Earnest (Tobias Segal) talking to Marshall about the reckoning
Earnest (Tobias Segal): Confession is not absolution

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Imagine a world where you could sue the owners of your ancestors for reparations or there were restitution taxes – this is Marshall Johnson’s story.

Aired 4/7/2022
Network FX
Directed By Hiro Murai
Written By Francesca Sloane
Introduced This Episode
Marshall Justin Bartha
Sheniqua Melissa Youngblood
Natalie Fahlia Legault
Katie Scarlett Blum
Earnest Tobias Segal


It Was All Fine Just A Day Ago – Marshall, Natalie, Katie

In the beginning, Marshall was just a regular guy, trying to reconcile with his wife and not get divorced. Life was tough, but he was making a real effort to co-parent and have things be cordial with his wife, Natalie. He even had some hope things could take a turn for the better thanks to Katie presenting the idea that Natalie was making an effort to smell nice around Marshall.

But I Didn’t Do Anything! – Marshall, Sheniqua, Natalie

Marshall (Justin Bartha) saying no one should come after him
Marshall (Justin Bartha)

But that was before someone sued a Tesla executive due to their family owning slaves and winning. With that, the flood gates opened, and every white person was getting a DNA test to see the chance someone Black could sue them for all of their money. Marshall thought he was safe since his family was Austrian-Hungarian, but then Sheniqua comes into his life and makes it clear, his great, great granddaddy owned hers for 12 years, and to the tune of $3 million, she wants restitution.

Thinking this is all ridiculous, Marshall tries to tell Sheniqua that he doesn’t have that kind of money and asks her to leave him alone, but she refuses. Instead, she puts him on blast, and this leads to Natalie, who is Peruvian, deciding to go through with the divorce to protect her assets and keep Marshall from their child to keep her from being bullied and called a racist.

Restitution Taxes: 15% – Marshall, Earnest, Sheniqua

Sheniqua (Melissa Youngblood) trying to figure out how long will Marshall avoid paying her the money she is owed
Sheniqua (Melissa Youngblood)

With his life ruined, Marshall is on the run and trying to avoid what he is told he owes, and he comes across Earnest. Not Earn that we know, but a white man named Earnest who has sympathy for Black people and gets it. The whole “pull yourself by your bootstraps” saying is a lie, and many had others do it for them, like Earnest’s family. But, rather than pay up, Earnest would rather kill himself.

That option isn’t on the table for Marshall. So after losing his job due to Sheniqua’s antics, he gets one in the service industry and has it where 15% of his check goes to restitution, with it not being clear if this is in perpetuity or until he reaches the $3 million Sheniqua asked for.

Things To Note

  • Unexpected Content Advisory: Violence (Self-Inflicted Gun Violence)

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Does this take place in the same universe as the rest of the show or is this just a random idea put out there?

What Could Happen Next

  1. We head back to watching hijinks in Europe

Collected Quote(s)

Confession is not absolution.
— Earnest



The Audacity

There currently aren’t any Black sketch shows outside of A Black Lady Sketch Show (which has a new season premiering April 8th), and this topic is not something they would touch. At least, I couldn’t imagine it. But, with no one else able or willing to pick up this topic, never mind nearly focus on it for an hour, that is where Atlanta steps in. It showcases the bizarre idea of random white people being sued because of their ancestors owning slaves, and not just the ultra-rich but also the middle class.

This, again, is one of those instances where you just have to be amazed at the audacity of the Atlanta team to have a complete episode have nothing to do with the stars of the show and just dive into the most random idea. Never mind an idea that, in a way, feels controversial, yet at the same time, you want to laugh and clap because, again, what other show can you imagine doing something like this? Especially with it already planning to end soon, and not having multiple seasons, never mind long seasons, left to produce?

[ninja_tables id=”65257″]

Earnest (Tobias Segal) talking to Marshall about the reckoning
Atlanta: Season 3/ Episode 4 “The Big Payback” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Atlanta remains the undisputed weirdest show on television that somehow still feels very commercial and approachable.
The Audacity

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