All American Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Hussle & Motivate

All American has returned for its sophomore season with a premiere filled with unsure decisions and more secrets.

This All American review contains spoilers.

All American Season 2, Episode 1

All American Season 2 “Hussle and Motivate” starts off with a moment between Spencer and Coop standing in front of a beautifully-crafted mural of the late Nipsey Hussle, whom the title of the premiere references (“Hussle & Motivate” was one of Nipsey’s songs). 

Earlier this year, South Crenshaw lost a beloved member of its community: Ermias Asgedom, known professionally as Nipsey Hussle. Daniel Ezra, who plays Spencer James in All American, got some of his inspiration for his role from Nipsey. Nipsey did a lot of the work to build his community, and you would see pieces of that love he had sprinkled onto the show as we follow Spencer James’ journey, both growing up from the same community. The show was even in talks to have Nipsey guest star in Season 2, but this unforeseen tragedy took him away too soon. 

The premeire pays homage to his life and legacy in the most touching way, and knowing that the feelings were all real made it that much more heartbreaking to watch.

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We watch Spencer debating with a decision to start out his relationship with his father the right way and in hopes of rekindling what was lost all these years, as he contemplates leaving Beverly to play at the school his father coaches back in South Crenshaw. His decision to possibly leave Beverly is understandable given how he wants to see if it’s worth fixing what was broken with his father, but he’s already built a life and a team that’s grown on him at Beverly High. Being unsure like this is perfectly fine for a teenager who is just trying to figure it all out, while trying to find time to enjoy his youth.

Meanwhile, Coach Baker (Taye Diggs) is sulking away after revealing his affair with Grace (Karimah Westbrook) to Laura (Monet Mazur) in the Season 1 finale. It was unbearable to watch because this is what happens when you let a secret live on for too long, a secret that will destroy your world especially when you say your family means the world to you. But I do believe an affair goes both ways, and Grace shouldn’t have kept that big of a secret from Spencer as well. In the end, secrets backfire and now Coach Baker and Grace must find a way to make everything whole again, or at least try. Spencer doesn’t need all the added stress in his life, and this affair might not be the last of it.

We also can’t forget about the fact that Dillon (Jalyn Hill) may or may not be Coach Baker’s son. That suspicion of Dillon’s parentage still has Corey (Chad L. Coleman) uneasy, and it’s not helping Grace. I know she has the right to be defensive about it—he left her to take care of two boys alone—however, holding onto yet another secret is only making matters worse.

I’m surprised the idea of Dillion possibly being Billy’s hasn’t been brought up by anyone else except for Corey. Not even by Coach Baker. I really hope this suspicion won’t be dragged all the way till the end of the season though, because we’ve got another son in the mix as well. That bomb drop at the end of the episode as we see Corey has another teenage son made my mouth drop. Like we didn’t already have enough secrets to deal with, but now this brings in more drama!

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Looks like this son of his is an athlete as well, and I think he’s there to stir up some tension between Spencer as competition. But when the news that this new guy in town turns out to be Spencer’s half brother, I don’t know how he’ll even react, but the idea of it makes me worry. And given Spencer’s tendency to react irrationally and out of emotion most of the time, I’m curious to see how he might take this reveal.

Speaking of worry, I’m concerned about Coop (Bre-Z) this season. After having Tyrone (Demetrius Shipp Jr.) locked away last season, which was a genius move, she’s left to look behind her shoulder now because the streets don’t fully agree with what she’s done. But they don’t understand the fact that she saved a lot of lives by putting Tyrone away. He brought nothing but bad things to the mix. Just like Spencer, Coop loves and cares about the community. I want more for Coop, and she has so much potential for greatness. I don’t want her ending up in another crossfire by trying to play the good guy with everyone in the streets. It’s dangerous, and given how Spencer is so overprotective of her, I wonder how they’ll relationship will be like this season.

Meanwhile, with the Bakers, Olivia (Samantha Logan), Jordan (Michael Evans Behling), and Laura are dealing with the betrayal of Coach Baker, and you can definitely see how living in the house without him has been affecting them all. Jordan is still acting up and doing what he can to numb it out. His rash decisions can be overboard sometimes but you can also understand how he’s hurt by his father.

Olivia is the most forgiving one in the family, and seeing how she embraces Coach Baker when he comes into their home unannounced is something I didn’t expect. Olivia has been through alot and she seems to be the strongest of them all with the way she takes in all the heartbreak. I want her to be happy this season and to fully live her best life. Although the ship may have sailed between her and Spencer, I don’t mind the idea of starting something (the right way) with Asher (Cody Christian). But we’ll see what happens in that department.

Overall, the All American Season 2 premiere does well with it’s open, and has us wondering what other secrets are left to surface.

Additional thoughts.

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Layla (Greta Onieogou) is acting suspicious… I wonder what that’s all about? Post your theories in the comments.


4.5 out of 5