The episode opens with Droop and Curtis, we haven’t seen them before but we jump right into their conversation about struggle bar rappers while playing some FIFA. Next we see Droop and Curtis in the car, on their way to Mrs. Winners Chicken and Biscuits with Tay-K’s The Race playing on the radio. In a moment, the casual outing for some fast food erupts into a scene of violent robbery that feels like an homage to Pulp Fiction. Curtis fires a shot as he climbs through the drive-thru window, running to the storage closet to fill his backpack with dime-bags of weed, being smuggled by Mrs. Winners, amidst the Cajun rice and fried okra. As he turns around the corner to make his exit, the cashier blasts away with a much bigger gun, peppering the door behind him. Alarms blaring, Curtis hops over the register narrowly escaping a spray of bullets. He makes it back to the car just as the manager lines up another shot from his AR, firing into the back windshield. The car stops for a moment before driving off, leaving behind a woman crying and covered in blood.
The opening credits roll
It’s robbin season in Atlanta.
Donald Glover and his reliable brand of unusual storytelling are officially back this March with the season 2 premiere episode of Atlanta, titled, ‘Alligator Man’. The holidays are approaching for Earn, Alf, and Darius, when crime becomes more rampant in the city, with robbers take advantage of the shopping season, to survive the winter.
“Everybody’s gotta eat,” as Darius puts it.
The holiday spirit seems to be missing in Earn; he’s on thin ice from probation, still so broke he’s living in a storage unit, and to make matters worse, Darius and Alf aren’t on speaking terms. There’s a weird feeling in the air of the premiere, but with a lot of laughs, it’s that same loveable weirdness that made season one so magnetic.
[Photo] Lakeith Stanfield, left, and Donald Glover in the season two premiere of “Atlanta”. Guy D’Alema/FX
Earn sticks with Darius in this episode, who spurts out words of wisdom between clouds of smoke. He warns Earn to beware of the Florida Man, an “alt-right Johnny Appleseed” renown from newspaper headlines for heinous crimes like shooting an unarmed black teenager and eating another man’s face. Darius believes Florida Man’s motives are to prevent black people from registering to vote, a conspiracy Earn needs some more time to be convinced of.
Although we’ve yet to see the mythical Florida man, this episode introduces us to Earn’s uncle, the Alligator Man. A loud-mouthed, eccentric man living in a house Alf bought him, Uncle Willie is in a bit of trouble for keeping his girlfriend locked up in one room, and a full-grown Caiman Alligator in the other. The police are at the door as Earn desperately tries to diffuse the situation, but Willie is stubborn and Darius is no help at all. As he tries to get Willie to step out and talk to the cops, Earn and his uncle have a heartfelt moment, where they talk about fear and failure.
“If you don’t wanna end up like me, get rid of that chip on your shoulder shit,” snaps the Alligator man, just before Earn leaves.
‘Alligator Man’ starts off the season with good momentum, as the humor and storytelling is similar to the old episodes, while giving room for the show to grow and explore new themes. The blend of comedy and emotion still feels just as honest and mastered, and fans can appreciate that the vignettes will add up to tell one big story when all the episodes are released. We’ve still to see Vanessa or Earn’s daughter make an appearance, and there are quite a few questions left unanswered at the end of the 23 minutes, but stay tuned for the next episode airing on March 8th.