The Way it Feels: A Review of Atlanta: Episode Two

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As I promised, today I will be reviewing episode two of Donald Glover’s new show Atlanta. I always assume that people will know that these reviews contain spoilers, I write a lot of these reviews as sort of companion piece to the movies and television shows themselves, so they might be enjoyed more if you have actually seen the television show or movie before you read my review and less will be spoiled for you. Anyways enjoy the review!

In the second episode of Atlanta the focus of the plot shifts from Earn to Alfred. Following the events of the shootout, we see Alfred dealing with the emotional fallout of such a traumatic event. In one night everything he thought he wanted to be was sort of shattered. He wanted to be a famous gangster rapper and when finally becomes one by shooting someone in the street it seems like he doesn’t like the way it feels.

When he is in the police station he talks about how much he hates being there. When he leaves the police station and goes to the restaurant, he tells Darius that he doesn’t want to be seen eating at a restaurant because it makes him feel like an animal at the zoo. And when he gets home, Darius keeps trying to come up with things for them to do, most likely to get his mind off of the shooting, but Alfred says he doesn’t want to be around people and that he is getting a “weird energy’’. This is all obviously symptoms of some sort of PTSD or depressive state caused by the shooting.

Also, in the restaurant when the waiter gives him attention and admiration and special treatment for being one of the “last real rappers”, the treatment is tainted by the fact that the waiter also warns him to never change, implying some sort of violence. This scene shows Alfred that even receiving adoration from his fans comes at a cost.

At the end of the episode, when a stranger in a batman mask knocks on their front door and asks if Alfred is Paper Boi and then runs off and Darius remarks that Alfred is getting, “too hot”, it is clear that this life that Alfred, Darius, and Earnest are getting into is maybe something that they don’t want. Maybe it’s a bit over their heads and maybe it’s not worth it.

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On the flip side Earnest, Donald Glover’s character, is relegated to the ‘B’ story, which, in this episode is a bit lighter. Earnest is held at the police station until his bail is posted, he is literally held out of the plot of the show by the police. But Earnest’s story line seems to be a fish out of water story, the show seems to be going to great pains to show the audience that Earnest doesn’t belong with these men in prison, maybe pointing to the moral center of the character.

He witnesses a mentally handicapped man being physically assaulted and he get’s caught in the middle of a man’s sexual identity confusion, all the while unsure of how to act or react. Although Earnest’s shady past has been alluded to, it clearly doesn’t involve the police.

So one thing about this show I didn’t touch on yesterday is the soundtrack. The soundtrack to this show, at least so far, is particularly good. Loaded with a lot of hip-hop songs like Yo Gotti’s song Law and Migo’s song One Time and a little mix of electronic, rock, and classic R&B, like Bill Withers’ Grandma’s hands. In it’s variety, the soundtrack perfectly captures the tone of the show.

So that’s it for the review of episode two. The third episode comes out next Tuesday; I hope you will watch it so we can have another little chat about it. Thanks for reading, and as always please like, comment, and follow.

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