All American Season 3 Episode 2 Review: How to Survive in South Central

Spencer and Billy struggle to fit in at South Crenshaw as All American Season 3 continues.

Spencer in All American Season 3
Photo: The CW

This All American review contains spoilers.

All American Season 3, Episode 2

We’re back with a new episode and, as the premiere teased us, there is something that went down the summer before senior year with some of these characters. In “How to Survive in South Central,” All American does a good job of unraveling more of the melodrama mystery. But, I guess the slowburn of a certain secret is what makes it even juicier?

Conflict, conflict, conflict. What else do you expect when a team gets a new coach they don’t feel like belongs on their turf, even when he grew up in that said turf? The way Billy (Taye Diggs) handles the cold shoulder of his team members shows how much integrity he has of himself and how he holds it together. It’s reminiscent of Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights in some way (if you haven’t seen that show before, please do!). The similarity of both shows, especially when it comes to the work ethic and teamwork that’s displayed, is affecting for anyone who watched that prior high school football drama. Regardless, we love a confident coach who knows how to eventually warm himself around a team that initially doubted him. 

Spencer (Daniel Ezra) is welcomed back onto the team, but he’s asked yet again to play mediator between Chris (Spence Moore II) and Darnell (Da’Vinchi), asked which of the two should earn the title of QB. I hope we get to see Spencer exercise and explore this kind of power beyond the context of how influential he may or may not be for Billy. Right now, he’s just stuck in the middle.

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Stress comes in all forms and we tend to forget how much it affects in our daily lives. For Spencer, he brushes it all aside. I want the best for him when it comes to his mental health because mental health is always important and the writers have done a good and conscious job in depicting that storyline with Layla (Greta Onieogou) last season. In general, we don’t get to see that same attention given to male characters on TV when it comes to their mental health, as it’s seen as taboo for men to even slightly talk about their feelings. But I have hope that, if we were to explore more of the stress Spencer goes through in being back at South Crenshaw and other personal matters, the writers will depict the mental health effects too. 

Changes. Who loves those? South Crenshaw is getting used to some changes now with D’Angelo (Lamon Archey) taking away the funds from the football program for other academic programs. He definitely seems to be the villain set in stone for this season and I wonder how it’ll play out with him and Billy throughout the season. The resentfulness still lingers, the pettiness still lingers, and he’s letting their personal issues seep through into their work affairs, which will no doubt lead to trouble. It would be nice to see some flashbacks between him and Billy back in the day, just so that we can get a clear picture of what happened. Unnecessary, maybe, but it would help us as viewers get a visual sense of what went down.

I mentioned changes, right? Well, I love this type of change at Beverly. We’ve got a new coach and her name is Coach Montez. “They could be tough but I’m sure your dad’s tough, too,” says Layla. Vanessa (Alondra Delgado) responds: “He is, but not as tough as my mom.”

We don’t often get to see female football coaches. It sucks that she had to address that she understands football and it’s not her first coaching gig to assure the team that she’s legit. As women, we have this expectation that we need to always explain. But she is a badass and I’m excited to see what direction she takes Beverely in and what that could also mean now as Jordan earns the spot as QB.

Another badass moment was when Layla resolved a slight conflict that Coop (Bre-Z) decided to unleash on her, which was uncalled for. The conflicts never end in this episode. Her pose and professionalism with Coop was outstanding to watch, because as much as she’s her friend, she is also her manager and standing your ground and setting boundaries in the way that she did was great. Not only that, she gets brownie points in my book for getting Patience on her team as well. I love how Layla takes ownership so quickly and does it well. I feel like she’s in a better place this season and it’s a nice sight to see, after what she’s been through last season.

Episode 2 does a great job in showing us the different way to survive conflict and finding a resolution to it.

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Additional thoughts.

JJ (Hunter Clowdus) cracks me up 

Sooo Olivia (Samantha Logan) and Asher (Cody Christian) weren’t on a break, right? Seems like he had a fun summer with Vanessa. They have zero chemistry but if this means this free up more chances for Olivia and Spencer to be together, then so be it. I don’t mind! *wink*

We have yet to know more about the Summer of Secrets. What happened in Vegas between Olivia and Spencer? We didn’t really get much from them in this episode. Sad face.

Mo (Erica Peeples) had a thing with Preach (J. Kareem Grimes)? I am still feeling sus about her!


4 out of 5