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5 things we learned from the All American winter premiere

On the winter premiere of All American, Shawn’s death is the first domino to fall in a chain that begins in Crenshaw and ends in Beverly Hills.

It’s been several weeks since we left off with All American and I’ve been chomping at the bit for the new episode after the dramatic reveals and cliffhangers of the midseason finale. I’m pretty shocked Billy is sticking to his lie about his son’s drug test. I figured he wouldn’t fess up right away, but to lie straight to Olivia’s face after she asked him about integrity a bold and self-serving decision.

We still don’t learn much more about Spencer’s father, though Spencer does ask Billy about what the Malibu coach meant when he referred to the job Billy stole from him. Turns out the job was being offered to almost 50 different coaches, it wasn’t as if it were just a toss-up between Cory and Billy. Maybe Billy’s NFL experience did boost him over the edge but it was a job he earned.

Those were just a few of the reveals though, this episode is stuffed with plenty of new plot-lines as every character is effected either directly, or indirectly, by Shawn’s death.

Leila and Spencer are in a secret relationship.

This was a fairly obvious conclusion given how hot and heavy the pair was getting in the winter finale but they’re not doing so well at the “secret” part of their relationship. Already, Spencer’s mother and Asher are both aware and while Grace is happy and supportive of the new couple, Asher definitely finds it a bitter pill to swallow.

I can’t imagine their relationship is going to stay secret for much longer and I’m guessing there will be more challenges and hurdles ahead for the two of them, one of them most certainly being Asher.

 

All American -- "Keep Ya Head Up"

All American — “Keep Ya Head Up”– Image Number: ALA109a_1570b.jpg — Pictured: Daniel Ezra as Spencer — Photo: Michael Desmond/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Spencer won the MVP award.

But the taste of victory is bittersweet. Spencer is too caught up in the heartbreak his Crenshaw

Speaking of dark paths… I don’t think anyone in this show is in as dire of circumstances as Coop is right now.

community is feeling to savor the prize. He ends up blowing off a reporter because he feels it’s more important to be by Coop’s side during the grieving process, and to make sure she’s not planning to do anything reckless (too late for that).

A scorned journalist takes to twitter to fire off some dumb assumptions about Spencer’s ego. I hope he likes the taste of crow because when Spencer finally does make a speech about his award he makes sure to pay respects to victims of gang violence, echoing the sentiments of his church preacher from the beginning of the episode and paying tribute to Shawn and all the kids who have died too soon and not gotten the chance to win awards or give speeches because the gang life, a life many were forced into, took it from them.

Asher wants Leila back.

Even though Asher wrought his own path of self-destruction and can hardly blame anyone else for where he’s at right now (except his awful father), I still felt bad for him. Seeing him ashen-faced as Leila tells him outright she’s dating Spencer was a rough moment to watch. Especially after he was attempting to make an effort to get his life on track.

Still, he shouldn’t hedge all his bets on Leila. They broke up for a reason. If the rejection makes him continue on his downward spiral, it isn’t her fault. She doesn’t owe him anything. Honestly, I’m glad she was honest with him because it would have been even worse had she lead him on and pretended there was hope for a future between them, which, for all we know there could be – but Asher needs to worry about the present and his own life rather than solely focusing on Leila and football.

Coop is headed down a scary path.

Speaking of dark paths… I don’t think anyone in this show is in as dire of circumstances as Coop is right now. Still reeling from Shawn’s death, she goes to dangerous lengths for revenge on his killers. Seeing Shawn’s bags in the hands of some newbie to the streets rattles her and after rejecting Tyrone’s initial offer to become part of his crew, she goes back to accept it.

But since someone already filled her spot, Coop has to prove herself through a violent initiation process. Something she anticipates given the way she openly tells Tyrone to bring it on, but it still doesn’t make it any easier to watch the brutal beatdown.

All American -- "Keep Ya Head Up"

All American — “Keep Ya Head Up”– Image Number: ALA109a_0053b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Taye Diggs as Billy and Michael Evans Behling as Jordan — Photo: Michael Desmond/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Jordan passed his drug test.

One of the big cliffhangers of the winter season finale involved Jordan smoking marijuana and then having to participate in a supposedly “random” drug test ordered by the Malibu football coach. Billy was willing to step in and exchange his urine sample for a clean one. When Jordan mysterious passes his test with flying colors, Billy brushes it off as a stroke of luck.

But it raises Olivia’s suspicions. As a former drug user, she’s well aware that marijuana takes at least a week or more to clear out of your system and she asks Billy if he tampered with the test. He’s forced to lie directly to her face. I have a feeling that’s going to come back to bite him.

While initially appearing guilty, Ripley may not have had anything to do with getting the drug test ordered but I wonder if the Malibu coach did have an ulterior motive we just haven’t been made aware of yet, even if it didn’t involve Ripley.

Next: 7 Questions that need answers when All American returns

Odds & Ends

  • The flashback sequences between Shawn and Spencer were hard to watch. I teared up multiple times during the episode but the moment, in the present, when Tyrone calls Shawn a guardian angel to Spencer over the years (without him even being aware of how protective Shawn was of him) I completely started bawling!
  • I just wanted to give all these kids a hug by the end of the hour.
  • Spencer’s mom is the best hype-person ever she gives the greatest advice. Billy could learn something from her about how to get through to Spencer the right way.

A new episode of All American titled “m.A.A.d. city” premieres January 23 on The CW.