2018 has been Donald Glover’s year. Or maybe it’s been our year since we get to enjoy Donald Glover? In any case, whether it’s winning a Grammy in January or landing the role of Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo prequel, Glover has been on fire.
At the top of his list of accomplishments is the creation of “Atlanta,” which premiered in 2016 and has won three Emmys to date. After a long hiatus, the show’s second season finally returned last Thursday.
Last season we watched as Earn (played by Glover), his cousin Alfred (a.k.a. “Paper Boi”) and Darius struggled to make a name in Atlanta’s hip-hop scene. The journey wasn’t linear, nor was it predictable, as they went from playing basketball against Justin Bieber to being invited as a guest on a talk show because of tweets about Caitlyn Jenner. The first season took us in so many crazy directions — including a Migos cameo — that I didn’t even attempt to predict what was in store for us with season two.
I’m glad I didn’t try, because I never would’ve imagined a premiere like the one on Thursday. This new series of episodes is named “Robbin’ Season,” and they don’t wait long at all to throw you right into it.
We open with a glimpse of the rising crime rates deemed “robbin’ season,” which is seemingly unrelated to the show’s overarching plotline. It sets the season’s tone immediately: dark to the point of being ridiculous.
We then return to our favorite trio — while also being reminded of how much we missed Lakeith Stanfield as Darius — but find them feeling just as tense. Alfred and Darius aren’t on speaking terms, and Earn’s sleeping arrangements in the storage unit are over. To top things off, Alfred sends Earn out to deal with family drama without him because he’s under house arrest.
This drama happens to be a hostage situation concerning their Uncle Willie (played by Katt Williams), which is just as ridiculous as it sounds. Earn is forced to handle it and cope with his own worst fear of becoming like Uncle Willie, a person who could have amounted to something but fell completely flat.
The premiere brought us to a place that’s much more tense than a lot of the episodes in its previous season, but it somehow managed to do so in a way that didn’t completely bum you out. “Atlanta” has always done a great job at tackling heavy subject matter in a way that’s unapologetic, uncensored and full of humor.
To run the risk of being cliché, the city of Atlanta is perhaps the show’s main character. They are diving right into a time of year that’s very tense and desperate for the city, which runs parallel to the place Earn is at in his life, as well.
It’s the perfect place to set the sophomore season of a series — which is often a tense time — especially when trying to follow up the success of the show’s first season. There’s no doubt in my mind that this season will be able to live up to “Atlanta’s” last, if not surpass it.