As far as fall finales go, All American managed to deliver in all the right ways, leaving us emotional, elated and with plenty of questions as we wait for January.
With Spencer dealing with the loss of his father, we saw him make a shocking decision that could impact the series and his journey, as well as the ship to end all ships on All American finally set sail in the most glorious way possible.
The fall finale brought the house down. Our only regret is that it’s the last episode until the new year.
Here are 5 moments we’re still talking about from All American‘s midseason finale:
1. Spencer quits football
This episode was all about Spencer dealing with the loss of his father — mainly how he tried to fill the void by distracting himself, something Layla suggested. The only problem was that Spencer could think of nothing else. After all, he’d lost his father just when he felt like he finally got him back.
When Spencer was getting his state championship ring, you could tell he didn’t feel like he belonged. All those fathers hugging and congratulating their sons on the accomplishment, it made Spencer feel hollow. Spencer came to the realization that his father was the thing that bonded him to football. That it connected them even when his father had abandoned him. Now, with his dad gone, Spencer had to figure out exactly how he feels about football. And he made the decision to quit the team.
Obviously Spencer is going to return to football. This story is inspired by the real life Spencer Paysinger’s journey to the NFL. But it’s set up an interesting journey for how Spencer is going to reconnect to football — and learn to play for himself and no one else.
2. All American lets our Olivia and Asher ship set sail!
Honestly, the most shocking thing about Asher and Olivia rekindling that spark was the fact that it happened so quickly. I was prepared to sit through several episodes of Asher pining after Olivia and agonizingly waiting for Olivia to come to the realization that, contrary to what she told herself and Asher, that she has feelings for Asher that extend beyond friendship.
Asher and Olivia have been each other’s rock through their hardships over the past year, and naturally Olivia was worried about losing her best friend if they decided to give their relationship a try and it didn’t work out. But you’ve got to give it up for Asher, who chose to fight for something that he believed could become something incredibly special. While Olivia told him she didn’t want to risk their friendship, he countered with the whole “even if something greater can come from it?”
So Olivia decided to take a leap of faith and the pair locked lips, cementing their status, as I screamed in elation. MY SHIP IS OFFICIALLY SAILING.
3. Jordan mans up, the sequel
It would’ve been easy for Jordan to walk away after Simone told him that he wasn’t the father of her baby. In fact, he almost did. But after Olivia talked some sense into him — and made him realize that she wanted what was best for her baby, someone that would step up — he realized that he could be that man.
Talk about character development for Jordan, who mere episodes ago was a spoiled jock that liked to get drunk, sleep around and skip football practice. Now, he’s someone that’s stepping up in a parental role when he’s not obligated to. It’s one thing to step up for your own child, it’s something else entirely when you don’t have to but want to.
4. Darnell gets to stay!
Some of the best things are those that are unexpected. Especially guest stars that turn out to be a bigger part of the story — and your heart — than you realized. Darnell has been that character for me on All American. Spencer’s father’s adoptive son of sorts, Darnell’s connection to Corey was something that originally alienated Spencer and Darnell. Now, it’s united them.
With Corey’s death, Darnell decided to quit football and move overseas with his mother. But after some convincing from Spencer and his mom — who invited him to live with them so he could continue to follow his dream — he decided to stay, and I screamed in joy. It’s often that minor characters you grow attached to are often tossed aside and ignored. All American recognized the significance of having Darnell in the James’ lives — and the relationship he has with Spencer, which will likely help guide him back to football.
5. Layla admits she needs help
You can’t help but feel for Layla but be so damn proud that she finally had a breakthrough as she deals with her depression. For so long, Layla has been hiding from the truth and pushing everyone away. It took almost making the same mistake her mother made for her to realize that she has a problem. But most importantly, she has to deal with it.
Layla leaned on Spencer in this episode, as he leaned on her, and it was almost like those feelings about her mother were rushed back as she saw Spencer deal with his father’s death. Talking with Spencer, having him listen, was something that she needed. But so was the fact that she learned for herself — rather than everyone just telling her — that she needed help.
All American airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.