TV Recap: All American – As Good As It Gets …

All American
“Homecoming” (Episode 108)
December 12, 2018

After last week’s disastrous Homecoming dance, tonight’s mid-season finale of All American is full of ramifications for everyone and their season long choices! Catch up on all of last week’s action with our recap here!

Now, the mid-season finale of All American, “Homecoming” … after the jump! BEWARE SPOILERS!!

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

We open tonight still on the night of the Homecoming dance. Spencer arrives home in Layla’s limo to find Coop waiting on his steps.  They admit that the night didn’t work out for either of them how they planned.  Spencer wraps his arms around his bestie and promises that he’ll never leave her behind.  These two … friendship goals.

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

The next morning in Crenshaw, Mama James finds Spencer and Dillon watching the video of Asher at the dance melting down on stage and announcing to everyone that he slept with Olivia. Mama James has had enough of the video and Spencer tells her that everything bad that’s happened up to this point is his fault. His  leaving Crenshaw for Beverly Hills set everything in motion: Coop and Shawn, Coach Baker and Jordan having father son problems, Asher being benched for homecoming AND no longer having a girlfriend (Dillon contributes the last one). Mama James tells him he’s crazy — people make their own choices in life and you have to own your decisions … and Spencer changing schools was the best thing FOR HIM. He doesn’t look convinced.

In Beverly Hills, Asher’s dad is in the middle of ripping Coach Baker a new asshole over the thought of not starting his son at the Homecoming game.  Billy says he’s not happy about this either but Asher fucked up and there are consequences. Harold storms out of the Baker house as Jordan, bare footed and high, comes wandering in. Olivia whisper scolds him about staying out all night and getting high, especially before a game. Before he can get upstairs (Olivia told her parents he was in his room all night), Billy catches his son and reads him the riot act about getting played by Ripley, the Malibu cheerleader. Jordan isn’t apologetic and tells his dad that he’s so busy always trying to make Billy proud that for once, he cut loose and enjoyed himself. Billy replies that Jordan is supposed to be a leader but if it’s too much for him to handle just let Billy know. He ends his speech by telling his son that Jordan has to figure out what’s important for Jordan – not for anyone else. It’s basically the same advice Mama James gave Spencer.

Crenshaw. At Shawn’s apartment, Coop is telling Shawn that he can’t just give up on the record label job. Shawn replies that Coop and Spencer have the same problem, this belief that everyone has a chance at greatness.

“But that’s not how the world works for the rest of us.”

Coop tells him that you can’t give up on your dreams because sometimes the dream is all we got.  Someone knocks on the door and the tension in the room escalates to 11 as Maya sweetly says someone’s at the door.

It’s Tyrone. Shawn tries to play cool, offers him some eggs and does the whole, “mi casa, es su casa” thing but Shawn isn’t there to play nice. Tyrone tells Shawn that they’re all on lockdown because the police are asking about Bonez (the gangbanger who got killed at Alvin’s a couple of episodes ago) and to  be clear, that’s heat that Shawn brought on them all.  He excuses Shawn and Maya from the room and then reminds Coop what he said the night before … if Coop and Shawn aren’t riding for Tyrone then he’s coming for them both. So, whatcha ya backs.

Beverly Hills. Spencer has brought Coop to Laura to see if they can solve this Tyrone problem. She’s able to pull up his rap sheet and she makes Coop a deal … the DA has been trying to nail Tyrone so if Shawn will cooperate with the authorities, Laura promises she can get Coop and Shawn the protection they need. Coop tries to say that Shawn will never snitch but Spencer cuts her off, it’s worth a shot to ask and they have no other options.

*Can we take a second to mention how cool Laura is … she doesn’t need to be dealing with this shit but she’s jumping in, almost no questions asked.*

At Spencer’s restaurant (seriously, what is the name of this place where all the kids spend all of their time now), Layla finds Olivia and decides to just confront her about last night. She apologizes for the harsh words but also makes it clear that she’s still really mad at Olivia … not just for sleeping with Asher but more so, about Olivia not telling Layla she’s going out with a guy who would cheat on her. They each make mea culpas about Spencer and Layla mentions that Spencer is doing the whole, ” let’s just be friends right now” thing to try and uncomplicate her life. In short, these two woman are kind of okay though Layla isn’t really sure of anything right now and needs some time before she’s ready to jump back on the besties train.

Beverly Hills High School.  Principal Landon is telling Billy that he needs to compromise his ethics and let Asher play … Harold Adam is just making too much of a stink. Landon says he knows Billy is right and he’s in his corner (he’s not really) but Billy has to appreciate the facts. Billy knows what’s up – if Asher doesn’t play tonight and they lose, Billy knows that he’s fired.  He’s sticking to his guns though … if he gives in to Harold and parents like him after what Asher did, then, he’s no kind of coach at all.

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

Crenshaw. Shawn is having the predicable reaction to Coop and Spencer. He’s not snitch and, in case Spencer has forgotten since he cashed his “golden ticket” but snitches get killed. Spencer replies that Shawn has chosen a life that’s going to get him killed. He tells Shawn that Shawn chose to run with guys like Tyrone back when they were younger, choose something different now. To be clear, Spencer tells Shawn he doesn’t care about Shawn at all but he does care about Coop and seeing she has a chance … so take the damn help, Shawn.

“I’ll find my own way out.”

Damn you, Shawn!

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

On the street, Spencer tries to set Coop straight. He tells her that she’s always preaching about seeing the greatness inside but she doesn’t see it in herself. Coop says it’s easier to see in other people and Spencer tells her that he sees the greatness in Coop … time to cut Shawn loose.

Beverly Hills. At Spencer’s Restaurant, Ripley, seeing the hangdog expression on Jordan’s face after his dad yelled at him, tells Jordan that there’s more to life than football. Jordan sees Ash and goes to spread that same message to him. Jordan confronts him about slut shaming Olivia in front of everyone and Asher’s non-apology was that he had been dumped and was drunk. Jordan reminds him that those choices got him tossed from the Homecoming game tonight and Asher is aware, his life is ruined. Jordan thinks this is an overreaction as there is more to life than football but Asher disagrees. But in classic Asher fashion, he takes any sympathy he might garner and flushes it down the toilet …

 “Without me, there’s no way you guys win tonight.”

Speaking of the football game, Billy arrives in the locker room to find Coach Skolnick waiting for him. He’s actually there because there is a meeting with the refs about new “targeting” rules in effect for the game but Skolnick takes his chances to needle Billy in private and public about being a loser in general. Coach Skolnick is BAD at smack talk, he just comes across as petty. Billy tells the refs that his players understand the targeting rules and so, no need for a meeting. Coach Skolnick leaves but not before getting in a shot about Billy benching his “star wide receiver.”

Crenshaw. Coop arrives at Shawn’s place to find Shawn’s pissed off mother. He was supposed to be back an hour ago and she needs to leave to get Maya some milk and get to her job. Alone, Coop dials Shawn but we see him, sitting in his car, ignore her call. He’s got business.

Cut to Shawn and we see Tyrone and one of his boys roll up. Getting down to it, Shawn tosses Ty a bag of money — it’s everything Shawn’s saved. He wants to buy his way out of the life; he’s going to take his little girl and go live in Louisiana. Tyrone questions Shawn on whether he thinks it’s that simple to get out of the life. He checks the amount of money and says they’ve got a deal but Shawn overpaid … he was never worth as much as he just handed over. Which, not nice Tyrone.  Tyrone drives off and Shawn breaths a genuine sigh of relief. He feels freedom!

Beverly Hills.  Layla has returned to Spencer’s restaurant because she forgot her purse. She runs into Spencer who just popped by to get his check. They have some awkward talk about avoiding each other and what does “just be friends” mean. She wishes him luck on the game tonight.

Crenshaw. Shawn is talking to Coop on the phone as he’s pulling up to his apartment. He’s telling Coop about her being right … about everything. A little “paper” and now him and Tyrone are square. He thanks her.

“Took you believing in me for me to believe in myself.”

Coop and Shawn are both so happy as they talk. As he’s opening the gate, he’s telling Coop about starting a new life with Maya and maybe, Coop can come with them … start a new life too. Someone calls Shawn’s name.

Shawn turns to find one of Bonez’s boys pointing a gun at him. The gangbanger puts two in Shawn’s chest as the sound falls out. We see Coop screaming Shawn’s name into the phone as blood pools out from underneath him.

Photo: The CW

 

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

We come back to Coop and Patience at the James house. Coop is telling Mama J how she stayed with Shawn’s body until his mother showed up. Everyone is crying. Spencer walks in and tells Coop he’s sorry. Coop thanks him and then takes a shot that she’s sure Spence isn’t surprised. Spencer doesn’t deny it but says it doesn’t make it any easier. He tells Coop that Shawn was one of their own; he promises to help Coop get through this.

Beverly Hills. It’s nighttime which means it’s game time. The stands are packed, there are fireworks, this is a big deal game. On the sidelines, Asher is there in plain clothes and Coach Baker tells him that he can’t be on the sidelines … it’s a league rule that suspended players not be on the field anywhere.

The team huddles up and Coach says Spencer has some words to say. Spencer begins to say how tonight isn’t just for the division, it’s about something more and he’s going to need his team tonight. He gets choked up and can’t finish. Jordan jumps in …

“We got you. Tonight, we’re playing for something bigger boys. Bring it in, let’s go.”

In the stands, Chris sits with Olivia and she asks if she knew Shawn too. He repeats the line about being “one of us” and tells her he’s sure he wouldn’t be able to play through a game like Spencer is about to do. But, let’s try to have a good time he says. It’s homecoming!

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

Game Time! Spencer snags an early interception but it goes down hill from there. Malibu’s defense is sacking Jordan every other play and totally shutting down their offense. Malibu jumps out to an early 14-10 nothing lead. Coach Skolnick is grinning like an idiot.  On the sidelines, Jordan asks his father what he should do about Malibu’s defense.  It’s half time and Spencer and Coach Baker are the last two on the field … as they start the walk to the locker room, Spencer mentions how something feels wrong. Billy gives words to his feeling … Malibu has Beverly’s playbook.

In the locker room, Jordan is having a FREAK OUT and his dad tells him they’ll think of something. That something is running the Crenshaw playbook instead of Beverly Hills. He confirms with Spencer that they basically run a two man game – Spencer and the QB playing catch. Billy puts Spencer and Jordan together and tells them to work out Spencer’s three favorite offensive plays – that’s their strategy for the second half. On the field, Chris has come down and he’s running Jordan through plays him and Spencer used to run. Spencer thanks Chris and Chris reminds him they’re family. If nothing else, they agree to do it for Shawn.

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

Second Half! Running the Crenshaw playbook, Jordan and Spencer light up the field. Passing and running plays, the befuddled looks on the Malibu defense is delicious and the joy on Billy’s face as Skolnick is getting more and more annoyed is infectious.  Score after score, Beverly Hills gets right back in the game.  Jordan notices the star player on Malibu, Jake (number 99) throwing his hands up into the stands and to jordan (and us), it looks like he’s looking at Asher. Did Asher sell out his team?!?! 

Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW

Not time to wonder about that right now because the Eagles have 57 yards to go and not a lot of time. Too long for a field goal, Chris, who is kind of hanging out on the sidelines now, pipes in that they try “River Run.”  Spencer catches on and confirms with Jordan that he knows how to catch.  Chris draws up the play for Billy and Jordan to see and we’re a go.

Fourth quarter and 8 seconds left, the game is tied.  This is probably last play of the game. The balls snaps, Jordan flips the ball to Spencer. Spencer rolls to the side and sets himself as Jordan runs, unguarded, down the sideline. Spencer throws the ball up and …. Jordan makes the catch! An easy run into the endzone and Beverly Hills has won the game! And the division!

“You’re a superstar. I’m so proud of you. I love you!”

Billy, learning from the last time this happened, makes sure to go to his son first and give him some love! Fans flood the field. Jordan smiles at Ripley and smiles back but also, has some sadness in her look. Everyone is happy, no more so than Principal Landon BTW.  On the field, Chris points at Spencer and Spencer taps his heart and point back at him.

Spencer … is exhausted. Physically and emotionally.

Photo: The CW

In the locker room, Asher comes in as most of the team has cleared out. He congratulates Jordan on the catch and says that Jordan might be his competition for the receiver spot in the playoffs.  Asher then asks where the secret play came from? Jordan tells him it was a Crenshaw play and then mentions that Beverly needs a whole new playbook since someone handed their playbook to Malibu. Asher tries to be surprised but Jordan calls him on it. Asher doesn’t even try to deny it but instead goes back to his excuse of a “moment of weakness” while his life was falling apart. Jordan has had enough of that excuse and, your playoff spot, Ash? Gone. Asher can’t believe Jordan would try to get him kicked off the team over that …

Really Asher?!? You gave your team’s playbook to their enemy. The fuck is wrong with you?!? This kid is delusional.

Baker House. Layla comes by that night to visit Spencer. She notes the Bakers just left the house … so these two are alone. She gives her condolences on Shawn and Spencer admits they had a “complicated friendship.” He mentions Maya and wonders how you tell someone’s daughter that their parent is dead. Layla appreciates this as she was Maya getting that type of news. The two, feeling even closer now, kiss and then begin to strip. “Let’s Get It On” doesn’t play on the soundtrack but it might as well be.

Post-coitally, in the bathroom, Layla comes in and tells Spencer that she gets that the sexy times was just Spencer trying to “block out the noise.” She tells him she doesn’t want this to affect their friendship but Spencer is all, “I do.” He wants to be more than friends and doesn’t want to wait … life’s too short, he says. He’s right FYI.

Crenshaw. The next day, Coop and patience are paying their respects the pop-up vigil spot where Shawn was killed. Patience tells Coop that she’s glad she’s done with this life and they can move on.

“It ain’t over.”

Coop tells this to Patience as Tyrone and his boys roll up. Coop embraces them as Ty tells Coop, “we got you.” We’re on a vengeance kick now!

Beverly Hills. At the Adams house, Harold tells Asher he should go stay with his mother for a bit – if he’s off the football team, there is no reason for him to be in Beverly Hills.

“You know that she doesn’t want me.”
“That’s for you to figure out.”

Goddamn, Harold Adam is a giant asshole. Dear show, DON’T MAKE ME FEEL BAD FOR ASHER!!!

The next day, Coach Baker is stopped by Principal Landon (who has Coach Skolnick in tow). He tells coach to get to the locker room. Now. Inside the locker room, the whole team has assembled. Billy, coming out of his office, tells the team that someone made an anonymous complaint to the sports committee that an Eagle violated the drug policy.  So, they are all going to be drug tested now. Line up – it’s pee time!

Jordan sidles over to his father and asks what happens if they fail the drug test. Billy tells Jordan that player will be suspended for playoffs. Jordan tells his father he’s going to fail. Billy double and triple takes his son. If he had water in his mouth, he would have spit-taked, such was his shock.

As the pee tests roll in, Coach Baker looks on — I feel like there is a plan in his eyes. A devious plan.  Meanwhile, Coach Skolnick stops Spencer to compliment his performance the night before. He mentions how he worked with Spencer’s dad before he was fired and how Billy blocked Corey from taking over the coaching job when Skolnick left. Spencer tells him he can stop messing with his head – Beverly Hills already beat Skolnick’s team. I wouldn’t do that, Skolnick says. He does say that Corey carried a picture of Spencer in his wallet and always bragged about his son … what would make such a man leave his family, Skolnick ponders? Unrelated, Coach Skolnick says, Billy Baker is a man that will do whatever he must to get what he wants …

This damaging claim is lent credence when we see Billy swoop in and change out his son’s pee sample. Shaking my head at you, coach.

And scene!

Thoughts.

Interesting mid-season finale. Largely predictable developments BUT I enjoyed watching them play out. All American has gone out of its way the last few episodes to humanize Shawn which was a flashing neon sign that something bad was going to happen to him at some point. All of that said, it was sad to see him gunned down so close to getting what he (and Coop) wanted. I was surprised it was Bonez’ guys that did it, though, as I was convinced Tyrone and his crew were going to come back in a “no one gets out of the life” kind of drive by shooting.

Poor Coop. So close to getting everything she secretly wants and Spencer openly wants for her. Now, with her last scene, she’s going to dive even deeper into the life as she lives out some revenge fantasy for Shawn’s death. Even poorer Patience, who will probably end up paying the ultimate price for the gang war that’s sure to erupt in the second half of the season.

Congratulations to the Beverly Hills Eagles. I was 99% sure that they HAD to win the game against Malibu – would be a bad football show if football was done half way through the season. But first the twist on Malibu getting their playbook and then the double twist that it was Asher (and not Ripley) that gave it to them. Well done. Also, All American does sports montages better than most TV shows and as well or better than most sports movies. I really enjoy those scenes and can’t help but get hyped when watching them drive down field!

Spencer. What a nice episode for him on a personal level … the Shawn stuff set aside. Beginning with his mother’s opening scene wisdom, assuring him the move to Beverly was the right call for his life all the way through the game and getting Chris’s help to beat Malibu to the end of the episode where he got with Layla. All of Spencer’s work and sacrifice paid off tonight and I am proud of him.

Poor Jordan. He rebelled once in his life and it bit him in the ass in a way he never foresaw. The drug testing was a nice twist – we suspected Ripley had to be fucking him over somehow, especially with the sad smile she gives him at the end of the game. I figured it would be revealed she was the conduit on the playbook so it was a nice surprise when her duplicity came out via being the one to get him to take drugs the night before the game.  That’s a loose end that will need to be tied up in the second half of the season.

Where do we go from here? My predictions/thoughts on what the second half of the season holds:

  • Well, Jordan will stay on the team though I am sure Billy will pay some kind of price for switching the urine.
  • On the field, we’ll spend most of the season marching through the Playoffs.
  • Off the field,  Olivia and Chris will grow closer though Crenshaw and Beverly Hills will meet at some point during the playoffs. This will cause friendship and relationship stress for all involved. Chris and Spencer were family tonight — they won’t be when it’s game time.
  • Spencer and Layla will have ups and downs in their now, sexual, relationship. Pregnancy? I hope they don’t go down that plot route but maybe.
  • Spencer and Billy/Mama James. There is still so much about Spencer’s younger life and his father we don’t know about or understand. With Coach Skolnick planting seeds of doubt at the end of this episode, we’re inevitably going to find out what drove Corey off, caused him to abandon his family.
  • Asher. I haven’t really mentioned Asher because he annoys me. His father, his mother too probably, SUCK. Like, giant dildo assholes but Asher is too and I just can’t root for him. Sad pity is about as much as i get up for him. I have felt for the last few episode and still feel like they are driving towards a suicide line for him. I hope not because that is a horrible way for a young person to go … feeling so hopeless and alone. But, the seeds are there. If not that, expect some horrendous blow up with Asher and everyone in his life.

Thanks for reading along these last couple of months; we’ll see you back in January for the second half of All American!

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