Atlanta–a mid-season review


FX’s Atlanta is a comedy/drama television show created by Donald Glover, that airs every Thursday at 9 p.m. and is on Hulu the next day. Airing six years ago in 2016, the show started its fourth and final season in September of 2022 (the year of this article) and will be ending in mid-November. 

Atlanta, for the viewers who don’t know, is a show about Earnest Marks, played by Glover, and his rise from being basically homeless to becoming a manager for his rapper cousin Paper Boi, played by Brian Tyree Henry. The premise sounds quite simple but as Glover describes the show, It’s “Twin Peaks With Rappers.” The show is very odd and surreal as you will start to understand as I am reviewing the show halfway through the season. 

I will be reviewing just five episodes out of the ten in the season. Each episode runs about 30-40 minutes. I thought I would make this now and possibly make another article describing the last five episodes.

Episode One: The Most Atlanta 

The episode starts off with Darius, one of the main side characters/ my favorite character played by Lakeith Lee Stanfield, returning an air fryer to a Target during a looting. After he doesn’t get a refund, a crazy lady (white) in a motorized wheelchair thinks that he stole the air fryer, and starts chasing him with a knife for the rest of the episode. This was just the C plot… The main two plots are Paper Boi doing a scavenger hunt when one of his favorite underground artists, Blue Blood, dies and leaves secret messages in the lyrics of his last album. The other plot has Earn and his on-and-off girlfriend Van, played by Zazie Beetz, being trapped in a parking garage while they keep seeing people from past relationships. 

The end has them all finding their way to Blue Blood’s secret funeral and Darius giving the air fryer to some one-off character while they wait for their uber. The shot ends with that character waiting while the sound of a motorized wheelchair approaches… Then black. 

This episode was, as it was described, the most Atlanta episode. I honestly think this was the perfect episode to start the season off as it has that creepy feeling that the most notable episodes in the show have. It has some of that humor in it with the ridiculous idea that a lady in a wheelchair holding a knife is somehow following Darius. Also, I enjoy the fact that the rapper Blue Blood is played by Earl Sweatshirt. I give this episode a 9/10. 

Episode Two: The Homeliest Little Horse 

This episode has Earn going to therapy. Even though he is successful he still has some past issues with his time at Princeton that have been stirred up. Earn and his family try to go travel to Princeton after an offer but at the airport one of the workers (white lady) says that they can’t travel because his ID is “TOO DAMAGED.” 

Being petty, Earn goes psycho and hires a bunch of actors to ruin this lady’s life which is shown as the B plot of the episode. I give this episode an 8/10 for showing us what is going on in Earn’s head, and for reminding us the viewer that Earn isn’t a good person. Earn is just the protagonist in this universe. 8.6/10.

Episode Three: Born to Die

In this episode, Paper Boi is paid $1 million to mentor a young Jewish rapper, Benny. After learning of the lifestyle of training young white avatars to make millions, he starts training a foolish young man named Yodel Kid. While Paper Boi deals with Yodel Kid, Earn is working to find D’Angelo to sign him. But after waiting in a brick room for four days he asked to experience D’Angelo which allows him to travel through a secret entranceway. It leads him to a random man who tells him he can be a protector… A D’ANGELO. He leaves with four days of his life gone and no D’Angelo signed. The episode ends with Yodel Kid dying of an overdose and Paper Boi learning that the manager’s life is not for him. 

This episode wasn’t the best in my opinion. Watching it felt like drinking flat soda, but I do find it the idea of there being a whole network of people, a cult, just for D’Angelo. 7.1/10.

Episode Four: Light Skinned-Ed 

Earn has to go to church with his family when he finds out it’s just a plot for his mom to steal his grandpa from his Aunt Jeanie. So Aunt Jeanie follows Earn to the studio where his cousin Paper Boi is working and calls the police. They escape using the SMURDA EXIT, a door used by Bobby Shmurda since he had the FBI and three baby mamas after him. The B plot is Earn’s father, spending his off day at the mall trying on hats. 

The episode had me feel bad for a man trying on hats at an empty mall. 8/10.

Episode Five: Work Ethic!

This episode focuses on Van and her and Earn’s daughter, Lottie. Van was just working as a side character in a TV show when Lottie caught the eye of the reclusive filmmaker Mr. Chocolate. Mr. Chocolate orders Lottie to be in his projects over an intercom. He has eyes everywhere, and cult-like followers everywhere that kidnap Lottie. The episode ends with Van breaking into the office of Mr. Chocolates, who is revealed to be played by Donald Glover in a fat suit. She demands her daughter back and after refusing Van throws grits at him and gets her daughter back. 

“Work Ethic!” could be one of my favorite episodes in the season so far. It’s odd but I can see this play out in real life. The highlight is Mr. Chocolate being known as an amazing artist but just being a con man. This episode gets a 9/10.

This season so far has been VERY good, and that’s why it’s the final season–to end on a good note. I believe that there hasn’t been a bad season of this show, even season three, which was questionable, still had me engaged. I’m sad that the show is ending but I am glad that it happened. Atlanta is without a doubt one of the best shows to come out in this generation. If you do the math correctly I give the mid-season a solid 8.34/10.