Screenshot from All-American
Daniel Ezra plays the main character, Spencer James. (Image via Google Images)

‘All American’ Season 2 Characters Are Devastated by Personal Loss

South LA provides the perfect backdrop for this CW series about football, family, death — as well as hope.

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Screenshot from All-American

South LA provides the perfect backdrop for this CW series about football, family, death — as well as hope.

Last month, Netflix released the second 16-episode season of the CW show “All American.” The first season ended with many cliffhangers that one simply couldn’t wrap their head around. There are spoilers ahead.

— Billy and Grace’s affair rose to the surface, driving a wedge between the Baker’s and James’ house.

— Billy was forced to move into his father’s (Willy) house.

— Spencer and Dillon’s father, Corey, returned to Crenshaw. Again.

— Corey wants to form a relationship with his sons but needs to know if Dillon is his son or Billy’s son.

If the CW network is known for anything, it’s relationship issues, love triangles and a lot of tears. Must we talk about the love affair between Jane, Michael and Rafael?

Season 2 of “All American” opened with Spencer having to make the drastic decision on where he was going to play football his senior year. Later, Corey pressured Grace to order a paternity test because the dying question was whether Dillon was his or Billy’s. After spending time with Dillon, however, he later took back all he said on the situation. Out of love, he no longer cared if Dillon was his or Billy’s.

Spencer and his on-again, off-again father have had a trying time in both seasons. After returning to Crenshaw in the first season, Corey attempted to make up for lost time and asked Spencer to play for him at South Crenshaw High.

Shortly after the request, Corey flew Darnell, his child from a previous marriage, out from Nevada. Mind you, in Season 1, Spencer found out Corey was coaching for a university in Nevada. It seemed like after Corey abandoned Spencer and Dillon, he decided to go with a different family. 

Spencer gave Corey the ultimatum of choosing him over Darnell. If Corey sent Darnell back to Nevada then Spencer would leave Beverly and come back home to play for his dad. After having a heart-to-heart with his friend Jordan, Spencer realized he never had a problem with Darnell. His issue was with Corey and their lack of a real father and son relationship.

Season 2 of “All American” showed how difficult it was for Spencer to get over his father leaving, coming back only to leave again. In Episode 5, Spencer broke down crying in his mother’s arms asking why he was never enough for Corey to stay. That question really hit home for me because like Spencer, I come from a single parent household. Since the beginning my mom has been the consistent parent in my life and I love her for that. As I grew older the same question lingered in the back of my head. When someone abandons you time and time again, why wouldn’t you feel like you’re not good enough for them?

Later in this show, Corey’s illness was revealed. Corey’s cancer came back and instead of burdening his family with the news, he did what he does best: He left — again.  He left Dillon thinking he should’ve done something different to make him stay and he left Spencer lashing out and angry at the world.

Corey went to the woods to live out his final days. Grace, Spencer, Dillon and Darnell tracked him down and refused to let him be alone — because they were his family. The day they decided to head home, Corey died. As they packed the car, Corey went back into the house to grab the old jersey he gave Spencer; when Spencer went to check in on him, he found Corey sitting breathless in a chair.

You could hear the hurt in the scream he let out after finding Corey. At this point, I was sobbing. I had to pause my binge and cry for 10 minutes. All the memories of pain from losing a loved one flooded my head and I couldn’t stop crying. Ten minutes turned into an hour, which turned into the rest of the night. The pain that stems from losing a family member is a pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Spencer wasn’t the only person going through it this season. This season showed a completely different side of Layla, a student at Beverly High who dated Spencer. At the end of the first season she crashed her house staging it like another break in. Layla made it seem like she and her father finally started to bond when in reality, her father was overseas and she was living out of a hotel.

She wasn’t the Layla from the first season of “All American.” In the first season she was very put together and involved in nearly everything. This season, she was skipping class, wearing baggy clothes and yelling at anyone. Spencer even noticed cuts on her wrists one night. Not knowing what to do, he teamed up with Olivia, who had knowledge in this area, and called Layla’s father and told him to come home. Spencer was only trying to help and get through to her, but she didn’t take it that way. She broke up with Spencer and severed all ties with Olivia and the Baker family.

Since we’re on the topic of the Baker family, let’s talk about Olivia. In the first season we learned she had a rocky past. From the looks of Season 2 of “All American,” it seemed like she made a full turnaround. She didn’t drink and she wasn’t popping pills. After joining the Cotillion, Olivia found her purpose in life and that was shining a light on the black community. She was inspired to create change in her community after a woman that was gentrifying Crenshaw racially profiled Spencer in her yogurt shop.

Her life took a dark turn after the Cotillion. As she and Spencer walked back to the car, a dark car came around the corner and opened fire on them. Spencer shielded Olivia with his body and got shot in the shoulder, resulting in an injury that jeopardized Spencer’s football career. He went through with the surgery and, although eager to get back on the field and redeem his scholarship, he went through extensive physical therapy as well. As a result, Olivia was left to care for herself. She leaned on her sponsor’s shoulder, but every time she called there was no answer — always a voicemail and never a call back.

As for Jordan, he needed to get his life together, quick. After winning the big game and taking home the big trophy, he was getting around with a new girl every week. He let the championship go to his head and got sloppy. A girl named Simone was constantly calling him and he was constantly declining. When Simone confronted Jordan at his birthday party, she told him she was pregnant. Simone came from a very straightforward family and her mom probably had her future planned out before she was even born.

Obviously, getting pregnant was not in their plan and because Simone decided to keep the baby, they kicked her out. Once Jordan got into father mode, Simone broke the news revealing Jordan wasn’t the father, but she chose him because his family was so loving and accepting. Even though Jordan wasn’t the father he still made sure Simone was okay. He even called her mother and told her that Simone needed her family to accept her and her decision regardless of what they wanted.

Tyrone got released from jail, making Coop constantly look over her shoulder. Out of rage, Coop plotted to kill Tyrone but someone beat her to the punch. On camera it looked like she was the only one who could’ve killed Tyrone, but Coop saw who really killed him. Instead of saying anything she walked around as if she wasn’t a prime suspect.

After a warrant was put out for her arrest and the only way to clear her name was at the bottom of the river, Coop, Spencer, Patience and the rest of their friends said their final goodbyes before she walked into the precinct. At the front desk an officer told her the warrant was removed because the real killer turned themselves in. It was Shawn’s mom, Ruth.

The finale of “All American” contained events I never assumed would happen. By the time you reach the end of Episode 16, “Decisions,” Spencer’s shoulder healed. Billy crashed the gala and resigned as head coach of Beverly because the boosters and Athletic Director refused to let him run the team the way he wanted. Layla made the decision to go on tour with her dad so they wouldn’t be alone. Spencer also crashed the board meeting and announced he was reenrolling in South Crenshaw High in hopes of the school staying public and not turned into a magnet school. Spencer convinced Billy to coach for South Crenshaw because it’s a program he’d be able to run his way and he agreed.

In the final scene of “All American” of Season 2, Tyrone’s older sister returned to Crenshaw to avenge her brother’s death. Olivia was scared of being alone for the summer and due to her sponsor’s absence, she relapsed into alcoholism, but Spencer showed up reassuring her that she’ll always have him. Within the final minutes of “Decisions,” Spencer’s injured arm goes numb.

With the shocking ending there’s only one question: What happens in Season 3 of “All American”?

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