Everyone essentially ended up looking forward after an extended period of navel-gazing.
At the center of the action were those whose futures were most in doubt: Spencer, Layla, and Coop.
As Spencer detailed to Corey at his grave, Spencer’s life was on an upward trajectory until suddenly, it wasn’t.
He couldn’t be blamed for his best friend Coop being shot by a revenge-minded Mo and his finding out about it right in the middle of the state championship game.
Should Grace have held off telling him until after the biggest game of his career? Maybe. But information about Mo’s condition was scarce, and if this were the end for Coop, Spencer would want to be there, championship be damned.
The expected conclusion would be for South Crenshaw to have won that game for Spencer. Isn’t that how things go in such a dramatic situation?
So kudos to TPTB for allowing Jordan and Beverly to hang on for the win, even if a conflicted Billy believed that Crenshaw scored on that final play. Unfortunately, instant replay wasn’t there to bail out his team.
The biggest downer for Spencer was the continuing rift with his coach, Billy, for his training Jordan in secret.
Yes, Jordan could have badly injured himself after his concussion. But Spencer was correct that Jordan would do what he would do with or without responsible supervision. That’s just the kind of guy that Jordan is.
Billy was mad at himself, but he was taking it out of Spencer, who, to be fair, shares some of the blame. While he felt loyalty toward his “brother” Jordan, he owed Laura and especially Billy.
But Laura made a unique appeal to Billy to let it go. Jordan played the game of his life in that championship, and a good part of that was thanks to Spencer.
But that tension between Billy and Spencer was secondary to Coop’s condition for Spencer.
Let’s face it, much of Coop’s condition was Coop’s fault. You don’t go unarmed to boast to an individual set on vengeance. But that’s exactly what Coop did. If Preach didn’t show up when he did, Coop would be the only one lying on the ground dead.
It was also thanks to Preach rushing her to the hospital that she had a chance to survive. Preach should have shared what he suspected about Mo, but he was getting to know their daughter and didn’t want to jeopardize that.
But Preach’s good actions outweighed the bad. Especially when you factor in that by saving Coop, as a felon on parole, Preach faced a return to prison.
The shooting blindsided everyone else. Patience primarily blamed herself, since after Mo had helped her with a contract problem, Patience urged Coop to let in Mo.
Fortunately, Spencer and Olivia got her to accept that neither she nor Preach was to blame for Coop’s condition.
It was impossible to tell the time in this episode. Listening to those involved, it seemed like Coop was in a coma for an extensive period. But no, she woke up after three days. It sure appeared longer than that.
The funniest scene was when Spencer ran into Coop’s room, and she pretended to have amnesia. It was good to see that she still had a sense of humor after everything that happened to her.
Should Coop have covered for Preach? Yeah, that was only fair. After all, he had saved her life.
But that led Patience to question Coop’s motivation. Despite Coop’s tentative strides into a music career, was she willing to let the thug life go? After all, she’s committing perjury and possibly facing more charges to save Preach.
So now Coop has to recuperate not just her body but her relationship as well.
Lastly, Layla survived that nutjob Carrie, even saving Carrie from herself in the process. But she was hardly whole again yet.
J.P. was no help (what’s the paternal version of s-mother?). He was blaming himself for not being there for Layla yet again.
At last, she opened her mouth and told J.P. that she didn’t feel safe in any home with him part of it. And the Bakers were nice enough to open up their home for wayward youth yet again.
It took Spencer a while to get back on track as well. Those at that intervention gave him some harsh truths (Darnell’s visit was a pleasant surprise).
But that was nothing compared to what Billy had to say, telling Spencer he didn’t have to be a hero and that he was afraid to sign his commitment letter to Toledo State and leave because people would survive without him. It was harsh, but Spencer needed to hear that.
It was a touching scene when Spencer finally did the right thing and signed his letter on top of Corey’s gravestone. Corey must have been happy to see his son taking those tentative steps out into the world away from Crenshaw.
To revisit Spencer’s tumultuous senior year, watch All American online.
Why was Spencer honestly hesitating?
Did Coop make the right choice?
Will the Bakers’ home be healing for Layla?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.