TV Recap: All American – An Authentic Crenshaw Experience …

All American
“The Choice Is Yours” (Episode 106)
November 28, 2018

The last new episode of All American ended with Layla’s dad returning to town with a new woman, Chynna, joining him, and Olivia telling Jordan about how she slept with Asher. In Crenshaw, Coop was falling in more and more with Shawn’s gang and Spencer was seemingly powerless to stop it.

Catch up on all of last episode’s action with our recap here. Now, tonight’s episode (BEWARE OF SPOILERS)!!!

We open tonight’s episode at the end of a game against Culver City, the last place team in the league.  Beverly Hills is down with enough time on the clock for one more possession.  Spencer takes the kick off …. almost to the house but he comes up about 20 yards short. Jordan and Asher aren’t connecting and Jordan is being openly hostile to Ash though no one understands why just yet.  In the end, Jordan takes the ball into the endzone himself and Beverly wins. But, as Coach Baker points out, this was no win to celebrate.

Other highlights from the opening: Coop missed Spencer’s game; Layla’s dad (with Chynna in tow) comes to the game but then leaves almost as quickly for work; and Beverly Hills’ last coach, Coach Skolnik, shows up to taunt Billy and get inside his head.  His Malibu team plays Beverly Hills next week and Skolnik very much wants to beat Billy on their home turf.

At the afterparty, the team together with Layla’s dad and Chynna, swing by Spencer’s restaurant.  Asher is still putting on airs and making up stories about his alleged wealth, in order to impress JP (Layla’s dad) but JP clearly doesn’t like this kid. He does like Spencer, however, and his ears perk up when Spencer mentions the Crenshaw Block Party going on that weekend, hosted by Alvin. Chynna’s venue for her album drop just fell through so you can see the wheels turning in JP’s head.

Crenshaw. Coop apologizes to Spencer for missing the game and the friends catch up.  But, when Shawn rolls up and snaps his fingers, Coop is outtie. Left alone with Patience, Spencer clarifies that this is how it is now – Coop is fully under Shawn’s power these days. He’s determined to break Shawn’s grasp over her.

Commercials.

We come back to Alvin’s and some thugs roll in. We don’t get any names but we get the sense that the lead thug (Patrick Cage) is not #TeamShawn and seems to have a real problem with Coop, a known associate of Shawn’s, working there. Tense!

Beverly Hills.  Layla swings by her dad’s music studio to invite him to lunch. While he’s finishing up with Chynna in the studio, Layla finds an engagement ring in his bag and begins to silently scream in her head.

At the school, Coach Baker takes Jordan and Asher to task for almost blowing the game. When they won’t tell him the reason for their discord, he takes it upon himself to force the issue.

Layla asks Spencer to come down to his restaurant (on his day off) because she wants him to “read” Chynna and see if she’s a gold digging bitch or what. Spencer reminds her that he doesn’t actually have superpowers but she’s desperate to make sure her dad isn’t being played.  Also, she mentions her father needs to ask him something.

Crenshaw. Getting Coop’s SOS text, Shawn and some boys roll into Alvin’s the head thug from the other gang reminds Shawn that Alvin’s is neutral territory which, I guess, means that neither Shawn nor any of his associates should be hanging around too much.  Bonez (this is the thug’s name) threatens Shawn to keep pushing him. Him and his boy, Juice, roll out.

“Try me and see.”

Alone, Coop tells Shawn he should think about moving his stash but Shawn definitely doesn’t want to do anything because Bonez told him to.  Shawn makes poor life decisions.

Beverly Hills. Chynna tells Spencer and Layla the story of her career birth which ends with Kendrick Lamar telling JP that Chynna is the real deal.  Layla is poking and prodding for holes in her story and JP gets around to asking Spencer if he thinks he could get Chynna into Alvin’s block party. The plan is to use that as her album release – with the funds and items that JP will kick in for the event, he calls it win win. And for Chynna, being from Crenshaw originally (it’s been mentioned already this episode and she mentions in it in one of her rap tracks), it’ll be like a homecoming.  Spencer thinks it’s an awesome idea. But, he asks for something in return.

Cut to Alvin’s and we learn that Spencer has hooked Coop up with being Chynna’s opening act.  The kids and Alvin are discussing how great this all sounds when a neighborhood kid runs into the shop. Someone has tagged up Alvin’s wall outside. Alvin is confused why someone would do such a think, it’s known that his place is a “safe space.” Whelp!

Commercials.

Coop swings by Shawn’s crib. She tells him about Alvin’s shop and again, tells him to move the money. She’s kind of shocked to learn Shawn has a daughter, Maya, who we meet. Shawn isn’t moving the money. With Alvin’s being neutral, the money is safe there. If he moves it, it becomes a target for everyone to take a shot at.  That money is for Maya, to try and get her out of this life.  Coop says maybe Shawn needs to get himself out of the life sooner rather than later.

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

Malibu.  Billy takes the boys to Malibu to scout next week’s team and remind them who the real enemy is. Jordan flirts with a cute cheerleader and learns some dirt on the team’s health. Asher identifies the team’s best player, Jake Delgado (Javier Bolanos). Asher knows who he is because Ash looked at transferring to Malibu when his mom moved there.

Crenshaw. The Block Party is getting going.  Coop isn’t there yet, though and JP is getting nervous. Across the way, Chris (the Crenshaw QB, remember him) swaggers over to Olivia and begins to charm her.  Spencer notices but he’s got bigger problems. Coop rolls in with Shawn. Spencer tells him that he’s got to go – this opportunity isn’t for him.  Coop doesn’t understand why Spencer is acting this way and tells him that if Shawn has to go, then she goes as well. Dun Dun Dunnnn.

Commercials.

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

We come back to the Block party and everything is going great. Coop is rocking the stage and Shawn is on his best behavior, making in roads with JP.  Spencer is all grumpy face about it and Coop tells him to get over himself.  Backstage, Layla tries to make nice with Chynna and suggests a song for her to open with.  Coop and Spencer come backstage and they congratulate Coop on how awesome she did on stage.  It comes out that Chynna doesn’t know who Alvin is (or his barber shop). Coop is all, “aren’t you from here?!?” Chynna plays it off that she’s just playing and leaves to get dressed.

“How you from Crenshaw, but you don’t know Alvin?!?”

Layla’s wheels are spinning hard after this interaction.

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

Malibu.  Skolnik ribs Coach Baker on checking out a real team’s practice.  Billy says he’s only there to hand off his game film tape. Skolnik tells him to keep it – they only need to worry about Spencer James to beat Beverly Hills. Speaking of Spencer, Coach Skolnik makes fun of Billy for having to adopt a kid to win.  On the sidelines, Asher is pressing Jordan on why he’s being a dick to him but then gives up trying. Jordan turns on him and says that maybe he’ll mention to Layla how Asher slept with Olivia.  The boys fight fight fight … which is super embarrassing for Coach Baker seeing as Skolnik and the Malibu team are all witness.

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

Back in Crenshaw, Shawn shows Coop the business card he got from JP.  May be a job there for him.  He tells Coop that she was right, he’s going to move the money from Alvin’s shop.  Backstage, Layla confronts Chynna about where she’s from really. Chynna says Crenshaw but that she moved when she was little. And also, the “Crenshaw angle” was JP’s idea, so back off. Layla is incredulous but Chynna has a show to do.  Chynna hits the stage as Shawn and his boys are leaving Alvin’s shop with the bag of money. Bonez and his crew show up and guns get drawn. Back on stage with Chynna, we hear shots ring out and everyone hits the deck. Coop knows what’s happening and takes off towards Alvin’s. Spencer calls after her as she goes.

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

Commercials.

We come back and Coop sees Bonez’s dead body laying on the ground outside of Alvin’s shop. Spencer chases her down and asks what she’s doing. She tells him she has to find Shawn to make sure he’s okay. “I look out for my people,” she tells him and Shawn is one of her people. Spencer screams at her that he’s a thug and whatever is coming for Shawn, is now coming for Coop too. And, that is going to brig violence to his mom’s house. And he can’t have that.

Coop tells him he’s right and that she’ll be gone from Spencer’s house that night. That wasn’t the answer Spencer was looking for and makes it very black and white, that Coop is choosing Shawn over him, his mom and Dillon.  Coop replies that Spencer doesn’t need her anymore but Shawn still does.

“I’m not going to turn my back on him. I never did on you.”

Malibu. Coach is making the boys walk all the way back to Beverly Hills. Forced to talk it out, Asher tells Jordan everything about his life falling apart and being broke. Also, he didn’t take advantage of Olivia, they were both depressed and acted on their feelings and that it was a mistake. Jordan seems satisfied with this and then ribs him about throwing a huge house party at someone else’s place. Coach Baker rolls up on them and confirms they are all good now.  The long walk home works every time, he sagely remarks.

Crenshaw. Layla overhears her father celebrating the great publicity that Chynna is going to get from the shooting and she’s fairly disgusted. She shoves the engagement ring into her dad’s chest and tells the couple to have a nice life.

Spencer knocks on Shawn’s door. In the hallway, Spencer tells Shawn that he better keep Coop safe because she’s mixed up with him now and, if something happens to her, Spencer is going to have a very different conversation with Shawn. It’s all tough and threatening and, to his credit, Shawn doesn’t reply. After Spencer leaves, Shawn opens the door wider and we see Coop is in his living room, she heard the exchange. Everyone looks worried.

Commercials.

Crenshaw. Chris walks Olivia to her car and theydiscuss the day’s events. Chris doesn’t think the gun fire was actually all that close but he still threw his arms around her to keep her safe. Olivia tells Chris she had a good time but is hesitant to give him her number – she needs a break from men right now. Chris gives her his number and says to call him if she figures it all out.

Question: Is Chris playing her to get back to Spencer or is he being sincere, here? I don’t know yet.

Beverly Hills.  Layla is hanging out at Spencer’s job as the restaurant is closing up. He calls her on why she’s really angry with her dad and tells her to not let him leave without being honest — in the end, honesty is all you got. She doesn’t want to lose her dad as he is all she has left. JP enters and Spencer tells her that it looks like she hasn’t lost him after all.

The father and daughter talk. Layla tells her dad that her mom was taken but she feels like her dad left her of his own choice. He replies that he’s never been good enough for Layla or her mom. That her mom filled in all his dark spots with light and without her … well, that’s who Layla saw today.  Also, the engagement ring is for Layla, JP says.  It was an anniversary present for Layla’s mom but he never got a chance to give it to her. He wants Layla to have it instead.

“I’m not the father you deserve to have, but I love you.”

Layla tells him that she loves him too. They hug and he leaves … presumably for the airport.

Back in the restaurant, Layla finds Spencer as he’s finishing closing up.  She thanks him and tells him that he’s the only guy in her life that’s been real with her. He demurs but she tells him it’s true. They’re each happy to have the other in their life and they hug. And then, they are kissing.

Of course, Olivia comes by at this exact moment and sees them kiss through the window.  You can hear the heartbreak from here. She runs off as the episode ends.

***

Thoughts.

Well, we’ve been waiting for the Shawn situation to come to a head, basically all season, and tonight it finally happened. Shawn’s killed someone and Coop refuses to leave his side. Her sense of loyalty is her greatest strength but I agree with Spencer on this one, it’s also maybe the thing that’s going to get her killed. I worry about whether Coop will still be alive when this season ends …

I think Shawn cares about her, in the limited way that someone who is as hard as Shawn is, can have those feelings. But, in the end, he’s going to choose himself and his little girl over Coop. I’m not sure Coop understands that or, if she does, cares.  She’s ride or die.

I enjoyed the quick arc with Layla and her father. They had laid the groundwork all season that he was something of an absentee father and we learned tonight that he’s that and so much more … or less, as it were. He’s manipulative and cold hearted to boot. Despite their reconciliation at the end of the episode, Papa Keating still got in the car to head to to the airport … so did he really change at all?

And how does this kiss between Layla and Spencer change … everything. It’s obviously been a long time coming; the chemistry between these two has popped from the Pilot episode but actually getting together … wow. This affects Olivia’s relationship with both Spencer and Layla and maybe even sends her into the arms of Spencer’s rival, Chris. As for the team, how does Asher, Jordan and the rest of the team react when Spencer shows up with Asher’s girl?!? It’s all very Romeo and Juliet all of a sudden.

I’m excited to see how this all plays out over the back end of the season; I hope you come along with me on the journey!

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