Every week is another week where I’m grateful for The CW bringing me All American, which continues to be one of the best shows on television that no one’s talking about.
On the surface, “Hard Knock Life” was about a rematch between Beverly and Crenshaw. But in actuality, it was an emotional rollercoaster that showed that you never really know what someone is going through until you do. Whether that was Olivia’s struggles with sobriety, Asher’s drama with his mom, Layla’s dealing with depression or Spencer’s struggles with his dad’s absence, there was plenty of emotional moments that really resonated with this episode.
Here are 5 moments we’re still talking about from All American‘s latest hour:
1. Spencer’s father’s absence explained
Whatever explanation for Spencer’s father abandonment when he was a child — and most recently last episode — I wasn’t expecting the one they gave me. And it hit me right in the feels in such a raw, unexpected way. Spencer’s father has cancer. For a third time. And this time, it’s terminal. Meaning that he’s dying. When Spencer’s father left the first time when he was young, it was because of the cancer. When he left Darnell, it was the cancer. And when he left Spencer, Dillon and Darnell last episode, it was because of the cancer. When Corey left his family multiple times, it wasn’t because he wanted to. He didn’t want them to see him suffering. He didn’t want them to know that he was sick. So even if they had to hate him, it was better than him showing weakness. Which isn’t necessarily the right choice here, as we’ll likely see Spencer and his family confront Corey next week. But that’s how Corey dealt with things. Even if it’s wrong. He needs to spend the short time he has left surrounded by the people he loves.
2. All American totally settled in for the slowburn with Olivia and Asher
Now, I’m not going to accept that All American essentially gave me one amazing moment and one episode of Olivia and Asher romance and that’s it. It can’t be it. Not after all the build-up — all the longing glances, the sizzling chemistry and the established friendship and trust that opens you up to that kind of romance. Right now, Olivia just needs her best friend, and Asher understands that. He’s heartbroken, obviously, as his feelings run deeper. But he respects her decision. And if what she needs is a best friend, that’s what he’s going to be. But you can’t tell me that that’s all she wrote for these two. When they are the OTP of your show — above even Spencer and Layla — you know that their story is far from over. I don’t care how long I have to wait — which is hopefully only until the end of the season — but I’ll wait for Olivia and Asher.
3. Jordan mans up
When this self-centered, egotistical, privileged Jordan popped on my screen this season, I wasn’t a fan. In fact, I despised him. I wondered where the hell this character came from. Obviously it stemmed from his father’s betrayal and sent Jordan spiraling. There was the sleeping around with girls, wrecking his sister’s car, getting wasted and finally getting a girl pregnant. That was the game changer. And just when it looked like Spencer was going to pull another dick move and let her go into the appointment alone, Jordan stepped up. He left the Beverly-Crenshaw scrimmage early. He had his mom drive him to the doctor’s. He was supportive and there for her along every step of the way, which is what I’m looking forward to seeing play out as the season goes on.
4. Billy begging for Laura’s forgiveness
It’s not just the kids that have problems. Look no further than the adults, namely Billy Baker, who is still suffering the consequences of his betrayal that was found out in last season’s finale. His marriage is in shambles, and there appears to be no way out. But after learning that Corey is dying — that every moment is precious with those you love — Billy is inspired to fight for his marriage. Even if it means groveling for forgiveness. Laura doesn’t think they can get back what they once had. But Billy asks, Isn’t it worth a shot?
5. Not how they play the game
Beverly and Crenshaw faced off in a rematch of last year’s championship game, and it was a rematch that from the start looked to be ugly. That’s what happens when you have bad blood between two opposing teams. Mind you, this was only a scrimmage — no pads, no real game — and you’d have thought differently. Beverly booster Cliff Mosley forced the entire thing — pay no mind to the kids playing the game. It was supposed to be light action, two-hand touch. Instead, Mosley paid off the refs to allow brutal blows — without pads — and things got rather ugly. Until on the final play, where Spencer ran back an interception, and stopped short of the endzone, where he faced Darnell, and took a knee. Because that’s not the way he was taught how to play the game. He knows better than that. So he’d rather forfeit a scrimmage than win going against everything he believes in. And wouldn’t you know it, Darnell took a knee, too.