At long last, the much-anticipated premiere of Atlanta Season 3 on FX is imminent. As much as it will be great to see Earn (creator Donald Glover), Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), Darius (Lakeith Stanfield), and Vanessa (Zazie Beetz) at it again - and on a tour of Europe, nonetheless - my excitement is also met with much curiosity and, in some instances, confusion.
For all the pressing matters that the stunning Season 2 finale of the Emmy-winning dramedy managed to wrap up, and exquisitely so, it also left fans with much to ponder over for the last four years. Needless to say, I am really itching to see some of my most burning questions get resolved when Atlanta comes back, such as this one I and others have been racking our brains over since the very beginning of Season 2.
Why Were Al And Darius Mad At Each Other In The Season 2 Premiere?
In “Alligator Man” - the premiere episode of Atlanta’s sophomore run, also subtitled “Robbin’ Season” - Earn cannot help but notice that Al and Darius, in their first appearances of the season, seem to have suffered a bit of a falling out for reasons the roommates refuse to acknowledge. You could cut the tension between them with a knife until the very end of the episode when they seem to have made up as if nothing ever happened.
This is never given a proper explanation in the episode or at any other moment for the rest of the season. It is easy to chalk it up as just another one of Atlanta’s frequent, signature bouts of mystery for humor’s sake, but that didn’t keep fans from debating the origins of the temporary conflict on the internet. I don’t know if I need a full breakdown of the events, but it might be fun and very much in line with the show’s unique penchant for callbacks to give us a hint.
Will Earn And Vanessa Ever Be Able To Reconcile?
Speaking of falling out, one of the best Atlanta episodes, “Helen,” also saw conflict brewing between Earn and Van during a visit to a German cultural festival, but with more lasting effects, unfortunately. The split was especially heartbreaking, because the couple seemed to be in a really good place romantically at the beginning of the season. However, like Darius and Al, could this fallout also be temporary?
The trailer for Atlanta Season 3 appears to show Van joining Al (a.k.a. Paper Boi) and the crew on their European concert tour with Clark County (R.J. Walker) and also sees her in what seems to the ending of a tense moment with Earn in an elevator soon before a shot of Donald Glover’s character waking up next a different woman. At first glance, these could be signs that they both have completely moved on with no evidence of things getting better, but the lack of substantial context has me curious if they are really glimpses of the steps they must take to rediscover their true feelings. On the other hand, I might be overly optimistic, but just for the sake of their daughter, really.
Will Lottie Be Able To Go To Prep School?
Speaking of, the last we saw of Earn and Van’s daughter, Lottie, in Atlanta was the season finale, “Crabs in a Barrel,” in which a teacher informs the parents that she is very gifted for her age before recommending she go to an expensive preparatory school. Later, while waiting on Darius’ new passport, Earn receives a crushing text message from Van revealing that she has considered moving to her mother’s with their daughter. All this, and shots from the Season 3 trailer of Van in Europe, make me wonder, where exactly is Lottie at this time?
There is a moment from the trailer in which you can hear a crying child that could be Lottie, but I’m not sure a European concert tour is the best environment for her, so she is more likely in the States. If so, does this mean she got to go to prep school after all, or is Van’s mom is taking care of her for the time being? Either way, as an Atlanta fan, I am very invested in Lottie’s future and hope Season 3 shows her getting the education she deserves.
Will Earn’s Airport Security Stunt Come Back To Haunt Him?
Of course, the most undeniably pivotal moment of Atlanta’s Season 2 finale is when Earn discovers his uncle’s golden pistol is still in his backpack while at the airport security check-in. Thinking fast, he plants it in Clark County’s luggage to avoid an arrest and, maybe, make Al the new tour headliner, which ultimately convinces Al to keep him on as manager. However, they see Clark board the plane with news that his manager, Lucas (Matthew Barnes), got busted with the piece.
What Earn did to save his job (let alone his own ass) and what Lucas did to preserve his employer’s innocence lends to the episode’s powerful “moral” about how risk can be rewarded with trust. On that note, while Lucas would never do anything to incriminate his client, I doubt he would keep quiet if he ever suspected Earn of framing him. Like I said, Atlanta has a penchant for some astonishing callbacks that are either fun or game-changing and seeing Earn face consequences for his stunt would certainly be the latter of the two.
Where Is Tracy Going To Live While The Others Are In Europe?
Another character whose fate hangs in the balance at the end of Atlanta Season 2 is Al and Darius’ troublesome roommate, Tracy - played by Khris Davis, who also appeared alongside Lakeith Stanfield in Judas and the Black Messiah as Steel. The very last shot of the finale sees him, apparently unaware they were leaving for Europe, furiously knocking on the door demanding to be let inside so he and his date can enjoy their Chinese food.
Considering this situation has left him homeless, I cannot help but wonder what Tracy does next. Did the girl he was with let him crash at her place, does he have a car he could take refuge inside, or does he have another set of friends to mooch off of? Honestly, though, Tracy is such an irritating and problematic character (especially in episodes “Sportin’ Waves” and “North of the Border”), I am not too concerned about what may happen to him, but a glimpse at his fate could be an example of one of Atlanta’s more fun callbacks.
What’s The Deal With The Human Dog In The Season 3 Trailer?
Atlanta is also renowned for is its masterful use of surreal, absurdist comedy - earning Donald Glover’s early description of the show to The Hollywood Reporter as “Twin Peaks for rappers.” Season 3 is certainly keeping that Lynchian tradition alive, as I could tell from a shot in the trailer of a man enjoying dinner at a dimly lit restaurant with what appears to be some anthropomorphic Dalmatian.
Out of every mystifying clip from the teaser, this is the one that I cannot get out of my head and have been struggling to make sense of from the moment I saw it. Is this supposed to be a dream sequence, a drug-fueled hallucination, or another example of the series’ unparalleled brand of bold satire at Europe’s expense (but, even so, in what context)? Atlanta is certainly not without its strange, unresolved mysteries, but this one may be harder to accept than usual depending on how it is executed.
Though, an element of mystery is one of the most essential keys to Atlanta’s success, so I also would not be surprised if none of these questions are answered in Season 3. In fact, by the time the confirmed Season 4 premieres, I imagine we will have even more to be puzzled by.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.