All-American grieves the death of Coach Billy Baker in Lost One
Taye Diggs will not return as a series regular for Season 6
This week’s episode of the CW’s All-American brought on the tears as the cast honored the late coach Billy Baker – played by Taye Diggs – after he gave his life to save a player in a bus crash.
The character’s death came as a shock to fans in last week’s episode. Baker had recently decided to remain principal of South Crenshaw High School for the betterment of the community, giving up an opportunity to coach football at his son’s Division I University. Even with the news of the bus crash, Baker had assured his family members that he was fine, but ended up later returning to the overturned bus to save a trapped student, which took his life. Baker was the glue that connected the South Crenshaw and Beverly Hills worlds together and acted as a mentor to so many of the younger characters.
In this week’s episode entitled “Lost One,” everyone struggled to cope with the death of Billy Baker in their own way. Laura, (Monet Mazur) Billy’s wife, began angrily lashing out at everyone trying to help prepare for Billy’s funeral and Spencer, (Daniel Ezra) Billy’s prodigy, continued to struggle with the guilt of his previous fight with his coach before Baker’s unexpected death.
The cast’s performances were heart-breaking and beautiful, as they leaned on each other throughout the episode. The scene of Billy’s wife and two children, Jordan (Michael Evans Behling) and Olivia (Samantha Logan) prior to the funeral was incredibly difficult, as Laura, choking back tears, apologized to her children for not getting more time with their late father. Towards the end of the episode, Shawn Stockman, a singer from the hit-making R&B group Boyz II Men, played himself and performed an acoustic song at Billy Baker’s celebration of life for the community.
The episode of course, had to end on a cliff-hanger, or a few, with both JJ (Hunter Clowdus) and Olivia falling into alcohol addiction due to the immense grief. Patience (Chelsea Tavares) also was seen blocking a super-fan from contacting her on social media, alluding to a stalker storyline in coming episodes.
Though it’s sad that Billy Baker was killed off of the show, the way it was done was in-line with his character’s personality, who was known to do anything for his family and players. All-American is sure to miss Coach Baker’s leadership and it will be interesting to see where the show goes for the remainder of season five and season six without the beloved coach, father, and friend.