All American Season 5 Episode 11 Review: Time

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What just happened?

A key figure got killed off on All American Season 5 Episode 11.

Taye Diggs felt the time was right to leave the series, and showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll found a shocking way to accomplish that.

Success Behind a Pseudonym -- Squatter - All American Season 5 Episode 11

Billy Baker has been one of the central figures of the series, who set Spencer, the other pillar of the show, on his way to becoming, yes, that's right, an All-American.

Since Billy first coaxed Spencer to transfer to Beverly High in the program's first episode, the pair have been intrinsically linked.

Shocking News - All American Season 5 Episode 11

Billy made Spencer, the son of Billy's old girlfriend Grace, into an unofficial member of the Baker family, moving Spencer right into their house.

Then Spencer returned the favor by moving back to South Crenshaw and convincing Billy to return to the site of his greatest triumphs, this time as football coach.

The cycle seemed destined to continue this season when Billy accepted the GAU job to coach once again both of his "sons," Spencer and Jordan.

While Jordan embraced the idea, Spencer didn't, partly because Billy had dragged his feet about telling him but primarily because he knew what Billy meant to the South Crenshaw community, first as coach and later as principal.

Supportive Jordan - All American Season 5 Episode 11

And yet, despite Spencer efficiently laying out all the reasons that Billy should stay, Billy was still leaning toward going, to the point when he was planning to announce his move to his current team after the combine.

But things changed. First, Billy kept hearing Spencer's voice saying essentially, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

Then there was Mrs. Coach Montes explaining why she would never move to college because she had the job she always wanted, working with high school students who still had fun playing football.

So, in the end, Billy clicked his sneakers together and informed his team that he had decided to stay where he was.

Weighty Decision - All American Season 5 Episode 8

That should have been that. But maybe we should have been looking for the other sneaker to drop, as Billy kept emphasizing how everyone has nothing but time.

Everything was running too smoothly, and that's just not All American, which is all about the melodrama. So what followed should have been expected. It also made everyone else's personal drama seem piddly when you come right down to it.

Although he was taking the GAU job for Jordan and Spencer, Billy was also there for his coaching "son," Asher, dealing with the surprise pregnancy that Jaymee laid on him right before the combine.

Asher got philosophical after he learned that he would be a father. He thanked his first coaching inspirations, Billy and Mrs. Coach Montes, for giving him coaching opportunities after his playing career abruptly ended. (Presumably, he's already thanked Coach Montes, who actually hired him to coach.)

Angered Asher - All American Season 3 Episode 16

Then there was the hilarious scene where Asher compiled his list of questions about fatherhood, and Billy couldn't answer many of them. Billy got him to understand that fatherhood is a vibe into which men grow.

That was a pleasant, warm moment. It's a shame that it couldn't have lasted. But that wasn't in the cards during Billy's swan song.

Spencer wasn't so lucky. The only reason he and Billy ended up together that final day was that Spencer was busy avoiding Olivia since she'd had the gall to realize that they belonged together, even if, as usual, Spencer was a few steps behind.

Spencer was worried for nothing since Olivia was busy pouting because her article, published under a pseudonym, was receiving national attention while she was getting none. That pseudonym had seemed like a good idea at the time, but in reality, it was fooling no one closely involved with the GAU program.

Conflicted Olivia - All American Season 5 Episode 6

Grace, who flew down from Oakland to help deal with the fallout of Billy's announcement, encouraged her older son to take one more crack at talking with Billy. Spencer did but left with little resolved.

It took Billy's voicemail, which Spencer discovered hours later, for him to truly understand how much he meant to Billy. In other words, when it was too late.

At least some characters were enjoying some affirmation.

It finally dawned on Layla's dad, JP, how genuinely talented she was as a producer at a young age when she landed a client who would never agree to work with him. (It couldn't have been coincidental that a member of Boyz II Men, who recorded "End of the Road," appeared in this episode.)

Industry Event - All American Season 5 Episode 3

Coop got Mrs. Moore to appreciate how Preach, another character impacted by Billy, had turned his life around to the point that she agreed to let him have primary custody of Amina.

Jordan even got Billy's stamp of approval for his abilities as a football player and his relationship with Layla.

Even though it happened offscreen, Billy's death was appropriate to the man viewers had grown to love. He returned to the bus teetering on the precipice to save a missing player. Even in the end, Billy attempted to rescue one of his own.

It will be intriguing to see how everybody carries on without Billy.

Ill Winds - All American Season 5 Episode 9

To remember Billy's influence, watch All American online.

Were you shocked by Billy's death?

Who will struggle most with their loss?

Can the series carry on without him?

Comment below.

Time Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (56 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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All American Season 5 Episode 11 Quotes

If the name meant so much to you, you should have left it to somebody that shares that name.

to JP}

If you are going to avoid [Olivia], you'd better have a good reason.

Coop [to Spencer]