Adjusting to civilian life is never easy.
There weren't enough hours in the day for Spencer on All American Season 2 Episode 9.
Now that he's chosen not to be a football star who was a shoo-in for a college scholarship, Spencer was having to work to raise money for college, just like the majority of his peers.
It's always helpful to inject a dose of reality into a TV show, especially one that spends half its time in the fantasy world of Beverly Hills.
Unfortunately, one result of Spencer's schedule is that he didn't have time for those near and dear to him.
Grace showed up at the restaurant where he waits tables to see him. Grace understood the position Spencer was in, but Dillon was downright resentful to him when Spencer dropped by for a visit.
This does kind of beg the question: If Spencer doesn't have to live in Beverly Hills so he can play football, why not move home again?
One answer may be that there is more economic opportunity in Beverly Hills, more places for teens to find afterschool work.
The real answer is that it's just a matter of time before Spencer returns to what he was born to do: playing football. (Even Asher seemed to allude to this in their conversation.)
After all, no one is going to tune in to the travails of a part-time waiter (or even worse a dogwalker) for any length of time. Especially on a network filled with superheroes.
Real life can resonate with viewers. But it can also be awfully dull.
Coop was also running smack dab into reality.
One thing she discovered is that suspects get their cases tossed when there isn't sufficient evidence. Putting his survival first, Preach wouldn't testify against Tyrone, which is why he was back on the street, intimidating Coop.
As wise as Coop can be at times when addressing Spencer's problems, she remains startlingly naive when it comes to her own.
Even though Preach has been in her corner, helping her out with her fledgling rap career, she turned on him when she discovered that he hadn't testified.
This was even though he had come up with a rather savage agreement with Tyrone to keep her safe.
Instead, she agreed to sell $4,000 worth of tickets for some promoter she doesn't know to get a late slot on the concert at a reopening roller-skating rink.
And when Preach questioned the wisdom of this decision, she blasted him for his more thought-out decision to not snitch on Tyrone.
Of course, she got burned by the promoter. And in the process, she lost her biggest professional supporter (unless Layla somehow qualifies for that title, now that she's out again).
Coop has to learn the hard way, doesn't she? First a gang banger, then a snitch, and now a struggling rapper. As is being a gay black woman wasn't turmoil enough.
Speaking of turmoil, All American is sure to be topical, and that was certainly the case this episode.
Let's start with Crenshaw Cathy and her fro-yo store, following the unspeakable trend of white people calling the cops on "suspicious" black people.
After she took over the site of a Crenshaw landmark, who did Cathy think would be her customers? White people leaving the malls and flocking to South L.A. for frozen yogurt?
Yes, referring to your customer base as "you people" is a sure route to bad Yelp reviews. Then she compounded that financial faux pas by calling the police on the patrons she had just driven away.
Way to strike a blow for gentrification, Cathy!
How about a BBQ joint there instead?
So the next trend illustrated was a white cop hassling black youth (while his Crenshaw-born partner backs him up until he threatened to pull his gun on a frightened Dillon).
All else being equal, would a group of white kids (with one black friend) find themselves in a similar situation? No, because Cathy wouldn't have called the cops on them simply for raising their voices.
Fortunately, Billy came along just in time to threaten to sue their asses, something he and Laura could definitely agree upon.
The only good thing that came out of that ugly incident is that it gave Olivia much-needed direction, as she put together a social-justice podcast in the hopes of righting such wrongs.
Also, the afternoon and evening brought Spencer and Kia back together. She was good for him, helping him to reconnect with his roots while offering up some necessary advice.
It's too early to write off Spencer and Layla getting back together. But Kia has her head on straight, something few would say about Layla, even after rehab.
Hopefully, that whole experience was revelatory for Layla, so that she's now more comfortable in her own skin.
Her friend in peer therapy was a cautionary tale. Like Layla, she was afraid to leave somewhere she felt comfortable and safe. But she purposefully relapsed to stay inside.
That's what gave Layla the strength to leave, for the both of them. That, plus she had her support staff in Spencer, Olivia, and her father, who needs to stick around.
To follow Spencer's journey, watch All American online.
Can Spencer find balance?
Will Coop open her eyes?
Has Layla reached some stability?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.