Updated: Apr 20, 2019
The series premiere of Atlanta hit us with so much culture, politics, and humor. In just 30 minutes, the first episode touched on just two subjects lightly: black on black crime, black poverty, and male fragility. I'm excited to recap it every week and share some of the best quotes from each episode as well as dig a little deeper on the subjects mentioned so you can engage with me!
First Things First then we Recap:
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- Spoiler Alerts! I tell most of what happened. Watch the show first for the real comedy but I give the beginning and end.
I typically despise shows and movies that start off in the future and backtrack (i.e. How to Get Away with Murder), but since that is not this show's standard format I will be ok.
Episode 1 kicked off with a dark-skinned man, who we will later learn is local rapper Alfred "Paperboi" Miles, getting his car's driver side mirror kicked off and hopping out of the car to confront the Black man who kicked the mirror and is with a Black woman. Donald Glover's character jumps out of the car to follow Alfred and encourage him to choose another route of confrontation. After back and forth of insults and other commentary with the culprit, Alfred immediately pulls out a gun pushing it into the man's chest. Donald's character awkwardly pulls out a gun. The mirror kicker raises his shirt to show his weapon, pushing the woman back. Donald's character tries to buy time as the camera takes us overhead and a gun goes off. We have no idea about the aftermath - whose gun went off or if anyone was hit.
"THIS SHIT IS DEFINITELY GOING ON WORLDSTAR!"
Atlanta does not have a theme song. Every episode's musical intro will be a different song that represents a variety of Southern hip hop. This episode was Oj Da Juiceman's "Da Hook" which transitioned us into Childish Gambino's morning music while in bed with a woman who we will get to know as Van. He tells the Van about a dream he was having and how it was so deep to him. Van inquires about the woman he mentioned was in the dream and if they made out. Jokingly dismissing her inquiry, Donald Glover goes in for their own make-out session. When she says "tell me you love me," he laughs and responds "of course". She doesn't accept the laugh and pushes him off her to head to bathroom. From there you see an awake baby girl standing in her crib and it's safe to infer it's their daughter. Donald Glover plays with her while Van untwists her hair and discusses her expectations with rent, parenting, and their relationship. She has a date that evening after work so he must be with their little girl.
Next we see Donald Glover who we now know as Earn at a job where he is selling airline credit cards to passersby with that one annoying airport worker that clearly wastes their paycheck at the Ubar on Camp Creek or the Ritz on Old National. Is this place still open? As Earn communicates his situation of no money, living with a dating baby momma, and being unsuccessful at life overall, his coworker forces him to listen to what viewers recognize as another Atlanta artist rapping about money, hoes, clothes, and a trap they probably aren't even really about. :pictures Young Thug/Jeffery in a dress: Earn recognizes the rapper to be his cousin and leaves to find out more about a pending million dollar record deal he has.
"YOU DON'T KNOW PAPERBOI!"
Earn stopped by his parents house and was held up at the carport by his father. Greeting both parents through a screen window, Earn asks about his cousin's whereabouts and if they can watch his daughter. Didn't your BM just say stop dropping her at your parent's house? After being criticized by his father for not flushing the toilet and scolded by his mother for his poor diet because of his poop, he is told his cousin Alfred lives in Glenwood Apartments. Eastside!!! Decatur where it's greater!!
"I'M NOT HERE FOR MONEY."
Flip to Alfred's house and Earn knocks on the door, only to be met with a gun to his face once the door opens. Alfred finally lets him in and we meet his friend/roommate Darius at the door in an apron with a butcher knife and baking tray of cookies. Earn wants to be Alfred's manager. Why isn't Darius his manager? It's 4:30 now and it appears Alfred and Darius have a standing appointment on an abandoned couch in the neighborhood to smoke weed. Earn follows to continue discussing business and declines the opportunity to smoke so that he can remain professional. I'm not sure if that is Princeton or just his good manners. Alfred says he is not rapper and is not feeling the idea of Earn being his manager despite his alleged local resources. Earn hasn't been in contact with his cousin Alfred since the death of his mother, Earn's aunt, so he doesn't trust him.
Earn must be an Aries cause he was ready to do what it takes to show and prove. He headed straight to catch one of his connects in a radio station parking lot, a privileged white guy, and was met with a friendly introduction that included a story about last night's party and how the DJ was a "nigga who played FLOrida". White boy was too friendly in that moment but eventually told Earn that he could get the song on the radio for $500. Earn heads home to get the rent money due to Van and pay his radio connect. Alfred simultaneously visits Earn's dad, his uncle, and asks about Princeton and if Earn should be his manager.
"WHEN HE WANTS TO DO SOMETHING, HE DOES IT. ON HIS TERMS."
Riding the bus with his daughter to go home, Earn is approached by a spiritual Black man in a suit making a Nutella sandwich. Telling the man that he always feels like he is on the losing end of life, the spiritual guy basically says a whole bunch of philosophical phrases before telling Earn he better take a bite out of the sandwich. Police lights flash and within seconds the spiritual man "disappears" into woods outside the bus. Alfred calls Earn as he is texting Van that "he loves her" to say that his song is on the radio. The text never gets sent.
"RESISTANCE IS THE SYMPTOM OF THE WAY THINGS ARE."
Earn joins Alfred at the corner store for a blunt in celebration of his song on the radio and becoming his manager. Alfred tries to get the attention of a girl that is walking by. When she responds with what is complete disinterest and insult, he responds saying "Same to you, stank ass broad!" A black man kicks Alfred's side mirror broken and Alfred's reaches for his gun. We are back to where the episode began.
"DON'T MESS WITH THE MONEY."
Van returns home from her date to Earn's mother drinking wine and watching her daughter. The news is on the TV and it's announced there was a shooting in Dekalb Co. involving 3 suspects: Paperboi, his manager Earnest Marks, and 1 wounded. :cue outro music:
Recap for Episode 2 drops tomorrow but in the meantime >>>
- Who exactly is Darius?
- What happened at Princeton?
- How does Earn get around Atlanta so fast in one day on Marta?
- Who shot the gun?