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All American - Kids See Ghosts - Review: An Emotional Posthumous Reunion

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In a touching and heartfelt episode, All American brought back the beloved Billy Baker in a creative and impactful way. His return, though posthumous, provided much-needed wisdom to his struggling children, helping them move forward even in his absence. This poignant touch was brilliantly executed and added depth to the characters' journeys. 

Spencer and Olivia were house-sitting for his mom, amid a string of neighbourhood break-ins. Olivia missed her editor’s deadline, feeling her book was lacking something essential. Spencer was stunned when Deion, carrying an overnight bag, showed up at the house. Deion had quit the football team, was kicked out by his sister and had no one else since his mom passed away and his dad was an absent father. Spencer, showing his caring nature, ensured Deion texted his sister to let her know he was safe and he promised to help Deion find a long-term solution. 

Laura had a mysterious box she wanted to open with Olivia, Spencer, and Jordan. Inside were letters that Billy wrote when the twins were babies, meant to be read after their college graduations. She decided to give them early, including a journal for Spencer, which Billy wrote during the time Spencer lived with them. Laura left it up to each of them to decide when to read their letters. Spencer initially felt the journal should go to one of the twins or Laura, but she insisted that Billy would have wanted him to have it. 

"Kids See Ghosts” – ALL AMERICAN. Pictured: Monet Mazur as Laura Baker. Photo: The CW ©2024 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

As Jordan read his letter, Billy appeared in person to deliver his words of wisdom. This choice to bring Taye Diggs back in person was incredibly powerful. It showcased the love that Billy had for his children and for Spencer, and served as a reminder of the wisdom Billy had and how impactful that was for everyone in his life. In the letter, Billy told Jordan that he has always been strong and should have faith in himself. Inspired by his father's words, Jordan sought advice from Coach Mac about entering the NFL draft but he was taken aback when Mac advised him to focus on the upcoming big game first. Mac has been Jordan’s number one fan from the beginning, but perhaps his intentions were more self-serving than anyone realized. 

Spencer read Billy’s reflections on taking him in and the challenges it posed. These words resonated with Spencer as he navigated his new role with Deion. When Deion tried to leave the house without informing him, Spencer realized that he was in a similar position to Billy when he took Spencer in. Spencer took Billy’s words to heart and met with Deion’s sister, who initially lashed out at him for encouraging Deion to quit football. Spencer was shocked when she revealed that she did not kick Deion out, he left on his own. Spencer mediated a conversation between the siblings, emphasizing the importance of family and working through their issues. This scene mirrored Billy’s advice and highlighted how much Billy’s guidance has impacted Spencer and helped him become the man he is today. Thanks to Billy’s unwavering support, Spencer has become a lot like Billy and that is something he does not take lightly. 

The boys were eager to read Billy’s words but Olivia struggled to read her father’s letter. Spencer used the words that she had told him when he was in the same position, that she was strong enough and that her father’s words were a gift. After watching Spencer tackle the situation with Deion, she felt compelled to finally open the letter. Billy’s words encouraged her to believe in herself, helping her realize that her book was complete and didn’t need any changes. Writing the book was cathartic for her, and Billy’s letter helped her to understand the importance of sharing her father’s legacy with the world. The directing and blocking of all the scenes with Billy and his children were exceptionally well executed. Even though Billy wasn’t physically present, the children’s interactions made it clear they could feel his presence. It felt like they were visualizing his actions in their minds as they read his letters, bringing his character vividly to life. 

"Kids See Ghosts” – ALL AMERICAN. Pictured: Daniel Ezra as Spencer James and Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker. Photo: Tina Thorpe/The CW ©2024 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The subplot with Jordan and Layla was also impactful, as Layla worked through therapy to try and navigate her depression. It was a very relatable situation for so many, and the writer’s handled it with integrity. Layla’s second therapy session revealed that her medication stopped working, because she was triggered by significant life events, including her engagement to Jordan. Her therapist suggested EMDR therapy, which Layla hesitantly agreed to try. Through this therapy, Layla confronted painful memories of her mother, realizing her engagement triggered unresolved issues. She communicated her fears to Jordan, expressing her need for more time to work through her issues before they get married. This subplot was handled with sensitivity, highlighting Layla’s emotional journey. The writer’s always handle very real, important issues with the utmost respect and this storyline was no exception. 

Meanwhile, Jordan confronted Coach Mac, accusing him of using his progress on the field to boost Mac’s own reputation and hinder his NFL prospects. Jordan decided to prioritize his future and shot back at coach Mac, by praising Coach Kenny on a public platform, which infuriated Mac. This bold move signified Jordan’s growing confidence and determination to take control of his future. 

"Kids See Ghosts” – ALL AMERICAN. Pictured: Taye Diggs as Billy Baker. Photo: The CW ©2024 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

The final subplot involved Coop and Patience. Coop prepared Patience for trial, despite Laura being concerned about Coop’s ability to handle the tough interrogation. Coop’s initial session with Patience revealed weaknesses, prompting her to adopt a tougher stance. This intense preparation scene underscored the high stakes of their legal battle and the pressure they will be facing during trial. The mock interrogation prompted Coop to ask Laura not to call on Patience to testify. 

The writing and cinematography of this episode were masterful. Bringing Taye Diggs back to read Billy’s words in person was a brilliant and impactful choice. The directing and blocking were intentional and well-executed, enhancing the emotional depth of each scene. This episode of All American was a powerful exploration of grief, growth, and shone a light on the importance of family. The return of such a beloved character definitely brought some tears to the eyes of viewers. Hopefully his impact on his children will help propel them towards their futures feeling more at ease knowing that he is always with them. Over to you, All American fans! What are your thoughts on the episode? Did you enjoy the return of Taye Diggs? How do you think Jordan turning on Coach Mac will affect his future at GAU? Share your thoughts below and find me on X at @middleofcanada.

Cristina manages the site and reviews several shows. She is an Elementary School Counsellor by day and avid TV buff by night. True Crime, thrillers, dramas and dramedy's are her favourite genres. When she is not at work or managing SpoilerTV, she loves spending time with her two dogs, a Chihuahua Pug mix named Holly and Terrier mix named Penny. She also loves Travelling to visit family.

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