“California Love” (Episode 107)
December 5, 2018
The last episode of All American featured a Crenshaw block party complete with Chris hitting on Olivia, Shawn shooting a rival gang member dead, and Layla meeting the new love of her father’s life. And it ended with Spencer and Layla finally sharing a kiss he’s been chasing for a while (and of course, Olivia seeing said kiss). Read the entire recap here!
On to tonight’s episode which takes place over the course of just a few hours, the night before the big game against Malibu. BEWARE SPOILERS … after the jump!
It’s Homecoming time at Beverly Hills High School and lots of stuff is about to come together … there is a dance, the game against Malibu (with the smack talking coach), the awkwardness between Spencer and Layla since their kiss … like I said, lots happening.
Spencer appreciates the situation Layla is in BUT he likes her and thinks she likes him and he does not want to be sneaking around. She agrees to meet him after his shift that night to talk about where they go from here. She agrees to meet … to talk only. Mmm hmmm
In Crenshaw, Coop returns to Shawn’s place and the two bicker like an old married couple. She calls him out for not calling the JP’s record label about a possible internship and Shawn calls Coop out for not calling Spencer since she moved out of his house. For the record, Shawn says, he DID call the label and has an interview tomorrow. Their reverie is interrupted when he receives a text. We don’t know what it says other than they’ve “been summoned.” What the hell does that mean? I don’t know but it’s probably gang related.
At Spencer’s job, he’s all sorts of weirded out by how “deep” Beverly Hills people go into homecoming. He tells his teammates, who are hanging out there, that he’s “rolling solo” to the dance and after he leaves, Asher looks at Jordan and says better to go solo than with a rival … Jordan is dating that girl, Ripley, the cheerleader from Malibu. She’s having a great effect on him as we saw earlier in the episode where she was smoking weed and trying to fuck him so he would miss class. That’s going to end well.
Outside the restaurant, Olivia finds Layla sitting there like a weirdo. Olivia comes clean right away about seeing Layla and Spencer making out and Layla apologizes (sincerely too). Olivia tries to be cool about and Layla asks her what she should do … which is super ballsy of Layla given how she knows Olivia feels about Spencer. Olivia is a class act though and gives her good advice … people only keep secrets like making out with Spencer to protect someone they care about from a big mistake they made but didn’t mean anything OR to protect themselves. Layla heads inside.
She calls Asher away from the boys table with a, “Can we talk” and no one thinks that sounds good. Spencer watches this all from the side. We don’t hear what she says but we join them outside the restaurant in time for Asher to forgive her. He understands she was upset and both of them have been under pressure. All good … which is not how she was expecting that to go.
We see the repercussion of Asher’s attitude when Spencer gets stood up at the lookout where Layla was supposed to meet him. Whelp! On the way home to Crenshaw, Spencer leaves Layla a voicemail saying he understands why she didn’t meet him but he wants her to know, she’s the one thing that makes Beverly feel like home for him.
Crenshaw. The next morning. Mama James wants to know who her boy is taking to the Dance and Spencer is all, “it’s complicated.” All, “I’m in Beverly to play football, not some stupid dance.” Mama James tells Spencer to go find Coop – she’s always been his go to for advice.
Coop and Shawn meet Tyrone (Demetrius Shipp Jr.), who is some gang leader higher up on the food chain than Shawn. He scolds Shawn for having to clean up the mess Shawn made at Alvin’s. Also, with Bonez gone, Shawn needs to sell Bonez’s share of dope. He tells Shawn to meet Swizz to pick up the product. Coop tries to say she’ll meet Swizz for the product instead but … well, that doesn’t go over well. Walking away, Shawn tells Coop he can do the interview AND meet Swizz, he’s got it handled. But he says it in that really shitty way he has that makes him sound like a giant dick.
Coop takes a call from Spencer. She heads to his house and they get past the awkward, “where you staying?” and “keeping my family safe” stuff fast enough. Coop calls Spencer on whether he’s violating the bro code and Spencer agrees that maybe it’s a good thing Layla stood him up, no reason to rock the boat at the team level.
“Maybe cause some girls are worth rocking the boat for.”Coop
Coop tells him that he needs to go get his girl.
Homecoming Dance Time. Well, the time to prep for the dance and parents to take pictures. As Mama James is fussing over her baby boy, Coop shows up, all cleaned up and looking good. Laura pops in to tell the kids the limo is there and Grace asks Laura to please take some photos of Spencer for her tonight … it all goes by so fast. Laura offers Grace her spot to chaperone and Mama James (not at all reluctantly) agrees. In the living room, all the awkward matches start popping up with Olivia, decked out in a hot red dress, coming down to meet Chris (her date). Jordan tries to call her on her date choice but she shuts him down fast (he is there with Ripley). And then Asher shows up with Layla and Spencer looks like he wants to die. And Billy catches it all with a picture!
Fun fact: JJ has two dates. Which may be twins. Love him!
The dance begins and Coop tells Spencer she didn’t come to Beverly among the whitest of the white people, to watch him “sulk” after Layla. But, no worries, because Layla and Ash melt down pretty fast when she starts getting upset about things going wrong at the dance (a banner is missing). He assumes she’s upset about Spencer which doesn’t make things any better when Spencer comes to her side to see if she’s okay. Asher thinks he’s got a lot of nerve and by the way, Asher says, that kiss didn’t mean anything to Layla. Hmmm, you sure about that Ash? Spencer and Layla leave the hall together so she can collect herself.
Meanwhile, Billy and Grace get themselves locked in his football office while looking for the missing banner.
Back in the party, Ripley is not hiding the miserable time she’s having and makes Jordan an offer he can’t refuse. Leave the party and experience a night of mystery and wonder with her. Sold. Coop grabs Spencer and Chris and tells them that they are three kids from Crenshaw in this crazy Beverly Hills dance and they need to get over their shit and be cool. She leaves them and they crack up at how bossy Coop is. Her plan worked. Chris asks him what it’s like living this life and Spencer demurs. But Chris doesn’t let him off the hook, he tells him that this Beverly life fits Spencer like a glove. Talk turns to Olivia and Spencer tells Chris he won’t let her play around with her just to get to Spencer. Chris replies he’s genuinely into Olivia but there is a problem … she’s genuinely into Spencer. Spencer denies it but Chris tells him the thirst is real. Both boys are staring at her when she sees them and she smiles and waves sheepishly back at them.
In the hallway, Layla does what she should’ve done the day before outside the restaurant and she cuts Asher loose. Of course, he takes it as her choosing Spencer over him but she says she’s choosing herself. He essentially calls her a selfish bitch akin to her father. Layla tells him to go home as he’s been drinking and is obviously hurt but c’mon, there is no way that happens. The party is just getting started, Ash advises her. Ruh Roh!
Inside the dance, Asher grabs a flask from JJ (he brought TWO flasks, JJ is crazy) and begins openly guzzling liquor. Olivia sees him and tries to get him to slowdown – she tells him she knows what the start of a downward spiral looks like. Asher corrects her that she’s celebrating … turns out, they have nothing to feel bad about because Layla cheated on him with Spencer. Olivia makes a face and Ash realizes she already knew which is a last straw of sorts for him. He storms out after telling Olivia she’s just like everyone else.
In the hallway, Coop and Spencer are talking about the “Dynasty” of it all which, Coop isn’t wrong. She gets a call from Shawn who tells her the interview went great and they put him right to work (he leaves out the part where is emptying trash). He can’t leave and Coop jumps right in that she’ll meet Swizz for him, no worries. Tyrone will never know the difference. Spencer says he’ll go with Coop but she tells he can’t, Spencer just has to trust her. He listens to Coop for once and they hug and she leaves. Which is perfect timing because Layla appears in the hallway. She wants to dance. And she wants to dance with Spencer
Back inside the gym, Spencer and Layla begin to slow dance and all the (important) eyes are on them, namely Asher and Olivia. The dance is interrupted, however, by an underline who needs Layla to fix their emergency – the dance has run out of drinks.
In Billy’s office, Grace and Billy are getting real playing their version of “ask me anything.” Grace asks Billy why he married Laura, out of Crenshaw and “out of the culture.” She’s always wondered if it was a rebound thing. He tells her that Grace was his last tether to Crenshaw and that when she chose Corey over him, he couldn’t stick around any longer. He always felt he carried the weight of the hood on his back and it was too much. His defense of himself is appreciatively interrupted by Laura coming to free them. Grace high tails it out of there to deliver the banner to the gym.
Inside the gymnasium, Asher has wandered on stage and takes the mic from the DJ. Oh no. He begins to introduce the team and bring them on stage. So far, so good. In the audience, Layla rejoins Spencer’s side just in time for Asher to cast his drunk eyes on them. Asher introduces Spencer but this is where it falls apart. He mentions Layla and the cheating. But, no no, he’s not done. He goes on to say that it’s cool because he cheated first. “Tell her Olivia.” In case anyone missed his point, Asher goes on in front of the entire school about how he and Olivia had sex long before Spencer ever showed up to Beverly. All eyes are now on Olivia who looks ready to die. Billy, who has re-entered the gym, yanks Asher off the stage.
In the hallway, Olivia is chasing Layla, trying to get her to talk but Layla isn’t having it. She trusted her and opened up to her about the situation with Spencer, not realizing the betrayal. Olivia has a pretty great rebuttal that she fucked Asher while high on drugs, what’s Layla’s excuse for messing around with Spencer?!? Olivia finishes that maybe now Layla can admit to not being a perfect human but embrace that she’s messy like everyone else. Layla takes this as an insult, though, and not like the compliment that Olivia intended it to be. I think. Layla storms out of the school as Chris and Spencer finds Olivia in the hallway. She runs away from the boys, saying she can’t bear to hear from Spencer how horrible she is. I don’t think that’s what Spencer was going to say.
Outside, we see Layla leaving the dance. Spencer chases after her but too late, she’s already jumping in the back of a car. Who’s car? Limo? Don’t know. Uber works really well in Beverly Hills, maybe?
Inside, Coach Baker is laying into Asher for drinking on school property. To his (little credit), Ash doesn’t give up JJ or anyone else drinking. Billy suspends him for the next two games … which is bummer because scouts will be at tomorrow’s homecoming game. You guys, Asher is a shit bird but he’s also a messed up kid. I really don’t like where this storyline feels like it’s going. No one is going to be happy with how this winds up.
Crenshaw. Coop rolls up but Tyrone is already there -Swizz called him when Shawn didn’t show. Coop says this is on her as she told Shawn she could handle it. Tyrone tells her having “a gay chick” roll with them is making them look soft but she says it could be am asset. Tyrone wants her to prove herself … by shooting some Crips at a an address he gives her. “Take your pick” at the Crip to shoot. She begs off and says that guns aren’t for her. Tyrone tells her that women only survive in a gang by being the “baddest bitches” and he REF– USES to carry Coop if she won’t “ride” for him. Tyrone doesn’t carry anybody. As he leaves, he warns her that she and Shawn better watch their backs. Well, that went badly.
Back in Beverly Hills, Chris walks with Olivia outside the school. He’s very reassuring and soothing for her. They’re about to have a moment when she sees Asher on a bench, flask in hand, about to pass out. Olivia tells Chris she needs to help him, even after everything Asher did that night, because she knows what “rock bottom” feels like. Chris tells her to call him when the dust settles, that she’s worth waiting for (you’re damn right she is, buddy). They share a nice kiss.
Olivia sits next to Asher on the bench. She takes the flask and empties it on the ground. He looks up at her, sad and broken, and drunk. No words are spoken and it’s a really beautiful scene of empathy.
Crenshaw. Coop returns home to Shawn. He tells her about his day cleaning up after “failed musicians turned producers” but JP’s boy showed up and complimented his hustle so he’s going to stick out the minimum wage job a bit. How’d it go with Swizz, he asks Coop. She says it’s all good good good. She mentions that Tyrone was there too but it’s all good. Shawn says that’s great but then hears her words … he realizes that Ty never picks up his own product unless there is a problem. Coop tells Shawn the broad strokes that Tyrone isn’t feeling either of them right about now and she’s a little scared. Shawn realizes that he can’t do a legit job, not with this gang life hanging over his head.
On a beach, Ripley and Jordan are smoking up and clearly had sex at some point as she’s wearing his button down (unbuttoned) and nothing else beside panties. He realizes how late it is and tries to leave but she seduces him with skinny dipping. Aww, bro, you’re getting played by the hot cheerleader for the other team. But, as he follows her into the ocean, he’s not thinking about that.
Spencer finds Layla at the lookout point where she was supposed to meet the other night. He tells her that he appreciates how complicated feelings are and, though he wants to be with her in the worst way, he gets if she needs space. She asks to finish their dance from earlier. The episode closes with them slow dancing with a perfect nighttime view in the distance.
Oh man, the Beverly Hills High School Varsity Football team is in for trouble next week’s episode when they show for the game against Malibu (which is tomorrow morning in the show’s timeline). Coach Baker told his players to just not be stupid tonight … and his wide receiver and quarterback made choices about as stupid as could be. Jordan is high in the ocean with the enemy and Asher got himself suspended for two games. No Bueno!
Let’s talk about character development and rehabilitation for a second because I think this was the real takeaway tonight. All of our main villains have been put on a road to redemption – Coop is bringing out this really human, vulnerable side in Shawn, while Chris seems to be genuinely enthralled with Olivia. Asher, well Asher is just a broken kid with a life of too much privilege who is spiraling now that it’s all gone.
I like the Shawn arc they’re taking – it feels a bit too fast this 180 degrees they are putting him on; I can’t say I’ve ever known any Bloods in real life but I don’t believe the real hard ones who are leaders within the organization could flip to corporate intern so fast. That being said, I want him to be a better man and make good decisions … for himself, for his daughter and for Coop – the three of them are this messed up, modern dysfunctional family. The Tyrone factor threatens to derail this progress of the last two episodes and I can’t help but feel like the gang claws are going to claim Shawn or Coop in a very final way. My guess is that Shawn gets killed and Coop takes on Maya as her own daughter.
Chris. We didn’t get to know very much about Chris before these last couple of episodes. It seems like he was a villain only by virtue of his position as QB of Spencer’s own team. But, there is a brotherhood between him and Spencer which doesn’t seem easily doused – Spencer has always promised to be Crenshaw in his heart – and his affection for Olivia seems genuine. In TV speak, that means that he’s making these statement of sincerity to Spencer and Olivia and not being duplicitous behind their backs, at least not on screen. It doesn’t feel like that is the route we’re going. Unlike Ripley and Jordan where I totally believe that’s where the show is going … Jordan is being honey trapped hard ahead of Beverly’s big game against Malibu.
Asher. I feel bad that Asher is headed down in this spiral honestly, I thought tonight was going to end with his suicide – until they left tutrned into Olivia helping him. But, he’s a dick and i really don’t like him so, wah, go cry into your pillow you little bitch – you reap what you sow.
With that enlightened commentary, I’ll end this recap here. Join us next week for the mid-season finale of All American!