Spring Break didn’t mean heading to Florida for the members of The Vortex.
No, there was plenty for them to do even when school was out on All American Season 5 Episode 17.
Since football is often central to this series, let’s begin there.
Despite unannounced NCAA sanctions still hanging over the program because of Bountygate, the GAU team was feeling pretty good about itself after patching some holes thanks to recruitment efforts by Coach Kenny, Spencer, and Jordan.
Naturally, that couldn’t be allowed to stand, as an angry white man, the school president, disrupted the voluntary Spring Break practices.
Spencer recognized Dr. Gutenberg, who he had last seen when he was the star player being recruited.
Sadly, Gutenberg wasn’t there to cheer on this scrappy bunch. Instead, he and the faceless boosters were worried that GAU had become Last Chance U instead of a top Division I program.
News flash for Gutenberg: GAU competing with Alabama and Ohio State was just a pipe dream that the disgraced coach Garrett had sold them.
Also, thanks to Bountygate, those top recruits for which he lusted had fled from GAU, fearing whatever NCAA penalties were coming. So Gutenberg needed to lower the bar and be more realistic about the squad’s immediate future.
But while Gutenberg was unimpressed with his team, Marco Galvez, one of those five-star recruits who had run, felt differently after a few days at GAU.
Sal, unconvinced about how his resurrected college-football career would pan out, hung onto his day job and scheduled a training session with Marco during Spring Break.
Sal invited Spencer to join them, and Spencer discovered that Marco wasn’t sold on his school of choice, Clearwater State.
Proving that All American is fictional, the Florida-based university hoped to place Marco, its gay football star, at the center of a socially conscious public service campaign. Marco just wanted to play football.
Even with all that was going on in his life, Spencer took time to counsel Marco since he had been in the same boat as Marco not long ago (deciding if he was where he was meant to be).
He showed Marco how to record his narrative in case he ever forgot who he was. (It must be a Dr. Spears technique.) He also invited Marco to participate in the unofficial GAU practices. And suddenly football was fun again for Marco.
And, not surprisingly, Marco decided to decommit to Clearwater State and play at GAU instead, shocking Spencer but making Gutenberg and the boosters ecstatic.
Spencer wasn’t so mature earlier, getting all pouty when Grace pondered turning his old bedroom into her craft room. She should have given him a heads-up, but he definitely overreacted. It’s not like he’s roughing it at the beach house.
Grace had second thoughts midway through the project. But Spencer smartened up, realizing that wherever Grace is is his home and blessing the craft room.
The other big event of the episode was Liv’s sports journalism awards ceremony, which affected almost everybody tangentially connected to her.
Not surprisingly, Olivia has been tightly wound since Billy’s death. Since the Bountygate article was the last thing they worked on together, it ratcheted up the pressure for her.
Laura appealed to Jordan to use his wonder-twins power on Liv after she had been kicked out while trying to help Olivia with her acceptance speech.
Jordan had a sound idea — getting Olivia to lose herself in dance. That worked great until the hip-hop teacher echoed a saying that Billy had used regularly and sent Liv running away.
Jordan encouraged Liv to speak from her heart, and then she could finally relax and enjoy the experience … somewhat.
Following Dr. Spears’ instructions not to be so controlling largely has meant that Spencer was forgetting essential things now, like that Olivia’s ceremony is at the same time as his date night with Alicia.
Even worse, Alicia learned about the event hearing Grace and Denise talk about it, and they just assumed Spencer was taking Alicia to it.
Alicia informed Spencer that they were going to Olivia’s ceremony, mainly because Liv was responsible for Alicia giving another chance to Spencer during his period of mourning.
Yes, Olivia winning and revealing her true identity was incredibly predictable. But she finally honored Billy in her acceptance speech, which was the critical part.
There was quite a bit of activity at Keating-ForMonica Records as well.
An overworked Layla finally smartened up and let J.P. use some of his vast experience to help her without getting too defensive about it.
Also, Patience let her concerns about the new direction of her career be known. Patience 2.0 wasn’t her, and she couldn’t fake that any longer.
The last straw was when that interviewer gushed over her new, fake persona.
She let loose to Skye about her concerns, and Skye came up with the brilliant idea of doing an acoustic version of her new songs. Patience caught Layla trying to get out the door, and Layla approved taking the acoustic set on tour. Won’t the fans of Patience 2.0, who paid big bucks for tickets, love that?
Unfortunately, Skye misread the signs and kissed Patience, a moment caught on video, likely by Patience’s stalker. Kissing her ex’s new girl can’t be good for her career, can it?
To follow the ups and downs of GAU football, watch All American online.
Is Spencer back on track?
How about Olivia?
Has Patience sabotaged her career?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.