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'Atlanta' Recap, 'Value': A Fly Girl Like Me Needs Security

By Brian Richards | TV | October 5, 2016 |

By Brian Richards | TV | October 5, 2016 |


VANESSA: Goes to a fancy restaurant and meets up with an old friend named Jayde, whose main source of income seems to be the money that she gets from the basketball and football players that she regularly dates. As happy as Van and Jayde are to see each other and catch up, tension soon rears its head and becomes thick enough to cut with a lightsaber. Starting with Jayde complimenting Van’s hair (“I like your hair. It looks cute.” Apparently, no one told Jayde that “cute” really stops being a worthwhile compliment for someone else’s appearance after the age of ten), to asking if she’s taken trips to locations that she has neither the time nor the money to travel to (“London’s nice, but…too much rain. Makes my hair frizzy. But I love Paris. Have you been?”) to laughing and shaking her head at her for her choice of cutlery for dinner (“Thai people don’t use chopsticks.”) to damn near projectile-vomiting at the very thought of raising a child once Van reminds her yet again that parenthood takes precedence over flying around the world in private jets, or PJs as Jayde calls them.

However, when Van’s relationship or lack thereof with Earn comes up in conversation, things between the two of them reach a boiling point, with Jayde wondering why she is still with Earn (or as she lovingly calls him, “that broke-ass nigga”) and telling her that she needs to know her value. (“Women need to be valuable. Black women need to be valuable.”) and not settle for lesser partners while Earn runs around with other women behind her back. Van shuts her down and tells her not to act as if she couldn’t possibly be doing her own thing and dating other men as well. Van soon heads for the nearest exit, with Jayde approaching her in the parking lot and apologizing for everything, offering an olive branch in the form of a blunt. Or joint. Whatever, I have no familiarity with the urban parlance preferred by the youths of today. Soon enough, Van and Jayde are back on good terms as they take turns smoking in Jayde’s car.

Van is awakened the next day by her vibrating phone and although I was expecting an angry phone call from her boss demanding to know why she was late for work, it’s actually much worse…her phone is actually vibrating due to a reminder that she has a drug test at her job later that day. To quote Clay Davis:

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After calling Jayde for help and being told there’s nothing she can do, Van turns to the next best option: Paper Boi. Once she’s done explaining the situation (and getting nothing but mostly-deserved pettiness in response from Paper Boi), Van wants to know if there’s any way she can buy clean urine so she can pass her drug test. Paper Boi says he’ll look into it and in the meantime, Van goes to dump Lottie’s dirty diapers in the trash.

Which is when the light bulb in her head goes off…tumblr_lqnuj5Q6211qg78udo1_500.gif

…and she tears open the bag of dirty diapers to find one that is coated in baby Lottie’s urine. She finds one and then brings out her inner Heisenberg in squeezing and purifying every last drop of urine out of that diaper and then pouring it into a condom for her to tie up and take to her leg to bring to work.

Not that her plan is in any way resembling a success because as soon as she arrives at work and heads to the bathroom to take her drug test, Van attempts to untie the condom of piss and only causes it to burst and explode all over her face. (Which is exactly the sort of thing that condoms are supposed to prevent, but I’ll behave) Realizing that she’s fucked six ways until Sunday, Van walks into the principal’s office and admits to smoking weed. Which she doesn’t really care about, especially since they all know how stressful it is to teach and look after kids for a living, so they need something to do to relax. Unfortunately for Van, her boss has to cover her own ass and due to Van admitting to her that she smoked weed, Van is fired and given a week to make her arrangements before she’s gone. Van, understandably shocked, sends a text to Paper Boi asking for some weed before going to supervise a classroom where a troublesome young boy by the name of Tobias is sitting in the back and wearing Whiteface with a(n even more disturbing than the fact that he’s wearing Whiteface) disturbing smile on his face.

Don’t bother asking why Tobias is even wearing Whiteface to begin with, because no one knows. (Though if he were doing this to prove to the Jenna Maroney of his class that Black men have it harder in society than White women, I wouldn’t be surprised)



ANY TIME-TRAVELING ALIENS IN THIS EPISODE?: (doesn’t actually answer this question because I’m too busy envisioning this scenario with Dustin and smiling. You can guess for yourself which one in this scenario is Dustin)

TO SUM IT ALL UP: Another episode that reminds me why I look forward to watching this every Tuesday night, and the episode being focused only on Vanessa a.k.a. ‘Van’ was incredibly rewarding to watch. From the opening conversation between Van and Jayde, which proves that some distant friends you want to reconnect should stay distant and stay far away only to be contacted via Facebook, to Van’s realization of the trouble she’s in and her willingness to do whatever it takes to solve it as she can’t rely on anyone else to do it for her, every second that Zazie Beetz was onscreen was wonderful.

And the less said about future Droog/serial killer Tobias, the better. (Sideshow Bob-like shudder)

This episode of Atlanta was brought to you by “Fuck-Me Pumps” by Amy Winehouse:

And also brought to you by “Piss On You” by Dave Chappelle-as-R. Kelly:

Brian Richards is a Staff Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.