Atlanta: North of the Border
April 27, 2018 8:14 AM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

We might have to make that move tonight. I heard there's a pajama party and Paper Boi is gonna be there. [Official synopsis]

Atlanta Gets Frat-Tastic in "North of the Border" (Jacob Oller for Paste Magazine)
After a string of existential one-offs for the characters of Atlanta, “North of the Border” sees the show’s central posse reconvene for a somewhat normal episode. Earn (Donald Glover) and Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) are working out the routine of a touring rapper and, as usual, nobody’s pleased but the blissful Darius (Lakeith Stanfield)—unless you’ve got a jicama allergy.
‘Atlanta’ Season 2, Episode 9: Al Is Ready for a Change (Leigh-Ann Jackson for the New York Times)
After last week’s brutal onslaught of life lessons, Al is ready for a change. It’s time to make money moves with his career. And Earn’s not invited for the ride.
Atlanta Season 2 Episode 9 Review: North of the Border -- A funny episode that gradually reveals the tragedy that is Earnest Marks. (Joe Matar for Den of Geek)
The general idea of Robbin’ Season is meant to be that the episodes feel standalone, but, when looked back on in full, they tell one, long coherent story (a la Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, according to Donald Glover). And I have to say they’ve managed to pull this off a lot more craftily than I could’ve anticipated.

When you hear that a season is going to hold together as one long story, you tend to look for clear indicators of where the plot is going: signposts or the introduction of elements that are going to payoff later. The new character, Clark County, for example, has been threaded into the season over a few episodes (including this one). There’s also been the repeated suggestion that Paper Boi might need to ditch Earn for a more proficient agent, very probably Clark County’s.

Indeed, it’s been a slow build that, in “North of the Border,” finally results in Earn’s firing. Though that’s a big deal for Earn and Al, in the end, it’s just a character moment. I guess hearing this was one big story made me think some truly over-the-top shit was going to go down (frankly, I think that already happened out of nowhere in “Teddy Perkins”). But the brilliance of Robbin’ Season is that this has been a more subtle, emotional journey for all the characters.
Episode soundtrack identified on Tunefind
posted by filthy light thief (6 comments total)
i see so much of myself in earn. is nobody watching this season? glover is masterful.
posted by JimBennett at 5:24 PM on April 29, 2018

I'm watching; these last three episodes have been odd, funny, sad and mysterious slices of life and after an uncertain spell at the start I'm really enjoying this season's very strange ride. I have no idea where this show will take me from week to week (aside from the dumping of Earn that's been building since the first episode of the season), but the filming is beautiful, the music on point and the acting incredible. It's unlike anything else on TV right now and a highlight of the week.
posted by mediareport at 7:57 PM on April 29, 2018

I’m watching and loving it but I often don’t know what to say about it.
posted by bleep at 7:00 PM on April 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

no, it's amazingly fantastic and I esteem it very highly indeed. The show is resistant to analysis on its own terms. I perceive this season as largely an auteurist project in which Glover is both striving to exceed the bounds of acceptable commercial discourse and at the same time process his raw experience as the lauded creator of his material - his acting, music, writing - via the characters and situations we see in Atlanta.

It's, as far as I can tell, a new thing. Earn is not Donald. The show is not Donald. We'll probably never get to actually meet or know Donald beyond the considerable and confusing self exposure that is the engine of this show. I sure hope Donald is OK because these episodes are intensely self-lacerating. This is amazing art, and I am grateful for it.
posted by mwhybark at 12:36 AM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Three-months late to watching this, flabbergasted and in awe of what the writers are pulling off.
posted by Nelson at 10:04 PM on August 4, 2018

I think that laptop was the last thing of value that Earn had.
posted by harriet vane at 8:13 AM on September 15, 2018

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