“Time” works off of a variety of themes. Father-child relationships and legacy are two of the more prominent storylines in the episode. But the one highlighted the most is the one with a tragic ending.
Billy Baker is at the center of “Time” as he works through his estranged relationship with Spencer. Although the Baker family starts the episode with a moment of happiness and family bonding, things take a turn for the worst by the conclusion.
Billy spends the episode coming to terms with his decision to leave Crenshaw High School for the head coaching job at GAU during the combine. While watching Spencer and Jordan work with the juniors, watching his team play, and speaking with Coach Montes, Billy realizes that leaving the high school, where he is needed and belongs, is the wrong decision.
Rather than turning it into a blowout fight between Billy and Jordan, considering that Jordan had looked forward to Billy being his coach, Jordan accepts Billy’s decision. Their conversation acknowledges that Jordan can survive being coached by someone who is not his father and that he cares more about Billy being his dad than his coach.
However, the emotional dynamic of the episode is between Spencer and Billy. Spencer’s determination that he needs time before he and Billy can move on results in Spencer declining Billy’s phone call, which reveals Billy’s decision to stay in Crenshaw.
Sadly, that was Spencer’s last chance to speak with Billy, as Billy ended up in a tragic bus accident later that night in his desire to save Jabari’s life.
Taye Diggs confirmed Billy’s death with the official exit from All American, leaving the reality that not everything in life gets to be resolved. Although Billy agrees with Spencer in the end and changes his mind, Spencer never has the time or ability to work things out with him.
Sadly, it is a devastating look at reality. There is not always time to deal with things, and a moment can change everything. Spencer’s inability to make up with Billy while he is still alive has the potential to haunt him with guilt, in addition to his grief.
While Jordan got the opportunity to spend a last day with Billy and was even present when he died, Olivia and Laura never got the chance as no one could have anticipated how the day would play out.
Grief will likely play a huge role moving forward, as Billy played an integral part in everyone’s life. But Billy’s relationship with Asher also plays a vital role in “Time” after Asher discovers Jaymee is pregnant.
Jaymee’s revelation places Asher in a similar theme of fatherhood since he is preparing for what it will mean to be one. He has plenty of questions about what it means to be a coach and a father and turns to Billy for answers. Luckily, Billy can help Asher with some of his worries while helping Asher through his uncertainties.
Billy played with his role as a father and questioned his professional legacy through “Time.”
Other subplots that focused on similar themes were Layla’s storyline with her father, who returns and questions what his professional legacy is after Clay changes the name of the record label. However, his relationship with Layla is more critical, as his pride in her determines that Layla is his personal and professional legacy.
Otherwise, Preach deals with trying to prove that he can leave a more significant legacy in his strive to show he can be a good father.
Above all, All American used “Time” to show the significance of father-child relationships and the professional legacy one wants to leave. The hole left in everyone’s life by Billy’s death will not be easily or quickly dealt with, but “Time” portrays Billy’s best qualities in his final episode, showing him as someone who loved his family and his players.