Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Atlanta” season three.
“Atlanta” premiered after a four-year hiatus without missing a beat with the previous two seasons.
Earn (Donald Glover), Al “Paper Boi” (Brian Tyree Henry) and Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) go on Paper Boi’s European Tour. Since 2018, we have been waiting to see what’s going to happen with these characters after they leave Atlanta, Georgia.
With the absurd nature “Atlanta” is known for, season three of the acclaimed series starts with a whole different story.
Before we learn about our main character’s journey through Europe, we get introduced to a new character, Loquareeous (Christopher Farrar), a young child forced to live with two white women, Gayle and Amber (Jamie Neumann and Laura Dreyfuss), after Child Services come to his house when a teacher saw his mom punishing him.
Most of the time, this show is a comedy with beats of drama here and there. However, the first episode introduces elements of a thriller. Loquareeous is afraid of his adoptive mothers and each scene adds a layer of discomfort and disgust to how these women treat the boy and his adoptive siblings.
Taking inspiration from movies like “Get Out,” it explores racism with a mix of horror in the most effective way. With a shocking ending, Loquareeous witnesses the group suicide of the white women as they crash their car into a river. Loquareeous comes back home to his mom, but everything changes when we learn it was all a dream Earn was having.
The second episode starts immediately after Earn wakes up in Copenhagen with a phone full of texts from Darius, Al and his ex-girlfriend and baby mama, Vanessa (Zazie Beetz), waiting for him in Amsterdam. We begin with conflict as Earn makes his way to the airport and learns Al is in jail and has to get him out so he can perform later that night.
With this episode, we get to see how the characters interact with the traditions from Amsterdam. It explores how the prison system in Holland is radically different from the United States by showing how they treat Al while in prison. They also examine Sinterklaas and his helper, Zwarte Piet. Piet is usually depicted with blackface; Earn and Al were not comfortable with the traditional depiction. As they see a whole venue filled with people with blackface, Al decides not to perform that night.
We also see Vanessa and Darius together as they come to a new place and meet what appears to be a cult in Amsterdam. They thought it was a normal funeral with a guy who resembles Tupac Shakur, but we learn in the end it was a sacrifice.
“Atlanta” hits it out of the park with these doubleheaders and gets fans excited for what’s to come this season and the final fourth season to come later this year.