“All American” showrunner explains the time jump in season 6 premiere

Plus, Nkechi Okoro Carroll gives some tea on Spencer and Olivia's relationship status.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for All American season 6, episode 1, titled “Things Done Changed.”

Olivia and Spencer are back on track!

All American picks up season 6 with a time jump of one year and three months, and we catch up with what members of the "vortex" have been up to while waiting for Olivia Baker (Samantha Logan) to come home from London. Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) and Jordan Baker (Michael Evans Behling) have rebuilt the GAU football team and are looking ahead to a potential draft; Patience Roberts (Chelsea Tavares) is dealing with the aftermath of the stabbing she survived; record label owner Layla Keating (Greta Onieogou) has opened up a lounge where Slauson Café used to be; and Asher Adams (Cody Christian) and Jaymee (Miya Horcher) are adjusting to their responsibilities as new parents.

EW spoke to showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll about the vortex’s new formation after the time jump and what’s ahead on All American.

<p>Troy Harvey/The CW</p> Samantha Logan, Daniel Ezra

Troy Harvey/The CW

Samantha Logan, Daniel Ezra

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Spencer and Olivia end the episode by deciding to recommit to each other as a couple. How is this time different in terms of their growth and potential obstacles? Their road has never been easy or simple.

NKECHI OKORO CARROLL: It’s the first sign that we’re dealing with a more mature version of Spencer and Olivia. We intentionally put them in a similar situation of unease and not knowing what each other wants, which is similar to the premiere last time they were together. It ended with Spencer breaking up with her.

The whole theme for this season is stepping into their futures. It’s a new, grown-up version of every character, not just Spencer and Olivia. The question is, how would they respond to it differently now when they aren’t freshmen in college or high school students? This episode would absolutely have ended in a break up. There wouldn’t have been the maturity to say we’ve been down this path before and instead of running and hiding, we’re hunkering down and we’re going to rediscover each other. For us in the writers’ room, we were excited about exploring Spencer and Olivia in this new chapter because they got together three minutes before Olivia jumped on a flight and they only saw each other three days over almost a year and a half. We’re exploring a brand-new version of the relationship.

They both talk about changing during their time apart, but we also see some of what has changed for Spencer. What’s ahead for Olivia in terms of her re-entry to L.A.?

We’re going to find out that London was her soul place. It is where she found herself, because for the first time, she had to navigate life by herself without her twin — which is huge — her friends, boyfriend, so when hard things came up she had to navigate it herself. I kept referencing the Marvel blip. Over that year it feels like she grew up five years by nature of navigating so much by herself, so we’re going to see her try to acclimate to L.A. again and wondering if it’s still the right place for her. She’s still so anchored to the U.K., and over the course of the season we’re going to figure out why she’s so anchored there and why it felt so much like home. If it wasn’t for Spencer, she might have stayed there.

She has also come back from London with a big project that we’ll launch in episode 2. We really see how she navigates that differently, because the older Olivia would have bulldozed her way through. The new Olivia is trying to be more considerate of everyone involved.

It seems like football is about to get in the way of Spencer and Jordan’s bond again. How does the higher stakes of the draft make their potential growing tension different this time around?

This year, the dream is so close. It’s not like they’ll have another season. We’ve got things happening that are affecting the stakes of if they’ll be able to draft and who will be able to draft and what that means. This is very different because the stakes are so much higher. How do a mature Spencer and Jordan navigate that?

And they are doing it without Billy (Taye Diggs), which impacts how they handle the football issues this time.

100 percent. They don’t have their father figure. They are trying to navigate this thing and the person [who] made it to the NFL and understands the pitfalls. Billy lived that and he’s not there to help navigate them through this. Yes, they have Coach Kenny, Preacher, and all these other men who have been amazing and stepped up in Billy’s absence, but this is different.

<p>Troy Harvey/The CW</p> Michael Evans Behling, Daniel Ezra

Troy Harvey/The CW

Michael Evans Behling, Daniel Ezra

What was behind the decision to have Layla open a lounge given the last few seasons focused on her building her label?

What happened to Patience really affected her. The guilt she feels over her most prominent artist and her going aggressively at the label to push Patience into this new chapter to make her a bigger star. Part of her opening the lounge was to stay busy and stay connected to the heart of music, but be able to step back from her label. That is something she’s not even conscious of. That revelation for character comes out of a bigger journey she’s going to take this season where there’s a realizes she’s been suppressing her mental health journey from high school. She’s got the tools she needed to navigate her depression and now she’s in this pressure cooker after Patience, so we’re going to see her deal with that.

Why did you decide on the time jump?

At the heart of it, this is a show about the pursuit of the dream through the lens of football. I didn’t see how sophomore year would have felt any different from freshman year in terms of what they are navigating on the field. I wanted to come back to football in a very strong way. Not that COVID has gone away, but we figured out how to shoot football safely in a world where COVID is the reality. We’ve pulled back from football a bit because our priority on the show was keeping everyone alive and safe. The biggest way we could come back to football was to put the draft in the mix, and they’re not eligible to draft them until their junior year.

Then if we do a year jump, what does that do to the rest of the storylines? Does that get us the best version of the stories for other characters, and not just Spencer and Jordan? We realized ... Olivia found something that she loved in London while navigating her father’s passing and growing into the person she wants to be. All those pieces started to fall into place that made the time jump feel just like the most organic thing for our show and our characters.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

All American airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/pt on The CW.

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content:

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.