Atlanta: Season 1/ Episode 4 "The Streisand Effect" – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

Al, as has been seen, is a sensitive soul, a bit thin-skinned, but until this episode, we didn’t know how bad it was. Some online semi-famous person gets under his skin to the point he has to confront him. As that happens Darius and Earn go out because Earn needs some kind of money to show Van he can contribute to his daughter’s upbringing. Even if he has to pawn his phone to do so.

Main Plot (with Commentary)

Topic 1: Paper Boi and Zan (Alfred)

Al isn’t much for criticism. Hence why when this weird, ambiguously raced guy starts making fun of him, he is fuming. But like many times before Al acted without thinking, he realizes it isn’t that serious. Zan is the type who wants to get famous, through exploitation, by any means necessary. Be that stealing someone’s gag, making fun of someone, or even using a kid. He isn’t worth the anger and frustration.

{Commentary}

This may be the year of sensitive Black men. I mean, think about it. The range is anywhere from Lucius Lyon on Empire with his fits, to this middle ground Atlanta has with its male leads, and then what is offered in Queen Sugar. Focusing on Al, though, you have to really take note of how easy it is to disturb him and get under his skin. Yeah, he tries to seem calm, cool, and collected, but it seems whether he is high or not all it takes is a tweet to lead him to want to curse you out.

Which I’m left wondering why? For someone who seems to be some kind of gangster, why is some dude who doesn’t have stain able to really cause you to not only send a long response to his jokes but show everyone who he is and asks questions? Could Al be that insecure about his talent?

Topic 2: The Dynamic Duo (Earnest & Darius)

Earn needs some money. Van is losing faith and patience, his job isn’t cutting it, being Paper Boi’s manager isn’t making him cash, so he heads to the pawn shop to sell his phone. Oh, did we not mention he is now sleeping at Al’s place? Yeah, things between him and Van are getting that bad.

Luckily, Darius has a car he can drive so he takes Earn to the Pawn shop. Thus beginning a fun little journey in which Darius convinces Earn to trade his phone for a sword, which is traded for a dog, which in a few weeks or months will lead to a few thousand dollars. Of which Earn thought he was going to get that day but because he didn’t, now he is dead broke.

Well, until Darius gives his phone to pawn because he feels bad, he changes his phone monthly anyway, and because he sees Earn as a friend.

{Commentary}

While this show stars Donald Glover, arguably Keith Stanfield, who plays Darius, is the one who will benefit the most from the show. Though established through various big name movies, like Straight Outta Compton, Selma, Miles Ahead and the underrated Short Term 12, honestly his talent in this is outstanding. Which comes as a surprise, at least to me, because I must admit there originally was a desire to write this character off. First as some stoner, then as a freeloader of Al, but anytime you try to come up with a negative perception of Darius he defies them.

Yeah, he is weird, but he is only weird because he is unfamiliar. He is the type you may expect in a movie, but not a reoccurring role week in and week out where he can go from foreign to normalized. Plus, in a world which talks about diversity but pretty much only goes so far as casting people of color in roles devoid of culture it is nice to see someone like Darius. He isn’t ignorant, he seems to enjoy reading, and while he may like to smoke from time to time, he isn’t some lazy dude who is a mooch. If you need him to put some work in, he is there for you. Want to chat about Steve McQueen? He is your man and overall what I’m trying to say is I’m quite happy Donald Glover and his team made these characters more than what they could appear to be.

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?