I know, I know! I’m hella late on reviewing Atlanta Season 2 but cut me some slack man. I’m here now so let’s get this started. After watching season 1, I knew Donald Glover had something special with Atlanta and season 2 did not miss a beat.
Let me give you a brief summary of what Atlanta is all about for those of you who may not have heard of it yet or are in need of a recap:
Atlanta is one of the top cities for young rappers looking to make a name for themselves in the business. Among those up-and-comers is Alfred Miles, a hot new artist who is trying to understand the line between real life and street life. He is managed by his cousin, Earn, who gets caught up in the local rap scene and his cousin’s career after returning home to the ATL. Earn does whatever he can to try to get Alfred’s career to the next level. Darius, the rapper’s right-hand man and visionary, is also in Alfred’s entourage. When Earn isn’t busy managing his cousin’s career, he spends much of his time with best friend Vanessa, who is also the mother of his daughter.
The second season “Earn” Marks (Donald Glover) and his cousin Alfred Miles (Brian Tyree Henry) continue their way into the Atlanta music scene. This time around, the second season, also known as the Atlanta: Robbin’ Season, dawned a more uncanny tone to it. You see, the first season, for me anyways had a lot of quirks and humor to it while simultaneously conveying important life messages that will have you thinking about the world around you! The second season does that too but this time around it feels like your being punched right in the guts with tense, surreal moments.
One of those episodes that stuck out to me personally was the episode where young Earn had his mum bought him a yellow shirt! As young Earn takes that shirt to school, he finds out that another boy has the same shirt. The entire episode then consists of Earn been trapped with the reality that one of those shirts might a fake. In the end, his cousin helps him out and proclaims the other kids’ shirt to be the fake. The kids then proceed to bully the kid and Earn escapes the roast. Unfortunately, the next day the principal comes to their class to confirm that the young boy had committed suicide.
In fact, the entire season had this dark theme of “no escape”! From “Champagne Papi,” in which Van finds herself in an uncomfortable place with a stranger inside Drake’s house during a party and trying to get clouts to “Woods” in which PaperBoy wants to stay real and avoid the fake life of a celebrity, but is challenged on this by his friend Sierra, accosted by some teens who take the opportunity to rob him and then he gets lost in a forest to escape them. That and coupled by the struggle to succeed as a black artist/any other career path was really the major tone of the season.
One line that Sierra had that kinda stuck to me was, “Everybody wanna be a black girl, but the black girls ain’t making no money from it.” It’s the same topic many Black people have preached in the past, that everyone loves the black culture but not the people of that culture. Another one that really stuck it to me was the scene in which Earn asked the clerk if there was a Black lawyer just as good as the cousin he’d mentioned. The guy responded by saying” “There definitely is. But part of being good at your job is your connections and black people just don’t have the connections my cousin has … for systemic reasons.”. And that was one of many lines and messages sprinkled all over this season.
The narrative throughout was bold, dark, well-paced and I feel a certain type of way throughout.
Earn as a character has significantly changed from season 1. He now has this “survival by any means necessary” strive on him and that last scene with him making that crucial decision to plant the gun on another person bag proved how far he’s willing to go to succeed. As Darius put it bluntly, “I see you learning. Learning requires failure. Al’s just tryin’ to make sure you’re not failing in his life. Y’all both black, so that means y’all both can’t afford to fail.”
Overall, this season of Atlanta was outstanding and I would highly recommend you to watch it.