Atlanta’s Robbin Season is Finally Here

Story posted March 2, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Zach Hall

Donald Glover took the world by storm back in 2016 with the debut of his FX series Atlanta. With witty writing, excellent cinematography and a stellar cast to boot, it was clear that Glover had created a hit. A year and a half later, Atlanta returned to air with a bang. If you are not all caught up on Atlanta, do yourself a favor and watch it all and then come back and read this. There will be spoilers ahead. 

If the cold open was any indication, “Robbin Season” (the substitute for season two) is going to be a much darker outing than the first. The episode opens on two friends, looking to get some food and some marijuana, at a local drive through restaurant. What starts as two friends ordering food at a drive through quickly devolves into a violent robbery. The entire opening is a perfect way to show the dire consequences of this time of year. After the two friends’ car was shot at by one of the employees with an Ak-47, it’s revealed that there was a women in the back and she got hit. The car drives away as she’s left on the corner, crying and screaming, as the employee stands in horror. The camera pans and leads to the two friends stopped by police: the perfect scene to underline the “Robbin Season” tagline. It is unlikely that this particular scene will be revisited. It was most likely a way to illustrate the importance of the overall theme of the season. Darius even explains the meaning behind “Robbin Season” to Donald Glover’s character, Earn, which is the time leading up to the holidays where robberies occur more frequently in Atlanta.

It’s unclear how much time has passed since the end of the first season and there are a few key differences since the last time we saw all of these characters. After the cold open, Earn wakes up in the storage unit that we last saw him in, only to be told that he had to leave and that he could no longer stay there. He goes to see his cousin, Alfred, only to be met with a rather cold greeting from both Alfred and Darius. Now that Alfred has found some success with rap, Earn feels like he is no longer needed. He admits later in the episode that he’s afraid he’ll get pushed out. This is further proven by the fact that in both scenes where Earn is in Alfred’s house, one of his guests is laughing at Earn for something he said, making him feel even more unwanted. It is also revealed that Alfred is on house arrest and Earn is on probation for holding “half a joint,” according to him. The interaction between Earn and Alfred in the beginning of the episode does give the sense that the two characters have somewhat drifted apart since we last saw them. Also, Van is nowhere to be seen. It’s not said in the episode the state of the relationship between Earn and Van as we last saw her trying to see other people and getting fired from her teaching job. At the end of the episode, when Earn leaves Alfred’s house with nowhere to go, it’s unclear if he slept on the streets or went to Van’s house. It’ll be interesting to see what their dynamic is like in the coming episodes.

Despite the dark opening and some of the heavier themes, the show still managed to stick to its signature hilarious (and often times weird) style. Donald Glover is great at setting up jokes and ideas throughout and expertly paying them off by the end of the episode, while staying within the context of the episode. Glover does this perfectly in the aptly titled “Alligator Man.” Darius tells Earn about the “Florida man,” which is a hilarious amalgamation of all the “Florida man” headline memes all represented by one crazy white guy. Darius says it’s a way for the state of Florida to drive away black people so they don’t register to vote there. This is later paid off by Earn’s uncle (played by Katt Williams) mentioning the Florida man and later referring to himself as the “alligator man.” This is of course because he has an actual live alligator in his house, which strolls out onto the lawn in front of the police and his neighbors as he escapes arrest from the back. It’s good to see that Donald Glover can balance all of themes into one episode and have all of them pay off.

One part weird, one part dark, one part emotional and one part hilarious, Atlanta’s “Robbin Season” is going to be a fantastic season. Earn is currently homeless with nowhere to go and a fear of being left behind by his cousin. Alfred is stuck on house arrest, but is still enjoying the feeling of his rising success. Van is nowhere to be seen, which leaves questions about the nature of her and Earn’s current status. Atlanta started with a bang and looks like it’s gearing up for a stellar second season. Come back after every new episode and get more of the Atlanta fix you know you want.

 

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