WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Atlanta, for a review of last week’s episode click here.
Reparations are the making of amends for a wrong one has done, to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged. African Americans are about the only group that hasn’t seen reparations of some form for the atrocity that happened to our ancestors. Holocaust survivors received reparations, and Native Americans have reservations. Given that the conditions on reservations aren’t always great, that’s not really a plus for them. To top it off, the land was stolen from them and then given back as a way to sorry for taking it. The latest episode of Atlanta is solely about Reparations.
This episode of Atlanta follows Marshall Johnson (Justin Bartha). A man separated from his wife that listens to podcasts and radio talk shows. He’s getting reparations from Tesla because one of the majority stakeholders was his ancestor’s owners. Marshall picks his daughter, Katie (Scarlett Blum), up from school and she asks him if they’re racist because kids at school said her family was. Her father tells her they aren’t, even though he’s basically listening to a modern-day Rush Limbaugh.
Marshall soon runs into Sheniqua Johnson (Melissa Youngblood), a black woman whose ancestor was owned by his family. Their first encounter is at his home in front of his daughter. She spends the entire episode chastising him and following him around. She’s suing him for an over-the-top amount of money. When his wife, Natalie (Dahlia Legault), finds out she files for a divorce. Marshall’s day goes from worse to worse quickly. In a desperate attempt to end the situation he asks his black coworkers to help him. They deny him their help almost immediately.
There’s only one way for Marshall to make things right. After watching his coworkers take ancestry tests and get results, Marshall gets an idea. He plans on joining a restaurant that pays reparations. The employees are all white and the patrons are black. It’s a very fancy restaurant that looks like it’s in downtown Atlanta. Marshall joins at the end and ends up paying Sheniqua back that way.
The entire tone of this episode was awkward, Hiro Murai kind of has that as a specialty. The editing in this episode was amazing. It creates a pace that makes the viewer uncomfortable. Thus, when the jokes come it makes it so much better. Murai knows how to create suspense even where there is none. Francesca Sloane’s teleplay is admirable and ambitious. Which it pays off incredibly well.
The supporting cast in this episode was phenomenal. They brought back Socks, E, and Fernando which was fun. Youngblood and Madison Hatfield made this episode for me. They both played their roles to a tee and it sucks they never shared a scene together. We deserved that much, but we didn’t get it. Either way, the episode still does its job.
This was an interesting insight into reparations and the conversation surrounding them. We can go on and on about groups like ADOS. There are so many discussions about reparations, and who should get them. It’s a wild topic to pay attention to, and it will always be one. This country should definitely have to financially compensate the descendants of slaves. That’s a topic for another day. As far as this episode of Atlanta goes it was very entertaining and fun to watch. This season continues to mount as one of the best. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Atlanta premieres Thursdays on FX, the next day on Hulu.