This Preach-centric episode was an intriguing change of pace.
After months of storylines about the struggles of others becoming adults, All American Season 4 Episode 12 was more about a man attempting to go straight for his daughter’s sake.
Also addressed was the fallout from Billy giving Preach an opportunity that many, including Grace, didn’t think he should have.
Preach shooting Mo to save Coop is the narrative gift that keeps giving.
Just when you think that storyline has finished, it raises its ugly head again.
It should have been evident that the hammer was about to fall on Preach after he pooh-poohed Spencer and Coop’s concerns about the police having any objective new evidence.
That was even though Laura, the former D.A., was worried about what she had dug up from her former colleagues about that evidence.
Who would you think has a better grasp of what makes for a winnable case: The ex-D.A. or the ex-con?
Life just got too comfortable for Preach. He’s got a daughter who adores him. Thanks to Billy, he’s found a way to contribute to society through his job as a tutor at South Crenshaw.
That was when Preach should have been looking behind himself to see who was gaining on him.
Instead, he got blindsided, at South Crenshaw no less, where he had been gaining a new reputation as an upstanding citizen.
There was fallout to go around for Preach and Coop’s ill-conceived decision to lie about the shooting all those months ago.
Much of it landed on poor Billy, who was just trying to do Preach a solid. Instead, Grace and other search committee members pointed to Preach’s arrest as another example of Billy’s lousy decision-making.
Fortunately, Coop found Preach the best possible lawyer: Laura.
Laura laid out for Preach what he was up against. Someone who was busted had a video of Preach shooting Mo, which didn’t clearly show Mo shooting Coop.
Figuring that his luck had finally run out, Preach decided to confess to Amina that he had shot Mo and not Coop. That way, at least Amina would have Coop on the outside to take care of her.
Amina took Coop’s confession about as badly as expected, storming off on him.
That was before Coop detailed what kind of man Coop is for Amina, and Amina realized how badly she had overreacted.
Not only did Coop clear Preach in his daughter’s eyes, but also she gave Laura the eyewitness testimony she needed to exonerate him legally.
Laura did a masterful job of proving what went down on the night of the shooting and got Preach pretty much a slap on the wrist for a parole violation.
Now Laura’s got a new client, Coop, charged with obstruction of justice. How about a defense of she was so heavily drugged that she didn’t know what she was saying? That might work.
Preach came out of prison looking to do some penance. Fortunately, Preach’s legend grew throughout the art show, as Billy, Jabari, and finally, Amina sang his praises.
It was enough to move Preach to go back to the site of his greatest disgrace in order to help South Crenshaw students as a tutor.
Being proven right about Preach ended up doing Billy little good in his campaign for the permanent principal.
On the face of it, longtime guidance counselor Regina was probably the better choice for the principal. Also, she’s always lived in Crenshaw.
It doesn’t seem fair that Crenshaw native Billy going bougie and moving on up to Beverly Hills was being held against him. So is Grace’s concern that he’s just waiting for the next good offer from the colleges or the pros.
No one seems to realize that being interim principal has changed Billy. He’s doing something more substantial now that just being the football coach. And he likes that feeling.
Spencer also nailed Grace’s motivation. She’s got a bad case of empty-nest syndrome, and she’s taking it out on Billy, even if she doesn’t realize it. Whoever ends up in charge needs to find a position for Grace, so she can channel some of that energy she always has.
Also dealing with misplaced concerns was Layla after J.P. decided to take a step back from producing.
It was totally out of character for J.P. to just hand over five artists to Layla. Little wonder that she thought he was dying.
It ended up being a much more straightforward answer. J.P. had met someone age-appropriate, two words rarely associated with him, and he wanted to spend more time with her after decades of long hours in the studio. That makes sense, right?
Layla’s guru ended up being that goofball, Jordan. He gave Layla a much-needed sense of calm. And his explanation of the seasons of love was just bizarre. Here’s hoping that those two can just remain in a platonic relationship.
Even stranger was that J.J. is now Spencer’s zen-tor, helping him find a new method to reshape his physique in a way that Spence had never considered previously. That added flexibility will come in handy.
To revisit Billy’s stint as principal, watch All American online.
Is Grace too hard on Billy?
Is Preach finally in the clear?
How much longer until Coop gets cleared so she can move on with her life?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.