All American Season 4 Episode 2 Review: I Ain't Goin' Out Like ThatDale McGarrigle at . Updated at .
It's incredible how much moping can fit into one home in Beverly Hills.
But that's what the extended Baker and James clan experienced on All American Season 4 Episode 2.
In the end, it was a couple of steps forward, a couple of steps back, but mostly the characters going nowhere quickly.
But that's OK. Viewers needed a clearing-the-air episode after all the developments of All American Season 4 Episode 1.
Everyone stepped back, took a breath, and assessed what their next move would be. Some were well thought out, while others were impulsive.
Since all the action revolved around Layla's 18th birthday, why not start there?
Although she refuses to let on, things haven't been right for Layla since crazy Carrie tried to convince her to participate in a suicide pact.
The event is embedded in her psyche even as she tries to ignore and work past it, which just isn't working for her.
Telling J.P. the truth about how she felt and moving in with the Bakers was a smart move on her part.
After all, Laura and Billy had already dealt with divorce and remarriage, along with Olivia's addiction and social activism and Jordan's generally stupid decisions. So for them, taking in an addict who escaped a stalker is just, well, a Tuesday.
Layla wants to return to her idea of normal: going to school and working at the studio.
She doesn't want another well-meaning acquaintance to give her a look of pity and ask how she is feeling.
What she dreads is her 18th birthday becoming a city-wide holiday. But that's just what happened, and she had to grin and bear it.
Only J.J. would think that someone who has gone through some very public travails would want a big, blowout birthday party. Remember, J.J. has little shame and enjoys the spotlight.
You would think that the friends that know her best (Olivia, Spencer, Coop, Jordan) would have thought better of it and shot down the party, especially after she asked for a quiet evening. But they were dealing with their troubles and didn't think things through.
J.P. mishandled things once again, getting his princess a tiara when she turned 18.
Only Spencer, who has no shortage of friends and family ready to offer him advice, understood and suggested that she hide at her party. (Maybe that's why Spencer has his significant philosophical discussions with Corey, who won't interrupt him.)
Finally, Layla admitted to Olivia that she needed to stop telling everyone what they wanted to hear and to start being brutally honest.
Then she tried that out on J.P., who explained that her dislike of birthday celebrations was hereditary, making him take her to a shooting range.
And didn't she look comfortable with a firearm? Maybe Layla using a gun might be a storyline down the road.
At least Billy made up with one of his two "sons,"
Jordan being Jordan, he never asked himself why Billy was madder at Spencer for training Jordan than at Jordan himself for going behind his back.
Then, after Olivia laid everything out for him, Jordan pieced together that Billy had higher expectations for Spencer than for Jordan, who, let's face it, has been a regular screwup.
It took Laura to give Billy some much-needed perspective. She agreed with Jordan's assessment and reminded Billy that he too returned from injury too soon.
Billy made up with Jordan by explaining that he did respect him and Olivia, which is saying something since they've both done some boneheaded things; now, when will he forgive Spencer?
Hey, are we ever going to find out what the deal is with Jordan and Simone? She's headed to Atlanta for the spinoff All American Homecoming, so what does that mean for Jordan? Will they break up, or is he leaving as well?
Poor Asher got the final handful of dirt thrown on his football career. Even worse, he found out that his cardiac condition wasn't hereditary but was due to the steroids he took.
Coach Montes meant well when she got him in to see one more cardiologist. Gwen was right, though, when she told Montes to butt out.
Asher already turning onto the coaching track was the better way for him to stay with football. Spencer has one scholarship offer, Jordan none. So how many would Asher have realistically received?
Coop was having even worse luck, although frankly, she brought some of it down on herself, getting shot, then lying to the police about how Mo died.
Naturally, she would have had lingering effects from being shot. She didn't help matters by ignoring her doctors and rushing back into the studio before she was ready.
Even worse, she didn't tell her partner, Patience, about any of what she was going through, opting to tough it out of her own. Only when they were about to break up did she open up to Patience.
Then, at Layla's party, she had the bad luck of chatting with a down Asher, who only joined in on her pity party. She drove away Patience and now was going to see Preach, which can't be a good move.
To follow Layla's rocky life, watch All American online.
How much of Billy being mad at Spencer has to do with him dating Olivia?
Did Billy let Jordan off easy?
What stupid thing is Coop planning?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.