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TV Review: The CW's All-American Season 3, Episode 3 (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.

"Let's just leave the summer in the past and move on." -Olivia Baker

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 3 "High Expectations" Review

This is, by far, my favorite episode in the season so far. It does the opposite of what episode 2 did in the idea that it shines the spotlight on the positive aspects of All American. Actual football games are usually interesting to watch, as is the intriguing stories that they chose to focus on in this episode.

My biggest complaint with the first and second episode was the fact that they stuffed too many uninteresting plot lines into the episode that we didn't have enough time with each character and story to care about what was going on. That's fixed in this episode. They do touch on a lot of different revolving plots throughout the episode, but there is really a focus on the mystery surrounding the summer and the upcoming season opener. They are doing a very good job of building up this cloud of mystery that is the Vegas trip and what happened over the summer, which is keeping me invested in the show.

There are some pretty nerve-racking moments in the episode. It revisits some of the show's more mature themes and darker moments, which I find more interesting than the annoying football drama and the overemphasis on how seriously everyone takes everything.

On the other hand, there are some plot lines that were teased in the first and second episode to payoff in this episode that weren't even discussed. It was a little bit frustrating. There were also a couple of moments that made the characters seem a bit too bratty or unlikable. I wasn't a fan of those. And the actress who plays Vanessa (I think that's her name) is just awful. She overdoes her line delivery and it makes it feel unnatural and odd.

Fun Factor: 8/10

Acting: 5.5/10

Story: 8/10

Characters: 6.5/10

Quality: 6/10

"High Expectations"

Daniel Ezra as Spencer James

Greta Onieogou as Layla Keating

Bre-Z as Tamia "Coop" Cooper

Michael Evans Behling as Jordan Baker

Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker

Taye Diggs as Billy Baker

Cody Christian as Asher Adams

Da'Vinchi as Darnell Hayes

Spence Moore II as Chris Jackson

Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks

Alondra Delgado as Vanessa Montez

Hunter Clowdus as JJ Parker


Episode 3 Spoiler Section

I am happy that we got a couple more teases as to what happened with Spencer and Olivia, and I am very interested to see what that final confession to Layla or to Asher is going to be like. The main plot was actually executed pretty well, I thought. I liked that they had this awkward double-date disaster that revealed a lot of secrets as well as exposing how Jordan still feels about Spencer. Then we checked in with the Spencer-Olivia relationship as well as the Asher-Vanessa relationship. I don't like the latter, because it doesn't feel like there's really much there anymore. You don't care about Vanessa. Actually, you don't like her, because she is part of the reason that Olivia is in such bad shape. But I don't know why they keep going back to that.

Anyways, the stuff with Monique is still very suspicious. I don't know what they're building toward and why they keep going back to her also, but it feels like she has some other agenda. Coop is still suspicious of her, and I think the audience is meant to be suspicious of her as well.

I liked that they went back to Spencer getting shot. This episode displayed the effect that this near-death experience has on Spencer. I thought that the scene where he is standing in the middle of the field and staring off into the distance as he remembers getting shot was one of the best directed scenes in the show. The flashbacks to the event with the quick cuts are great. The sound design with the slow beating of the drums made to sound like gunshots was terrific. And the slow dropping of the helmet as Spencer's arm goes numb was really, really powerful, which is something that I rarely say about All American.

The mended relationship between Darnell and Spencer was good, too. I was annoyed that both Chris and Darnell were pissed at Spencer in the beginning, but we got one of them back by the end of the episode. This episode is also surprisingly funny. The "Spencer James Special" was a laugh out loud moment, which is also rare in this show. I also liked the cliffhanger of Darnell's mom's injury. That left me relatively surprised.

However, there are some downsides of this episode. I was disappointed that they didn't touch on Simone's baby more. That was a plot line that was literally dropped. I also don't think that they gave enough attention to the Beverly side of football. It made that speech at the end feel pretty dull and unimportant. This episode is also written very poorly, with some of the characters spewing out lines about what we literally just saw occur on screen.

I do think that this episode was a huge improvement over episode 2. I promised my brother that we'd drop the show if the next few episodes were as bad as episode 2 was, but this episode did redeem the season...for now. I will go into episode 4 with a better outlook on All American, and I'm interested to see what happens next.


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