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S05.E14: Make Me Proud

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Despite his grief, Jordan attempts to man up in his dad’s absence, but when Billy’s death is used to garner positive attention for the struggling GAU football program, Jordan is left wondering if his legacy is only to live in his father’s shadow. Back at the Baker house, no one knows how to confront Laura’s excessive den-mothering, and Patience gets ready for her extravagant video premiere event.

Airdate: 03/20/23

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So I guess after this week focused on Spencer yelling at recurring characters who hadn't been on (at least much) for a while, next week he will be yelling at the regulars?  I hope that he will soon find a healthy way to deal with some of his grief, especially if they are going to have another hiatus after next week (might be just a week).

I've noticed that they really like to have the episode start with a character making a speech in voiceover, then have it tie everything together at the end.  Maybe that is just their thing for right now, as it has shown Laura, Olivia and Jordan dealing with Billy's death with their speeches the last three episodes (maybe Spencer is next), and that is fine.  I just don't want them to do it every episode forever, though it was helpful last week because my station did its occasional thing of forgetting to turn the show on for the first few minutes for some reason and when I watched that part on demand to see if I missed anything, it had just been the first use of Olivia's speech.

I hope Jordan and Layla realize that saying ILY is usually the first step toward the dissolution of a relationship on most shows as the writers quickly run out of ideas.  I'm not really annoyed by them now, except for when they were whispering by the fridge, as I have to turn the volume way up to start with as another thing the station does is have low volume on this and Homecoming (but not for the commercials).  When Jordan was having trouble with the fridge, I said Billy probably wouldn't have been able to fix it either and would just think he could, so I liked that Laura ended up telling Jordan that later.

I liked that Coop wouldn't take part in criticizing Laura's mother/wifing and pointed out that it was her house.  I know Laura was getting her out of the parking ticket, but Coop still had a point anyway.  At least Laura wasn't hurt by Olivia trying to get her to stop and it helped her realize something.  It was cute when everyone danced to the video.  I thought that when Patience read the card from the flowers she already knew they were delivered to the house and that's why she was upset, so I obviously wasn't paying attention.  I still hate the stalker storyline.  I just hope the writers don't think the show is due for someone else to be shot, which seems to happen about every season and a half or so.

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This one touches on super sensitive and important societal mores.  One of these I have struggled mightily with.  Namely, the tension between keeping children in the nest as they grow into full adulthood, as opposed to encouraging children to fly off seeking their destiny.  The West typically encourages individual development over fealty and devotion to the family.  However, the Mexicans, for one, famously encourage their children to stay in, or settle very close to, family.  This ep examined this very same belief system in an African-American setting that loyalty to family and community trumps all other concerns.  Spencer is being whipsawed by this conflict, to go along with his grief and pain over Billy's death.

FWIW, I think it is exceedingly unfair and wrong for so many to insist that Spencer owes some kind of "authenticity" to his community which surpasses his quest for greatness, and yes, wealth.  I note that his mother is NOT one advocating this position.  Spencer has a rare opportunity to become a football star.  But, to get there, he's got to get out of the morass that GAU football has become.  To best showcase his talents, he needs to go where he'll have teammates who can share the load, thereby giving him a chance to shine individually.  This is not a close call.

He would also get much more NIL compensation by going to an established and stable football program.  There is little doubt that he would score at least $200K just for transferring to such.  With decent luck he would become, at minimum, a Billy Baker, and probably even better, in the League.  Imagine the good he could do from such a place.  If he stays at GAU, far more would have to break his way to similarly achieve.

While Spenser does need to process his grief at some point, I completely support the football path he has chosen (at least to now).  He has been deferential and polite to an uncommon degree, which is a testament to a great moral character.  It is angering to me that so many are equating his dealing with Billy's passing with necessarily staying home.  Just no.  They are entirely separate.  

I like the parallel pressure being portrayed in the Patience arc.  She genuinely wants to "keep it real," but the needs of her career dictate that she move on.  Miko may be whacked, but she definitely represents how many fans of celebrities look at things.

I thought I recalled Billy not being very handy around the house.  I loved that Laura explained his limitations in this regard to Jordan.  That was a beautiful and organic moment. 

That the season finale is upon us gives me a sense of dread.  I'd be fine with certain characters being dropped, but I am more worried that one that I really like will be axed.


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Although they could still have Spencer consider transferring for logical reasons, it's not likely he could follow through unless they wanted to do a total sort of reboot somewhere else with new characters, which they probably wouldn't consider at this stage (well, unless it was a lot cheaper with new actors, but I don't know how well it would go over).  He could transfer to Coastal like Jordan considered, but that would probably mean too much Asher and J.J. in the primary plots.  It would be interesting if Spencer still considered entering the portal after he is in a better headspace, but right now they just have it as a kneejerk reaction because Coach Kenny called him "son" and he is spiraling and fears having another relationship like that because of the pain of his losses.  Although his fellow South Crenshaw grads (and Kia's uncle) were in his business a lot, he's kind of getting a taste of his own medicine after telling Billy he had to stay (which he probably realizes and was why he felt estranged at the time of Billy's death so that contributes to his reaction too).

I don't think they said that the next episode is the season finale?  It is for Homecoming, but All American might run until May with some reruns in between.  I can't tell for sure from the listings, just that they're rerunning the episode where Billy died the week after next, and Homecoming is getting replaced by a repeat of The Flash.

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