Atlanta Review: “So, What Are We?”

Story posted March 24, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Zach Hall

Atlanta is back this week with a brand new episode that keeps with the witty and weird writing as the ones that came before it, all while taking a deeper look into Van and Earn’s relationship. As always, spoilers ahead.

If the cold open was any indication, Earn and Van’s relationship is doing fairly well at this point in the season. After the last episode, it was clear that Earn and Van were able to reconcile their differences, leading them on the path to a healthy relationship. However, it has never been clearly stated what exactly their label is. They’re not technically dating, but between their daughter and increasingly intimate relationship, it’s not far off to say that they are close to becoming a real couple. Atlanta’s newest episode seeks to explore their relationship and give somewhat of an answer regarding their future.

Van and Earn take a trip to a German festival to visit some of Van’s friends and explore her heritage. The majority of the episode takes place at this festival and introduces elements into Earn and Van’s relationship that may result in their parting of ways.

Early on, it’s clear that Earn is not a fan of the festivities, even going as far as to tell Van that he thinks it’s stupid. Earn feels like he has to act like he’s enjoying the festival for Van, but feels wrong in the sense that he doesn’t feel like himself. Even though all Van wants in this situation is to spend more time with Earn, he can’t escape the fact that he does not enjoy the festivities or the festival at all. After fighting with Earn about his feelings about the festival, Van has a conversation with one of her childhood friends. Van’s friend says that Van “chose black,” to which Van feels offended. While Van doesn’t believe this assessment, she can’t help but wonder if it is based out of truth. This forces Van to reassess her relationship with Earn, leading her to have a conversation with one of her German friends.

Throughout this conversation, Van questions what it is exactly that her and Earn have and if it’s worth working on at all. Van feels that the only reason her and Earn are together is their daughter and Earn’s newfound income. All of this culminates when Earn and Van finally gets some alone time and can discuss these issues, all cards on the table. Van tells Earn she “wants to be in a committed relationship where she’s not viewed as a sex object.” Earn’s response is that he doesn’t know what he wants and that all he really knows is that the arrangement they currently have works for him. Van doesn’t like this answer, seeing that he doesn’t have any intention of changing anything. What follows is a ping-pong match that will essentially decide the fate of their relationship. Van says that if she wins, the only time Earn will ever have to see her is if it’s about their daughter or money. This isn’t what Earn wants, but the game commences anyway. It’s not shown who won the match, but judging by Van’s cold shoulder during the trip home, it’s clear that things didn’t go well for Earn. The episode ends with Earn dropping Van off at her house and it seems Van got what she was competing for. The episode started with Earn and Van’s relationship at a high and ended in a shroud of uncertainty. It’s clear that Earn honestly cares a lot about Van, but his lack of drive to change anything in their relationship seems to have hurt his chances with her going forward. The state of Van and Earn’s relationship is not explicitly stated at the end of the episode, so it’s unclear how their dynamic is going to be moving forward.

Usually, both Earn and Alfred are the main focuses of each episode this season and it’s a nice breath of fresh air to have an episode dedicated to Van and Earn’s relationship and this probably won’t be the last to do so. While still somewhat unclear, the state of Van and Earn’s relationship seems to be in a bad place and it’ll be interesting to see how. Earn deals with this moving forward, as well as how Van evolves as a character without Earn.
Check back next week to find out the status of Van and Earn’s relationship, as well as everything to do with Atlanta.   

To read last week’s review, click here.

 

Zach Hall is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.