Atlanta: The Old Man and the Tree
April 7, 2022 3:05 PM - Season 3, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Things get out of hand at a reclusive South African billionaire's very strange party. Darius gets some white allies, Vanessa goes rogue, Paper Boi encounters a tree and Earn levels up his management skills. Bonus: Donald Glover interviews himself and compares the show to a fine meal at a farm-to-table restaurant and says, "Even if you don’t like it, you can’t say it’s not high quality. The quality is undeniable."
posted by mediareport (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One of the finest, funniest eviscerations of British racism and classism I’ve seen yet. It’s always the outsiders who understand you the best.
posted by adrianhon at 3:26 PM on April 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

Vulture recap
Sepinwall recap
AV Club recap

This episode was another rich and strange and unpredictable one, from the opening scenes (great little title shot with the busybody old lady on her phone at the window) to the revelation of the decoy house to the very different trips the four adventurers have through the party. I laughed at Vanessa pocketing little artifacts, but the shoving folks around just has me concerned for where she's heading. She seemed ok at the end, so for now I just hope we get more of what's going on inside her head. Earn's moral dilemma, the gullibility of the wealthy patron, the performative allyship of Socks et al who just ignore Darius as they destroy a person of color who didn't deserve it, Paper Boi's ease at playing with the big dogs, the semi-mystical ghost all unfolded with that typically Atlanta sly, scathing wit and fascinating loopiness that feels like nothing else on TV right now.

This show is so fearless about playing with expectations of character and story as it pokes and jabs; I can never predict what's going to happen and don't always like the choices the characters make, but it always leaves me feeling "damn, that was strange and good and unsettling in a pleasantly woozy way."

Gah. I should just admit that this is one of the hardest shows to talk about that I've ever encountered (which may be why I'm not seeing much chatter about it online?). Even the usually smart reviewers seem to be a little adrift as they sort through each episode (the Vulture recap is probably the sharpest of the 3 above). *shrug* I guess I just know I like it and am very excited for episode 4, which hits Hulu tomorrow.
posted by mediareport at 3:50 PM on April 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

I really like this season so far, it's turning up the weirdness instead of the failure/depression of Earn in the previous ones.
posted by Marticus at 4:23 PM on April 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Weird coincidence that this week's Moon Knight and Atlanta both portray hidden communities in London.
posted by Molesome at 1:36 AM on April 8, 2022

To expand on my comment, maybe this is really obvious and on the nose, but I admire how the story so elegantly showed rich Brits cloaking themselves in attire of the working class, enclosing what was once public (the tree) while pretending it's for the common good.

The right-on partiers getting more upset over a conversational mistake than at a billionaire who profited from colonialism – I mean, chef's kiss! And finally, the fact that the billionaire is not a Brit but someone whom the British have welcomed in, it's just too real.
posted by adrianhon at 1:46 AM on April 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

I should just admit that this is one of the hardest shows to talk about that I've ever encountered (which may be why I'm not seeing much chatter about it online?)

Seriously, I'm just so blown away by every little detail, it seems pointless to try to describe it.

The way they portrayed the fear & the violence of the lynch mob that went after AK without ever showing it was incredible. There was that scene with the screams & breaking glass in the background while 2 people were casually doing something else. I was so relieved when she was only sitting on the curb crying her heart out.
posted by bleep at 7:55 PM on April 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

This show's analysis of the intersection of race and class is so on-point and so ahead of the curve that if it were expressed in a MetaFilter politics thread the comment would get deleted.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:16 AM on May 6, 2022 [3 favorites]

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