Characters are finally moving forward following Billy’s death.
But All American Season 5 Episode 19 revealed that these changes will impact those closest to them.
What isn’t at all evident is what this will mean for next season on The CW’s only renewed script series.
Where to start? Where to start?
How about Olivia, who has been vying with Spencer recently for the title of “most rudderless character.”
Understandably, those two are grieving because they lost their father/father figure. Jordan is in the same boat, but he has made a faster turnaround, largely thanks to having Layla to lean upon.
Freshman Liv decided to embrace college life on All American Season 5 Episode 18. After getting involved with the Black Student Union at GAU (yes, she does attend that school), she discovered that the group had a social-justice-oriented Cultural Exchange Program.
It was apparent then the direction that Olivia’s journey would take — away from Spencer. That was confirmed in this episode when she was chosen for this program and assigned to London.
I don’t immediately associate London with having a social-justice problem. But then, I’m one of the many globally-ignorant Americans.
Not surprisingly, Liv was indecisive about this opportunity. Fortunately, the Baker house got a visit from wise Grandma Wendy, played by Jaclyn Smith, for whom many ’80s teen males still hold a warm place in their hearts.
At first, Olivia said she couldn’t leave because Laura, who was finally returning to work, still needed her there. Wendy and man-of-the-house Jordan both quickly shot down that excuse.
As way later evident, work wouldn’t prove to be a panacea for Laura. But Laura will find her way whether Liv blows off London or not. During their heartfelt chat, they both vowed not to make decisions based on the other’s needs when Olivia finally told Laura about being accepted.
Wendy later got Liv to see that Spencer was why she was hesitating and that she couldn’t be there for another person if she didn’t take care of herself first.
Olivia finally did break the news to Spencer. He did a great job of faking being enthusiastic and supportive of her. But it was clear he hoped they would get back together sooner, not later.
Liv being gone for the summer wasn’t the only change Spencer had to deal with.
He barely recognized life at the James/Carter home. Grace was letting Dillon and D’Angelo eat in the living room, an act for which he used to get punished.
Then Dillon had grown up sometime when Spencer wasn’t looking. He even had a girlfriend that D’Angelo knew about, but Grace and Spencer didn’t, which internally offended them.
They both sensibly agreed it was more critical for Dillon to bond with his stepfather despite their hurt feelings.
But Spencer subtly reminded Dillon he needed to keep Grace in the loop for important events in his life. Dillon took the hint after he fumbled his second date with Nikki, asking Grace for advice.
Almost everyone was on board for J.J.’s transition into a three-dimensional character after all that time as a caricature.
That seemed to be the whole point. There was more to J.J. than an obnoxious buffoon. He just wouldn’t let anyone see that.
J.J. had been MIA since his friend Keith overdosed on All American Season 5 Episode 16. Coach Montes decided to move up spring practice at Coastal California, which meant Asher had to locate J.J. so that he wouldn’t squander his last chance on the football squad.
Asher recruited Spencer and Jordan to meet with J.J. Based on his recent experiences, Spencer determined J.J. was spiraling and needed help.
Stopping J.J. from returning to football was an overdue psychology project about his freshman year of college. The other three all agreed to talk about their first year as well for the project.
Spencer and Jordan opened up about the troubles they had encountered to get J.J. to do the same. But J.J. remained in denial, insisting that he had no problems.
Dillon made a sage remark, saying that J.J. would only open up to someone he felt he owed an explanation to.
That’s when Spencer recruited Liv, who got J.J. to admit he only has been Fun J.J. for years because he didn’t think people would like his other side. That was when the rest put his mind at ease, saying that they’ve always seen the loving side of J.J.
J.J. rightly chose to drop out of football to work on his mental health. That’s also likely the last time J.J. will appear on All American, since the cast probably had to be pruned to return for a sixth season.
Patience may be at risk as well from her stalker, Miko. Layla said Miko was worse off than her stalker Carrie, which is saying something. The way Patience poisoned her fans toward Miko makes the situation seem ongoing, not resolved.
Adrift at the office, Laura decided to help Coop with her professor problem, crashing that law class.
She counseled Coop to confront Professor Hill about his retaliation, which worked.
Afterward, Coop wisely suggested Laura consider becoming a professor so that the faculty isn’t all old, white men such as Hill.
Laura needs a new outlet, so splitting her time between defending Crenshaw residents and teaching might be just what she needs.
To follow Olivia’s journey, watch All American online.
Did Liv make the right call?
Is this the end of J.J.?
Is Miko still a threat to Patience?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.