Atlanta Season 3 Episode 4 Recap: FX Show Tells the Future
Like Donald Glover’s opus Atlanta nears the middle of its third season, there’s an intriguing pattern that forms as you consider how deeply the series has impacted the videos we go viral, the trends we encounter, and the world around us as it goes. as it changes. Many times, Atlanta plays like a skilled mime, nailing every subtle move and nuance perfectly as he recreates the memes that were featured in this season’s first episode, itself an examination of the kind of life Devonte Hart had to live before he disappeared. Often Atlanta, in its effort to become the “dark fairy tale” that Glover and company envision, will create a television episode eerily similar to what happens in real life. Case in point: Their seemingly wild (though theoretically valid) standalone episode on slavery reparations, “The Big Payback,” comes out about a week after discussions in California examine who would even be eligible for the payouts. Life imitating art is not that; it’s the brain behind Atlanta either a) have a Delorean hidden somewhere to get all the information old man Biff way in Back to the future part IIor b) they are just good at predicting the future.
For many, reparations – which, in this case, would be payments black people would receive today because their ancestors suffered as slaves – sounded like a great idea they would never see manifest in their lifetime. . Where would the funds even come from? Who would be eligible? This latter issue is exactly what is being discussed in California, where March 30 reports indicate that the California Reparations Task Force voted that Black Californians who can prove a direct lineage of enslaved ancestors could participate in a groundbreaking initiative. of redress, that their motions say it is “determined by whether an individual is an African American descendant of a chattel slave or the descendant of a free black man living in the United States before the end of the 19th century “.
Two years ago, a bill drafted by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (who is now California’s Secretary of State) was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, giving “special attention” to black people. Americans who are linked to slave ancestors. There is still some way to go before real money can potentially hit people, with the Reparations Task Force due to release a proposal in June 2023; there’s still no precise understanding of how black Americans in California who can prove their ancestry would be paid, but that’s where Atlanta Between.
While not a dream within a dream in the manner of Season 3 opener “Three Slaps”, “The Big Payback” and the season premiere both take place outside of the main story involving Earn (Glover), Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) and Van (Zazie Beetz), immersing us in an Atlanta whose future may not be so distant. The episode follows Marshall, perfectly played by Justin Bartha from the Hangover trilogy and The new normal— at a time when CEOs are scared after successful repair cases grabbed headlines. The day Marshall successfully shoplifts cookies and sees positive breakthroughs in his estranged relationship with his wife, he discovers a terrible truth: his family owned slaves, his great-great-grandfather owned the great -great-grandfather of Sheniqua (Melissa Youngblood), who called his phone and followed him through the day.
Marshall’s life hits a 180: his wife wants to finalize their divorce (so his finances don’t suffer), Marshall has to look over his shoulder before leaving work or home, and he has a 3 million dollars hanging over his head. head, which he finds unfair because he is being punished for things he didn’t do. (The irony being that black people – anyone not born a particular way – are immediately judged and abused for things they didn’t do, like choosing their race, gender, or sexuality. .) Marshall must pay the piper at the end of the day—reparations for slavery are legal, you know – in installments (think paying off a college loan, just as a server and with the ability to change the percentage whenever you want) and we find ourselves contemplating, “Well, damn it, there may be a future where reparations for slavery is part of our society.
For those who pay attention, Atlanta has long organized episodic excursions like “The Big Payback”. From “BAN” to “Teddy Perkins”, Atlanta forced the audience to withdraw from the main story. Rewards include a cavalcade of commercials that perfectly recreate the drivel you feed off of during the day, or a gruesome tale that tackles parental abuse and the evils of fame. Neither of these episodes advanced the main story, and both were accepted as some of the Atlantait’s better. The ante was upped in Season 3, where we’ve already jumped forward in time and reconnected with new Earn, Alfred, Van, and Darius. Fans might want to read their stories ASAP, but as Biggie said, “The more money you make, the more trouble you have.” The question is, or do these episodes exist? “Three Slaps” was a dream Earn had; Could ‘The Big Payback’ also exist in his head, another ‘dark fairy tale’ he experiences while living lavishly (and dissatisfiedly) in Europe? We have the rest of Season 3 – and potentially parts of Season 4 – to discover.
“The Big Payback”, which was written by Francesca Sloane (who also works on Glover’s Mr and Mrs Smith series for Amazon Prime Video), and “Three Slaps” find Atlanta pushing the boundaries of a series that already didn’t feel confined. Almost in the middle of this penultimate season, viewers don’t know what to expect from the other side of this cold open. It speaks to the risks Glover and his team are willing to take to get these stories heard. Black shows have touched on the conversation about repairs before, but never to this degree. It’s hard to think of a TV series right now that would dare to go that far, and when you pair that with these conversations starting to show up in your news feeds, it’s hard to say if any show can match Atlantaprophetic radiance.