Thursday, May 3, 2018

What I’m Watching: Atlanta

Atlanta: Season 2, Episode 9 “North of the Border” (B+)

So here’s an episode that worked really well, one that threw our characters into a wild and weird situation but one that made sense and allowed them to have some relevant conversations about their relationships. Tracy presented yet another obstacle to Earn, someone who was just tagging along and making things more complicated under the guise of helping Paper Boi. Pushing Violet face-first down the stairs after she spilled a drink on Paper Boi started everything, and then he escalated it when Earn was trying to keep things peaceful. The problem, which Paper Boi isolated in this episode, is that Earn tries but really doesn’t succeed, and everything in this episode was originally his fault. When he scoffed at Tracy actually thinking he was Paper Boi’s bodyguard, he elicited a harsh response from Paper Boi since Earn is sort of just pretending to be a manager, claiming that there’s a payoff down the road but skimping on the important things in a way that shows that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing. Earn isn’t taking any of this lying down, demanding that the car be stopped so that he could fight Tracy. Their brief stay at the frat house with the Confederate flag was a discouraging subplot, one that demonstrates just how tone-deaf this white fan of Paper Boi’s, representative of other such people in America, could be with his inappropriate symbol hanging on the wall. This is what this show is supposed to be about, and I’m hopeful that the final two episodes of the season will be more like this installment.

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