Recap “Atlanta”, “New Jazz:” Where are all the blacks in Amsterdam?

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Previously Atlanta: An upper-class white married couple in New York find themselves wondering what to do next when their son’s nanny, an elderly Trinidadian named Sylvia, dies unexpectedly.

THE STORY SO FAR: Paper Boi and Darius decide to get high on hallucinogens and take a walk around Amsterdam together.

WHAT’S GOOD IN THIS EPISODE? : Darius attempts to pay for the Nepalese Spacecakes he and Paper Boi will ingest to get high, only to be told he doesn’t have enough money for them. “Well, I’ll let fate take care of that.” (“And by “fate” he means Paper Boi rushing in and paying himself) Paper Boi’s response to whether he’s willing and able to handle getting high like this: “My nigga, I had to watch the movie Cats sober with a bitch who lied to me about having excellent, okay? So I know the extremes. (And no, Darius, Cats is do not underrated, and I say this as someone who drank four Moscow mules to prepare to see Cats in a theater on the opening weekend). Paper Boi is chased by a group of white teenagers who recognize him and demand his autograph, then snatch a baby from his stroller and throw him around like a soccer ball when they can’t find him. (Fortunately, this ends much better than the last time he was ambushed by fans while alone). Paper Boi ends up in an art gallery where he meets Lorraine (Ava Grey), who escorts him around Amsterdam while Darius is nowhere to be found. Paper Boi and Lorraine meet Lorraine’s friends in an underground bar where their drinks (two dirty martinis, gin and Hpnotiq, cleanly served white Hennessy, aka “two dirty, a Blue Lagoon and a Chris Evans”) are paid for by …an older white man and someone dressed head to toe in a Dalmatian costume. (Is that God hanging out in Amsterdam this time instead of New Orleans?). Paper Boi and Lorraine confront each other in the middle of the street, where he clarifies that he doesn’t trust her, and Lorraine tells him it’s because she’s telling him what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear, including how his family and friends are getting ahead of him now that he’s successful. Their argument ending with the revelation that Paper Boi was in fact raised this entire episode, and that the drug addicted tourist wearing a Goofy hat lying in an alley and shaking all over as he lay under a blanket that Paper Boi and Darius went to the beginning of the episode after having their coffee and their Nepalese space cakes? It was Paper Boi. (Lorraine is also the name of Paper Boi’s late mother, so when she described herself in the art gallery as an angel who came at the right time wasn’t entirely inaccurate). Earn to prove once again that he is good at his job and supports Paper Boi when Paper Boi asks him whether or not he owns the master recordings of his music, to which Earn tells him that he has them. possesses.

ALL THE CAST CAMEOS OF COMMUNITY? : No.

HOW MANY BUMPS DID FY HAVE IN THIS EPISODE? : About two or three, courtesy of Paper Boi and Lorraine.

ALL THE CAST CAMEOS OF SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY? : No.

ON A SCALE OF 1 TO “WHAT WILL I WATCH?” How weird and terrifying was this episode? : Nine. It wasn’t terrifying, but it was so weird.

ARE THERE TIME-TRAVELING ALIENS IN THIS EPISODE? No. And even if they did appear, they won’t even be the weirdest thing to appear in this episode.

CHET HANKS DOESN’T APPEAR IN THIS EPISODE AS WELL, DOES IT? No, Chet Hanks and his wacky Jamaican accent can’t be found here, but Liam Neeson is.

I’M SORRY, WHAT? IS LIAM NEESON IN THIS EPISODE? : Yes it is.

LIAM NEESON? THE WHITE LIAM NEESON? : Yes, Socks! Liam Neeson makes an appearance here, where he meets Paper Boi in the underground bar Lorraine brings him to.

I… GOOD… WOW! SO… WHAT EXACTLY IS HIS ROLE HERE? : Paper Boi sees Liam sitting at the bar enjoying his drink, and they talk to each other. Liam is curious how he got to this bar (which is called Cancel Club), and what he said or did to get there, then he’ll explain his latest bullshit (in which he actually felt the need to confess in an interview that he wanted to find a random black man and kill him after a close friend of his was sexually assaulted) which got him into trouble and put his career and reputation at risk. Paper Boi expresses relief that Liam saw the error of his ways and is happy to know that he doesn’t really hate black people. To which Liam corrects him and explains that because they tried to ruin his career, he definitely hates them now and considers them his mortal enemies. As to whether he’s learned that he really shouldn’t say things like that, Liam’s response is: “The best and the worst about being white is…we don’t have nothing to learn if we don’t want to.”

HE JUST… HE JUST REALLY SAID THE QUIET PART OUT LOUD, HUH? : Indeed, he did.

TO SUM UP: A season of Atlanta which takes place almost entirely in Amsterdam wouldn’t really feel complete if we couldn’t see at least one character get higher than the p-ssy giraffe, and we see that happen in Paper Boi. He finds himself once again on a solo adventure where he is forced to confront his fears about himself and his career, then decides to face the reality of the situation at the end of his escapade. Yes, Lorraine asked him questions and told him things that needed to be said. But was “Lorraine” just talking bullshit to get under her skin, or did she just want Paper Boi to ask those questions himself and confirm whether or not the people around him could really be trusted when he s about him and his future? (Earn has already proven more than once that Paper Boi can be trusted. Darius and his non-paying ass? The jury is still out…) Not to mention the fact that she kicks him out of the Cancel Club because, according to her, they were about to force him to perform on stage for the crowd. The fact that Cancel Club is a predominantly white establishment that looks like something off Mulholland Drive and where “New Jazz” bands are presented as if they were King Kong? It could also be seen as a sign that “Lorraine” wants Paper Boi to be more careful and more careful about what he does, how he does it, and the audience he’s supposed to do everything for. And not just because he was recently sued by white fans who were far too authoritative and aggressive to get what they wanted from him.

Liam Neeson’s appearance on ‘New Jazz’ marks the second Atlanta episode in which a problematic white man appeared on the show, and if you asked some viewers about it, it’s not something they’re happy to see while watching Atlanta, whether or not Liam or Chet Hanks are in the joke that Donald Glover and his collaborators tell. There have been complaints before about the show losing its way, how it doesn’t focus enough attention on the main cast, how it’s even been gentrified and isn’t as black as it used to be. because of all the whites that keep popping up on the show, and how he seems determined to keep talking too much about whiteness. I’ve already said how I feel about these complaints, so there’s no point in repeating myself. What I can and will say is it was another smart well done episode, Ava Gray was a fantastic breath of fresh air in her scenes with Brian Tyree Henry, and if that you didn’t already know Atlanta is the work of a few sick and twisted geniuses, so the scene with Paper Boi and Liam Neeson will make sure you know by now.

But if Rachel Dolezal appears in these last two episodes of the season, then I’m going to have something to say about it.

This episode of Atlanta brought to you by Stereolab’s “The Flower From Nowhere”:

And “Dear Mama” by 2Pac:


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Brian Richards is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.


Header image source: FX Networks

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