Casual Darkness: A Review of Atlanta Episode Three

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So last week I started to review the television series Atlanta. I reviewed the first two episodes, which were released on Tuesday, September 6th and the third episode was released last night so, as promised, here is my review of episode three: “Go For Broke”.

This episode is about money. Earn needs it and he doesn’t have it. But it is also about the clash between Earn’s priorities and responsibilities. He wants to follow his dreams but he needs to provide for his family. As his girlfriend grows increasingly frustrated with his life choices and as the number’s in his bank account aren’t getting any larger Earn seems to be reaching a point of desperation.

In the first two episodes we see that Earn is motivated to succeed, on his own terms, but he is still works very hard to convince his cousin that he would make a good manager. And this really shows his motivation. And I think in that first episode we are shown a bit of Earn’s home life and why he has to succeed, but in this episode the ‘why’ of it all is really driven home. Earn is almost out of his daughter’s and his girlfriend’s life and if he gets pushed out he will be very close to poverty.

Alfred on the other hand is not in such a dire situation in this episode, his motivations are shown through the path he takes to succeed, but his path involves a drug deal and murder. Although Alfred seems to be getting in over his head in this episode, his motivations seem to be less dire and more superficial. Alfred saying himself, “I sell drugs, it’s lucrative… Sell it until you get rich.” Saying this, by the way, while Darius is ironing money in the background.

The show seems to be telling us that there is an obvious difference between Alfred and Earnest’s financial situation, in which Earn is very far behind even though his cousin is involved in crime and Earn went to Princeton. The two men are in two very different situations and yet they are brought together by the same goal, success.

Also in this episode is the introduction of the Migos, a real life rap group fictionalized for the show. The Migos are presented as this force that Alfred and Darius don’t quite now how to deal with. The Migos are on the other half of Alfred and Darius’ drug deal and they are also the ones who are responsible for the aforementioned murder. Their characters, within the world of the show, inject this tone of causal darkness that the viewer is forced to sit with uncomfortably, just like how Darius and Alfred are forced to sit uncomfortably while they shoot a man.

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This third episode continues its characters stories and expands their world, even if just by a small amount. The thing this show does well is it portrays its characters realistically. Although Darius and Alfred act tough in front of Earn, when they get to the actual drug deal they come off more like amateurs than actual gangsters.

Thanks for reading. If you had any different interpretations of this show, or if you didn’t like this episode at all, please leave a comment. And if you liked this blog please like and follow me on WordPress or Facebook.

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