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All American - Make Me Proud - Review

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As those affected by Billy Baker’s tragic passing continued to find ways to move forward with their lives, Spencer remained heavily in denial of his grief, still refusing to come to terms with his feelings and making rash decisions that could ultimately destroy his life. Grief hits everyone differently, but in order to move through the process, you have to allow yourself to feel your emotions, as painful as they may be. Spencer has thus far bottled his feelings, attempting to convince his friends and family that he is alright but in reality, his life is spiralling and it is only a matter of time before things come crashing down on him. 

Spencer confides in his mother that he wants to get into the transfer portal as soon as possible and has a meeting with A.D. Barnes to get it done. Barnes wants him to take his time and think about it, but Spencer won’t hear of it. He wants to be done with the football club immediately. He runs into Kia at Crenshaw high, and invites a bunch of kids to the Crenshaw house to hang out and drink. Everyone at the party can see that something is up with Spencer, but no one is able to pierce through the brick wall that is holding Spencer back from his emotions. Jordan attempts to confront Spencer about leaving him high and dry at GAU and tries to shake him out of his denials, but even he can’t get through. In the end it is Kia who finally tells him what he needs to hear, that he needs to deal with his grief instead of hiding behind it and being someone he’s not. It is obvious that her words hit home, but Spencer is too far into his denial that even the truth can’t help him find his way out. 

Jordan’s maturity throughout the process of losing his father, really speaks to the immense growth of his character over the last year. He has allowed the people who love him to support him in his time of need instead of pushing them away, and he has openly let the tidal wave of feelings that come with grieving the death of someone as cherished as a father take over. Despite this, being Billy’s only son has caused Jordan to place unnecessary pressure on himself to take over as the man of the house. After finding Billy’s unfinished “to do'' list of things that require fixing around the house, Jordan is determined to step in and finish it. A.D. Barnes adds more pressure to Jordan’s plate, by playing the sympathy card in an attempt to save the GAU football team from the NCAA’s sanctions. He paints Jordan as the future of GAU, stating in a press conference that Jordan will be carrying on his father’s legacy. Jordan really wants his fathers legacy to live on, but he also wants to forge his own path and create his own legacy apart from his dad. He also doesn’t appreciate Barnes using his father’s death as a last ditch effort to save the team. 

Jordan is a good man, and he knows that he needs to do the honourable thing, however difficult that may be. He was adamant to fill the voids left by Billy after his death, but he came to realize that he cannot allow himself to be stuck in that cycle. Jordan knows now that carrying on his father’s legacy means forging his own path. This realization put a new pep in his step and led to him and Layla exchanging their first “I love you’s.” Jordan also decided to deliver an impassioned speech to the GAU players about starting a new legacy for GAU, one that is about them and their passion and talent. Jordan’s maturity and honour is on full display as he stands up to A.D. Barnes, telling him that the team's plan is to forge their own legacy, not live under the shadow of Coach Garrett or Billy. He also convinces Barnes to finally hire Coach Kenny as head coach, a position that is certainly well deserved. Billy Baker would be proud of his son and the honourable leader and role-model that he has become. 

Laura appeared to be handling her grief better than anticipated, but the reality is that she has been channeling her grief into den mothering the girls at the Baker house. They decide to have a spa day at the house to show Laura that she can be just a roommate, without having to feel like she needs to mother them. Olivia tries to help Laura come to terms with using mothering as a coping mechanism, and she admits that she has been too afraid to move forward. The strength of her children and the realization that Billy wouldn’t want her to be stuck in the past, allows Laura to break free of her fear and start a new chapter of her life. 

Elsewhere in the episode, Patience’s “Fire and Ice” video is about to make its debut. She runs into her superfan, Miko, at the coffee shop who fills her in on the online trolls that are already being negative about her video. It sends Patience into a spiral, and makes her anxious about her new persona. She doesn’t want her old fans to think she is turning her back on them. Miko has no boundaries and Patience can’t seem to distance herself from her. A bouquet of flowers arrives at the Baker house from Miko, congratulating Patience on her big debut. Layla and Gia figure out that Miko knows where Patience lives, but decide to wait to warn her, allowing her to bask in the glow of her video debut a little longer. It is obvious that Layla’s decision to wait to tell Patience about Miko will likely put her in danger. Hopefully Miko isn’t as evil as Layla and Gia believe her to be. 

The writer’s deserve accolades for the way they have written the character’s individual journeys through their grief. Throughout the episode, Jordan narrated a beautiful speech about how grief can make a person fixated on filling the voids and empty spaces that the decedent left behind. His words were powerful, and it isn’t until the end that viewers discover that Jordan was reciting those words at his father’s grave, which was a beautiful touch. Any viewer who has lost someone close to them, could relate to every aspect of the last few episodes. They have been beautifully and tastefully written, and the writing team deserves a lot of praise for that. 

While everyone is moving forward, Spencer continues to fall deeper and deeper into his anger and he is headed towards a breaking point. Hopefully he will be able to finally accept the support he desperately needs before he does anymore damage to his life and career. Over to you, All American fans: What will it take for Spencer to finally break down and accept support? Do you think Layla and Gia waiting to tell Patience about Miko will put her life in danger? What will the future of GAU look like? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and follow me on Twitter @MiddleofCanada.

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