ATLANTA — “Alligator Man” — Season Two, Episode 1 (Airs Wednesday, March 1, 10:00 p.m. e/p) Pictured: Lakeith Stanfield as Darius, Donald Glover as Earnest Marks. CR: Guy D’Alema/FX
Posted Thursday, March 1, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
After an auteur-led show is praised to the hilt like FX’s “Atlanta,” it’s easy to see how this would weigh on said auteur. In this case, Donald Glover told journalists at a red carpet event earlier this week at the Starlight Drive In how “vulnerable” he felt after the show’s success.
But the good news: “Atlanta” remains as quirky cool as ever, even if there’s a slightly darker tinge to it.
The thematic of the show’s sophomore year “Robbin’ Season” is brought out within the first five minutes.
A couple of dudes we have never seen before and probably won’t ever see again are seen messing around in their apartment, then ordering food at a local fast-food joint. Without warning, they start shooting and robbing the place through the drive-through. The manager grabs a semi-automatic and the restaurant becomes the OK Corral. Somehow, the robber manages to get into his car unscathed as the manager continues to shoot away. Then the car brakes suddenly before it leaves the premises. The manager stops shooting. The perpetrators push a woman out of the backseat. She’d been shot in the hand and she wails in pain as they drive away.
Darius notes later as he and Earn watch cops deal with another robbery: “Robbin’ season. Christmas approaches, everybody gotta eat.” He says this without judgment.
Earn is his usual mopey self, homeless, on probation, broke. Alfred has a lady friend but is under house arrest for some unspecified reason. Darius plays chauffeur for Earn.
Darius, apropos of nothing, explains a theory why so many strange stories emanate out of Florida. It’s one single dude, named Florida Man.
“Think of him as an alt-right Johnny Appleseed,” he said.
The Glovers spend a comical amount of money for what amounts to momentary scenes illustrating whatever “headline” Darius says e.g. “Florida Man Shoots Unarmed Black Teenager,” “Florida Man Steals Car, Goes to Checkers,” “Florida Man Beats Up Flamingos.” Darius’ explanation: Florida Man is a way to discourage black folks from moving to Florida and registering to vote.
Then Katt Williams pops up as “Alligator Man.” Yes, the crazy comic plays Earn’s Uncle Willie, who happens to own an alligator. Why? It’s not explained because this is “Atlanta,” not a documentary.
Earn comes over with Darius as a favor to Alfred, who heard that Willie’s girlfriend Yvonne had been kidnapped. In reality, Willie just thinks Yvonne swiped $50. Earn hands over $100 to help them resolve the conflict and prevent cops from… oh, wait. The cops arrive and Willie becomes petulant and difficult, refusing to leave the house, in an echo of multiple arrests Katt himself has had in recent years in Georgia over various violent assaults.
“I don’t have to do s*** cos I haven’t done s***,” he says to the cops, who threaten to shoot his alligator. “Kiss my black a**.”
Earn is worried about a potential shoot out and getting arrested again. Naturally, Willie says, “There ain’t going to be no shoot out. I’m not Florida Man!” (Darius is right! He exists!)
Willie and Earn then argue over who is in worse shape. Willie lives in a house Alfred owns. He is smart but let things happen to him, as Earn said. Earn’s crappy situation? We’ve already accounted for that. “I am scared about Al leaving me,” Earn admits. “He doesn’t need me like that. He’s kind of a big deal.”
Willie provides Earn a gun and some advice as a gift. “You’re going to need this in the music business,” he said, of the gun. His advice? “If you don’t want to end up like me, get rid of that chip-on-your-shoulder s***. It’s not worth the time.”
In the end, Willie refuses to give himself up to the cops. Instead, he lets his alligator out. While they stare at the reptile, he escapes through the back and runs.
Best Darius line
“I would say nice to meet you. But I don’t believe in time as a concept so I’ll just say we always met.” – Darius to Willie
Philosophical question of the day
“What flavor is a Flaming Hot Cheeto?” Earn asks.
Tracey is Alfred’s friend, fresh out of jail. He makes a cameo appearance in this episode but will be more central in episode two. He’ll be recurring this season.
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