Back from the ATL: On ‘Atlanta,’ Season 2 Episode 5

Jesse Taylor's 'Atlanta' recap returns with a look at season two, episode five.
By    April 5, 2018

Jesse Taylor can’t wait for Festivus.

Following a sad and solemn week taking us through the downfall of Earn and Van’s relationship, Atlanta switches it up with “Barbershop,” a comedic, Seinfeld-esque episode about nothing. It takes us through a day of mishaps as Paper Boi, the only main character to appear, attempts to get his hair cut from his barber Bibby.

Last week Earn was unwilling to sacrifice to save his relationship with Van. If only he were present to witness the lengths to which Paper Boi sacrificed his entire day to keep his relationship (and appointment) with Bibby. But in the end, like Earn, Paper Boi decided to end his relationship.

There is not much you’ll sacrifice for like the relationship you have with a barber or hair stylist who knows how to cut your hair. Especially in the black community, where hearing stories of people moving from the Bay Area to L.A., but still driving the six hours to go back to their barber, are common. If you didn’t know about this relationship, Atlanta educates you on its importance in “Barbershop,” written by Stefani Robinson and directed by Donald Glover.

Side note: At Passion of the Weiss, we are sorry to say that for the second week in a row, the always-fun “What did Darius do?” feature is on hiatus.

Paper Boi is an up-and-coming rapper, so he has to keep his hair straight. Bibby is a barber who knows how to cut his hair, no details or clipper numbers needed. But Bibby ruined his day so bad, he finally had to switch to another barber. But even after a day that William Foster would consider bad and Daniel Powter could write a hit sequel about, the show ends with Paper Boi looking like he expects to really, really regret his decision to leave Bibby.

But it is hard to blame Paper Boi. The episode starts with Bibby walking in late to the appointment as he annoyingly keeps talking on his Bluetooth. Paper Boi sits in the chair waiting. Bibby doesn’t listen each of the four times he asks Paper Boi how he wants his cut, and then gets distracted and uses his head as an arm rest.

Just when Paper Boi is finally about to get his cut, Bibby gets a call while they are watching the invisible car YouTube clip (nice call back Donald). From there, it’s off to the races and Paper Boi has to leave the barbershop with a chunk of his hair clipped.

Bibby continuously leads Paper Boi on various adventures throughout the day, promising the hair cut if he accompanies him. But each stop along the way leads to another step that must be completed before Paper Boi can get his cut.

With Darius out, here’s a quick, “What did Bibby do?”:

  • Steals money from his girlfriend after cutting her son’s hair (“he technically had an appointment before you”)
  • Makes Paper Boi help him steal lumber from a construction site (“this ain’t no restaurant!”)
  • Chases down his school-skipping son and asks Paper Boi to “inspire the youth,” who end up caping on Paper Boi for not looking fresh
  • Rear-ends another car and tells Paper Boi to get in the driver’s seat before just driving away
  • Like every good barber, Bibby has a cable TV scheme on the side
  • When he needs a good excuse, uses terms like “queef engine” and “carburetor jaundice”
  • Has a son with a fire mixtape like Lonzo Ball
  • Tells that same son, “You know, for the record, I never wanted you”
  • Pees his pants a little bit when getting in a hit-and-run

In the end, Paper Boi gets his hair cut after getting a little physical with Bibby and telling him that he ruined his day. A confused Bibby thinks they were in an Ice Cube video the whole time (minus the triple-double).

“Babershop” was fun escapism with Paper Boi and Bibby.

Up Tonight:

With a nod to Lakeith Stanfield’s role in Get Out, the promo for tonight’s “Teddy Perkins” features the return of Darius. The summary from FX for this episode, which will run commercial-free and is written by Donald Glover and directed by Hiro Murai, says, “Darius is trippin’ in this one. Y’all know I woulda been left.”