Atlanta: Season 3/ Episode 3 “The Old Man and The Tree” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Earn looking at a photo of Fernando's ancestors, with a slave in the back

What happens when you mix the eccentric characters of Atlanta with odd Londoners with money to burn? Utter madness.


What happens when you mix the eccentric characters of Atlanta with odd Londoners with money to burn? Utter madness.


Aired 3/31/2022
Network FX
Directed By Hiro Murai
Written By Taofik Kolade
Introduced This Episode
Will Patrick Kennedy
Fernando Daniel Fathers
MK Jasmine Leung
Socks Hugh Coles
TJ Sheyi Cole

Recap

That’s Racist! – Socks, MK, Will, Earn, Darius

Because Earn is trying to make all the connections he can while in Europe, one of the ones he introduces everyone to is Will. He is recently divorced, seemingly with cash to burn, and he is a bit gullible. But, for the most part, he is nice.

Sadly, his fiancée MK, while also nice, is on the hit list of a named Socks. Someone who, after a comment about how Black men love Asian women, which is said to Darius, labels MK as racist. But he doesn’t just keep his feelings to himself. He spreads it around, embellishes what happens, and it gets so big Darius loses his ability to control the narrative. Thus leaving MK without a fiancée and crying at the curb, not fully knowing what happened.

You Doing Alright? – Earn, Van

While everyone else is having a good time, Van seems different. She isn’t having a good or bad time, but the way she wanders and speaks to people definitely presents the idea that something is off. However, when Earn tries to engage her, she blows off anything is wrong and just says she is taking some time for herself. But with pushing people into the pool and avoiding the rest of the group, it seems she is doing more than using Al’s tour as a means to have a vacation. Something is up.

Get Your Reparations Where You Can – TJ, Will, Al, Fernando, Earn, Darius, Socks, Van

With disposable income all around, it makes both Will and Fernando targets. But while Will is getting played by TJ, an eccentric artist, and even Earn is willing to join in, Fernando is different. He owns the house Will is willing to rent to finance TJ’s idea of hosting a free place for artists to stay and record. But, while Will is willing to throw his money away, Fernando is a bit of a mitch.

Case in point, Al wins around $40,000 off of Fernando in poker, but as soon as he loses, he retreats to his bedroom, where he can’t be touched. Thus leading to Al flipping out and triggering the need to skedaddle. Especially since Socks has caused quite a stir, and it just seems time to go.

But, while Socks, Al, Darius, and Earn all leave in the same van, with Socks taking them somewhere, Van just ends up in a shop avoiding Earn’s calls and really committing to having some me-time.

Things To Note

  • Unexpected Content Advisory: Sexual Content (Random depiction of an old white penis)

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What happened to Van between the guys essentially abandoning her to Van ending up at some random shop getting a late-night snack?
  2. Was everyone supposed to let Fernando win and why did they abandon the table like that when he lost?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Us learning more about what is going on with Van
  2. This not even being the weirdest episode of the European tour

Review

Highlights

This Feels Like A Warmup

Were things weird this episode? Yes. However, the preview made it seem like things would be taken so much further. So, in a way, all of this feels like a warm-up. Almost like, every other episode, we’ll dive a bit deeper into what Atlanta is known for until we’re so deep into the bizarre, we’ll find ourselves flipping back to normalcy and wondering what happened.

The Asian Joke

In the bag of things I’m sure people are waiting to use on Donald Glover for when he says something worth cancelling, is his old jokes and lyrics about how attractive Asian women are. So having an episode that has a character, MK, talk about how much Black guys love, if not outright fetishize, Asian women was weird. I don’t know if it is a self-aware joke, nodding to Glover’s controversial past, or just meant to set up how certain people will steal a moment between people of color, misinterpret it, and then make it into a huge ordeal?

Either way, it seems like a strangely apt moment for the times we’re in and how certain people need to stay out of business that isn’t theirs.

On The Fence

Wanting To Really Know What’s Up With Van

Van saying she is fine to Earn

So, are we going back to the time period where it felt like Van was supposed to be the only woman whose story mattered, and that could be considered barely true? I get she lost a job opportunity, and she hasn’t been in Europe for more than a decade, so this is causing a bit of nostalgia for her. Yet, there is always this vibe with Atlanta that there is more than meets the eye, and I feel like we’re barely touching upon what is going on with Van, and we may never do so.

As if she has to remain as much a mystery to us as she is to Earn, and we’re supposed to be limited by Earn’s perception of her, while Darius and Al can be three-dimensional.


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