It's not easy being a community's savior.
And Spencer was getting hit from all sides on All American Season 3 Episode 2.
This is a shame because Spencer is making his choices for the right reasons. Mostly.
He could have taken the easy way out and stuck to his original plan: Play one more year for the state champion Beverly Hills football team, prove that he's healthy, and enjoy being wined and dined by colleges.
Instead, he went home, figuring, rightly or wrongly, that a winning football team would bring the necessary publicity to keep South Crenshaw from being turned into a magnet school by Superintendent Carter.
Spencer understood that school is the only way out for Crenshaw youths, whether through academics or athletics. It being changed into a specialized magnet school would limit that escape route.
He didn't realize that his former classmates, as personified by Frosto, would resent his success at Beverly.
The reasoning is as follows:
First, he left them behind to secure his own future.
Second, he led Beverly over South Crenshaw in the state championship game, badly injuring Chris in the process.
Now he's returning to save the school, bringing his own coach with him.
So, yeah, the optics are bad, especially if a person is leaning toward jealousy, to begin with. But Chris welcomed him back, and so should everyone else.
It didn't help that Coach Billy couldn't read the locker room, expecting his legend to buy him immediate obedience. Too bad these kids didn't have their parents' memories of his glory days.
This meant that Spencer was forced to serve as a liaison between Billy and the team when his own street cred was badly tarnished.
He also got stuck in the middle of the whole debate over Chris or Darnell as starting QB.
That doesn't even include his apparently being a willing partner in Olivia's revenge sex. And what happens when Layla finds out, as she inevitably will?
It was little wonder that the specialist pronounced Spencer's arm pain as psychological. He is certainly under more stress than any senior in high school should be.
And the only solution to his problem? Get off this show!
At least he revealed most of his concerns to Grace. She'll do her best to reduce that stress.
Billy may have even more football-related stress as petty Carter does everything he can to torpedo the football program.
Not only did he raise the GPA required to play football, but he also cut the program's funding so that players have to pay to play. No wonder players, not unlike Spencer, chose to explore other opportunities.
Yes, hard choices have to be made in educational budgets. But if Billy Baker weren't coaching at Crenshaw, would Carter's decisions have been different? You bet your ass they would have.
But Billy was equally at fault for not knowing into what exactly he was getting.
Now the intriguing part is discovering how Billy will get creative beyond sinking his salary into the program. He sure picked a bad time to divorce his rich attorney wife.
Still, he was able to win over the doubters. However, his squad remains very tiny. And both of his QBs are pissed off for different reasons.
Going with Chris was the right reason, teamwise. That way, he has the best-liked player as a starter and a talented backup in Darnell, if Chris's injury isn't as healed as is thought.
Also, on the football front, Jordan almost lost his starting job ... for about three practices.
Of course, any new coach is going to declare everyone's position up for grabs. And it didn't take long for Coach Montes to determine J.J. was as dumb as a box of rocks.
So all is right in Jordan's world. He and Simone made up at the end of All American Season 3 Episode 1, even if she was totally absent from this episode. And now he's gotten validation that he's Beverly's best signal-caller.
Give him time. He'll do something stupid. He always does.
The ways that both Olivia and Asher acted squirrelly when encountering Vanessa, I figured she was somebody both had met in rehab.
But no. That would have been too sensible. Instead, Vanessa was with whom Asher had a summer fling that Olivia had uncovered.
Since they're both equally guilty of indiscretions, it will be interesting to see who slips up first -- Olivia or Asher.
And how long before an injury will cause Asher's suspension to be lifted?
Finally, drama was all around Coop.
Despite Preach's pronouncement, I don't trust Mo. And neither should Coop.
Coop did receive a necessary education on how the music business works. It's tour for show and record for dough, as Layla correctly pointed out to her.
As for Patience, I really expected something slimier for the reason that she left the tour. J.P. took her song and gave it to another artist? I'm sure he covered that in her contract, and she was likely paid a little something extra.
Still, I don't blame her for signing with Layla, who will do right by her unless Spencer's indiscretion ends up knocking her off the wagon.
To revisit what's turning out to be a cruel, cruel summer, watch All American online.
Can Billy and Spencer succeed despite Carter?
Will Spencer go back to goat yoga to reduce his stress?
How much trouble is Vanessa?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.
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