Atlanta season 3 review: it’s all a state of mind

Atlantathird season, coming four years after its last, is set almost entirely in Europe. Here’s the first of many satires of the show, a sly geography joke that reminds audiences, in case they’ve forgotten: Atlanta larger than one location. It is a mindset.

Donald Glover’s FX series returns this week with two new episodes, appearance is about Sword Marks (Glover), who convinces his cousin, rapper Alfred “Paper Boi” Marks (Brian Tyree Henry), to let him be his manager. The dark comedy-drama follows a couple and their friends Van (Zazie Beetz) and Darius (LaKieth Stanfield) as their fortunes rise in the music industry, but also frequently diverg to focus on their personal lives or somewhere unfamiliar. Like the season 2 standout “Teddy Perkins,” which featured Darius picking up a free piano from Perkins of the same name, a reclusive Michael Jackson whose cast maintains to be real even though it’s been confirmed Perkins is played by Glover himself in prosthetics and makeup.

During the first two seasons of the show, Atlanta expands its reach to anything – a BET spoof complete with fake commercials, a short story about high school students, or an episode where the cast has to compete with black Justin Bieber. The premiere of the third season, “Three Slaps”, immediately reaffirmed AtlantaFree-form construction: it has absolutely no conventional casting. Instead, it tells the story of a boy named Loquareeous who is placed in the foster care system and ends up being cared for by a pair of white lesbians who don’t seem to care much for him. .

Loquareeous works in her adoptive parents' garden in Atlanta's season 3 premiere.

Photo: Guy D’Alema / FX

Then, in the next episode, things go as usual, starting with Earn and Co. in Copenhagen when Paper Boi embarked on her first major European tour, only to discover the local tradition of dressing as Zwarte Piet – aka “Black Pete”, a black-faced Christmas figure helping Saint Nick deliver toys. This, interspersed with the overwhelmingly kind locals welcoming them (in one scene, Paper Boi, locked in prison after an off-screen melee, is completely subdued by his whereabouts. how nice, asked if he could stay a while longer even though his bail was posted), leaving them completely in awe of the racist displays, which set off a strange trip. across Europe.

AtlantaThe malleable and often surreal nature – this is a series where invisible cars and ghostly shapes can and do appear – makes it difficult to summarize its contents. But Atlanta thinking is simple: it’s about how strange the world is when you pay attention to race, when you notice the color of a person’s skin and the way the world revolves around it. To put it more bluntly: It’s a show for white people, tilting the world in all directions and seeing if they do the job to capture this mindset, while still being intentional enough to do dimmed because nothing should be assigned to them.

Equal Atlanta has shown in two short seasons, and at the start of this race, focusing on a world where it is frequently rejected leads to a disturbing dissonance. It steps back behind your reflection and realizes that you’ve actually been staring into a mirror in the funny house – you don’t really appear that way, the world doesn’t look like it, but we do. I made it like that. It’s sinister, it’s silly, it’s funny, and it’s fact Atlanta continue to emphasize that. In each episode, a small decision can turn into a challenging adventure, as in the second episode of this week’s premiere, where Van searching for the coat leads her and Darius to a meeting of a peaceful death cult.

Darius and Van stand outside a van in Amsterdam during season 3 of FX's Atlanta.

Photo: Coco Olakunle / FX

This listlessness can be exhausting, especially for people of color. AtlantaHowever, the show’s mindset is becoming increasingly draining – most of its stories are implicitly grappling with white eyes, and the show’s pleasure lies in the way a given episode can make an audience faced ridicule over that gaze, without going so far as to put it bluntly that’s what it was doing. After all, it’s just a gig about rappers.

Perhaps this is why “Three Slaps” begins the way it is: with the opening sequence of two men on a boat at night, talking about the haunted history of the lake they are on. One white, the other black, and the unnamed white man tells an evocative story Lake Lanier in real life, a man-made lake in Georgia where death occurs frequently. This man’s account blends Lanier’s real-life condition of a flooded tomb with a common urban legend: that Lanier was once the site of a Negro-ruled and inhabited town shelter, inundated by angry whites in retaliation.

“With enough blood and money, anyone can go empty-handed,” concluded the man. “It’s always been like that.”

Welcome to the fun house. Do you know how long you’ve been here?

Atlanta’s third season is currently airing every Thursday on FX, with new episodes airing the next day on Hulu.

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