Donald Glover Says Goodbye With a Surreal Ode to Popeyes

Alas, one of the best TV shows of the past decade is finally over. After four seasons spanning six years, Atlanta aired the series finale tonight with nothing more than a tribute to one of the biggest companies and makers of spicy chicken sandwiches, Popeyes.

Written by show creator Donald Glover and directed by Hiro Murai, “It Was All a Dream” is executed with the same level of confidence and smug humor as some Atlantathe most impressive offerings, like Season 1’s “BAN” or Season 2’s “Barbershop”. Freshly speaking, the finale doesn’t have any grand statements or overwhelming moments, a The trend has created Season 3 a surprisingly low score for the generally well-crafted show.

Instead, like most of Season 4, we simply watch Earn (Glover), Al (Brian Tyree Henry), Van (Zazie Beetz) and Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) navigate seemingly mundane scenarios increasingly surreal and strange. The biggest development this season is that Earn will move to Los Angeles with Van and Lottie to further his aspirations to become a top talent manager. However, we don’t end with a tearful breakup between Earn and his cousin Al, but rather a very low-key moment of fun.

Okay AtlantaGiven the contributions of Black TV and television in general, this series earned the right to end in such a chilling sensation.

We start with a return scene Judge Judy was playing on a television screen in what was probably Al’s luxury, modern home. (This is a harbinger of an absurd escape.) The camera zooms in on Darius as he rests on the couch and listens to Amnesty’s “Liberty” through headphones. The lyrics (“Raise yourself on your feet / Let’s get going / We’ve been fooled, my friends, it’s been too long”) hints at a long-awaited pivotal moment for Darius, is arguably the show’s most silent moment, and the character is aimless. However, Glover continues to use Darius for his surreal fantasies, trapping him in a time loop for a “beautiful day” (a sensory-depriving tank session).

Given ‘Atlanta’ contributions to Black television and the media in general, the series earned the right to end in such a chilling sensation.

One of his dreams included a trip to the pharmacy for his sick brother. There, he chats with a friendly woman (played by Cree Summer) who has previously used the quarantine tank because of her anxiety, until she begins to confuse reality with reality. what she envisions in the tank. Darius tells her that he can distinguish real life from the tank with a special mind trick: Judge Judy is thick. “The idea is that Judge Judy is always on TV, right?” he explained. “And if I see her and she’s thick, I know I’m in the tank.”

Unfortunately, this crazy image doesn’t rescue him from a series of nightmares, including a random encounter with an old female friend who’s been drinking “micro-dose” vodka from a water bottle all day. . When Darius went to hitchhike, she was pulled over by a policeman with stained windows and asked if she had been drinking. In one of the episode’s funniest moments, she drinks a whole liter of vodka to prove it’s just water but is still forced to take a sobriety test. After the police miraculously let her off the hook, she grabbed the officer’s gun while he wasn’t looking and sped through the car, crashing into a cyclist. She gets out of the car and runs, leaving Darius with the gun. Thankfully for our favorite kicker, it was all just a dream.

While Darius continued to experience The Day of the Ground Dog At a spa, Earn and Al meet Van for lunch at a struggling black-owned sushi restaurant that a friend of hers has invested in. We got the impression that this was an extremely sketchy establishment when Earn had to park their car. and pay a servant to keep his keys. When Al realized it was the same location as an old Blockbuster, we saw the famous VHS-shaped sign still plastered on the building.

As soon as they sat down at the restaurant, which looked like someone’s chinoiserie-themed basement, it was clear why they were the only patrons. A host hands them satin scarves to make napkins look like they were bought at a local beauty supply, and a waiter offers them hot white Hennessy in a teapot. When Al leaves to use the bathroom, he discovers that it’s actually down the street at Rainbow. The final straw is when they bring out the poisonous blow fish.

Meanwhile, just outside the window is a free-standing Popeyes, where Al and Van are coaxed to eat instead. But Earn is passionate about supporting Black-owned businesses, whether the food quality is good or terrible. It was a familiar conflict for Blacks, who often felt the most pressure to financially support our business ventures, as if our collective pocketbook as a enough minority to maintain a separate black economy. But sometimes, the promise of reliable service from an older business overwhelms the urge to do the “sober” thing. There is also the fact that supporting a company is not always the same as supporting everyone.

Likewise, the trio eventually decided that their act of charity wasn’t worth the terrible service they received and decided to leave the sushi shop. Unfortunately, the restaurant is run by an extremely threatening owner who gives them an exasperating (but hilarious) lecture, complaining about Black people’s pickiness when it comes to business. business of Blacks compared to whites.

After a long monologue defending his right to run a mediocre establishment, the owner told the worker to lock the door and pressured Kien to try the blowfish. Fortunately, Darius, who thought he was still in the quarantine tank, came from somewhere to save the day, burst through the window and attacked the owner. Sword, Al, and Van hop aboard the pink Maserati he stole from the servant and end up ordering their precious saltine biscuits from Popeyes.

One of the final shots of the episode shows the core crew happily holding onto their Popeyes while they speed up a deserted road with the roof of their car falling. It’s an equally beautiful and hysterical image — representing the show’s commitment to serving Black audiences, first and foremost, and in the funniest way. I can’t think of a more Black note to end.

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