Spencer finally woke up to what he had been doing since Billy’s death.
However, it took professional help to contextualize his behavior on All American Season 5 Episode 15.
The way Dr. Spears explained it, what Spencer had been up to lately made perfect sense.
Spencer has been pushing down his feelings, trying to proceed as if nothing has changed in his life.
Still, he really, really, really didn’t want to talk about his grief.
Finally, he exploded at whoever wanted to be there for him, enough to scare most of them off for the time being. Just giving him some space seemed to be the common thread among his closest friends.
Grace had been hanging around home for just that reason. But when Spencer almost got into a fight with Dillon, she knew that he needed professional help.
Re-enter Dr. Spears, last seen on All American Season 3 Episode 9, who had helped Spencer work through his psychosomatic arm pain.
Spears was undoubtedly the right man to get into Spencer’s head. Spencer won’t be the first or the last closed-off black man Spears has dealt with.
Therapists aren’t known for letting their patients settle into denial. And that was exactly what Spencer had wanted to do.
That wasn’t to say that Spencer made it any easier for Spears than anyone else trying to help him lately.
First, Spencer threatened to call the cops on Spears when he showed up uninvited (except by Grace) at the beach house.
Undeterred, Spears ambushed Spencer outside the GAU athletic complex. He managed to begin to get through to Spencer, despite the tense meeting with Coach Kenny.
But Spencer still needed to be convinced the problem was him, not all his nosy friends and relatives who cared about him. That moment of clarity came when Spencer scared off Coop and Dillon when he punched a piece of furniture.
That was what got Spencer to pick up the phone and let Spears in. He finally admitted, at least to himself, that he wasn’t OK and that he needed help.
Spears got Spencer to understand that Corey’s leaving when Spencer was young scarred him for life so that he protects himself whenever someone leaves him for whatever reason.
Spencer also blamed himself for sending Billy’s final call to voicemail because he never got a chance to say goodbye.
Spears got Spencer to understand that there was nothing he could have done about other people’s choices and that those who had left him, for whatever reason, remain with him still today.
By not backing down, Spears got Spencer to release all that pain building up inside of him so that he could move on.
Spencer decided to keep working through his pain with Spears. He also discovered how many people were there for him once he let them in.
Even when Jordan and Coop were baffled about what to do about Spencer, Olivia refused to give up on him. She even sat down with Alicia, which proved to her detriment late in the episode.
Once Spencer and Coach Kenny hugged it, his transfer was a thing of the past. Then his whole village was outside for him, even Darnell, who came at Liv’s call.
Carter prepared to move Grace and Dillon back to Crenshaw so they could be there for Spencer while he flew back and forth to Oakland for his job.
While Spencer was getting his head together, other members of the Vortex were dealing with non-Billy-related problems.
First was Patience, who is too naive for her own good.
Layla told her to avoid Miko, her No. 1 fan and part-time stalker. Thanks to Carrie, Layla knows stalkers, and Patience really needs to listen to her.
But because Miko’s website has a significant pull with Patience’s fans, Patience went to meet with her anyway to lay down some ground rules.
Instead, Miko bugged Patience’s phone and overheard Layla and Patience laughing about her. No good can come of that.
Jordan was doing his damnedest to become the leader that GAU needed as the program tried to emerge from the shadow of upcoming sanctions.
As Kenny pointed out, he tried being a hard-assed, Tom Brady-type of quarterback, which he wasn’t suited to pull off. But he did an admirable job of explaining Spencer to Kenny. He also helped with team building by suggesting that TD dance competition.
Now that Spencer has got his head out of his butt, maybe the GAU program can do more than survive. Perhaps it could even thrive.
Also, JJ returned from exile after showing up drunk at Billy’s reception and being sent away by Olivia. That must have been a wake-up call for JJ Either that or he figured out that being the life of the party wasn’t going to pay for college.
However, as long as he keeps his nose clean, a football scholarship would. Mr. Coach Montes told him that Asher had saved his ass and he had better not screw up again. This time, he grabbed the energy drink. But keeping a flask in his duffle bag is asking for trouble. How long can JJ keep it together?
To follow Spencer’s travails, watch All American online.
Is Spencer now on the path to recovery (excepting his love life)?
How badly is Patience going to get burned by Miko?
Can JJ stay on the wagon to play football?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.