The Biggest Questions We Have After ‘Atlanta’ Season 3, Episode 5

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

In this week’s episode of Atlanta, “Cancer Attack,” Paper Boi continues his European tour with Earn and Darius beside him. The trio finds themselves in Budapest for the latest performance and all in all, things seem to be going well for everyone. Paper Boi seems to be doing well through the performances while Earn is adjusting well to his position as Paper Boi’s manager. As for Darius, well he’s being his typical wacky self. With that being said, things take a turn during the episode and it begins with Paper Boi losing his phone at the concert venue.

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

Where Is Vanessa?

Things have been a bit off with Vanessa this season. She’s clearly affected by some recent events in her life which include a breakup with Earn and failing to get her dream job. She joined Earn, Darius, and Paper Boi on the European tour in hopes of rediscovering herself and getting back on the right track. However, she hasn’t been off to the best start with that, and after quite the odd house party in episode three, Vanessa has separated herself from the group for some peace and quiet of her own. As Earn, Darius, and Paper Boi prep for a show in Budapest, Vanessa is who knows where doing who knows what. Earn is concerned about her whereabouts and well-being, but his attempt to check in on her is met with nothing more than a thumbs-up emoji (the boring, yellow one to be exact). The hope is that all is well with Vanessa, but this is Atlanta, so who knows what’s in store.

Will Paper Boi And Darius See The Flaws In Their Government Conspiracy Theories?

After Paper Boi’s performance, he discovers that his phone is missing. Now, in 2005 it would be difficult to find said missing phone, but we’re in 2022, and Find My iPhone makes discovering this lost phone easy, right? Well, not in the world of Atlanta. Darius somehow convinced Paper Boi that Find My iPhone and the rest of iCloud’s services results are some sort of opt-in to 24/7 government surveillance, and as a result, their mission to find the phone is unnecessarily harder. Sure, a distrust of the government is absolutely valid, but come on let’s be serious here, the government doesn’t need iCloud to watch us (if they so chose to). Additionally, Paper Boi is on a publicly-advertised tour. If Uncle Sam or anyone else in the family wanted to track down the group, I’m sure a simple Google search would do the job. Furthermore, the government will probably resort to their outdoor surveillance cameras and the locations of potential credit or debit card usage before exploring iCloud data. With that being said, let’s hope Paper Boi detaches himself from these conspiracy theories when he gets a new phone.

What Is A Cancer Attack?

Excuse my ignorance here, but seriously, what is a cancer attack? A Google search brings up this episode due to its title and sentences like “when cancer attacks…” We first hear the term when Earn tracks down a young boy who previously met Paper Boi prior to the Budapest show. Earn suspects that the boy took Paper Boi’s phone, and when he’s told that the boy is being taken away by ambulance due to a “cancer attack,” he’s almost 100% sure the boy took the phone. After an oddly thorough search, we find out that the boy did not take the phone. Due to the chaos of the moment, the group doesn’t take a moment to figure out what a “cancer attack” is, so I will do the honors and figure it out for the sake of their and my own sanity. I’ll make sure to report back with results.

Atlanta S3 E5 Paper Boi Darius
FX/Rob Youngson

What Is Wrong With Wiley?

We have to commend Earn and Paper Boi for their patience because simply put, Wiley is one annoying human. Earn, Paper Boi, Darius, and Socks couldn’t have accused a worse person of stealing the phone. Wiley, who claims to be a fan of Paper Boi does everything in his power to stress the group out between annoying answers, bothersome questions, sarcasm, obnoxious farting, a random performance with a guitar, and more. We eventually learn that Wiley in fact did not have the phone, which makes the lengthy interrogation for the missing phone all that more pointless. Anyone else under these circumstances would have made it very clear that they were innocent, but Wiley decided to do otherwise. Stardom and fame have their perks and downfalls, but dealing with someone like Wiley is something else.

Who Did It Worse? Elliot Or Wiley?

It’s been less than two months since Elliot sat on his bed for two very long hours minutes to play a song for Rue. While the song itself wasn’t bad (the TV version is much better than the official “Elliot’s Song” that was released), it went on for a bit too long in the episode and made for quite the awkward moment. Taking a page from Elliot’s book, Wiley spent two hours minutes of his own playing a song for Paper Boi, who opened up to him about his struggle with writer’s block during the interrogation over the missing phone. If this is what we get for complaining about Elliot’s performance then on behalf of everyone, I’d like to apologize to Elliot, Rue, Dominic Fike, Zendaya, and all of the Euphoria cast for all the complaints placed against them. This is proof that things can in fact be worse.

What Are We Going To Do About Socks?

At this point, we know that Socks’ role is to add stress to the group’s already eventful lives. It goes back to his first appearance in episode three when Socks sparked a rebellion against a woman who innocently, yet wrongfully stereotyped Darius. This week, his damage is much worse. After nearly a full episode of searching for Paper Boi’s phone, which included accusing a 19-year-old 32-year-old man named Wiley of the robbery, then interrogating him, and enduring an awkward song from him, all to let him go, we find out that Socks had the phone all along. As the episode comes to a close, he tosses the phone in the trash and rejoins the group as if nothing happened. This is after he called himself the “white Liam Neeson” while threatening to kill Wiley and after he almost says the n-word in front of Earn, Paper Boi, and Darius. The European tour is already crazy and hectic enough, and adding his antics to mix, it may be about time to knock your Socks off the show for everyone’s peace of mind.

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