top of page

TV Review: The CW's All-American Season 3, Episode 1

Remember where you came from.

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

"In this family, we don't hide from conflict. We face it, own our part, and make it better." -Grace 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 1 "Seasons Pass" Review

All-American picks up a few months after the end of the second season, and we catch up with all of our leads right off the bat. This episode really just acts as setup for the future of the season, with no specific plot line being fully resolved. I like where all the characters are at. It makes sense in light of the little information that we are given about what occurred over the summer. The episode really just opens up a bunch of storylines. I don't know how many are season-long arcs and how many are episode-long arcs, but they threw a lot of information at the audience. I was a fan of some of these ideas, especially the one that is addressed with the episode's cliffhanger, but there were also some that didn't work as well for me. Some were given one line of dialogue, while some were given the spotlight.

Either way, I think that my biggest concern is that they are trying to tackle too much. We kept jumping from character to character. Each of our mains had at least one plot that they were involved in, sometimes more. It didn't give us enough time to really see what was going on with any of them except for Spencer. The main story, which is really on the back burner for most of the episode, has to do with Spencer and Billy moving back to Crenshaw. There is some conflict, and I was disappointed that that took place in the first episode. It could've been built up and payed off in a later episode, but not the season premiere.

However, on a positive note, this episode was really well directed. There were some fantastic teases that we got and some great mystery that had to do with some of the shots and other stuff. The writing, which I normally despise, wasn't as bad as I expected. There was some normal, fluid conversation between the characters. Obviously there was the occasional cringy line, but I was okay with it overall. Daniel Ezra still manages to shine as the best actor in the show. Bre-Z and Samantha Logan aren't far behind, but he steals the spotlight. I think that this episode setup some things that I am interested in, and I look forward to seeing the rest of the season.

Fun Factor: 8/10

Acting: 6.5/10

Story: 6.5/10

Characters: 7.5/10

Quality: 6/10

"Seasons Pass"

Daniel Ezra as Spencer James

Bre-Z as Tamia "Coop" Cooper

Greta Onieogou as Layla Keating

Taye Diggs as Billy Baker

Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker

Michael Evans Behling as Jordan Baker

Cody Christian as Asher Adams

Karimah Westbrook as Grace James

Monet Mazur as Laura Fine-Baker

Chelsea Tavares as Patience

Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks


Episode 1 Spoiler Section

So, the big thing that I loved about this episode was the setup for what is going on with Spencer and Olivia. Obviously something happened, and I think that they did a perfect job of giving us a clear idea that there was tension between them and showing enough to get us theorizing, but no clear evidence as to what went on. The main reason that I loved the directing in this episode was a single shot that happened right after Spencer and Layla met up. There was a shot of two people having sex. It was in slo-mo. And neither face was shown. One was clearly meant to be Spencer, and the director wanted the audience to think that the other was Layla. I think that it was Olivia. The genius of not showing their faces was executed at the right time in the show and wasn't really touched until the end of the episode.

However, I do not like some of the other plot lines introduced. Billy and the superintendent was not good. The entire thing with Simone was fine, but not nearly as interesting as the other things going on. Good storytelling would have equally interesting plot lines. Whenever it cut back to Simone, I rolled my eyes. They tried to setup something wrong with Layla's father, J.P., by having Patience mention it in one line of dialogue, which I think is a pretty bad way to introduce a storyline. Finally, the main plot of the season, which is Spencer and Billy's move to Crenshaw, escalated way too quickly. I wanted tensions to boil up between Spencer and Jordan. Instead, we get a very quick interview that is released to the press. Jordan gets pissed and punches Spencer in the face. That isn't enough. The audience should see tensions rise, not hear about tensions rising over the summer through exposition. That's bad storytelling, unfortunately.

Personally, I was a little bit disappointed about what they did with Monique, Tyrone's sister. I think that the thing they chose to do with her was actually good, just a little disappointing. Tyrone is probably my favorite character on the show, just because of the threat that he imposed, and I wanted Monique to continue his legacy. In hindsight, they probably don't just want a retread of the Tyrone arc, so it makes sense.

I really hope they chose to do something more with either Spencer's arm or building up anticipation for the Olivia thing. I don't want to focus on the superintendent. I don't want to focus on J.P.. I don't want to focus on Simone and her baby. It seems like they've already discarded Jordan and Spencer's frenemy plot that could've been good. Monique is gone. I want them to focus on one of the two that I mentioned or introduce something new to the equation. Something interesting with Coop. Since Monique isn't a threat, her character doesn't have much to do. We'll see next Monday.


bottom of page