May 24, 2022 - News

The top moments of "Atlanta's" third season

A picture of the title screen of Atlanta

Screenshot from FX's "Atlanta" title scene.

👋🏾 Hiya, local associate editor Ross here!

I don't edit the Atlanta newsletter, but as a native of the city, I had to take a look back at one of my favorite shows.

Driving the news: The third season of "Atlanta" wrapped up last week following a four-year wait after Season Two ended. (You can blame the pandemic, right?)

  • Spoiler alert: If you haven't watched it yet, you should probably stop reading here.

The intrigue: For the first time, the show was not set in its titular city and, instead, was based in Europe.

  • Van went to Europe to find herself but ended up bloodying a man in a museum before having a breakdown in a restaurant's kitchen.
  • And who could forget the start of the season's gripping horror story about Lake Lanier's history?

Yes, but: While Season Three flipped between a storyline and real-world commentary, there were plenty of moments to be remembered. Here are my top three episodes:

"The Big Payback" (Episode 4)

A man driving a car
Screenshot of FX's "Atlanta" S3, E4.

What happened: A man sues a Tesla investor because his family enslaved the man's ancestors, influencing other Black people to find the descendants of the white people who once owned their relatives.

  • Marshall, who is shown above, soon becomes the focal point of a Black woman searching for reparations.

Why I liked it: Yes, it was a stretch but it took an interesting approach to the idea of reparations. What if Black Americans took it upon themselves to hold individuals accountable for the long-lasting legacy of slavery?

"New Jazz" (Episode 8)

Alfred from Atlanta looking straight ahead
Screenshot from FX's "Atlanta" S3, E8.

What happened: Alfred (aka Paper Boi) tries a drug called "space cakes." What follows is a winding adventure in which he wanders around Amsterdam, as shown above, (probably hallucinating) before ending up where the episode began.

Why I liked it: This isn't the first time we have seen Paper Boi go on a journey alone where he encounters shady figures. (Season Two, "Woods.")

  • But this time his guide is named after his mother who tells him that a friend would ensure he owns the master copies of his music. And by the end of the episode, this prediction comes true.
  • There is also an encounter with Liam Neeson at a so-called Canceled Club that brings some much-needed levity to the episode.
  • Overall, the circular path of the storyline is quite the mind-bender.

"Rich Wigga, Poor Wigga" (Episode 9)

A man leading on a shelf in a store
Screenshot of FX's "Atlanta" S3, E9.

What happened: Aaron, a biracial high school student pictured above, wants to go to college. But his dad, who is Black, tells him he will have to save up because he isn't going to take out loans.

  • However, a philanthropist comes to his high school and says he's giving every Black senior student a scholarship.

Why I liked it: This is the season's only episode shot in black and white, which helps highlight Aaron's racial ambiguity and the experiences of biracial people.

  • The viewer watches Aaron struggle to "prove" his Blackness, something that plenty of Black Americans can relate to.
  • Also, the cultural jokes in this episode are comedy gold. If there is an indictment on our society in how we view race, this episode breaks it down in an entertaining manner.

What I'm watching: Season Four of Atlanta is expected this fall. After these past 10 episodes, it's anyone's guess about where that journey will take us.

Share your thoughts: What were your favorite episodes from Season Three, and what are you excited to see in Season Four? Send me your thoughts at [email protected].


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