All American: Spencer Deals With Betrayal In “O.P.P.”

All American -- “O.P.P.” -- Image Number: ALA510a_0147r -- Pictured (L - R): Alexis Fields as Denise and Daniel Ezra as Spencer James -- Photo: Bill Inoshita/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
All American -- “O.P.P.” -- Image Number: ALA510a_0147r -- Pictured (L - R): Alexis Fields as Denise and Daniel Ezra as Spencer James -- Photo: Bill Inoshita/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Should Billy strive to be a good coach or a good man? In “O.P.P.,” Billy continues to deal with the fallout of his decision to leave South Crenshaw High School to move on to GAU as the head football coach.

However, just as Grace argues with Billy over his decision to leave the school, Spencer confronts Billy for similar reasons. Billy had committed to being the high school principal and, in doing so, to South Crenshaw’s students. So, is it fair for Billy to move on?

Narratively, Billy has been predominantly isolated from the rest of the main characters since their graduation and transition to college. So, moving him to the university makes sense to give him a more extensive involvement in the central plots. But, while it would portray his continued value as a coach, would it harm his character as a man?

Spencer’s feelings of betrayal stem from wishing Coach Kenny would be promoted, but it is not just about that. It also comes from the feeling that Billy is leaving South Crenshaw High School in the dust by moving to the college level.

Preach’s storyline is a solid portrayal of Spencer’s argument. Preach is only a part-time tutor, which does not make him enough money to suggest he can support himself and his daughter in a trial. When Preach learns that Billy put in his resignation, he is immediately concerned about his job.

Billy is the one who took a chance on Preach, so if Billy leaves, does that mean Preach is close behind? Preach dabbles in the thought of going backward in his desperation to make money, but although he ultimately decides against it, Billy has come through for him anyway.

Although Billy does not plan on continuing his role at the high school, he does work to ensure that Preach is given a full-time teaching position based on Preach’s work as a tutor and his Bachelor’s in English.

Considering Coop goes to Billy worried about Preach and what activities he may be up to, it is not surprising that Billy finds a way to intervene and try to help Preach before he can do something he will regret later.

“O.P.P.” plays heavily into Spencer’s feelings of betrayal, not only toward Billy’s decision, but that Billy, Jordan, and Grace had all known and no one had told him. Grace and Jordan had tried to stay out of it, giving Billy a chance to come clean on his own, even though Jordan threatened to out his secret if he did not reveal the truth soon.

Spencer’s anger at Billy’s decision eventually leads to a bonding experience with Olivia due to the group’s decision to hold an auction to help pay off Jaymee’s hospital bills. Olivia had decided to try and get back together with Spencer, and part of being there for him is showing that she knows how to get Spencer out of his head and deal with his emotions in a constructive manner that does not result in him hurting his friends.

Even Asher and J.J. hash out their issues in “O.P.P.” Although they do not discuss every problem, they examine the larger ones, such as how Asher and J.J.’s conflicts stemmed from Asher being a coach and J.J. partying during the off-season rather than continuing to work hard.

But, while Asher and J.J. may have buried the hatchet, at least temporarily, there may be more due to Olivia noticing J.J. taking many shots of alcohol. Since Olivia felt the need to comment on J.J.’s drinking, that may foreshadow that something bigger is happening with J.J. than the issues he has been having with Asher.

Layla also finally seems to end the long-growing feud with Clay. After several episodes of arguing over record labels, names, and artists, Layla has grown tired of their constant fighting and knows it needs to end. So Layla and Clay agree to end their war, determining that they should support each other rather than tear each other down.

But, the conflict with Clay also gives Jordan a growing moment too. Although Jordan may be used to handling bullies with his fists and wants to confront Clay for disrespecting Layla, he must learn other ways to support her after Layla makes it clear that she does not want Jordan to step up on her behalf.

Layla can handle herself, and while Jordan knows and respects that, he must find a new way to support her, which is where Denise comes in. Jordan can be a knight, constantly battling for Layla. Or, he can be a king and stand beside her as a supportive companion.

Jordan decides to avoid a physical altercation and instead verbally explains to Clay that he will treat Layla with respect in the future. It is a step in the right direction that shows a compromise between Layla’s wish for Jordan to stay out of it and Jordan’s desire to help.

But “O.P.P.” also leaves off with a final cliffhanger. Rather than keep her plans to herself, Olivia reveals her intention to get back together with Spencer, leaving him with the knowledge that she still loves him.

Between Billy’s new job and Olivia’s reveal, Spencer is given a lot to deal with surrounding the Baker family in “O.P.P.”

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