THE STORY SO FAR: On the anniversary of his mother’s death, Paper Boi spends the day hanging out with and getting career advice from his friend, an Instagram model named Sierra, and when that hangout session ends badly, he ends up alone and lost in the woods after he is once again reminded that Robbin’ Season is still a thing that is happening in Atlanta.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: Brian Tyree Henry reminds us with every episode he appears in that he has immense talent coming out of every pore in his body, and this episode is no exception. Here, we get him carry his grief over his deceased mother as he starts the day imagining her presence in his home, lecturing him over not cleaning up after himself. (I thought this was his maid at first, until she made the reference to not raising her son to live like this) From there on, we see him rejecting Sierra’s advice on using fame to his advantage (and to the disadvantage of others if necessary), such as getting better dress sense (“Nobody wants someone famous to look just like them”) and hiring himself another manager who can get him better perks as he becomes more famous (“Level up and get you a manager with a big dick”) and also having to fight and run for his life after being caught off-guard by a group of young men looking to make their Robbin’ Season a successful one by taking down a rapper walking around all by himself with no protection.
And as if running for his life through the woods all day isn’t enough to deal with, he finds enough accompanied by a homeless and mentally ill man who decides to threaten him at knifepoint while channeling Mike from Breaking Bad while letting Paper Boi know that when it comes to deciding whether to be a regular degular schmegular dude or being rich and famous, he can’t take any more half-measures and he has to decide what kind of person he intends to be. (Christopher a.k.a. Christofuh on The Sopranos has to make a similar decision once he became a made man, so it’s not surprising that Paper Boi has to make that same choice as he and his music keep blowing up) And seeing Paper Boi finally make his way out of the woods and break down in tears from the weight of everything he’s been carrying all day is just…
Damn, Brian Tyree Henry is so good.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: As much as I love Darius, the fact that he literally put his foot in the pasta that he’s making reminded me and many others that you can’t always trust the food that other people make and offer you to eat. And judging from Sierra’s conversation with Paper Boi and her planting seeds in his mind on the perks his management should be getting for him as a successful rapper on the come-up, it seems like it won’t be long before he and Earn butt heads over what they each want and how they will or won’t help each other get it.
ANY CAMEOS FROM THE CAST OF COMMUNITY?: None.
HOW MANY F-BOMBS WERE THERE IN THIS EPISODE?: Only a couple.
ANY CAMEOS FROM THE CAST OF SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY?: No cameos. You can always wait until Sunday night to watch Westworld and bask in the glory that is Thandie Newton until it finally drops n theaters on May 25th.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: Atlanta never has been and never will be a show that’s reliant on plot, but not too much happened in this episode, as this was more of a darker After Hours version of “Barbershop,” in that we get to observe twenty-four hours in the life of Paper Boi, only he’s not accompanied by Bibby and we’re not laughing as we can’t help but worry about his overall well-being. Judging from his willingness to pose for a selfie with a fan at a nearby gas station even after everything he’s just experienced, it looks like Paper Boi has begun to make his choice as to what kind of life he wants to live thanks to his fame, and whether that life will continue to involve Earn as his manager remains to be seen.
And as much as I like and appreciate Darius and always will, I’ll be damned if I ever eat any food that he has personally made, regardless of whether or not he learned his cooking skills in a dream with Mayor McCheese and Dharma from Dharma & Greg.
This episode of Atlanta has been brought to you by “Is There Anybody Out There?” by Pink Floyd: