With the episode dedicated to Brian Tyree Henry’s late mother, I believe that the episode opens with Al dreaming about his mother on the anniversary of her death (both Earn and Darius specifically ask him “you doing okay today?”). He also has three missed calls — all from different people — when he wakes up, and receives a text saying “thinking about you today <3” from an unknown number while he’s sitting on the curb (before he gets robbed). Family is ABSOLUTELY on Al’s mind throughout the episode.
My theory is that faced with imminent and literal death, Al ran deep into the woods afterwards to escape and possibly had a sort of mental breakdown triggered as a stress reaction... and the person he runs into wasn’t some random crazy dude, but a manifestation of his own mind — possibly in the form of what he imagines as his own absentee father — lost, homeless, and crazy living in the woods. Reasons:
“You know good and well I did not raise a son this lazy”. That’s what his mother says in the dream — the subtitles say: Lorraine humming gospel melody. Lazy Al wakes up to a call from Earn asking him if he’s gotten around to signing the paperwork yet. The house is littered with beer cans and garbage. The man in the woods hums the exact same gospel melody, as does Al in the gas station at the end of the episode. All of which are identified by subtitles as gospel humming.
The man knows too much. “You lookin for them boys? Them bad boys?” I doubt he had seen what happened, or that they spend much time that deep in the woods. In an episode where Al is already incredibly reflective, the first words the man says to him are echoes of his own, repeated back to him. That’s how the man manifests - as an echo of Al. Followed by: “You want some money? You can’t go to the dance without no money, boy”. This sounds like something his father might have said, but Al was too proud to accept help from others. Maybe this was the last thing his dad said to him? Immediately after, the man jumps to “I lost my baby”. This gets Al’s attention — he’s lost someone, too. Also, him not sharing chapstick and fearing germs perfectly echoes Al’s fear of connecting with fans, a girlfriend, and his friends (as he ignores their calls).
Al escaped into the woods, fearing being followed, only to immediately be followed by someone that won’t leave him alone? This is his mind subconsciously going from running and escaping to being followed but being ahead of it (while not being able to shake it off). The man says “don’t think you can out-slip me”.
“Boy, you is just like your momma”. This REALLY gets Al’s attention. And his hallucination points out that he’s “acting all crazy”. He then says, “why are you sitting”, echoes of his mom calling him lazy in the beginning.
Out of everywhere in the woods Al could have gone, he ends up in the man’s “house”? No way. More importantly, he reaches down and picks up the full, unopened red drink in the jar from in front of him on the ground, and not from his pockets. Where did it come from if it was real?? The chances of that drink being in that spot in the woods and them ending up there are slim to none. I’ve watched this scene over and over and it’s so deliberately there to demonstrate this point - the man isn’t real.
After Al calls him “so damn useless”, the man tells him the single most important thing he can hear right now — “You sit around in people’s houses insulting them. You better stand up and make a decision about how you’re getting out of here. Make the decision. Make the decision. Keep standing still, you’re gone, boy. You’re wasting time. And the only people who got time, are dead.“ The consequences for not making a decision? Continue to get robbed, starting with his shoes, wallet, and shirt. Al has already been robbed twice this season, once just minutes before, and now he recognizes that he’ll lose the shirt off of his back if he doesn’t engage with the real-world consequences, because his desire to “keep it real” are as much an act for everyone else as it is his resistance to change.
As the man counts to thirty (more or less), he continues to hold the blade up to Al’s neck — if Al were to still have been sitting in that same place on the log, not moving. Al stands for a few seconds (despite having faced mortal peril twice in less than half an hour), and continues to watch the man hold the blade up as if Al were still sitting there. The man never looks up, never recognizes that Al has moved, and continues to hold the blade where his beck was. This is the last time Al sees him.
This episode literally opens with Al subconsciously recognizing that he’s being lazy and thinking about family, and then on the very nature of how he interacts with others as evidenced by the conversations with Sierra, and the guys that rob him (when he they ask where his car is and he says “what, I ain’t allowed to walk?”, they say “ah you’re keeping it real”). He’s been robbed twice, and spends a full episode getting dragged around by Bibby because he’s letting the world happen to him, and not the other way around. It’s not until he has this encounter with the man in the woods that he finally makes a conscious, real change. But with all the coincidences, all the too-crazy-to-be-real behavior of the man in the woods... I really think that entire sequence is Al reflecting on his family, his past, his career, his life, his friends, and his future. I don’t think he met a man in the woods at all. I think he was working through some shit, and it’s clear that he’s made a decision when he’s humming that same gospel song in the gas station and posing for a selfie with a fan.
Is there any particular reason that Paper Boi literally only has one song? Like we've only heard his one song despite there being mentions of mixtapes (S1 E7) and a new song (S2E8) but we haven't heard it? Do they plan to make a new song to compliment this? I mean I don't mind if they don't; the show is still easily one of the best on TV at the moment. Nevertheless, I would love some new Paper Boi music.
The song played briefly when Al first left Sierra and before he got jumped. It was some really smooth piano music and I’d love if someone could tell me what it was.
When Al leaves the nail salon you see that shot where he steps back into his shoes, this could be imitating him stepping back into his comfort zone. I don't know but that was just a little thing i got from it. Edit: Thank you for letting me know that this is known as direction/symbolism, tbh I was watching the lastest episode at 2 am in Ireland, and just wanted to post about it.
(I did this over in r/DonaldGlover and got very detailed because I don’t think everyone there is really bout the misé en scene life, and my fandom of Donald actually led to a budding interest of cinema that’s really opened my eyes so I want to share my view)
The thing that really caught my eye was the numbers above the drink fridge doors in the gas station scene. Absolutely the most demanding aspect of the set design and even the scene really. The numbers 55,66,77,88,22 I looked up (grouped together) and was linked to this :
So by the end of this episode Alfred finally understands that he needs to build a legacy/brand and do all of the celebrity PR bullshit that’s out there.
Consider “The Woods” alfreds devotion to stay “real”. Once he finally literally makes it out of “the woods” , Inside the gas station , he agrees to take the picture. The number 55’s meaning mentions “change in consciousness”. Well why does this matter?
This encounter in which he agrees to take the picture in occurs while he is standing in the foreground almost framed within the door of the fridge labeled #55.
Absolutely genius. Another example then:
When the episode closes Alfred must walk past each door on his way out of the frame, only visibly passing through 66: “66: Love as compassion, forgiveness, surrendering lower emotions and rising up to a higher expression of love.”
Remember when Darius calls him out for having a girlfriend in the beginning of the episode? And the best part of the episode was him dealing with the instagram model, which left him dissatisfied. Maybe this means we will see Alfred fall in love in the coming weeks or at least seriously think about his dealings with the female kind more.
Alfred has to walk past 77 and 88 too (but we don’t actually see it), so I think at this point you get it. Albert walking past each door is really a symbol for a shift in his consciousness. One last real example.
Also, when he takes the picture he is framed in “22” which has a “meaning” mentioning building legacy, spiritual ideals, and selfless service.
He takes the picture for PR (“building legacy”) so he can really stunt on these hoes (“spiritual ideals”)even though it goes/went against his devotion to stay real (“selfless service”).
Edit: fixed “Albert” mistake. My fingers were just going I didn’t bother to spellcheck. God damn autocorrect
I was just thinking about that guy, when he talks to Earn and then mysteriously gets off the bus and walks into a forest with his dog. I was wondering if anyone has caught that yet? Idk if they’re related or anything, maybe there’s something weird about that forest that we will learn later on (probably not)
The writers of Atlanta, know how to write.
That kid was gonna post it on social media and someone might notice and realise where Al is. They'll also notice his bloody mouth and wonder what happened.
Yo so I dunno if this has been discussed here before, but the one thing that just bothers me about the show is Al's rap voice. Of course the only actual song we've heard is still Paperboy, but it's just so jarring hearing Steve Glover's voice and having all the characters just accept that this is Al's voice.
Breaks immersion in what's a pretty immersive show otherwise. Why couldn't they just have Steve write the bars and get Al's actor to spit them? It sounds absolutely nothing like him and they keep on playing it every other episode, just seems stupid.
So, I was out on those streaming sites and must have clicked on the wrong link. Instead of season 2 episode 8 of Atlanta I watched 40 minutes of the worst bullshit ever, thinking the episode is called Growing up Hip Hop. It seemed so satirically exaggerated like last season's "B.A.N." episode (aka "I'm a 35 year old white man") that I kept watching.
Two days later, looking for some YouTube explanation on what the fuck those trashy characters meant for the overall narrative of Atlanta, I realize that I had watched a completely different series.
Even more crazy was the sudden realization that 'Growing up Hip Hop' is an actual thing. This brought so many questions. What kind of shitty Television are they producing? Who watches this madness? Where do they find people to play these characters???
Anyways, this is what I love about this show. You never know what is going to hit you next, everything is possible. Now there is even one more episode for me to watch. Good times :)
then it reveals he is like a really good singer idk rn im high asf
In some cases I can see he want to be like Jcole. Jcole makes great music not really social media conscious but those who love the art love him. While the latest episode suggested that he wanted to be more social media conscious and maybe make some money out of it. So he tryna like Migos in a sense? Thoughts and what kinda rapper would you classify Al?
Rappers affiliating with gangs when they really aint about that life. See Soulja Boy, 6ix9ine, Cardi B and many others. I just think its a really Good premise for comedic tragedy. They can have the gang turn on the rapper when the money is getting short, or the ridiculous instagram set reppin gone wrong, maybe show how online beef cross over Into the Streets? What you think?
Atlanta is an American single-camera comedy tv series created by Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) who is also starring. The series is about two cousins in the Atlanta rap scene. The second season, titled Atlanta: Robbin' Season, premiered on March 1, 2018.