I loved this week’s episode of All American. First, let’s give props to the title — any Kendrick Lamar fans out there?! A lot happens in the series and it takes a while for me to process everything because I don’t want to miss out on sharing my opinion on certain situations. Usually, I worry for Spencer’s well-being but this week he emerged as a crusader, if you will, for his community.
He brought attention to the age-old problem African Americans have been facing within our own neighborhoods for years: gang violence. Nowadays it feels like young folks use guns to solve the pettiest problems and it makes us fear each other — it’s crazy. I don’t know if any of you know that gangs were originally created to protect the community when the police department didn’t want to. Somewhere along the lines, it became about power and now regular everyday people are in jeopardy because if it.
With that being said, Coop is an example of how fraternizing with gangs can change you. She was a normal girl just trying to discover who she was, but Shawn’s death disrupted her perspective. As a new member of Tyrone’s gang and learning that he’s responsible for having Shawn killed, she wants revenge. How far is she willing to go? I don’t think we as an audience would be able to digest Coop killing someone but that’s what makes her storyline interesting.
Spencer had a different idea. He organizes a rally in Crenshaw at Essence Park with the help of Layla and his ex-girlfriend Kira. Honestly, I wouldn’t be okay with working with my partner’s ex, especially soon after making our relationship official. Layla clearly was intimidated by Kira. But was it Kira’s passion for activism or the fact that she was Spencer’s ex-girlfriend or both?
Since Spencer and Layla decided to go public with their relationship, Layla’s fellow student co-president, Gabby, and other colleagues aren’t too happy. She claims that they — including the school — are offended because it doesn’t look good for Layla as the student body president with elections coming up. I can’t add any more detail to this because I think this whole situation was unnecessary. Up until now Asher was the only one who had a problem with Spencer and Layla hooking up because Layla was his girlfriend. Then of course the situation with Olivia but she’s with Chris now. What importance did this serve? Will Gabby come back later on?
Anyways, Spencer asks for Kira’s uncle, Flip (Lamard Tate), to help with the event since he’s an ex-gang member trying to change his life around. Spencer thought he’d encourage people to sign a petition to prevent gang members from using the park for gang activity. But Flip felt that his freedom would be threatened because it would give police officers another reason to harass people if they entered the park, so he decides not to help Spencer. Instead Flip plans to sabotage the event.
During the rally, Flip succeeds at preventing the volunteers from signing the petition until he meets face to face with Tyrone. To prevent a possible shootout, Spencer tries to get the them to recognize that violence doesn’t solve anything but it didn’t last long. Flip’s crew and Tyrone’s crew pulled their guns out on each other in front of everyone. Each wanted to show the other that he wasn’t afraid. Tyrone ends the confrontation after realizing all the witnesses but threatens Flip about seeing him again.
Patience and Coop are still on rocky roads. After accidentally witnessing Coop pistol whip a fellow gang member when he lied to Tyrone about stealing $100, Patience broke up with her. At first, Coop tried to act cool when she gave Spencer the news but he knows her too well.
For Jordan’s sake, he was better off not knowing his grandfather, Willie. He expected that Willie would help him become a better football player but Jordan still couldn’t escape Spencer’s shadow. Their secret meet-ups quickly came to a halt when Willie asks Jordan for some money.
A Safe Place
Later that night after Spencer arrives home with his family and Layla, it looks as though Grace is going to chastise him in but she applauds his bravery. Once Spencer and Layla receive some quality time, she asks if they ‘fit’ and it confuses Spencer. She points out that they are from two different worlds and it makes her wonder if she’s good enough for him but Spencer admits that she changed his perspective for the better.
Tyrone pays a visit to Coop and now he wants to use her to get to Spencer. Of course, Coop fears the worst because Spencer is her friend but I think Tyrone wants him out some way, somehow. I think Tyrone feels threatened by Spencer because he’s advocating for change and that will hurt Tyrone’s cash flow. Then Flip pays Spencer a visit and admits that he underestimated him. He also says that he should’ve gotten rid of Tyrone awhile ago and warns Spencer about Tyrone and Coop’s fate with him. Now Spencer fears the worst.
Coop visits Spencer and she confides in him about how tough it is to be in Tyrone’s gang. She still doesn’t want Spencer to get involved but Spencer doesn’t want her to feel like she’s alone.
Who Am I
When Jordan arrives home later that evening, Coach Baker can tell that something is wrong, and Jordan confesses what happened. Coach Baker feels sorry for him and he opens up about Willie asking him for $48,000 the day he got drafted into the NFL. Basically, Willie is a conniving person but Coach Baker had to allow Jordan to find out for himself. Also, Willie holds an important secret to Coach Baker’s previous life and Spencer’s father, so he’ll be around. Aside from all that, Jordan feels replaced by Spencer and craves to know where he belongs. He asks why Baker doesn’t push him hard enough and Baker tells him that their relationship is more important.
The next day, Layla confronts her ex-friend head-on. I love this new Layla! Meanwhile, Spencer helps Coop set up a candlelit dinner in hopes of winning back Patience. Once the evening is underway, she finally explains to Patience her reasons for joining Tyrone’s gang and she nonchalantly expresses her love for Patience. For now, Patience decides to defend Coop and their reconciliation leads to sex, so I hope Patience doesn’t regret her choice.
The following day Spencer teaches his brother Dillion and his friends how to play football at Essence Park, so the petition got the signatures it needed.
All American airs on The CW Wednesdays at 9e/8c.