(Warning Contains Spoilers, and potentially what happens in Game of Throne's Red Wedding. Watch the episode embedded below and the season 3 finale of Game of Thrones before proceeding).
The opening shot of the third season of All for One is risky: looking into the team's past, something that most wouldn't wish upon their worst enemy. It is a fairly objective view: showing the good with the bad, for every historic Montreal comeback there is a 5-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on the final day of the season.
It is also an effective way to start a show covering a season where Toronto FC is looking to get free of their past and turn the focus to their future, ideally one that is bright.
Furthermore, It begs the immediate question, if Toronto FC has all this money to spend on Designated Players why the heck can't they buy a decent television set.
The show then transitions to the future: namely Jozy Altidore. The episode focuses a lot on his re-integration into MLS, while largely skipping on the Sebastian Giovinco narrative. You would think the Giovinco story is made for TV, but I guess they didn't have a tripod short enough to document it.
Back to the past, and All for One takes some time to talk to Carl Robinson, former Toronto FC midfielder now coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps. It plays like a personal memoir from Robinson of his time in Toronto. If you don't watch anything else in the episode watch this (caught you, I told you to watch the episode before reading this article).
It's now gameday, with Greg Vanney delivering potentially the most monotonous pre-game speech of all time and then looking around hoping his players get excited, a couple even pretend.
The coverage of the game itself is very well done. The show uses low angle shots which make the game seem almost like its out of a film. It switches between the action of the field and supporters in the stands and at Shoeless Joe's in Toronto seamlessly.
Halftime, as Darth Sidious from Star Wars Makes an Appearance
Spoiler, Toronto FC win the game 3-1 and Altidore is once again the centre of attention having scored a pair of goals in the match. One of the coolest shots of the episode comes after the game when the camera does a 360 of Altidore applauding the supporters after the match.
Damien Perquis goes around hugging the coaches, exclaiming to one "first game MLS, first victory man!". There haven't been very many, if any, smiles on his face that resembled that since the Vancouver victory.
In the dressing room after the match Giovinco throws a sock at Altidore who is in a good position but fails to control or put it on target in the least. Altidore's confidence is shattered and (spoiler) he doesn't score in any of the next four games.
The episode ends with a shot of Toronto getting back on the road, and commentary about how good this road trip could be for the club. I guess we will have to watch the next couple of episodes to find out whether or not that becomes true.
Overall, this is a really well put together program even if it doesn't always have the positive content to work with that I'm sure the producer would like. The episode is semi-narrated by a supporter and shows how he watches the Vancouver/Toronto match which is a really nice touch. It is supporter's month after all.
Waking The Red has yet to find the subliminal messaging Columbus Crew supporters put in this sign, but we are sure it is there somewhere. Also "boom headshot"?
What We Wish We Could Have Seen
The dinner in Italy where Tim Bezbatchenko somehow convinced Giovinco and his family that coming to MLS, let alone Toronto, was a good idea.
Best Moment of Soccer-Ness
Greg Vanney at halftime explaining Vancouver's strategy with really aggressive hand motions. But actually a pretty sound tactical analysis, and something that Toronto clearly exploited in the second half.
Nowhere to be Found
Sebastian Giovinco, Steven Caldwell, Bright Dike (obviously), Mark Bloom and Hogan Ephraim.
Moment of the Episode
Greg Vanney telling everyone after the game to get used to the feeling of winning because "that's how it's going to be around here", (spoiler alert) he's wrong.
Man of the Episode
Carl Robinson, he's always been the man.
Let us know in the comments section below what you thought about All for One's first episode.