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.
"What really happened this summer?" -Layla Keating
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.
IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ALL-AMERICAN EPISODE 6, STOP READING!!!!!!!!!
Episode 6 "Teenage Love" Review
This was, by far, the best episode of Season 3 and one of the best episodes of the series as a whole. Still imperfect, but significantly better than all five previous episodes.
The best thing about this episode was the build-up and payoff of tension. That scene where Spencer, Layla, Jordan, Olivia, Asher, JJ, Simone, and Vanessa are gathered around the fireplace and playing different games is one of my favorite scenes from the show. First, you see the group actually being friends. They are laughing and saying things that real people say, which is unusual from All-American. And then the scene suddenly switches from a fun, friendship scene to this tense and nerve-racking tone that hasn't been present in season 3 yet.
The episode also finishes off with this huge cliffhanger that leaves me desiring next episode. It isn't to the extent of WandaVision, but it still ends on a very high note that actually makes me excited for next episode. This is something that I haven't been able to say throughout the season, and I am happy to say it now.
Using the James cabin as a location brought back some emotionally poignant scenes. There were flashbacks to Cory and his eventual death that hit pretty hard. When the letter box showed up, that tugged at the heartstrings. What All-American is best at in general is bringing out some strong emotions at certain parts, and this episode accomplished that.
The break-up scenes are good. It isn't my favorite thing that every couple is suddenly shattered. Jordan and Simone broke up and then got back together ten minutes later. Olivia and Asher broke up. Spencer and Coop ended their relationship. It looks like Layla and Spencer are going to break up. Even Vanessa and JJ are officially vanquished. While most of this episode feels grounded in real life, this definitely exposed a fantastical side of All-American that really peeled off the realism of this chapter.
The acting is surprisingly good. Strangely, Bre-Z, who is usually the standout, was one of the weaker actors in this episode. Ezra, Logan, and Onieogou all give the best performance that they have given inside of the show. They display powerful emotions and give each of their characters a depth and more of a figure than they had before. We see all of them at their lowest point, and I am happy that the actors were able to convey that well.
There aren't a ton of them, but the lows are pretty low. There is this really, really cringe inducing Nerf Gun fight that makes me want to die thinking about it. That was one of my least favorite scenes in a show ever. It was horrible.
I also don't like the inclusion of Vanessa and JJ as individual characters. I've never really liked JJ and Vanessa is a basket case. It makes absolutely zero sense that she'd be at the cabin. It's the writers finding the laziest way possible to squeeze her into this episode so that Olivia and Asher can fight. JJ is just horrific. Everything he says is the wrong thing at the wrong time. He is a character that, in all complete honesty, belongs in The Room. If you don't know what The Room is, look it up. It's the funniest serious movie ever.
And I thought that the Billy and Laura stuff was easily the weakest part of the episode. Both Monet Mazur and Taye Diggs are just god awful actors, and their chemistry is non-existent. The dialogue was bad and the story was paper thin, which caused an eye-roll every time they plot-hopped over to that storyline.
Overall, I really liked this episode and thought it did a great job of conveying the characters emotions without exposition. Character-driven episodes aren't really a thing in this show, so I was happy that this one worked really well. I will go into episode 7 with an eager anticipation to see how they pay off the reveal of what truly happened over the summer.
Fun Factor: 9/10
Daniel Ezra as Spencer James
Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker
Michael Evans Behling as Jordan Baker
Greta Onieogou as Layla Keating
Cody Christian as Asher Adams
Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks
Bre-Z as Tamia "Coop" Cooper
Chelsea Tavares as Patience
Taye Diggs as Billy Baker
Monet Mazur as Laura Fine-Baker
Karimah Westbrook as Grace James
Hunter Clowdus as JJ Parker
Alondra Delgado as Vanessa Montes