“All American” is headed toward an explosive Season 4 finale on Monday, considering that tensions have been high since the characters graduated high school and headed into their first year of college.
“All of these characters are going through such significant changes with their lives and are taking it out on each other,” Michael Evans Behling, who plays Jordan in The CW drama, told TheWrap.
Jordan has found himself at odds with some of his best friends as he tries to navigate walking on to the football team at Golden Angeles University and being in a long distance relationship with his girlfriend, Simone.
Heading into the finale, Jordan has been through quite an emotional roller coaster. Throughout the past several episodes, he’s struggled with being the target of hazing from older teammates and, in the penultimate episode, finds himself single after Simone perceives there might be some feelings lingering between him and his childhood friend, Layla.
And Simone was right. At the end of Episode 19, Jordan and Layla admitted their growing feelings for one another. But, only time will tell if they choose to act on those feelings or keep them at bay.
“I’m not going to disclose what occurs in the finale, but I think that people may be a little surprised,” Behling teased. He did, however, share his own reaction to finding out some of the events that are set to go down Monday night.
“I remember we were actually shooting on the football field [for episode 19] and [showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll] told me a little bit about what was going to be coming up and I was like, ‘Oh, shit. That’s gonna be crazy,’” he said.
Below, Behling previews what’s likely in store for Jordan and the rest of the crew ahead of the Season 4 finale.
Season 4 has been full of growing pains for the characters. Why do you think this period of transition has been so tough for them?
I think all the characters have been going through a little bit of, like you said, growing pains and that’s a great way to put it because we’re all stepping into a new chapter and stepping into bigger responsibilities. I think that the extra stress weighing on anybody — Spencer and Asher getting into it over football or Jordan and Simone having their breakup due to the closeness of Layla and Jordan. Olivia and Spencer butting heads because of the article that she wants to write because of the journalist she wants to become. So I mean, obviously, you have to have the drama build up and build up. I think personally it is because all of these characters are going through such significant changes with their lives and are taking it out on each other.
Jordan really struggles with trying to be accepted by the team in a way that Spencer seems fairly unconcerned about. What’s making Jordan get so caught up in that?
I think that it has a little bit to do with him being a walk-on, but I think that where it mostly derived from, the root of it all, is Billy. His relationship with Billy [Taye Diggs], we saw in the very first season, it’s never been fixed. The connection that he has with Billy is not as strong as the connection that Billy shares with Spencer. Jordan’s been aware of that since the first season. So then Wade comes in, as a power figure, because [Jordan] looks up to him. He wants to be the starting quarterback. He puts up with the hazing because he knows the position he’s in at the bottom of the totem pole. And he also just wanted to be accepted. That goes back to Billy and how, at the end of the day, he just wants his dad to love him and accept him for who he is, given the difference in background.
I was pretty sad to see Jordan and Simone end things, but very quickly saw myself rooting for Jordan and Layla — which I didn’t totally see coming. What do you think they found in each other this season that they both needed?
I think it started at the beginning of the season whenever Layla came back without a scratch with Carrie. I think that something in Jordan shifted when that occurred. is kind of what I played with him throughout the whole season. I found out from my bosses that Jordan kind of had a little bit of a crush on Layla the whole season. I didn’t know that until probably the 18th or 19th episode. I think the biggest thing with their relationship is, they said it in the studio, she was going through a lot and he was there for her and vice versa. And he would not let her shy away from the truth. He would not let her skip out on the way that she was feeling. He really wanted to push her to be the best version of herself because that’s the version of Layla that he knows and that everyone loves. I’m not going to disclose what occurs in the finale, but I think that people may be a little surprised.
That’s so funny. So you didn’t know that’s where the writers had been heading the whole season?
I had an idea where the season was going. The way I was building it up was Jordan helping out a friend. He’s enjoying his friend’s company because, like I said, he’s missed this Layla. She’s been gone for a season and a half. I remember we were actually shooting on the football field [for episode 19] and [showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll] told me a little bit about what was going to be coming up and I was like, “Oh, shit. That’s gonna be crazy.”
What do you like best about playing Jordan?
One of my favorite things I like about J is his heart. And I’ve said that before, and people heard me say that and think Jordan doesn’t have much of a heart. But if you really look at it, you take away the hotheadedness that he sometimes carries, he really is a genuinely nice kid. He took Simone in. He wanted to care for her child. I think that was a stand up move on his part and that’s something I don’t think I would do at that age. I just think that he genuinely cares about his friends and, although he butts heads with a lot of people at various times throughout the season, I have to say I love his heart the most.
Since the show has already been renewed for Season 5, where are you hoping it’ll go from here?
I want them to be happy obviously. That’s hard to achieve in a drama. People will be bored if all the characters are happy all the time. I want to see moments of happiness across all the characters. I want to see Spencer and Jordan maybe step into the light a little bit more when it comes to college football. And if Jordan and Layla do end up having a moment or trying to date, I’d like to see them flourish. I think just based on what I know, a little bit where they might be thinking for Season 5, it’s pretty explosive in the first half of the season at least as far as on the GAU side of things.
The Season 4 finale of “All American” airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.