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All American - Mask Off - Review

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After a somewhat dull hour last week, the writer’s of this episode, April Blair and Micah Cyrus, attempted to reignite some of the show’s magic by having its characters return back to their roots and work towards living their truth. 

It is Spring break and everyone is attempting to enjoy it except Olivia, who is working hard on her acceptance speech in preparation for the journalism awards ceremony. Now that she is fully committed to taking ownership of the bountygate article, she wants everything to be perfect. Jordan decides to save her from her perfectionism, by bringing her back to her roots. He takes her to a dance studio and encourages her to use it as a positive outlet for her stress. Olivia gives it a shot and fits right into a dance routine like no time has passed until the teacher’s words, “move forward no matter what,” trigger her. Jordan is always the voice of reason and he tells her that there will always be reminders of her grief, but she needs to push past them and live her truth. Olivia is honoured when she wins the award, and she uses her acceptance speech as a redo of her eulogy for her dad. She also takes the opportunity to re-claim her name and do away with her pseudonym, Jayden Davis. Her dad taught her to be proud of who she is and she will continue to be a change-maker and carry on her father’s legacy as Olivia Baker. 

Spencer and Jordan are taken aback when the president of GAU shows up at their voluntary, player-led spring break practice. He tells Spencer that the boosters are not happy about the school’s D1 elite team looking like a bunch of has-beens, and if he can’t convince them that he has a winning team, he may have to clean house himself. This immediately puts pressure on Spencer, who was the one that convinced coach Kenny to give Kai and Sal a chance, without thinking about the overarching consequences. Spencer’s interest is peaked when Sal tells him that Marco Galvez, a hotshot he had tried to recruit for GAU prior to bountygate, isn’t happy with his new team in Florida. The college found out he was gay, and wanted to use his sexuality to promote the team, but all Marco wants to do is play football. Spencer encourages him to stay true to who he is and invites him to practice with the GAU team. Marco is encouraged by Spencer’s words and likes what he sees at GAU. He meets with the president of the university and decides to transfer to GAU, which eases the president’s worries about the fate of the team. It seems odd that all of this went down without Coach Kenny, who was explained to be in Tennessee for spring break. He spent the last episode making it clear to Jordan and Spencer that he was the leader of the team, and that they would need to step back and respect that. It seemed all for nought this week, considering some big decisions were made in his absence. It is unclear why the writer’s didn’t include him in this storyline, as it felt like a missed opportunity to solidify his leadership of the team and define his role as the new head coach.

Grace has spent her adult life raising her boys and now that they are all grown up, she is ready to make herself a priority. As Denise and Alicia work to help her turn Spencer’s bedroom at the Crenshaw house into a craft room, Spencer is put off, causing her to rethink her priorities. She wants to do something nice for herself, but not at the expense of her son's feelings. Grace unknowingly assumes that Spencer and Alicia are attending Olivia’s awards ceremony, and asks Alicia what time they will be heading there. Although Alicia is upset that Spencer didn’t tell her about the ceremony, he is surprised when she encourages him to go. She tells him that they owe it to Olivia to support her, since she is the one that helped them get back together. Spencer is taken aback by this information. He had no idea that Olivia was involved in Alicia giving him a second chance, and it is clear that he doesn’t know how to feel about it. After the ceremony, Spencer apologizes to Grace for overreacting and encourages her to go ahead with her plans for her craft room. His mother has given up a lot for him in his lifetime, it is his turn to help his mom achieve some of her dreams. 

Layla is working hard to kick off Patience’s Fire and Ice tour, but Patience is still struggling with her new identity. She misses her indie roots, but feels bad letting Layla know that because she has already spent a ton of money and time promoting her new image. Patience confides her feelings in Skye, who has a solution to keep the Fire and Ice tour going, while staying true to Patience’s identity. Meanwhile, Layla is struggling to manage her bustling schedule and is flattered when her dad, JP, decides to join her for a day of business meetings. JP quickly realizes that she is struggling with managing things and imparts some words of wisdom. He tells her that time is fleeting and she needs to make time for the things that matter most, regardless of her busy schedule. As Patience and Skye celebrate her return to her roots, Skye plants a kiss on Patience, completely putting her off. To make matters worse, Patience still hasn’t realized that superfan Miko has hacked into her phone and has recorded the entire encounter with Skye. The repercussions of this could be dire to Patience’s music career, especially since Miko helped skyrocket Patience’s 2.0 identity. Miko is likely to feel betrayed by Patience, and the damage she could inflict on her could be career-ending. 

Spelivia fans are likely reeling that the two still haven’t had the long awaited conversation about their relationship. There were moments in this episode that felt like the two may finally admit their feelings, but Alicia’s presence and outward support of Olivia, made it difficult for that to happen. Perhaps Spencer’s advice to Olivia that she should go for the things she wants in life and not let anything stand in her way, is foreshadowing that one of the things she will fight for is Spencer. With only a handful of episodes remaining, it seems likely that this will end up being a season-finale moment. Let’s just hope it doesn’t end up being a cliffhanger. After suffering through an entire season of them being apart, I am not sure Spelivia fans could handle an entire summer of will they/won’t they. 

Over to you, All American fans: What were your thoughts on the episode? Will Olivia and Spencer finally confront one another about their feelings? Or will fans be waiting until the season finale for it to happen? Share your thoughts below and follow me on Twitter @MiddleofCanada.

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