Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Atlanta” season three.
After a mind-bending episode about reparations, we learn what the gang is up to since their stay in the United Kingdom.
Earn (Donald Glover), Al “Paper Boi” (Brian Tyree Henry) and Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) continue their European Tour in an old venue in Budapest accompanied by the peculiar Socks (Hugh Coles), a person they met at a billionaire’s house party.
The show goes on and the crowd was crazy for Paper Boi’s performance. With jokes here and there that are common for the start of a good episode, it seemed like it was going to be a pleasant time. The night changed when Al could not find his phone.
“Cancer Attack” turns a simple premise like losing your phone into a perfect way to convey how each character is feeling during the tour.
Earn has become the worried parent of the group, not only in his job as a manager to Al by running his show and getting everything he needs, but he is also distressed with the whereabouts of Vanessa (Zazie Beetz) who is nowhere to be seen in this episode.
On the other hand, Al is going through something that was not explored in the series until now: writer’s block.
As he is interrogating the main suspect, Wiley (Samuel Blenkin), for stealing his phone, he confesses why he needs the phone. After seven months of not writing new material, he reveals how that night before the show, he had an idea for his next single. He recorded it on his phone, which is now lost. As he reveals this to Wiley, we see the vulnerable side of Al, who is usually perceived as a tough man.
We also see Darius trying to make worries go away by setting his sights on exploring the old venue in Budapest. Socks, who has been integrated into the tour, is trying to help but in the most ludicrous way that is perfect for the show’s absurd nature.
“Atlanta” writers decided to move from the social commentary to the development of the characters in this episode. I’m not saying they did not do this before, however, since the start of this season there has been a tendency to create comedy around political things that happen daily in the United States. They do this very well, but it was about time to return to the beginnings of the show with just Earn, Al and Darius.
After not finding the phone in Budapest and the main suspect not being responsible for the theft, they give up and go to the next stop of the tour.
What puts the episode together and adds tension to future episodes is it’s revealed that Socks was the one responsible for the phone. What?! The quirky guy we met a few episodes ago has a dark side? Is Socks trying to sabotage Al’s career as Paper Boi and drag everyone with him?
The only thing I have to say is I hate cliffhangers. I can’t wait for what happens to the boys from Atlanta, Georgia next.
Check out “Atlanta” as it premieres every Thursday on FX and streams the next day on Hulu.