Atlanta: Season 1/ Episode 5 "Nobody Beats the Biebs" – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

Atlanta has its own unique quality of weird. Be it what Darius brings with his stoner persona, Earn who is the one with so much potential who hit rock bottom and is trying to climb his way back up, or even Al who is the man who, most of the time, is all bark and no bite, the main cast are an interesting bunch. But once their characters, especially Earn and Al, meet people who are weird or eccentric, that is when you see Atlanta’s unique brand flourish. Well, most of the time.

Trigger Warning(s):

Sound of Gunshots

Main Plot (with Commentary)

Topic 1: Darius at the Gun Range (Darius)

Because dogs are vicious in Darius’ neighborhood, he decides to bring to a gun range a dog target to shoot. Something which upsets those who shoot at ones which look like Mexicans with knives. Leading to a small confrontation in which gentlemen, who are shooting at what look like 1950s white men, try to defend Darius. But, for Darius, he doesn’t understand why would one shoot at a human-like target at all?

 

Either way, with a gun to his back, the owner of the shop escorts Darius out. Making it seem Darius has been previously warned over his choice of targets.

{Commentary}

There is this certain range of randomness and weirdness Darius lives in, yet it is never taken too far. In a way, his segment reminds me of how comedians in the past, maybe to a point in the present, would always place a message in their jokes. For Darius’ segment, it deals with, to me, how strange it is gun owners practice shooting at people, even customizing their target to be a specific race or look, but shooting at a dog is uncalled for. The man’s child could have seen him shooting at an animal for god sakes! However, be it a person who looks non-white, it is all fine and dandy?

 

Though I would argue there is something to be said. Like how the shop owner escorts Darius out with a shotgun to his back. For one, you know he wouldn’t do that to the white gun owner who started the commotion. But then comes the question of why Darius was taken out? It seems he was forewarned about his targets, but that doesn’t justify a shotgun to Darius’ back at all. Much less, he wasn’t going at it with the white dude like the would-be revolutionary types, so why such a potentially violent threat? Did he think Darius would shoot him or the white guy?

Topic 2: I Know It Was You Alonzo (Earn)

A case of mistaken identity allows Earn to meet some big shots who, in the pursuit of officially becoming Paper Boi’s manager, may become some good connections. However, the same person who granted him access to the upstairs VIP area (Played by Jane Adams) is the one who vows to ruin him. All because she thinks he is this man named Alonzo who ruined her professional career.

{Commentary}

One thing that has become a pattern on this show is very weird people popping in each episode. For this one, it is Jane Adams’ character and the Black Justin Bieber talked about in topic 3. These are the types of guest stars you can only hope come back around in the future. I mean, considering the role she may play in Earn and Al’s success, and this vow to ruin him, things can’t end here!

 

Though, I got to admit, with Earn, multiple times, saying he isn’t Alonzo, you got to wonder if she is low-key racist or just crazy? Much less, will we ever meet Alonzo? Never mind if the people who Earn meets may actually help his and Al’s career.

 

Topic 3: Paper Boi Meets Justin Bieber (Alfred)

A Black Justin Bieber. Remember piss in a bucket era Justin Bieber? Make him Black and there you go. Oh, also add a lot of dabbing and using the N word for good measure. That is who Paper Boi meets and because Al is petty and doesn’t like the kid, who he decides to try to humble at a charity basketball game. Which, because, again, Al is all bark and no bite, he gets embarrassed by. Yet, in the various situations you’d think Black Justin Bieber would have been embarrassed too. After all, he was acting a fool and yelling the N word across the court. But no. With a meek apology and singing a song, he is forgiven. Leading to Al being told how pop stars people always want to see redeemed while rappers they just want to see play the bad guy.

{Commentary}

Was this story about how pop stars are allowed redemption, even if meekly made, while rap stars will always be damned for their past, no matter how long ago their indiscretions and how they tried to atone? Could it have been simply a jab at Justin Bieber for kicks and giggles? Might it even be just another episode in which Al gets humbled and revealed to not be the man he talks himself up to be? I just can’t put my finger on one specific button but that is kind of the beauty of this storyline.

Highlights

As always, it was Darius’ appearance.

On The Fence

Admittedly, something about the Justin Bieber and Jane Adams’ character felt off. They don’t feel rooted in some sort of realism like Darius and the past, likely, one episode characters. They are so extra it is like they belong in a comedy and weren’t adapted to fit the tone of this show. Yet, considering both were members of the entertainment industry, maybe what seems foreign to us is reality based on what Donald Glover experienced.

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