‘Atlanta’ Begins Its ‘Robbin’ Season’ With ‘Alligator Man’

Senior Television Writer
03.01.18 9 Comments

FX

Atlanta is back for a second season. I reviewed the early episodes overall here, and I have thoughts on the premiere coming up just a soon as I beat a flamingo to death…

Donald Glover dubbed this second year of the show Atlanta: Robbin’ Season, and “Alligator Man” takes no time at all bringing that subtitle to life. We open the season in what would feel like a completely different show if we weren’t already used to Atlanta‘s chameleon qualities: two unknown friends holding up a fast food joint, then getting into a shootout with the restaurant’s rifle-toting manager, and abandoning a girlfriend who gets hit in the crossfire while sitting in their back seat.

The sequence is rough and raw (I now want to see Hiro Murai direct a full-on heist movie), and narratively has nothing to do with the rest of the episode, other than a moment where Darius and Earn go past the crime scene and Darius explains that robbin’ season comes because, “Christmas approaches, and everybody gotta eat.” But if Earn isn’t prepared to turn to a life of violent crime — even in an episode that involves him inheriting his Uncle Willy’s handgun — there’s a desperation to him throughout “Alligator Man” that doesn’t feel that far removed from what Darius describes. Earn’s gotta eat, and he has to do some ridiculous things to make that happen.

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