It’s been a long four years since the Atlanta crew galavanted through Peachtree Street’s 8 billion miles, but the gang is officially back in Georgia’s capital city for its fourth and final season.
On Thursday (Sept. 15), FX premiered the new season with two fresh episodes, “The Most Atlanta” and “The Homeliest Little Horse.” The show picks up right where it left off in Europe. That is in the sense that each episode only tangentially moves the plot of the series forward and leans more into the structure of an anthology packed with sharp social commentary. Atlanta is way closer to Dubliners than it is to something like A Different World, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers conjured up their own version of Dwayne Wayne crashing Whitley’s wedding for Earn and Van.
The two new episodes have a ton of high moments—the likes of which you should absolutely stop reading now if you’re hoping to avoid #spoilers. Darius meets a parody of that knife-wielding lady from a Target in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after he hilariously tries to return an air fryer during an active riot. Earn gives us a lot of insight into why he’s always got a bad attitude and lets us all know that he’s the King of Petty. Pro tip: You really should avoid crossing Earn at all costs. Paper Boi goes on an excursion, looking for clues within the lyrics of a newly deceased hero of his named Blue Blood, who is actually voiced by Earl Sweatshirt. (Seemingly this story thread is a liquor pour for the late MF DOOM, who, like the fictional Blue Blood, had died months before it was made public.) And we even see the return of Season 2’s shoplifting scene stealer, Tracy!
When Atlanta premiered, Donald Glover remarked that he wanted the show to be “Twin Peaks with rappers,” which it never quite achieved. This is good, because Atlanta is probably better than whatever that is. What Glover meant by this, though, is likely that he wanted the series to dip into very weird storytelling while also maintaining a humorous bent.
The plotline where Earn and Van keep running into their exes at Atlantic Station, who have been trapped there, is a perfect example of how deep Atlanta can go into creating an uncanny valley atmosphere. Its world is just slightly off-kilter—like you’re smoking salvia or you’re out in public with a mild concussion. Atlantic Station is a particular type of Atlantan hotbed that gets a ton of foot traffic where you’re liable to run into somebody you know. As someone who lived down the street from Atlantic Station for a year, I definitely pulled the Leo in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood meme when they mentioned the Publix.
It’s great to see Atlanta back doing what it does best. Here’s to more crazy shit going down this season.