November 2, 2016

Jesse Taylor is cutting down on red meat. 

The details of certain memories are clear as day. The first time I heard Outkast’s ATLiens is one of those moments. I remember everything about where I was, who I was with and what we were doing when the CD started playing. I had never heard anything like it.

Like ATLiens, Season 1 of Atlanta has been a love affair from the beginning. I remember the text from a friend prompting me to watch the show, and telling my girlfriend she had to watch it with me as soon as I finished episode one. So Donald Glover playing “Elevators (Me & You)” from ATLiens as he revealed the secret behind his desperation in finding “The Jacket” was a perfect fit.

The season finale was not the most eventful episode, nor the funniest, but it worked for a show like Atlanta, where the diversions are over-the-top and the operative plot moves subtly. And really, at this point, I would enjoy listening to Earn, Paper Boi, and Darius discuss the pros and cons of Obamacare while sitting on the couch in the field, smoking weed and eating sunflower seeds.

The plot did pull back the curtain on where Earn has been living all this time (a storage unit) when he wasn’t crashing with Van or Paper Boi. We’re also given a hint that Paper Boi’s career is continuing to rise when Earn receives a call from Senator K, one of Darius’ favorite rappers, asking them to join him on tour in Chicago (a nod to President, not Senator, Kanye?)

“The Jacket”also features a gruesome encounter with the police, where Earn, Paper Boi, and Darius are dragged out of their car by officers in tactical gear. The man who ended up with Earn’s jacket is shot and killed in front of his family; Earn is perturbed, but needs the key in the jacket’s front pocket.

What else we learned this week:

– Earn and Van are on solid ground after their driver’s seat fling in the last episode, to the point that Earn is cooking dinner for the family and giving Van his 5 percent of Paper Boi’s earnings.

– The episode took place almost a month after the Juneteenth party. How do I know? Because people were dressed up like cows to get a free sandwich; a Chic-Fil-A promotion that takes place on July 12, Cow Appreciation Day

– When it comes to Earn and Paper Boi, it’s like people know y’all but don’t know y’all; they’re cool with y’all, but not really cool with y’all

– Earn doesn’t know enough about the “tittie median” at a strip club to gauge the size of a woman’s breasts

– Snapchat is a great app for figuring out what you did when you got too drunk to remember the night before

– Earn still hates shots, but will drink Hennessy straight from the bottle

– Ja Rule might have just been a dog this whole time

Most importantly, we learned a lot of new things about Darius:

– He can swallow two blunts when he needs to, but it will lead to a weird night

– He thinks “Ride With Me” by Nelly is Beyoncé’s best song

– He believes being captured on video will take your soul

– In his mind, black people’s number one problem is they don’t know how to have fun (which Earn really disagrees with)

– He thinks there are sushi and catfish sunflower seed flavors (there aren’t, I looked)

– But he doesn’t support sushi – it’s a bigger issue than people talk about

– He wonders if an all-black cast of 48 Hours would work

In the end, Earn has made progress, for himself and Paper Boi. Despite receiving a nice wad of cash from Paper Boi’s earnings, Earn is not in a position to move out of the storage unit yet and continues to work at the airport (not enough loot to last week me ‘til the end of the week). But he’s on his way. Paper Boi sums it up for Earn’s work as his manager and Donald Glover’s work as Atlanta’s showrunner: “You did good, man.”

If Season 1 of Atlanta was Donald Glover’s ATLiens, I can’t wait for Aquemini. Let’s just hope the show concludes before his Idlewild phase.