Dollars for Dudes event and bidding $5000 for a date with Asher. They ended up spending their ‘date’ sumo wrestling in full costume, finally unleashing the months of pent up frustration that caused their friendship to fall apart in the first place. This conversation was a long time in the making, and was a necessary step in mending things between them. The two admitted to missing one another, and agreed to work on repairing their friendship. J.J.’s return doesn’t mean that he is free from all of his demons, however. The vortex meets up at the beach house to share the good news with Jaymee, that her hospital bills have been paid. After watching J.J. take shot after shot of alcohol, Olivia confronts him about his alcoholism, reminding him that she understands the struggle and encourages him to get help. J.J. brushed it off as nothing, but there’s no denying that his drinking is a problem. It is one of the major reasons why Asher cast him aside to begin with, and Olivia calling him out for it is clearly foreshadowing that it is likely to become an even bigger issue as the season continues. 

Finally, Layla and Clay were once again at each other’s throats, this time because Layla used the Keating name in another interview. Clay confronted her about it, and threatened to take action if she didn't stop coming after him and his label. Layla tells Clay that the fighting needs to stop, and that he should stop protecting a name that ultimately means nothing to him. At the end of the episode, Clay visits Layla at the Baker house and agrees that the fighting should stop, that her words struck a chord with him and he wants to forge his own legacy. Clay gives her back the Keating name, but makes it clear that he is keeping his artists and PR firm. Throughout Layla’s battle with Clay, Jordan attempts to be her saviour and confront Clay, but Layla makes it clear that she can handle it. Jordan walked in as Layla and Clay were making peace, and almost caused Clay to change his mind. Jordan clearly loves Layla, but she is a strong and independent woman and does not need him to fight her battles for her. Hopefully he will realize this and allow her to manage her own affairs, or it could drive Layla away.

Your turn, All American fans! Do you agree with Spencer about Crenshaw needing Billy? How will Spencer deal with Olivia wanting him back? What do you think will happen with Asher and J.J.'s friendship, now that J.J. is back? Share your thoughts below and follow me on Twitter @MiddleofCanada.

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