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All American - Mass Appeal - Review: The Road to the NFL isn't paved with Sunshine and Roses

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Tonight’s gripping hour of "All American" was filled with high stakes and tense emotions as the characters faced challenges that pushed them to grow in unexpected ways. The episode brilliantly intertwined all the characters' subplots, seamlessly intersecting their storylines. The show truly excels when all of the character’s narratives intersect with one another and tonight was no exception.

The episode kicked off with a poignant dinner between Spencer, his mother Grace, and a scout. When the scout made assumptions about Spencer's upbringing, Spencer proudly defended his mom, calling her his hero and emphasizing that he never lacked anything. This moment was a testament to Spencer's character and the strength of his relationship with Grace. It was touching to see him stand up for his family, showcasing the values that have shaped him. What Spencer didn’t realize, however, is that he was about to face even tougher questions from all of the NFL teams at the combine, including deeply personal and uncomfortable ones. 

Spencer's agent, Eric, was confident that Spencer would ace his interviews at the combine in Indianapolis, and if he did, he could be looking at being a top 5 pick in the draft. This set the stage for the high-pressure scenario Spencer would face in Indianapolis. The tension was palpable as Spencer prepared to leave, with a warm breakfast at Laura's, surrounded by friends. It was a heartfelt send-off, but also a reminder of the support system that anchors him. 

“Mass Appeal” - ALL AMERICAN. Pictured (L-R): Daniel Ezra as Spencer James and Karimah Westbrook as Grace James - Photo: The CW -- © 2024 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Spencer's trip to Indianapolis was the episode's climax. The intensity of the NFL draft interviews was brilliantly captured, with Spencer facing harsh judgments about his past. The criticism hit hard, and Spencer's reaction was raw and real. His walkout from an interview showed the immense pressure he was under. Darnell and Wade's advice to enjoy the moment added a layer of camaraderie, contrasting with the cutthroat environment of the draft. 

The emotional highlight was Olivia's surprise visit to Spencer's hotel. Her support and advice helped Spencer centre himself, reminding him to stay true to who he is. The following day, Spencer's renewed confidence shone through in his interviews, turning the tide in his favour. His return home, filled with hope and a sense of achievement, was a satisfying conclusion to his arc. His homecoming was a heartwarming one, with him and Olivia reminiscing about Billy. Olivia's plan to write a children's book about her father was a beautiful tribute, ensuring that Billy's legacy continued to inspire. 

Jordan and Layla's storyline provided a refreshing contrast. Layla was deeply committed to her mental health journey but found it hard to relinquish control of the bar, especially with the lounge's first brunch event happening the next day. Jordan's encouragement for her to take a break for her well-being marked a pivotal moment. This scene beautifully portrayed their supportive relationship and the significance of self-care. The writers excel at bringing real issues to the forefront and addressing them meaningfully and with integrity. Layla’s mental health journey has been a key focus this season, and the writers continue to ensure that it is presented in a relatable way, showcasing various strategies for improving mental health and emphasizing the importance of seeking support and putting in the effort. 

“Mass Appeal” - ALL AMERICAN. Pictured (L-R): Greta Onieogou as Layla Keating - Photo: The CW -- © 2024 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Asher, meanwhile, received news of Coach Montes' move to the NFL, a change that he was not at all prepared for. Asher struggled with having to say goodbye to another mentor, after having to say goodbye to coach Baker. Meanwhile, Jaymee rediscovered her passion for the hospitality industry, when she stepped in to help during brunch at the lounge. She did such an amazing job, clearly excelling in a role she was meant for, that Layla offered her a managerial position. Layla decided to step back from the lounge to focus on producing music again, marking another significant growth moment for her. It was heartwarming to see Jaymee find happiness outside of being a mother. 

At the same time, Asher bid a heartfelt farewell to Coach Montes. This storyline was a tribute to actor Kamar De Los Reyes, who played Montes and sadly passed away in December after battling cancer. It was a beautiful way to honor his contribution to the show and his memory, while closing the chapter for his character. 

Overall, this episode of "All American" masterfully tied together the themes of ambition and personal growth. The character development was rich, the emotional beats hit hard, and the stakes felt real. Whether you're a fan of the sports drama or the heartfelt personal stories, this episode delivered on all fronts, leaving viewers eager for more. Over to you, All American fans! What did you think of tonight’s episode? Will Spencer make the top 5 draft picks? Did you swoon over Jordan’s unwavering support of Layla? Share your thoughts below and follow me on Twitter/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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