Peyton Alex Smith showed off his acting skills and truly shined when given a meaty storyline.
Damon Sims has evolved into an all-around team player, and All American: Homecoming Season 1 Episode 3 showed how much he respects others now.
Let's discuss how Damon has changed from a spoiled baseball player to a team player who wanted to honor his teammates' legacy.
Damon has tried to get out of his past image. When he suggested bringing sponsorships for the team, he wanted it to be for all the guys, not just him. Unfortunately, some sponsors wouldn't even look at Bringston because of the cheating scandal.
Others would only talk to him because of his mom. All of the sponsors were connected to his mother and past career. Damon didn't want his mom involved with the sponsorships, partly because he wanted to do one thing himself and knew the coach wouldn't be happy.
Coach Turner: Look, Ms. Sims, whatever this is, I don’t want this turned into a dog and pony show around Damon. Our focus is the team and what’s best for all of them.
Ms. Sims: I agree, which is why President Allen approved my sponsorships. If you have any further issues, I suggest you take it up with him.
Damon wanted to believe his mom had changed and that she really could be proud of him for making a new life for himself on the team. That would have been too easy, though.
His mom and the president were in cahoots, and the sponsors were only coming for him. Damon felt crushed that his mom had tricked him again, and he wasn't going to let his team pay for it.
I love Damon outsmarted the wealthy sponsors. He could have told his teammates the truth, but instead, he gave a speech about Bringston's legacy and how important each of his teammates was
While the legacy of baseball at Bringston may be tarnished, I can guarantee we’re here to bring it back.Damon
To Damon, baseball wasn't just the star pitcher, it was the entire team, and he needed the audience and sponsors to realize that.
Santiago and JR spoke about the family tradition of Bringston and being a role model for future generations.
Bringston was about legacy and culture, and these teammates were the best of the best.
While the presentation may not have secured any of those sponsors, it did change the coach's mind, who secured some local sponsors for them.
Change is scary, but sometimes it takes a little convincing and perspective it's for the better.Coach Turner
Coach Marcus Turner reminds me of Coach Eric Tayler of Friday Night Lights because he also gives inspiring speeches and supports his boys no matter what.
That hug between Coach Turner and Damon when the team decided to pool their sponsorships, so everyone got money for new equipment warmed my heart.
This team has truly become like a family and formed a bond. That's more important than winning every game.
Damon loved his mother and was so grateful for everything she did for his career, but it was time to cut the apron strings.
I love you, Mom, you know that right? That’s why I have to fire you as my official manager.Damon
It was evident that Damon's mom did love him, but at some point, the lines got blurred between mom and manager.
Hopefully, she appears again to see their relationship as mother and son.
They both love each other deeply.
This was the first time we explored Nathaniel's storyline and a dormmate who had an issue getting special treatment. As an RA, Keisha has had to balance being a good friend and listening to other people's complaints.
Melinda was that girl that complained about everything and made every RA's life a living nightmare. When she went off on Nate, Simone intervened and made things worse. Melinda took glee, revealing that Keisha used her RA status to get Nate a particular room.
Nate thought the university was making strides in inclusivity, but Keisha wanted to protect her from feeling different, so she thought having a private restroom would make things easier.
It's a tricky balance, supporting a queer and nonbinary friend and overstepping by fighting their battles for them. I'm so glad the series is touching on that issue.
While Damon showed growth, Simone backslid. She meant well, but her good intentions humiliated several people.
Simone loves to party, so naturally, she thought everyone did. She genuinely wanted to throw Thea an excellent birthday party, but she should have listened when her teammates and friends said that she didn't celebrate her birthday.
Thea was so cynical that she didn't believe Simone would throw a party without an ulterior motive.
Thea: Now that you told everyone about it, I have no choice but to show up or look like a complete bitch.
Simone: Thea, it’ll be fun, trust me. The whole team will be here. At the very least, let us celebrate you.
Simone would have planned a different birthday surprise if Simone knew that Thea didn't have any genuine friends. Simone learned a hard lesson that you listen and understand who people are.
This is why I didn’t want a party. I knew no one would show.Thea
Simone repeatedly wanted to help people with advice, but sometimes the best thing to do is to let them be themselves. If Simone had listened to Thea, she could have saved her some embarrassment.
It's heartbreaking that Thea doesn't have any real friends, and Simone was the first to plan something for her birthday.
Even in her anger, Thea recognized that Simone tried.
Surprisingly, Thea fit right in at family dinner at Amara's, especially with the pole-vault routine they did in honor of her birthday.
Both JR and Simone suspect Damon and JR may be related. JR tried snooping earlier by asking Ms. Sims questions, but like most moms, she didn't remember how he got that scar, just that it was from when he was a baby.
Her avoidance made JR more convinced that that baby photo was Damon.
At first, Simone laughed it off, but she theorized that Damon could be the long-lost child of her aunt and Coach Turner since they broke up over something personal.
Please no. Damon and Simone have chemistry, and we don't want any kissing cousins.
Over to you, All American: Homecoming Fanatics. Do you think Damon and his can form a real relationship? Have Simone and Thea become friends?
Is Damon related to JR? Chime in below in the comments.
Remember, if you missed an episode, you can watch All American: Homecoming online right here via TV Fanatic.
All American: Homecoming airs at 9/8c on Mondays on The CW.
Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.