‘All American’: Did Olivia do the Right Thing?

Grey’s Anatomy recently did an episode on the Black Lives Matter movement, and now All American has its own take on it. It was almost just as powerful. Given Grey’s had years of practice, that’s a big compliment.

Did Olivia do the right thing when she released the police cam footage? (Erik Voake/The CW)

I can’t entirely agree with what Olivia (Samantha Logan) did, but I understand it. I don’t want anything to mess up Tamika’s case. That would be the reason I would have sustained from showing the footage to the world. But I’m not a high school student, and I’m also not a young woman who had a similar situation happen to her. I’m also not black.

But Nurse Joy (Kellee Stewart) also just said that trying to fix other people’s problems could also become an addiction. Sadly, I think that’s what happened with Liv.

The cause is a noble one and a needed one, but Liv should be concentrating on herself first. What if this messes up Tamika’s case?

I love how the writers are weaving together Liv’s activism, recovery and the Black Lives Matter movement. Grey’s Anatomy was a lot more about awareness, whereas this is rooted in the storytelling.

Olivia feels guilty because she’s the DA’s mom, she got to live, and Tamkia did not. (Erik Voake/The CW)

Even if what Liv did was wrong or say the way she did it was wrong, the intentions were right. It’s showing what this community is going through. And they keep going through it. Even in real life, police have killed multiple African Americans just after the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict. Clearly, the verdict hasn’t done anything to deter police.

Olivia started the episode by talking about labels and how they are good for hashtags. This is so true, and #defundthepolice is one of those labels that is bad. We’re not talking about actually defunding the police. We’re talking about changing how it operates. Placing more funding to other elements. I am not the community that this is affecting, but labels like that can deter the other side, and we need real change, not more confrontation. Maybe the other side will never understand, but we have to try at least, right?

I thought that was an interesting parallel but also a good conversation starter. And these teens are not supposed to have all the answers, but it’s good they are out there fighting.

I will totally agree with Liv that a person is not one thing, and as a society, we should look at people with the entire picture of who they are.

A beautiful memorial for Tameka and the people who lost their lives at the hands of the police. (Erik Voake/The CW)

I loved the memorial for Tameka. It was so beautiful with the flowers, and the words Coop (Bre-Z) said. This young woman deserved better. I’m glad that All American dedicated most of the episode to these tragic police killings. The more awareness we get, the better. But as I said in my Grey’s Anatomy post, I don’t know if the people who need to see these things are watching them, but hopefully, I am wrong, and getting a conversation started is always a good thing.

It almost seemed fitting to tie in Spencer’s (Daniel Ezra) recruitment to TNT. They wanted him to be bad boy Spence, and that’s not who he is. I loved how Coop sent him a video to Spencer of when he was a kid to remind him who he is.

I also loved when he asked the recruiter if they were ready to be in the Spencer James business. It reminded me of an episode of One Tree Hill when Brooke said, “people are going to label you. It’s how you overcome those labels that matters.” That’s exactly what Spencer did. He stayed true to himself, and the recruiter respected him for it.

Labels aside, Jordan (Michael Evans Behling) is entering the next chapter in his life: what to do after football. He responded in the typical way, being shut in playing video games. I loved the tough love JJ (Hunter Clowdus) gave him when he took his video game system (sorry guys, I don’t know which one it is by looking at it. Xbox? Playstation? And whatever iterations they are on now). I don’t write about JJ too much in my reviews because he doesn’t do much other than comedic relief, but he’s been more interesting in the last two episodes. We’re starting to see other sides of him, and I’m here for it.

Jordan is trying to figure out what’s next after football. (Erik Voake/The CW)

It took Jordan a minute, but he’s figuring it out, and he’s there for his friends to celebrate their achievements. That’s major. And, of course, his mom is also trying to get his marriage annulled. I somewhat feel bad for him, but I know it’s for the best, and it was totally expected.

And once again, Layla (Greta Onieogou) did not grace our screens very much, but when she did, she was amazing. Coop was there with the good advice for her, doing something positive with the guilt or letting it go. She gave Liv back the Wonder Woman pin to help her recover and remind her how strong she is. She also told Liv she was how she found the courage to get through her own recovery. I hope they can find their way back to each other like I hope Coop and Spencer will.

And please, give Layla more screen time. She’s amazing, and I miss her.

Last but not least, are the writers trying to make Grace (Karimah Westbrook) and Principle D’Angelo Carter (Lamon Archey) a thing? Grace gives good advice to everyone. That doesn’t mean you have to pair her up with someone, but I think that’s where this is headed.

And maybe Billy (Taye Diggs) did beat him up. The recruiter, who is also a friend of Billy’s, remembers it clearly. Why doesn’t Billy remember it? There is so much more to this story!

What did you think of the messages All American told in “The Bigger Picture?” Tweet me @MandyTTCarr or comment below.

Mandy Carr

Editor and Founder, Primetime Addiction

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