All American Lowers The Mask To Confront Inner Demons
“Mask Off” gives an in-depth look into how Olivia, Layla, and Patience handle their successful professional lives and how it affects their personal experiences. Each has been thriving in journalism and music, respectively, but have they allowed their feelings to be ignored?
Choosing to take back ownership of her article and her name, Olivia Baker steps into the light revealing herself to be Jayden Davis. While confident in her choice, the possibility of taking the stand and accepting the award causes Olivia anxiety. Her last time public speaking did not go well, and Olivia’s plan to avoid a repeat of her father’s unfinished eulogy has her write several versions of an acceptance speech.
But it is not until Jordan helps Olivia get out of her head that they figure out the root of Olivia’s troubles. Winning the award allows Olivia to redeem her public speaking and dedicate the award to Billy. Such a moment may be what Olivia needed to help her handle her remaining grief toward Billy’s death. So, while she will never stop missing him, Olivia takes steps forward to honor his memory without allowing her grief to overwhelm her.
Layla’s conflicts appear as meetings and an endless list of things to handle for work. Running a music studio is a lot, and while Layla is doing a great job, she is struggling to keep up with the workload if the list of personal cancellations in her life is any indication.
Since her father remembers his time in the business and how it caused issues in his personal life, JP insists on joining Layla’s schedule. While Layla is more than capable of succeeding, she does need to lower the mask she has in place that allows her to take on a professional persona all the time. There is nothing wrong with stepping away from work and remembering what else is essential.
Friends and family are priorities also, and only after JP reminds Layla of her childhood and the recollection of her father’s estranged nature does she recognize that she needs to figure out a healthier work-life balance.
Showing up for Olivia’s big night and later asking Jordan to join her on a day trip are signs of Layla accepting that she needs to remember to be present in her life with those she loves and not just exist in a professional setting.
Meanwhile, Patience’s inner struggles and uncertainties toward her rising success get a more significant role in the main story rather than just teasing her discomfort as it had in the past. Crashing the Quinceanera reminded Patience of the sound she loved and her happiness onstage. Unfortunately, she has not felt that serenity and happiness about her career since kickstarting the Patience 2.0 campaign surrounding her new album.
Her fans have been divided about if they like Patience’s new look and sound or if it takes away from what made her a relatable artist. At the same time, Patience has been undergoing a series of tensions toward her growing fame. From being self-conscious about what she posts online to questionable encounters with fans, Patience’s story has grown toward something more significant.
While it was apparent to those around Patience that she was never thrilled with what was occurring, her refusal to speak up about her opinions had allowed things to continue to move forward. But, taking back control of her musical identity allows Patience to record her album with an acoustic sound, which makes her far happier than the original plan ever did.
But, even if music is looking up for Patience, “Mask Off” reminds audiences that Miko’s spyware is still in use. Layla had warned Patience to be careful and back away from Miko, and although Miko does not appear in the episode, her role may cause problems for Patience after she finally stands up for what she wants.
As an episode that focused primarily on having Olivia, Layla, and Patience confront the things bothering them, “Mask Off” took advantage of the opportunity to allow each to come to a sense of peace about where they are in their lives just in time for the final episodes of the season.