Atlanta Review: “North of the Border”
Another week, another new episode of Atlanta. Each week Donald Glover and his team continue to one up themselves in terms of writing and directing. As season two begins to wind down, some of the ideas brought up in the beginning are finally being touched upon. As always, if you are not all caught up with Atlanta, know that there will be full spoilers ahead.
This time around, Atlanta focuses on Earn, Alfred, Darius and Al’s friend Tracy. “North of the Border” sees the gang go on the road for a college show as advised by Earn. As they begin to leave, Tracy insists that they bring him along as Alfred’s security. Earn is the only one that sees the potential disaster looming, but fails to get the guys on board with leaving him at home. Earn set up a place for them to stay, an Instagram model’s college apartment. He did this in an attempt to save them a couple hundred bucks from staying at a hotel. After arriving at the apartment, it’s clear that Violet (the aforementioned Instagram model) has a creepy obsession with Paper Boi. This is the start of a series of missteps made by Earn. After performing at the concert, Alfred begins to talk to the girls who set up the event. After seeing this, Violet dumps a drink all over Alfred as if he’s cheating on a committed relationship.
This is where all hell breaks loose. Tracy, Alfred's “bodyguard,” proceeds to push Violet down the stairs, forcing the gang to make a break for it. Their escape leads them to a fraternty house off campus, to which they are invited in. Right off the bat, it’s clear that the gang and the frat guys have widely different allegiances. From guns all around the house to a giant confederate flag in the living room, it’s clear that Alfred, Earn, Darius and Tracy are the odd men out. Despite the glaring racist overtones in the house, the boys stay and smoke some weed, all while watching a group of naked pledges dance to “Laffy Taffy.” While Darius and Tracy go to explore the frat “gun room,” Earn and Alfred decide to hang back. Alfred brings up that “something’s gotta go” to which Earn assumes it’s Tracy. However, Alfred is actually talking about Earn. Throughout the season, Earn’s management inadequacy has been brought up, but never directly to Earn. This idea has finally been brought to a head, forcing Earn to reevaluate his situation. All of Earn’s actions throughout this episode reflect Alfred’s growing suspicions of Earn’s lack of expertise with management. Alfred tells Earn that he is looking into management from Clark County’s manager, to which Earn is visibly hurt. The guys decide to stay the night and get their stuff in the morning.
After finding out that Violet threw all of their possessions out of her house, which she had shredded to pieces, the boys are forced to make their way home. On the drive, Tracy continuously pokes fun at Earn, forcing him to break. Earn demands that Alfred pull the car over so that he can fight Tracy, to which Alfred complies. What results is Tracy beating Earn to a pulp, forcing him to drag his bloodied body and his pride back to the car for the rest of the drive. This is where the episode ends, with Earn’s face and pride broken, and his place with Alfred and the rest of the group up in the air.
Now that Earn and Alfred have had their falling out, it’s unclear where they’re going to go from here. Earn was depending on the money made from being Alfred’s manager, so if he is no longer in that role, how will he make ends meet? Will Alfred still keep Earn around simply because he’s family? Or will this be like the Van situation where they don’t speak for a while? Tune in next week to find out what’s next for Earn and Alfred, and make sure to come here and read all about it.
To read last week’s Atlanta review, click here.
Zach Hall is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.