Thursday, April 14, 2022

What I’m Watching: Atlanta

Atlanta: Season 3, Episode 4 “The Big Payback” (B+)

It’s jarring to once again see an episode that doesn’t feature any of the show’s regular characters, but one that feels like it very much exists during its larger-than-life universe. I think this one could best be described as an expression of the fears of right-wing people who think that any attempt to acknowledge historical wrongdoing means that everything they have is fair game. Watching is still a deeply uncomfortable experience, especially since there were featured lines that are surely drawn from reality, where people claim their own ancestral connections that feel far less relevant and valid than someone whose relatives were enslaved and brought to America for that very purpose. I recognized Justin Bartha right away, an actor from “The Hangover” and “Holy Rollers,” and he did a great job of playing someone who thought that he could ignore the problem long enough and just deflect responsibility, only to end up being served and then harassed by the woman who didn’t want to be told that she had no case and no reason to be demanding everything that he had. This episode reminds me of another installment, “B.A.N.,” that I didn’t particularly love, but I think the difference here was that so much of it is echoed in reality without even needing to be exaggerated, and that people believe that they can compare experiences that are nothing like skin color. It’s certainly something to think about, and the kind of thing, on a smaller scale, that might happen to Earn without him getting to have the power of being owed what was his.

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