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All American Bosses Reveal How the Vortex Will Come Together After Patience's Stabbing

Everyone is reeling after the traumatic event and looking toward the future

Megan Vick

The Vortex has been through a lot on All American, but it will be time to rally around one of their own when the CW drama returns for Season 6 on Monday, April 1. Patience (Chelsea Tavares) was stabbed in the Season 5 finale, and while early promotion for the season and social media have confirmed that she is alive after the attack, we know the aftermath is going to linger for Patience and all of her friends. 

This season will also see how Spencer (Daniel Ezra) and Olivia (Samantha Logan) approach their relationship after Olivia's exchange program in London. Jordan (Michael Evans Behling) and Layla (Greta Onieogou) are trying to plan a wedding and finish college while Asher (Cody Christian) and Jaymee (Miya Horcher) adjust to being new parents. The pressure of the impending NFL Draft will also be getting to our football players and their significant others while the Vortex contemplates their new adult futures. 

TV Guide caught up with All American showrunners Nkechi Okoro Carroll and Jamie Turner to discuss the changes coming for The Vortex and what we can expect in Season 6, including Spencer's 21st birthday and the milestone 100th episode of All American

Bre-Z, Michael Evans Behling, Daniel Ezra and Samantha Logan, All American

Bre-Z, Michael Evans Behling, Daniel Ezra and Samantha Logan, All American

The CW

What was the biggest challenge in constructing a compact season after so much time off with the strike?
Nkechi Okoro Carroll: The biggest challenge was [Daniel Ezra] spent the whole strike in the gym. I was like "Uh, Spencer can't come back looking like he's in the NFL already. I need you to start doing some cardio and back off the weights." ... We just wanted to get back on the air as soon as possible. I talked to the cast like, "Hey, we're going to move aggressively to get us back on schedule because our crew has been out of work for so long." That was the most important thing to us. We knew what storylines we wanted to do in Season 6 and that didn't change because of the strike at all. ... Our push to get back on air as soon as possible was just about getting our crew and our cast and everyone back to work. We pushed the writers very aggressively to get those scripts out so that we could start production before the end of the year and everyone rose to the occasion.

How is Patience's stabbing going to affect The Vortex in the new season?
Caroll: It will affect them all, not just Coop. The vortex is so tight and so what happens to one happens to all. They've all had different versions of some sort of trauma they've had to overcome. Patience is alive. Someone asked me the other day if she survived the attack. She's alive, but that's not necessarily the same thing [as surviving]. We're going to see that it's not just Patience that was affected. It's not just Coop. Everyone is directly impacted by what happened. It happened in the Baker house.

How does the fact that this happened at the Baker house, their safe haven, affect their ability to be in that house?
Caroll: It highlights their ability to turn trauma into positivity. It requires all of them to do that and we'll see how that actually manifests in the very first episode of the season.

How is Spencer and Olivia's relationship going to be different now that she's back from London?
Jamie Turner: They are different. They are older. ... They changed because of the circumstances and that will obviously be revealed [in the premiere]. That's the beauty of their relationship because the baseline of that relationship is that they are best friends. Best friends always kind of find their way back. One of the things that we really want to explore this season is we've seen how they've handled conflict and drama, but we've purposefully pushed ourselves to see how we can do it differently now that they are in their early twenties. ... Spencer at 21 is a completely different Spencer than he was at 16. We're going to see the 21-year-old version of life, how to handle conflict, and how to deal with certain circumstances in the relationship. How do they make things better? That's the approach.

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What can we expect from Spencer's 21st birthday this season?
Caroll: It is hands down, in all six seasons of the show, the most I've ever laughed in my life. I woke up my husband while I was editing the episode because I laughed so hard. I don't know what time it was but I called Daniel and said, "I've always been a fan of your acting. I don't know where you dug to get the Spencer on his 21st birthday, but it is one of my favorites."

Turner: I one thousand percent agree. You have never seen him like this. There are levels that he brings to this.

Caroll: Our editors have said they've never had an episode before where there were no bad takes. It's just choices. That is a testament predominantly to Daniel and the way he handles that character's journey on his 21st birthday, but also the rest of the cast. Michael Behling is great. It might just be his best episode. They had me in tears, both emotional tears and laugh-out-loud tears. It was one of those moments where you're giving notes, and you say, "Let me just take a second and thank God that this is what I do for a living and these are the people I get to work with," because it brought such joy.

What about the 100th episode?
Caroll: I am working on that script now. It's an unbelievable feeling. There's such a feeling of gratitude that people love these characters and they took the ride with them for this long and continue to take the ride with them.

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What does it mean to have Daniel directing that episode?
Caroll: He is such a phenomenal talent, not just as an actor but as a director and as a writer. He really is one of those rare, truly creative storytellers and can access all of the different sides of himself to do that, whether it's visually as a director, whether it's in writing, or whether it's in acting. It was a no-brainer. That was the first director I assigned. This is his first series regular gig. He literally flew to the audition from the U.K., flew in for the first callback, and never left. For him to be able to direct the 100th episode and have grown so much as an artist over the six years, it just makes sense. If he comes into my office and asks one more time if the script is ready though...

What is the status of the GAU football team coming off this ban and with a new head coach?
Turner: They are back on track. There are new pieces that have been added. There are newer conflicts among the coaching ranks and all that good stuff, but they are also trying to learn how to balance potentially going to the NFL Draft. Should I go to the NFL Draft? Is there an opportunity for me? How do I maximize my value? These are things that both Jordan and Spencer are going to have to explore this season or potentially explore this season. 

All American Season 6 premieres Monday, April 1 at 8/7c on the CW.