All American – Don’t Sweat the Technique
It is hard to move on after a break-up, especially when it is caused by insurmountable circumstances and there is still so much love present. Such is the case with Olivia and Spencer, who despite very noble attempts, discovered that moving on isn’t something that they are ready to do yet. Their respective friend groups spent the episode attempting to help the former couple start enjoying their lives outside of a relationship. For Spencer, it is none other than party animal J.J., who convinces him to get back to living, even quoting Ferris Bueller with some sage advice, that life moves fast and you need to savour it. The boys decide that they should try and seek out a party at the GAU campus. The problem is, Spencer doesn’t know many people outside of football. Luckily, his social media consultant, Davita, shows sympathy for Spencer and decides to help the boys out by inviting them to her business sorority party. Meanwhile, Asher is upset because J.J. is taking his scholarship for granted by drinking and partying rather than spending time at the gym. J.J. makes a deal with Asher. They will go hard and have fun at the party and he will hit the gym hard the next day.
Spencer’s notoriety on campus allows him to have his pick of girls at the party, and he handily ends up taking a girl home with him. Despite how hard he tries to pep talk himself into making things happen with this girl, he can’t go through with it. As Jordan accurately stated, Spencer is a unicorn that wants a relationship, not just sex. It’s great that the writers kept Spencer true to his character. He was raised to respect women, not to engage in meaningless sex for the sake of feeding a need or his ego.
Elsewhere at the party, Asher watches angrily as J.J. becomes more and more intoxicated. Coop tells Asher that maybe it’s time to give up on J.J. because despite his best intentions, some people need to learn life’s lessons the hard way. Asher finally stands up to J.J., tells him he’s resigning as his coach and is done caring. Later that night, Asher receives a text from J.J., stating he’s been picked up by campus security and needs a ride home. Asher decides to leave him there and teach him a lesson, but his girlfriend, Jamie, feels bad and secretly goes to rescue J.J., ultimately enabling his behaviour. Coop was right. J.J. will never feel gratitude for the people who have gotten him to where he is today, because he has never had to deal with adversity and has always had people clean up his mess. J.J. has had things handed to him his whole life and unless the people around him finally allow him to walk on his own two feet, and face the hardships that ultimately come with that, he will never learn the meaning of hard work and appreciation.
Olivia appears to be keeping herself occupied with her story on Coach Garrett and his illegal use of bounty plays. The episode starts with Olivia watching the GAU bowl game at home. She is shocked when Isaiah, the walk-on player behind Jordan, pulls a dirty play that sidelines the other team’s best pass rusher. She immediately runs to tell Billy, who preaches patience and explains that they cannot act without proof. He tells Olivia that he will handle it and she should follow his lead. Billy is right to put the brakes on Olivia’s story. If they act too quickly without any proof of wrongdoing, it could blow up in their faces. Although Olivia begrudgingly agrees with her father, she cannot let the issue rest and runs to confront her brother about it. Jordan denies her accusations about Coach Garrett and Isaiah, and defends the dirty play. Olivia wants to do the right thing, but she doesn’t quite realize the impact that bringing Coach Garrett to justice will have on her brother, Spencer and the entire GAU organization. It is not surprising that Jordan is refusing to see the truth, since the truth could end his football career and arguably, his entire future. Jordan just returned to the field after an injury that could have ended his playing career. The idea that something else could take away the one thing that he was beyond blessed to get back, would be devastating to him.
As Billy helps Grace pack up her home to move to Oakland with D’Angelo, he confides in her about Olivia’s precociousness. She reminds him that he was the exact same way when he was her age. Grace’s advice, paired with Olivia’s assertion that she is an adult and Billy should treat her like one, leads him to allow Olivia to take the reins on the article. At the end of the episode, Coach Garrett comes into the packed locker room and reinstates Isaiah’s full scholarship. The look of pure shock and anger on Jordan’s face, tells the viewers that he has come to the realization that his father and his sister were right. This will no doubt have a devastating impact on Jordan in so many ways.
The episode also featured Layla working hard trying and figure out how to sign new artists to her record label, now that Clay has begun signing her potentials out of spite. She decides that her next move is to poach his head of Public Relations, a woman who has known her since she was a child. When the PR head bails on their meeting, Layla ends up hitting it off with her assistant, Gia, and invites her out for drinks with Patience. Olivia ends up joining to get her mind off Spencer, and the girls have a great night out. Layla ends up hiring Gia as her new head of PR. Also, Jordan and Layla continued their subtle flirtation throughout the episode, as Jordan attempted to prove to Layla that he is a funny guy by sending her funny memes and texts.
How do you think Olivia will go about exposing Coach Garrett? Will the coach face punishment for his illegal activities on the field? How will this impact Spencer and Jordan? Share your thoughts by commenting below, or by sending me a tweet @ms_c_almeida.