Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

‘All American: Homecoming’ Recap: Simone’s Decision

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. Episode 1 of the third and final season of *All American: Homecoming* aired this past Monday. Viewers have been highly anticipating the start of the season to finally get an answer to the million-dollar question: does Simone choose Lando or Damon? The premiere shows us the moments leading up to Simone’s junior year at Bringston. In this recap, I’m going to break down some key moments from the first episode, including who has won Simone’s heart.

Season 2 left us in much suspense with the cliffhanger of who would win the battle for Simone’s heart. After much anticipation, we finally get to see who Simone chooses. To my surprise, along with many others, we see during the opening scene that Simone chooses Damon as the person she wants to be with. I personally wanted her to choose Lando, but I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. It was bound to happen, as the couple has been a slow burn since the pilot episode during Season 3 of the original *All American* series. Unfortunately for team “Dimone,” the couple ended just as quickly as they got together.

According to the timeline, Simone and Damon have been together for about a year, but by the end of episode 1, they break up for reasons I’ll touch on later in this recap. Simone chooses Damon just to end things with him once a new obstacle comes into play. She feels that they both need to focus on the things that lie ahead when it comes to their athletic careers and don’t need any distractions, but they are promising one another that they will rekindle their romance in the future. But we all know that actor Peyton Alex Smith was bumped down to a recurring role while Lando, played by Martin Bobb-Semple, was moved to a series regular. One can only wonder, with this change, what will happen between Simone and Lando in Damon’s absence. As the president of the “Limone” fan club, I’m excited to see how their story ends.

One of the biggest storylines of episode 1, besides the Simone Hicks love triangle, is that Bringston is undergoing a major rebranding. The fictional HBCU wants to be compared to schools such as Harvard when it comes to academics, thus sparking a rebrand. The school that was once known for its elite athletics wants to focus more on elite academics. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to aim higher when it comes to academics, this rebrand comes with a price. In order to focus more on academics, Bringston decided to cut two sports teams, and we already had an idea of which two they would be cutting.

Members of the Bringston family frantically await news on which teams will be cut. The women’s tennis team lost their championship game, therefore making Simone, Coach Lonnie, and the rest of the team wonder if they would be one of the teams to go. On the flip side, the baseball team that won their championship game believed they were safe. Despite having a fantastic season, the baseball team is one of the teams to go, while the women’s tennis team remained safe. We initially thought the baseball team getting cut was due to the rebrand, but later on in the episode, Coach Marcus reveals that this was always the team’s destiny. He knew that the baseball team would get shut down for quite some time, causing a rift between him and Damon. After a heated argument with Damon, Coach Marcus breaks the bad news to the rest of the team. While the rebrand allows the athletic scholarships to be turned into academic ones, many of the players transfer to other universities to play baseball. As for Damon, we see his chances of going pro slip away, so we think.

In order for Damon to go pro, he needs to play another year of baseball to be considered for the draft. With the rebrand and Damon already using the transfer portal back in season 2, it seemed that he had run out of options. In a discussion with JR and their father, Jesse, the three of them put their heads together to figure out Damon’s next move. Jesse suggests that Damon play baseball for shady Coach Shaw at PWI, while JR suggests that he go to another HBCU even though he will be red-shirted. With emotions running high, Damon angrily shuts down both of those ideas. JR, who has been recovering from aplastic anemia for the last eight months, checks Damon in true big brother fashion, letting him know that there is still hope for him to go pro, opposed to himself, who had to give up baseball due to his illness.

Toward the end of the episode, things for Damon turn around. With the help of his father, Damon receives an offer to play for a team, but the thing is, the team is in the Dominican Republic. Damon plans to play in the DR for a year, then return to the States to play in the MLB. This decision is what led to the end of Damon and Simone. With Damon going pro, she wants him to focus solely on baseball. As a recurring character, I’m still unsure how much of Damon we will see this season, especially with him being out of the country. Damon, of course, accepts the offer and has the support of his Bringston family, especially Coach Marcus.

Trying to rebuild the trust between him and Damon, Jesse tells Damon that he wasn’t the one who set up the deal, but it was actually Coach Marcus. Learning this new information prompted Damon to talk to Coach Marcus to make amends. The two hashed out their issues, and Damon thanked him for being a father figure. His constant presence on the show will be missed, but it will be interesting how viewers and the characters react to the change.

JR has been through a lot over the last few months between getting kicked out of KEK and his aplastic anemia returning, causing him to take a break from baseball. It’s been a rough ride for him lately. But in true JR fashion, we see him return at the beginning of the episode looking better than ever. Even though he’s no longer playing, he made sure to show support for his little brother and former teammates, despite being unsure if he was emotionally ready to be around baseball. JR has had lots of support over the last few months from friends and family, but we learn that one friend in particular has gone the extra mile.

We learned that Keisha stepped up to be JR’s bone marrow donor, thus forming a close-knit bond between the two. In a moment of excitement over seeing his prophyte and friend back on campus, Cam accidentally tells JR that Keisha experienced months of complications after donating her bone marrow to JR. After confronting Keisha, he learns that recovering sidelined her from something that she loved as well: dance.

I loved to see how their friendship has grown since last season. We see that they have mutual care for each other as well as confiding in each other when problems arise. This only makes me wonder: do we have a potential friends-to-lovers trope on our hands? We see it all the time in shows and movies, and it’s honestly one of my favorite relationship tropes. The way that they care for each other is very sweet. Although I’m always down for the good friends-to-lovers trope, in this situation, it could get messy. Both JR and Keisha are in relationships, so this has the potential to go bad. I really like Cam and Gabby, so for their sake, I hope JR and Keisha stay just friends. We see how the friends-to-lovers trope can go sour; just look at Coach Marcus and President Amara.

Just like her niece, Amara has had her fair share of ups and downs when it comes to love. Last season, we thought Amara and Coach Marcus were finally on the same page when it came to their relationship, and they were for about five minutes. Coach Marcus’s estranged wife made an appearance in the finale episode, revealing that they were still technically married, causing problems for the happy couple. In this episode, we see that the two didn’t recover from this major inconvenience. Despite his many apologies, Amara wanted nothing to do with him unless it had to do with Bringston.

Between her love woes and being president, Amara has so much on her plate. If juggling her work and personal life wasn’t already hard enough, let’s throw a new job offer in the mix. As we see in the episode, Amara toys with the decision of whether or not she will accept the vice president’s offer to be a part of her HBCU committee in Washington, D.C. Like Peyton Alex Smith, Kelly Jenrette was also bumped down to a recurring role, thus introducing the Washington, D.C., storyline. A part of me believes that she’s going to D.C. because, of course, who would say no to the vice president? But on the other hand, I think she’s using this opportunity to run away from her problems in Atlanta. Things are getting difficult on all fronts at home, and this would be the perfect scapegoat. Just like Damon, I’m curious to see how Amara will make appearances throughout the season.

Nonetheless, I’m so happy that one of my favorite shows is finally back. But of course, I’m disappointed that this is the last season. The first episode wasn’t what I expected, so I’m interested in seeing how certain storylines play out the rest of the season. With this being the final season, I hope that viewers will get the solid ending we deserve.

Season 3 of *All American: Homecoming* premieres on The CW on Mondays at 8 p.m. EST.

Source: CW, All American: Homecoming