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The Biggest Questions We Have After ‘Atlanta’ Season 3, Episode 3

(SPOILERS for this week’s Atlanta will be found below.)

In this week’s Atlanta episode, “The Old Man And The Tree,” the quartet that consists of Earn, Alfred aka Paper Boi, Darius, and Vanessa are finally together as one unit for the first time so far this season. The group is currently in London as a part of Paper Boi’s European tour. While Darius tags along as a friend, Earn is with them as he plays the role of Paper Boi’s manager. As for Vanessa, who was previously in a relationship with Earn and shares a child with him, she hopes to rediscover herself during the trip after failing to land a dream job.

In “The Old Man And The Tree,” Earn, Alfred (aka “Paper Boi”), Darius, and Vanessa stop by a house party that’s hosted by a wealthy investor named Will. Keeping in mind that this is an episode of Atlanta, you can expect that this night will be anything but normal as the group steps into the party. Over the course of the night, Earn is pressured into backing a not-so-talented artist; Darius is surrounded by an overwhelming amount of white guilt; Paper Boi loses $40,000 and nearly cuts down a tree; and Vanessa cause some chaos of her own, which is relatively small in comparison to everything else that goes on.

Here are some of the biggest questions we had after season three’s third episode.

Why Is Vanessa Pushing People Into A Pool And Stealing Art?

One might imagine that Vanessa feels a bit awkward hanging around the guys, but she’s doing somewhat okay so far. She and Earn, who have a daughter together, broke up towards the end of season two, and despite that, she’s around him more than ever thanks to Paper Boi’s tour. Upon entering the party, Vanessa snags a glass of champagne and wanders off on her own for the night. She accompanies Earn to look at some art by a not-so-talented young artist, but that’s after she steals a mini sculpture and before she pushes two fully-dressed people into a pool. When Earn inquires about the latter incident, she says it’s nothing more than her having a fun time at the party. However, Earn isn’t too convinced that things are well with Vanessa and he might have a good reason to think so.

What’s With All This White Guilt?

There’s a lot of white guilt in this episode. Take Socks’ excessive compassion towards Darius after his conversation with MK, where she incorrectly assumes that Darius is shooting his shot with her due to her experience with getting “hit on by Black men a lot” as a result of her time in Los Angeles where she says, “Black guys love Asian women.” Then there’s Socks’ decision to rally the troops and attack MK in Darius’ defense. Additionally, there’s Will’s insistence on generously supporting artists, like TJ, despite their questionable talents and his choice to call off his engagement with MK because “racialism drives me f*cking mad.” TJ later reveals that he’s taking full advantage of Will’s generousity and recommends that Earn do the same. The white people at the party have this excessively overflowing sympathy for the racism and disadvantages that Black people face. However, attacking a woman for her admittedly stereotype-driven, yet harmless comments, calling off an engagement with her, and investing $500,000 in a questionable project, leaves you to simply ask: “Why?”

Is This The End Of Darius And MK?

Aside from MK’s odd comments, she and Darius seemed to click well during their first conversation. At first, it seemed like their interaction would be their first and last one as MK reveals that she’s engaged to Will. However, after Will hears about what MK said to Darius, he breaks off the engagement in another example of over-the-top white guilt. When things go left for Paper Boi and Earn at the party, they rally the troops and run out of the party where we see MK sitting outside and crying. Darius tries to go over and comfort her, but he’s pulled away as the group needs to escape from the party due to some damage they’ve caused there. Theoretically, it would be on-brand for Darius to go on some dramatic and overzealous search to find MK again, so it would be no surprise if they reconnect later on in the season. There’s also the chance that it could all be forgotten the following morning, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

How Will Earn’s Business Venture With TJ and Will Pan Out?

Earn is not a fan of TJ’s art, but when he learns that the young artist is taking advantage of Will’s generosity, Earn decides to join in on the money-making opportunities. Earn pitches himself to be TJ’s manager, where he’ll take 25% of his profits (an amount he tricks Will into thinking is relatively miniscule). With the new deal in place, it leaves us to wonder if this will all work out. Will there ever be a point where Will catches on and realizes that he’s being ripped off? Or will he continue to be oblivious to it all? Furthermore, will Earn or TJ make any additional money from this and how long will this scheme last?

Will Paper Boi Get Ever The Money That Fernando Owes Him?

At the party, Paper Boi meets a man named Fernando, who introduces a very uninterested Paper Boi to his beloved tree. The two eventually decide to play a game of poker where the buy-in is $20,000. To his relief, Paper Boi wins the game, but not after enduring Fernando’s odd story about having a special interaction with a Black ghost that allegedly broke into his house. He expects to be paid $40,000 but Fernando runs off and disappears without paying him. After some failed attempts to play nice in order to get his money, Paper Boi decides to take a chainsaw to Fernando’s beloved tree. Paper Boi couldn’t have cared less for that tree, so it’s safe to say that the pursuit of his money is far from over. However, with an entire tour to continue, will Paper Boi have a chance to get his money back? And to what extent will go to get it?

Would You Save The Tree Or Lose $40,000?

You have to admit it: Fernando is not your average, stable, and typical rich guy. Or maybe he is, I’ll have to let you know when I get that kind of money and surround myself with the who’s who of some Forbes list. Anywho, Fernando owns a massive house that he seemingly lets anyone wander through and party in. He’s obsessed with a tree in his backyard and he admits to having a special interaction with a Black ghost. Despite his riches, he refuses to pay Paper Boi the money — $40,000 — he’s owed from winning the Poker game. Eventually, Paper Boi takes a chainsaw to his beloved tree in retailation and it leaves one to think: If he could go back, would Fernando pay up to save his tree or would he do the same thing again? Fernando is a rich man and $40,000 to him is probably equivalent to us paying our phone bills, so you would think that time he’d just fork over the cash. Then again, Fernando is also quite the eccentric man, so there may out-of-this-world reason he has for not paying up. Nonetheless, the tree did nothing to deserve this, and Fernando should be ashamed of himself.

FX’s ‘Atlanta’ airs on Thursdays at 10:00pm EST.

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