All American recap: Spencer takes a stand

Spencer takes a stand against gang violence while Coop gets involved in it on a new episode of All American aptly titled m.A.A.d. city.

If you’re a fan of Kendrick Lamar then you’ve probably heard his song “m.A.A.d. city” before, and even if you aren’t a regular listener the song has gained notoriety for the depth, complexity, and emotional core of its lyrics. It’s fitting title for this episode of All American that addresses gang violence in Crenshaw as a parallel to the violence Lamar experienced in his own childhood.

When we last saw Coop, she was getting initiated into Tyrone’s crew on a misguided revenge mission in Shawn’s name. Obviously, Coop is hurting over his death but is this life he would have wanted for her? Spencer doesn’t think so and neither does Patience, who breaks up with Coop after seeing her punch one of her crew members for stealing.

The only good thing to come out of Coop’s involvement is it triggers a reckoning in Crenshaw, one petitioned by Spencer, who is tired of hearing his pastor read out the names of more fallen victims at every Sunday sermon. He wants his home to be a safe place for kids, for his brother, especially and right now Dillon can’t even go to the park because it has been overrun with gangs.

Kia, his ex-girlfriend, turns out to be his saving grace. She helps Spencer and Leila organize a community clean-up project to reclaim Essence Park from the gangs and make it habitable for the children of Crenshaw again. Unfortunately, her uncle is less inclined to assist.

All American — “m.A.A.d. city”– Image Number: ALA110b_0161b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Bre – Z as Coop and Daniel Ezra as Spencer — Photo: Jesse Giddings/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Spencer’s ultimate goal is to get a new law passed that will forbid gangs from hanging out together in public places but as William points out, this will likely give police officers more license to harass black men. He brings up Philando Castile as an example, and he’s got a point. Spencer’s intentions are well-meaning but his emotional drive may be clouding his judgment.

During the clean-up, a record amount of people show up in support but Spencer gets discouraged when his petition is still left mostly blank. To make matters even worse, Tyrone and William’s crew go head-to-head on the court while children and families are still present.

Guns drawn and terse words exchanged, Spencer steps up to stop things from escalating and in doing so he empowers all of Crenshaw — including Williams, who shows up at his doorstep later to promise he’ll take care of Tyrone in his own way.

All American

All American — “m.A.A.d. city”– Image Number: ALA110a_0005b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Greta Onieogou as Layla Samantha Logan as Oliva — Photo: Jesse Giddings/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Not everything in All American this week is gang-affiliated though. Olivia and Spencer talk for the first time in a while, Spencer has a surprising heart-to-heart with Laura, and it even looks like Olivia and Leila might finally have their relationship back on track.

But apparently the rest of Beverly isn’t too thrilled about how fast Leila ditched Asher to be with Spencer (as if its any of their business – speaking of which, where is Asher?) Leila gets a nice Mean Girls moment when she stands up to the originator of some nasty rumors – Gabby – and pops this line off, “Next time you decide to come for me, you better swing harder because I won’t be so nice.”

Leila’s relationships are doing great actually, as are Olivia’s. Both girls appear better off without Asher in their lives, but I doubt he’s going to stay away long. That boy is a magnet for drama.

Oh and, Jordan may have given his sketchy grandfather drug money, er, well, he claims the money would be for expensive, rare, blood sugar maintenance strips for his diabetes, but I’ve never heard of such a thing. I mean it’s medicine, not Pokemon cards.

Next: All American winter premiere recap

Odds & Ends

  • It’s good to see Leila and Olivia talking to each other again, I hope their friendship is getting back on the right track.
  • I thought the Gabby side-plot was a little strange. I knew Leila wasn’t the type of girl to care about popularity but it sort of sprung up out of nowhere. I could see if she’d had a rivalry with a girl in school from the beginning but we’ve never had any hint people had bad intentions towards her until now. That being said, it’d be nice to see Leila having more storylines outside her love life, Olivia too, for that matter.
  • Who knew Spencer was such a wordsmith? If his career in football doesn’t work out maybe he could reconsider a path in creative writing. I mean his speech to Layla about her finding light in the darkness and being the reason he changed? Swoon-worthy.

A new episode of All American titled “All Eyez on Me” premieres January 30th on The CW.

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