top of page

TV Review: The CW's All-American Season 3, Episode 2 (Spoiler-Free)

Remember where you came from.

All-American is a 2018 sports-drama TV show created by April Blair. The show has aired for thirty-three episodes on The CW. The show stars Daniel Ezra and Bre-Z. It was not nominated for any Primetime Emmys.

"The season's far from over." -Spencer James

Plot (Season 3)

After Spencer James and Billy Baker both leave Beverly High for South Crenshaw High, tensions rise between friends and family. Jordan feels betrayed by Spencer, Olivia continues to ignore him, and things with him and Layla aren't as clear cut as they should be. Meanwhile, Coop's fears come true when Tyrone's sister comes to town in search of something unknown. As all of this happens, Spencer must deal with his continuous arm injury to play through the season.

Episode 2 "How to Survive in South Central" Review

This episode really frustrated me. In some ways, it felt like a rehash of the first episode, but in others, it did continue to develop continuing plot lines. Some of them worked pretty well for me, mainly the one involving Asher and the one involving Layla. However, it had the same big problem that the first episode had: they kept introducing new plot lines! There were six plot lines that we were following throughout the episode. The episode is about forty-five minutes. If you do the math, that means we spend approximately seven and a half minutes on each plot line. That isn't enough. An episode of normal television should have maybe three big plot lines and one overarching plot line that is woven in throughout the episodes. There isn't an overarching narrative that has been teased yet in All-American, but they certainly need to get to it soon.

The writing in this episode is also back to its usual standpoint: rock bottom. There are so many cringe-worthy and unnecessary lines that feel awkward and make the audience shiver because of how forced they are. Certain scenes are filled to the brim with cliches, and it looked like that wasn't the case in the first episode. There are some very stupid lines where characters come to conclusions that are right, but illogical. This exposes the laziness of the writers. Also, there is a massive spoiler for the Harry Potter series dropped right in the middle of the episode. I don't know why on Earth the writers would do that, but they did, and it is not a nice thing.

Overall, episode 2 has good stuff, but it also leans more into the negative side. It shines the spotlight on everything wrong with this show. The audience doesn't truly care about any of the plot lines because they are so rushed and aren't given enough attention. I hope that this is fixed throughout the season. Episode 2 reached into subpar level, and I hope that that doesn't stay consistent in the next few episodes.

Fun Factor: 6.5/10

Acting: 5/10

Story: 5/10

Characters: 5/10 Quality: 4.5/10

"How to Survive in South Central"

Daniel Ezra as Spencer James

Bre-Z as Tamia "Coop" Cooper

Taye Diggs as Billy Baker

Michael Evans Behling as Jordan Baker

Greta Onieogou as Layla Keating

Cody Christian as Asher Adams

Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker

Karimah Westbrook as Grace James

Chelsea Tavares as Patience

Kareem J. Grimes as Preach

Da'Vinchi as Darnell Hayes

Spence Moore II as Chris Jackson


Episode 2 Spoiler Section

The biggest problem with this episode, as I stated before, is the amount of time that each individual storyline is given. There are too many, which lead to a boring episode. The main plot is really Spencer and Billy trying to fit in to Crenshaw's football program. There was some interesting elements there, with Billy trying to gain the respect of the team. They also make sure that you hate the superintendent more than you did in the last episode, so that was a positive. However, the stuff with the ponytail guy (whose name is apparently Frosto) was just terrible. It was so unrealistic for any player to talk to a coach like that, and the fact that Billy let it continue was ridiculous. The actor that played him was awful as well.

With that main plot line, we also follow Layla getting accused by Coop of stealing. This made for some drama, and Layla tries to find out what her father did to Patience that made her so angry. Layla finds out that J.P. stole Patience's lyrics. This was likely the most interesting plot line of the story, but the way that Layla figured out that her dad stole Patience's lyrics was also just stupid. There's also the competition between JJ and Jordan for quarterback. I don't think that JJ works as an actual character, because he's really just comic relief. However, he does have a few laugh out loud lines in this episode.

They also did a complete rehash of the Monique plot line from episode 1. This time, though, Preach is pursuing her. It leads to some anti-climactic pay-off. They wanted to add an extra plot line to this episode, so they went the laziest route possible and recycled an already used storyline. It's bad when that happens this early in the season. There's some more stuff with Asher and his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa. That was fine, I guess. It had some good pay-off at the end. And there was also the competition between Chris and Darnell, which was not interesting at all. It just made both Chris and Darnell less likable.

I was let down by this episode. I didn't love it, but I liked the setup for the future of the season. Like I said, none of these plot lines get enough time to develop and make you care about them, so we are just skipping from character to character with no room to breathe. Unfortunately, I was not a fan of this episode and I am now negative on Season 3 as a whole. I will still tune in next week, albeit with lower expectations.


bottom of page