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Every Episode of ‘Atlanta,’ Ranked

Donald Glover’s small-screen opus has come to an end. Re-live its excellence with our ranking of every ‘Atlanta’ episode.

Victor Bizar Gomez

Once upon a time, Donald Glover said that the only show that could touch his magnum opus, Atlanta, was The Sopranos. Argue that if you must, but when Atlanta was on, it was on. Some shows may be tapped into the culture, while others are looking to throw high art onto your 4K displays; there are series set on making you cry laughing, while others help you scrape the depths of your soul. Some shows just want to present an odd predicament to open your eyes to what’s really going on in the world around you. Atlanta could hit you from all of those angles in the same episode, and it has the hardware to prove its excellence.

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the FX series, however; the extended hiatus between Season 2 (a.k.a. “Robbin’ Season”) and Season 3 (which was filmed partly in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic, back-to-back with its phenomenal fourth, and final, season) took the wind out of the sails of the series’ return in March 2022. Couple that with the format, which featured one-off episodes devoted to stories that, while thematically aligned with the series at large, weren’t what many fans were looking for almost four years after seeing Earn, Alfred, and Darius board their flight overseas. Atlanta never has been about holding viewers’ hands or, truthfully, giving them what they want; sure, the idea was for the show to be about Alfred and his cousin/manager Earn navigating the rap industry, with their stoned homie Darius and Earn’s ex-girlfriend Van right beside them. That’s what the show is, but it’s also so much more, and over the four seasons of (insert your favorite adjective for the series; many use “surreal,” but feel free to drop whatever word feels best to you) television, they told that story.

Atlanta’s that kid who aces all the tests in class while staring out the window all day who is also somehow up on all the best in film, music, literature, and art. It’s also one of the smartest—and most times one of the Blackest—series to have graced your television. There will be a large void left in the absence of Atlanta, a series unafraid to engage in an open dialogue with its viewers about the issues they face, the scenarios they lived through, and the pain they all share. In the aftermath of the series finale, reminisce about Atlanta’s Southern charm with our look at every episode, from “worst” to absolute best. —khal

41. “Rich Wigga Poor Wigga” (Season 3, Episode 9)

Presented almost entirely in black and white, “Rich Wigga Poor Wigga” feels like what Donald Glover would’ve been making if he pitched “The Twilight Zone, with rappers” instead of Twin Peaks. No, wait; “Rich Wigga Poor Wigga” feels like (sorry, Jordan Peele) what some may have thought that Twilight Zone revival was going to look like. And while “The Curse of Whiteness” is the overarching theme of Season 3, step-out episodes like “Rich Wigga Poor Wigga” dig deeper into those issues than Al and the crew ever could on the streets of Europe. This tale follows Aaron, a biracial high school student who hides his Black side to his classmates by day while shouting racial slurs during gaming sessions by night. The biggest issue in his life is the fact that his Black father has decreed that he won’t pay for his college tuition, but when a rich Black entrepreneur returns to his alma mater to gift college tuition to Black students, Aaron is presented a new challenge. The idea of having to “prove your Blackness” to receive the funds is a great touch, but also makes me wonder what would happen if Glover decided to give a full season of Twilight Zone–inspired tales a go. —khal

Episode MVP: Greg
Best quote: “You didn’t have to call the boy ‘Clarence Thomas.’ Shit, he ain’t that white.” —Greg

40. “Tarrare” (Season 3, Episode 10)

Atlanta’s third season took its protagonists out of their hometown and, often, their own show. For its finale, the series breaks the fourth wall and acknowledges its own transformation by centering the character most affected by the move to Europe. Van has been acting strangely all season long, pushing people into pools and possibly shoplifting; in “Tarrare,” she’s unrecognizable. Lottie’s mom and Earn’s voice of reason is now a baguette-wielding, Paris-dwelling, Alexander Skarsgard–dating weirdo who eats human hands, a woman we see through the eyes of a couple friends who knew her back in Georgia. Van’s acquaintances are proxies for the audience, baffled by these unexplained changes in a person they thought they knew. Van, in turn, is a metaphor for Atlanta itself, absconding to Europe and upending her life in the wake of an existential crisis. Atlanta’s polarizing, uneven third chapter is a Rorschach test, and “Tarrare” especially so: How you respond to Van’s antics and tearful confession probably tracks with how you feel about the show’s hard pivot as a whole. Just when we’ve gotten used to it, Van declares that it’s time to go home. —Alison Herman

Episode MVP: Shanice, who gets paid to pee on a rich French dude. Living the dream.
Best quote: “Don’t you have to pee on someone?” —Van

39. “Cancer Attack” (Season 3, Episode 5)

To someone who stayed the course, tuning in to new Atlanta whenever given the opportunity, an episode like “Cancer Attack” exists in an odd space. As an episode of television—and an episode of Atlanta—it’s solid. Alfred loses his phone, forcing the crew to sleuth it up in hopes of finding his device. The way the story is laid out is clever, and while it’s funny (and dark), there’s a point where you realize that there was a larger conspiracy afoot the entire time, which is where the confusion and/or frustration may set in. There’s some guy named Socks hanging around now who plays an integral part in this entire ordeal, but by episode’s end, there’s a feeling of “that’s it?” that sets in. For that, the episode doesn’t leave as strong of a mark among Season 3, and the series in general. Great goose chase, though. —khal

Episode MVP: Wiley; even with all that I think about this episode, that was some A+ work there
Best quote: “Fucking Liam Neeson’s already fucking white!” —Alfred

38. “Trini 2 De Bone” (Season 3, Episode 7)

An anthology episode that makes the argument for nurture over nature, “Trini 2 De Bone” tells the story of a young, upper-class white boy named Sebastian raised by his Trinidadian nanny, Sylvia. After Sylvia dies unexpectedly, Sebastian’s parents begin to learn just how much of her culture their son had adopted. (His love of spicy mango curry is just the beginning.) When Sebastian says he’d like to attend Sylvia’s funeral, Mom and Dad oblige—only to experience extreme culture shock, as the service is marked by impassioned speeches, interfamilial fights, and dancing like they’d never seen before. (Shout-out to Chet Hanks, who in a genius bit of stunt-casting appears as a white kid previously raised by Sylvia who now speaks with a Trinidadian accent despite being raised in Tribeca.) Eventually, Sebastian and his folks escape the memorial unscatched—though his dad, Miles, is at least a little emotionally scarred. But later, when Miles finally opens the mysterious envelope that’s been appearing outside his apartment door, it turns out to be a message from the beyond. “Trini 2 De Bone” ends with Miles looking at a picture of Sebastian and Syliva from school photo day. Mom and Dad had missed it that year. You can bet they won’t miss it again. —Justin Sayles

Episode MVP: Sebastian
Best quote: “Cockroach has no place at fowl party.” —Sebastian

37. “The Big Payback” (Season 3, Episode 4)

Season 3 of Atlanta may have been its most prophetic; “The Big Payback,” a “step-out” episode looking at an America where African Americans can legally pursue reparations, premiered about a week before the Reparations Task Force in California released more information on California Assembly Bill 3121. In what felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone, we find Marshall Johnson (performed by Justin Bartha, who plays “shook” very well), whose life seems fine in the hours leading up to being hit up for reparation payments. Wisely exploring all avenues of an ordeal like this (from the reactions of loved ones to people flooding DNA services in hopes of their genetics getting them out of sudden debt). In the end, Johnson can’t escape the government, giving us a glimpse not just of where his life ended up, but also a realistic depiction of how one could work off reparation payments. Even if you groan at the idea of another episode outside of the main story line, it’s hard to find these conversations being had on this platform in this manner. And depending on what shakes out IRL, this episode could be used as a cautionary tale. —khal

Episode MVP: The guy who started chasing Marshall’s car as he sped away from Shaniqua’s family. He was cooking!
Best quote: “Don’t slam my door!” —Shaniqua

36. “Three Slaps” (Season 3, Episode 1)

Whenever someone asks why the timeline feels abnormally quiet during the fourth and final season of Atlanta, it’s good to remind them that (a) Donald Glover and the cast got extremely busy after Season 2 was completed in 2018, pushing the usual time frame between seasons a bit further. Couple that with (b) a worldwide pandemic affecting the way film and television are made, and it, unfortunately, turned into almost four years between the end of Season 2 and the premiere of Season 3, which turned a real-life tragedy into a “Black fairy tale.” Sure, this was the only time we were going to see Loquareeous suffer in a house where two terrible adoptive mothers bastardize the idea of “fried chicken” while taking in more children than they can properly care for because the government will pay them. Sure, there was only one quick shot of Earn at the very end of the episode … which was beautifully picked up in the second episode, wisely airing immediately after “Three Slaps.” (Thank FX’s penchant for debuting multiple episodes on the night of a season premiere.) And yes, there’s something going on in the water. Taken at face value, it’s an impressive head-scratcher that accurately demonstrates what Stephen Glover can do with his pen. Sadly, it was a miss for fans who were looking forward to getting back to the characters they fell in love with over two seasons of Atlanta. The new hope is that, in the near future, those who slept on the last two seasons of Atlanta will rediscover this episode/season, without the immediate knowledge of how long it’d been since they’d seen the previous episode. On the couch, in a binge from the end of “Robbin’ Season” to this dreamy detour to the time jump that is Atlanta’s time in Europe? Those three slaps may hit different. —khal

Episode MVP: Loquareeous
Best quote: “If you don’t start using your common sense and acting right, these white people are gonna kill you!” —Loquareeous’s mom

35. “White Fashion” (Season 3, Episode 6)

“White Fashion” continues Season 3’s priority of satirizing systemic racism, this time in the world of designer clothing. The episode highlights Alfred’s growing celebrity and the influence that comes with it, even if he’s reluctant to wield it and, ultimately, is still powerless to make real change. “White Fashion” takes aim at the luxury brands of the world that peddle performative activism; the episode also takes a beat to sprinkle in commentary about gentrification in Darius’s B-plot concerning a Nigerian jollof spot. There are smart, if not somewhat obvious, ideas at play here, but strangely, even just months after Season 3’s divisive rollout, “White Fashion” feels less memorable than the controversial anthology episodes surrounding it. —Aric Jenkins

Episode MVP: Alfred
Best quote: “What he means is that, with our new initiative, we will be done with racism by 2024.” —Khalil

34. “Go for Broke” (Season 1, Episode 3)

Following Earn’s bizarre, dreamlike experience awaiting bail during the series’ second episode, Atlanta shifted to the cold, hard reality of everyday survival. Earn has less than $100 to his name—not enough to get by, let alone take Van out for dinner as he tries to earn redemption for his failures in parenting Lottie. “Go for Broke” establishes motifs that recur throughout Atlanta: the complex dynamics of Earn and Van’s back-and-forth relationship, and each of the main characters’ knack for landing in absurd, hapless situations that make their progress in the series even more arduous to achieve. On the latter note, not only is it just Earn’s luck that the supposedly cheap restaurant he wants to take Van to is now an upselling seafood joint, but Darius manages to fumble a drug deal with the dangerous “Mexican” gang known as the Migos. It’s somber to revisit this episode given the recent fatal shooting of Takeoff, one of the group’s members, but his presence is a reminder of the legacy he cemented in the city the series is named after. —AJ

Episode MVP: Migos
Best quote: “Yo, you not gonna see this, but your assumed perversion of the word ‘Daddy,’ I think that’s stemming from the fear of mortality, man. What you call your gun?” —Darius

33. “Sinterklaas Is Coming to Town” (Season 3, Episode 2)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced that Atlanta would be heading to Europe to film Season 3. In typical Atlanta fashion, that’s kind of all we knew; we were left to assume that we’d get to see the trio on the tour of Europe that they were embarking on at the end of Season 2. After a brief delay in seeing the regular crew in Season 3 due to “Three Slaps,” the Season 3 premiere (and first of numerous “step-out” episodes, which featured characters and stories that mirrored the season thematically, but had nothing to do with the linear story Atlanta was telling), “Sinterklaas Is Coming to Town” gave viewers a bit of a time jump. At this point, Alfred’s done well for himself as the rapper Paper Boi, being treated like a king during a brief jail stint, throwing handfuls of cash to paparazzi as he leaves the precinct. Then things start to go left; we get to see why Alfred got locked up, and realize he’s still not happy. Van shows up to meet the guys in Amsterdam, but something is clearly off with her. And there are European people walking around as Zwarte Piet. Not enough Atlanta for you? How about Van and Darius’s excursion to see Tupac Shakur? We even get to see how, as he’s grown in status as a manager, Earn has developed more of an attitude, totally blowing off the concert promoter at the end after Alfred decides to not perform for an audience of people in blackface. It’s clear that you can take the characters of Atlanta out of Atlanta, but trying to replace years of trauma with wads of cash only conceals what’s been festering beneath. —khal

Episode MVP: Alfred, for taking the rap (and getting some peace and quiet while he did it)
Best quote: “This city is my Jesus.” —Darius

32. “The Streisand Effect” (Season 1, Episode 4)

Anyone successful who makes art becomes grist for the content mill. In “The Streisand Effect,” Alfred gets his first taste of that. After a run-in one night with an influencer/supposed fan named Zan, Alfred wakes up the next morning to discover Zan had been posting videos that question the rapper’s talent—and authenticity—for clout. Eventually, Alfred hunts down his antagonist, and in a somewhat-predictable twist, it turns out Zan’s life is more pitiable than his online persona would indicate: In his day job, the Vine star delivers pizzas with his foul-mouthed toddler partner riding in the backseat. By episode’s end, this kid gets stiffed by a customer as Zan films the interaction. As he tells Alfred earlier in the episode, “Everything is valuable to someone.” —JS

Episode MVP: Darius, who in his first extended screen time helps Earn red-paperclip his way from a cellphone to a few Gs … in a few months, courtesy a litter of Cane Corsos.
Best quote: “Get this sword.” —Darius, who’s playing 4D chess with a katana blade.

31. “Value” (Season 1, Episode 6)

For his TV directorial debut, Donald Glover crafted “Value,” the first Van-centric episode of Atlanta. After five episodes of the series highlighting the high jinks that Earn, Alfred, and Darius regularly got into, Van hadn’t received a lot of time to breathe, so an extended conversation between Van and her globetrotting homegirl Jayde at the beginning of the episode was refreshing to see. As the talk steered toward Van’s relationship with Earn and her “value,” the evening turns into something Van wants to exit … not before hitting Jayde’s joint, though, which is the start of Van’s high jinks, which occupies the latter part of the episode. There are many images from Atlanta that will stick with me—Glover, Hiro Murai, and Co. have done a splendid job filling the screen with beautiful landscapes and hilarious moments. That’s not what I’m talking about, though; I’m not even talking about Van’s pee-filled condom situation, either. There’s something about Tobias Walner’s whiteface incident, especially at the very end of the episode, when Van (and her pee-filled condom failure drenched all over her) has to watch over detention, where Tobias—still in whiteface—is sitting in the back of the room. There’s no explanation as to his motives, or why he was still like that at the end of the day, but that eeriness? That’s Atlanta. —khal

Episode MVP: Van, who gets an A for effort (even if she ended up losing her job)
Best quote: “Whoo! You are loud. I mean, it’s all in your hair.” —Ms. Tieg

30. “Champagne Papi” (Season 2, Episode 7)

Ah, the Drake episode—an Atlanta installment that, at the time of release, had the unfortunate distinction of following a 21st-century TV classic in “Teddy Perkins.” But “Champagne Papi,” while not nearly as striking as its predecessor, is quite memorable in its own right—if not for the celebrity it centers but doesn’t actually show, or for its smart critique of social media egoism, then for its spotlight on Van, who I always wish the series spent a little more time with. “Champagne Papi” doesn’t offer any truly novel insight into Van—not like the German holiday episode a few episodes earlier, at least—but it’s still filled with intimate moments, from her encounter with Drake’s “Mexican” grandfather to a moment by the pool with her stoned friend and Darius in the episode’s closing moments. In the end, it’s all just a simulation, right? —AJ

Episode MVP: Nadine
Best quote: “Stars are just a projection of what’s actually already inside of your mind.” —Darius

29. “Work Ethic!” (Season 4, Episode 5)

During Season 1 of Atlanta, it was hard to avoid the timeline during an episode’s premiere; commentary, insight, and Easter eggs from the episode would be uploaded to various feeds for further discussion the morning after. By the time Season 3 set in, that era felt like it was ages ago; episodes like “Work Ethic!,” which featured the distorted world of the studio visionary Mr. Chocolate, a clear avatar for Tyler Perry, bad wigs and all, would’ve been weekend fodder back in Season 1—by the end of the series, we were lucky to get a tweet or two that “got” the episode. What starts out as a quick-cash acting gig for Van, turns into a workday for Lottie, whose natural abilities are noticed by Mr. Chocolate (who spends most of the episode as an all-seeing voice barking orders through speakers placed throughout his studio space). He inserts her into his many ongoing shoots without much regard for whether her introduction will work within a given show (or if the cameras are even recording at the time). If you’ve seen Perry’s rise as an accomplished filmmaker, there are many similarities between his style/output and “Work Ethic!,” but this isn’t a one-sided argument; Mr. Chocolate does get a chance to speak on the good his success affords him to do, but ultimately, Van wisely makes sure Lottie isn’t consumed by the machine. —khal

Episode MVP: Lottie, who stole the show (a number of shows?) as soon as she walked on set
Best quote: “You represent something. And I know it isn’t fair, but what you do matters a lot. And I just really want you to be old enough to decide what you want to represent because I can’t always protect you.” —Van

28. “Born 2 Die” (Season 4, Episode 3)

As the series started to wrap things up, we got to see Alfred dealing with what a number of older rappers are struggling with right now: life after the hits and the flights across the globe. Sure, Alfred’s secure, but how does he transition? By becoming a mentor to an aspiring artist (or, as the episode lays it out, finding his “Young White Avatar,” a.k.a. a young white rapper who he can guide in the industry). The episode takes Alfred on a roller coaster, with shady industry “friends” and cocky artists all trying to steal his thunder (while leaving him without any of the profits). On the flip side, Earn takes it upon himself to land D’Angelo (yes, that D’Angelo) for his new management company. While neither got what they were truly looking for, they learned a lot about legacy, especially for Black performers, in an episode that felt like a real return to form for fans of the “rap life” aspects of Atlanta. —khal

Episode MVP: Earn, for surviving the D’Angelo experience
Best quote: “What is D’Angelo? We are D’Angelo. Let me experience D’Angelo.” —Earn

27. “The Club” (Season 1, Episode 8)

Good news: Alfred is big enough to get booked for club appearances. Bad news: He’s not big enough to get anything other than free rosé at said club appearances. He’s also not big enough to get paid in a timely manner. “The Club” spends most of its run time tracking Earn as he hunts down the shady club promoter who owes Alfred $5,000. (Watching the promoter slide into a secret room is one of the funniest visual gags of Atlanta’s run.) Eventually, after Alfred busts into his office and manhandles him, he forks over the money. Later, as Alfred and Earn laugh about the incident in the parking lot, a nearby argument escalates into a gunfight. They retreat to a dinner to meet up with Darius, who had the brains to leave the club after a bouncer rejected his wristband. As they eat, a newscaster announces on TV that Alfred is wanted in connection with a robbery. The lesson here: This is why you don’t leave the house. —JS

Episode MVP: Marcus Miles and his invisible car
Best quote: “I hate the club.” Don’t we all, Earn.

26. “The Big Bang” (Season 1, Episode 1)

What a pilot. One thing that has stood out since the beginning is that Atlanta has always felt like a show that understood its voice from jump. Even if the show morphed into so much more, this first episode introduced us to a fully realized vibe. Earn, realizing his cousin Alfred is the buzzing rapper Paper Boi, decides that he wants to manage Paper Boi. Earn clearly has the vision; his father remarks on Earn’s focus when he wants something. And we get to see Earn’s managerial skills throughout; even though Alfred says Earn is Martin when he needs a Malcolm, Earn does a splendid job of finessing “Paper Boi” into radio rotation, proving himself to Alfred early on. Darius was an instant favorite, coming out of left field with quips about the state of his testicles and inquiries about the height of a tree; he gave viewers just enough to say “WTF?!” and “put this character on my screen each week.” We even got a quick glimpse of the suit-clad gentleman and his Nutella sandwiches. It’s hard to think of a better way to introduce a show like Atlanta, honestly. —khal

Episode MVP: Earn
Best quote: “I need Malcolm. You too Martin.” —Alfred

25. “The Old Man and the Tree” (Season 3, Episode 3)

The third episode of Atlanta’s surrealist third season is probably the most straightforward of the set. Given that “The Old Man and the Tree” climaxes with Alfred taking a chainsaw to a tree with an apartment complex built around it, that probably says more about the season than the individual installment. But the episode’s greatest trick is helping the viewer understand the importance of the allegorical season opener, where a white couple adopts a small flock of Black children only to exploit them. In “The Old Man and the Tree,” the rich white people at an impossibly fancy party latch onto Black artists for clout. That includes the mysterious Fernando (the titular Old Man and, uh, possible ghostfucker), who invites Alfred to a high-stakes poker game only to skate on his debt after he loses, and Will, a finance bro who is so entranced by his proximity to a young Black artist named TJ that he’s willing to seed an “influencer incubator” for TJ and his pals. But no one is more eager to get into the inner circle than Socks, a doofy, long-haired Brit who turns a small racial slight against Darius into an all-out culture clash. When Alfred, Darius, and Earn escape the party’s chaos and pile into their car, they discover Socks in the front seat. As we’ll learn later, it’s just the beginning of Socks feeling a little too comfortable with the crew. —JS

Episode MVP: Van
Best quote: “So sad.” —Van

24. “The Most Atlanta” (Season 4, Episode 1)

Season 3 of Atlanta was good art that, at the time of its release, didn’t seem to fit within the broader scope of the show’s story. Six of the experimental season’s episodes were set in Europe, and the other four were anthology pieces with story lines that didn’t feature any of Atlanta’s main characters.

After wrapping up the least “Atlanta” season of the series, show writers Stephen and Donald Glover returned with the aptly titled “The Most Atlanta,” which saw the core four back in the city and placed them on a collision course that inexplicably ended with off-screen murder in a strip mall parking lot.

The episode’s three intertwined adventures—Van and Earn’s Atlantic Station time warp replete with ex-partners, Darius’s escape from a knife-wielding adaptation of Target Jennifer, and Al’s scavenger hunt that doubled as a tribute to MF DOOM—were Atlanta as hell, and brought the characters’ arcs back into focus while outlining the series’s direction for its final chapter.

Though not Atlanta’s best season premiere (“Alligator Man” will never be touched), “The Most Atlanta” was a necessary return to structure that went missing by design during Paper Boi’s European tour. It also reinforced that regardless of how distinct their paths may seem, these four friends would always find their way back to the group. —Dan Comer

Episode MVP: Darius
Best quote: “You can’t go to Atlantic Station and not run into somebody.” —Earn

23. “Sportin’ Waves” (Season 2, Episode 2)

While Stephen Glover called Season 3 the series’ best (with Hiro and Donald apparently choosing Season 4), I may be in the minority when I call Season 2—ominously dubbed “Robbin’ Season”—my favorite. There’s something in the way the series, which was already as Twin Peaks as you could get, would deliver exactly what we wanted (Paper Boi’s Industry Chronicles, this time finding Al awkwardly navigating a visit to a streaming service’s office) while also nudging us closer to some of the threats that pop up during robbin’ season, including gift card scams and brazen shoe store theft. (Thank you, Khris Davis, for introducing many to the “no-chase policy.”) Paper Boi, left with a bad taste in his mouth after being robbed during a drug deal and the aforementioned industry trip, is on the hunt for a new connect, and while he does find a plug, said plug is also trying to get his girlfriend into the industry. During robbin’ season, not all thieves use violence to get ahead; sometimes, they just use your rhymes. —khal

Episode MVP: Tracy
Best quote: “They have a no-chase policy. They can’t stop me.” —Tracy

22. “Helen” (Season 2, Episode 4)

Earn may be Atlanta’s main character, but he also kind of sucks. And not in a glamorous, brooding, antihero way, either: He’s a real brat sometimes, and in “Helen” especially. Throughout Atlanta, Donald Glover has the self-awareness to know that other characters—oddball Darius, prickly Al—are more interesting than his own. He also puts Earn’s faults on full display. Directed by indie stalwart Amy Seimetz, “Helen” is a canary in the coal mine for Atlanta’s future developments: It isn’t set in Europe, but it does feature a German festival where at least one attendee assumes Earn is in blackface. Like the future Season 3, “Helen” makes white culture look as exotic and threatening as mainstream media does Black culture, and the resulting display brings out a previously unknown side of Van. (Apparently, she speaks fluent German.) But here, Van is in the right, and a petulant Earn clearly in the wrong for raining on his partner’s parade. He lashes out by refusing to offer Van much clarity on their close yet ambiguous relationship, saying only that having her around while he has the freedom to enjoy the fruits of his increasing success “works for me.” Van rightly cuts him loose. Al is smart enough to be wary of fame and fortune from the start, but “Helen” is an indication they’re not great for his cousin, either. —AH

Episode MVP: Van’s dignity
Best quote: “We can be good together, but only when we really have to be. And I’m slowly figuring out that maybe we don’t have to.” —Van

21. “The Jacket” (Season 1, Episode 10)

We’ve all been there; you wake up in the morning in a place that isn’t your space, covered in the night before. As you try to piece together (a) where you are and (b) how you got there, you’re likely also trying to figure out if you’ve got your phone, keys, and other personal items on you. This is essentially how Earn wakes up in “The Jacket,” but when he realizes that he’s without the titular piece of outerwear, it’s a mad dash to finding an article of clothing that seems deathly important to Earn. With an adventure through Atlanta, taking us from the strip club to the scene of an armed standoff that just so happens to be where Earn’s jacket ended up, Atlanta ends with showing us the reason why Earn needed that jacket, and in that moment, the entire season comes full circle. You get a better glimpse at Earn’s mind state post-Princeton, as well as a greater understanding of his drive. Earn has to win; there’s really no other choice. He’s also going to operate on his own time, locking away what’s really going on while grinding toward a better future. —khal

Episode MVP: Swiff, for showing up at the end with the exact thing Earn needed. (Although he may need to share this with Earn, who wisely hit up Swiff before he started partying.)
Best quote: “I think if we spent the time we spend thinking about not spending money, spent that time on spending money, then it’d be time well spent.” —Darius

20. “New Jazz” (Season 3, Episode 8)

For three seasons, Atlanta randomly made its eighth episodes Paper Boi–centric. “The Club” from Season 1 found Alfred frustrated with a club appearance (and Earn’s inability to secure his payment), while Season 2’s “Woods” saw Alfred dealing with his public image as his career starts to take off, gaining acceptance for the hand life has dealt him. On a space-cake-influenced trip through Amsterdam, Alfred’s worries of the day—being secure financially, finding love—are on full display during his distorted trek through the streets. Yes, this is the episode that features Alfred and Liam Neeson having a conversation. Yes, I still feel like there’s a lot in those conversations that Alfred has with Lorraine that needs to be unpacked. Ultimately, it’s the cyclical nature of the episode, the way the episode closes in on itself at the end, with Alfred lying down in the streets of Amsterdam to rest after such an intense trip. —khal

Episode MVP: Alfred, for surviving the trip (and having his affairs in order)
Best quote: “You need a friend.” —Lorraine

19. “Money Bag Shawty” (Season 2, Episode 3)

How far will Earn go to chase clout? We find out in “Money Bag Shawty,” in which Atlanta’s main character lets the embarrassment of being kicked out of a club for using a “fake” $100 bill lead to his renting a limo for a hellish trip to Onyx. His flirtation with nightclub notoriety started with a diss from a waiter—after which Earn unironically said, “I would love to be the person who could stunt on somebody”—and ended with a failed foot race against former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in a strip club parking lot.

The acceleration of Earn’s downward spiral, punctuated by Van’s legendary “It’s Michael Vick” quote in the sad limo ride home, showcases just how desperate the former Princeton man is to fit into a culture that views him as a nobody. Earn’s constant overcompensating made for good comedy in this episode, but his deep-rooted insecurities would prove costly throughout “Robbin’ Season.” —DC

Episode MVP: Michael Vick
Best quote: “It’s Michael Vick.” —Van

18. “North of the Border” (Season 2, Episode 9)

The last four episodes of Atlanta’s second season are make-or-break for Earn, if you think about it. It starts with “Woods,” where Al is questioning himself and his status; after a harrowing night in nature, Al returns a different person. The final two episodes first take us back to Al and Earn as kids (“FUBU”), highlighting how much Al used to look out for Earn, then bring us back to the present day, where Earn has to do all he can to save the career he desires. Episode 8, “North of the Border,” gives us the reason why he is so desperate to save the day for his cousin Al, the rapper known as Paper Boi. During a gig at a college where everything bad that could happen happens to our beloved trio (decked out in sleepwear straight out of TLC’s “Creep” video), Tracy escalates a hostile scene, which erupts into a long-awaited fight between him and Earn. The squad has just hit its lowest point since they first linked up on the couch, and it’s right there when Earn realizes that, when it comes to Paper Boi’s career, he has two choices: He can either be his manager, or he can not be his manager. —khal

Episode MVP: Al
Best quote: “Look, you’re family, man, and I’m trying to ride with you, but sometimes this shit just ain’t enough. Because money is important. I see exactly what’s happening out here. It’s getting colder. It’s getting harder to eat. I need shit. Lottie needs shit. You need shit. I’ve gotta make my next moves my best moves, man. Something’s gotta shake. And I don’t think you’re cut out for it.” —Alfred

17. “Nobody Beats the Biebs” (Season 1, Episode 5)

Atlanta is not about whether Al and Earn will succeed in turning Paper Boi into a lucrative career for both cousins. It’s about the bizarre, surreal scenarios that success puts them into, an oblique approach to plotting embodied by the show’s fifth-ever episode. On any other comedy about a rapper’s rise to fame, his hapless manager would spend an entire episode scheming to get his client into a local celebrity basketball game; the game itself would get five minutes of screen time, tops. On Atlanta, all that happens before the cameras even roll, because Donald Glover and his team understand that the hustle isn’t nearly as interesting as a local act with a hit single butting up against one of the biggest stars in the world—or casting that white, real-life star as a Black man, a show of chutzpah that casually eviscerates a legacy that dates all the way back to Elvis. “Nobody Beats the Biebs” is an early example of Atlanta setting its own rules, a confidence that earned it a place in the upper echelons of television just as Al makes it into the rap game. —AH

Episode MVP: Alonzo, the guy Jane Adams’s racist agent Janice mistakes Earn for, thereby getting him into a room with a bunch of high-powered agents. Apparently, Alonzo stole all of Janice’s clients and forced her out of their agency. Go Alonzo!
Best quote: “You can’t shoot a dog!” —Guy at shooting range

16. “Light Skinned-ed” (Season 4, Episode 4)

Much of Atlanta is about what fame and fortune do to you. “Light Skinned-ed” is about what success can’t do for you. In what might be its most grounded episode since the Season 2 finale, Atlanta reminds us that while Al and Earn may have reinvented themselves as a superstar rapper and his hyper-competent manager, they’re still family—and there’s no family on Earth without its petty disputes and long-standing grievances. For Earn, shit hits the fan when his mom decides to “steal” her father, who suffers from dementia, away from her sister Jeanie while everyone’s at church. Jeanie throws a fit, follows Earn to Al’s studio, casually meets Gunna, and gets all her siblings on a conference call to complain that everyone resents her because she’s light-skinned. If nothing else, “Light Skinned-ed” gives us the welcome return of Katt Williams’s Uncle Willy, but it also shifts Atlanta back into life-sized, acutely observed interpersonal conflict after an extended surrealist streak. Oh, and Earn’s dad gets a cool hat at the mall, even if some rogue teens decide to clown him for it. Everybody wins! —AH

Episode MVP: Uncle Willy
Best quote: “You can’t kidnap your own dad. I don’t have time to explain it to you right now, but the word ‘kid’ is in it, so mathematically, it’s impossible.” —Willy

15. “Crank Dat Killer” (Season 4, Episode 6)

A Season 4 episode of Atlanta that feels right out of “Robbin’ Season,” “Crank Dat Killer” is another example of the show’s final batch of episodes returning to the series’ roots. Atlanta again secures an unexpected and delightful cameo in Soulja Boy, who urges Al to flee to a “safe farm” as a vindictive serial killer is on the loose. Elsewhere, Earn and Darius go to the extreme to procure a pair of Nike sneakers, adding more tension to an episode that seesaws from thriller to parody. “Crank Dat Killer” is a classic Paper Boi episode, and a showcase of Brian Tyree Henry’s talents. Al’s trademark skepticism and disbelief may seem natural, but Henry puts a lot of work into making the character feel so authentic. —AJ

Episode MVP: Alfred
Best quote: “Like a good n----, safe farm is there.” —Soulja Boy

14. “FUBU” (Season 2, Episode 10)

It’s not unfair to call “FUBU” the angstiest episode of Atlanta. This is partially due to the set-up: It’s a flashback narrative to freshman year of high school and the abominable worrying that accompanies this period in life. A teenage Earn tries to flex on a budget and gets bit by a fake FUBU jersey. He evades ridicule because of his cousin Al’s steady grace. But, like high school, the tension is rooted even more in the fact that everything we’re seeing is really just a test run. That the world works like this trifling, wearying place. So “FUBU” is about the ways we tear each other apart and the bonds that help lift us up. It wants you to know that sometimes we don’t really deserve either. —Lex Pryor

Episode MVP: Alfred
Best quote: “Confidence is the key, aight?” —Alfred

13. “Crabs in a Barrel” (Season 2, Episode 11)

The first two season finales of Atlanta were when the bills came due: After surreal departures, unspeakable horrors, and trivial endeavors, these final installments emphasized that the inexorable march of life (and the actual plot of the series) was continuing on, whether or not Earn or Al wanted it to. “Crabs in a Barrel,” the second season’s closing episode, finds Earn on the edge—trying to balance being a father and a manager and failing in both because of the other. Pajama parties and barber-related detours are fun, but at the end of the day the undeniable truth is that in Season 2, Earn was ineffective, weak, and outmatched. But that slightly changes when Earn plants a gun—the gun Uncle Willy gave him at the onset of Season 2—on rival rapper Clark County in the TSA line just before they embark on a European tour. He may have made a sketchy decision, but at least it was decisive—setting the stage for a more complex dynamic in Atlanta’s third season. —Andrew Gruttadaro

Episode MVP: Earn
Best quote: “N----s do not care about us. N----s gonna do whatever they gotta do to survive because they ain’t got no choice. We ain’t got no choice either. You my family, Earn. You’re the only one who knows what I’m about. You give a fuck. I need that. All right?” —Alfred

12. “B.A.N.” (Season 1, Episode 7)

The first six episodes of Atlanta may be the reason why the left-field nature of most of Season 3’s “step outs” felt so out of place: Viewers were used to getting a linear tale of three homies maneuvering through the rap industry. While Episode 7 of Season 1—which won Donald Glover an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series—doesn’t stray from that (this episode features Paper Boi doing a TV appearance after dropping some controversial comments on the timeline), “B.A.N.” feels like a proper departure (which is par for the course for an episode that Glover both directed and wrote on his own). The beauty of “B.A.N.” starts with the amount of time spent producing realistic TV commercials that’d play on a station like BET and ends with Paper Boi successfully winning a public access TV debate. Come for the Arizona “the price is on the can, though” spot, stay for the spot-on “trans-racial” tale of Antoine Smalls Harrison Booth, a Black guy who believes he’s a 35-year-old white man from Colorado. —khal

Episode MVP: Alfred
Best quote: “I go to the store, the movies, and just be thinking to myself, like, ‘Why am I not getting the respect I deserve?’ And then, it just hit me. I’m white … and 35.” —Harrison Booth

11. “Snipe Hunt” (Season 4, Episode 7)

Throughout Atlanta, Van and Earn have gone from lovers to exes to friends and everything in between, but after Season 3’s events in Europe it seemed they may end up as nothing more than cordial co-parents.

A key change took place toward the conclusion of Season 4’s premiere, though, as they staged their escape from alternate universe Atlantic Station.

“You’re just gonna leave me, and then I’m stuck here like the rest of your exes?” Van says to Earn, who’s about to venture solo into an emergency exit.

“I would never let you become one of them,” he says. “You know that, right?”

Atlanta’s never really pressed the issue of Van and Earn’s relationship, partly because neither party seemed concerned about labeling it while also navigating their late-20s and early-career insecurities. The relationship has come into focus during certain episodes—namely, Season 2’s “Helen”—but for the most part, it’s been a subplot in a broader narrative about the city and its culture.

In what felt like a nod to invested audiences, the on-again, off-again relationship finally found closure in “Snipe Hunt,” where a family camping trip for Lottie’s birthday doubles as Earn’s last chance to convince Van to move with him to Los Angeles.

While their daughter searches haplessly for a snipe, Van tells Earn that she doesn’t want to be his security blanket in L.A. Earn’s fighting for her, though, and he assures Van that he wants a family and isn’t afraid of being alone.

The back-and-forth continues, but eventually ends with Earn professing his love in a way we’ve never seen, and Van reluctantly agreeing to move. Lottie also catches that snipe—or perhaps a snake?—proving that sometimes long odds are meant to be overcome. —DC

Episode MVP: Lottie
Best quote: “I’m fighting for you, Van. You know me. I don’t fight for anything.” —Earn

10. “Juneteenth” (Season 1, Episode 9)

“Juneteenth” is Atlanta in chaotic harmony. It’s an excellent episode of television, the kind that just by putting one foot in front of the other evokes groans, chortles, hands-to-temples, and a general sense of disbelief. Earn and Van are at the worst party ever, neither really wants to be there, and they’ve got to stay all the same. They’re schmoozing with the Black elite in hopes of pulling themselves—and really, by extension, Lottie—up toward some form of stability. A white husband obsessed with Black culture is this level’s final boss. Wider themes include: the co-option of Black culture and also the pawning of it. But really the narrative’s about the things we do for love, even the type that’s withered. It works because the ridiculousness is so expectable. —LP

Episode MVP: Earn
Best quote: “This spooky thing called slavery happened and my entire ethnic identity was erased.” —Earn

9. “The Homeliest Little Horse” (Season 4, Episode 2)

What a fantastic episode of television. If you weren’t convinced by the Season 4 premiere, this is the episode that assured you Atlanta was officially back after an up-and-down Season 3. The story centers on an elaborate revenge plot by Earn to sabotage the life of a TSA officer who racially profiled him and ruined a planned trip to Princeton with Van and Lottie. The meaning of the trip to Princeton, Earn’s alma mater, is discussed in a series of therapy sessions in which Earn finally reveals why he dropped out. (Recall all the way back in the pilot when Alfred asks Earn’s father what happened at the school, to which Earn’s father replies, “I never asked. He’d tell you before me.”) Sullivan Jones gives a terrific performance as Earn’s psychiatrist—a rare depiction of two Black men in a therapist-patient relationship—and the episode culminates with a stinging twist that shows Atlanta at its best: a poignant blend of humor and melancholy. —AJ

Episode MVP: Earn
Best quote: “I love spite. It’s a pure, powerful thing.” —Earn

8. “Barbershop” (Season 2, Episode 5)

Here’s an exhaustive list, in chronological order, of the things Bibby the Barber says and does before giving Alfred a haircut:

  • Arrives late because his “commode” was backed up and his girlfriend hid the plunger
  • Explains his desire to open his own barbershop or—yes, really—buy a WNBA team
  • Asks Alfred whether he heard about the recent robbery of 100 phones from a T-Mobile store
  • Tells Alfred he has a plug on iPhones if the rapper knows anyone who has T-Mobile
  • Asks Alfred if he’s dating Kim Kardashian
  • Tells Alfred that he recently sneaked into AMC to see a movie
  • Begins eating an apple
  • Uses the bathroom and hands Alfred his phone so he can watch a YouTube clip of a basketball player driving an invisible car into a club
  • Answers a call from his girlfriend in the barbershop and swears that he’s already on I-85 and 10 minutes away from her place (actually quite relatable)
  • Drives Alfred to his girlfriend’s place
  • Tries to convince Alfred to switch cable providers to a company he just started working for
  • Asks Alfred if he wants a toothpick—for 50 cents
  • Arrives late to his girlfriend’s house and blames his tardiness on Alfred
  • Convinces his girlfriend’s son that Alfred is a magician
  • Cuts his girlfriend’s son’s hair
  • Gets caught stealing money from his girl’s purse
  • Promises to get Alfred Zaxby’s
  • Takes Alfred to a construction site, where he pulls a to-go box of half-eaten Zaxby’s out of a microwave
  • Steals—or “re-confiscates,” we never really find out—lumber from a construction site
  • Sees his son skipping school with his friends, proceeds to chase them down in his truck
  • Gets into a hit-and-run accident (he was at fault)

When the notoriously impatient Al has finally had enough, he grabs Bibby by his shirt and Bibby—realizing he’s pushed the limit—gives Alfred the “usual” cut.

Toward the end of the episode, Alfred’s seen walking into the shop some weeks later, this time to a different barber chair. He sits down and the new guy asks him questions that he doesn’t have answers to. There is no “usual” cut.

Alfred glances over at Bibby—who’s talking his shit and working his magic on another customer—perhaps regretting giving up on his enterprising former barber.

At its core, it seems, a trip to the barbershop is about opportunity cost. —DC

Episode MVP: Bibby
Best quote: “Sorry about the hit-and-run thing, but you know I can’t go back to jail, baby.” —Bibby

7. “Streets on Lock” (Season 1, Episode 2)

After our introduction to Earn, Al, and Darius closes with a bang and Al and Earn end up on the evening news, it’s an obvious choice to take us with Earn into jail as he awaits his fate. The episode, Stephen Glover’s first writing credit, marks an instance of a show feeling fully realized super early into its run. The entire conversation Earn is literally in the middle of regarding a love affair on the outside was an unexpected piece of brilliance (and an honest look at Earn’s stance on love without guidelines), as was Al’s face when he realized he was getting hooked up with the lemon pepper wet. It’s not all great chicken wings for rising star Al, though, as he spends most of this episode outside jail but constantly looking over his shoulder—for guys in Batman masks, for little kids emulating his crimes while they play—and realizing that maybe this dream of blowing up in the rap game isn’t what he was looking for. —khal

Episode MVP: Homie who hooked up the lemon pepper wet
Best quote: “Us humans are always close to destruction. Life itself is but a series of close calls. I mean, how would you know you were alive unless you knew you could die?” —Darius

6. “Andrew Wyeth. Alfred’s World.” (Season 4, Episode 9)

Maybe it’s just me, but ever since a guy with a Batman mask was spotted creeping on Alfred in Season 1’s “Streets on Lock,” I prepared myself for a world where Alfred may meet a grisly end before Atlanta, well, ends. I mention that to say that starting the penultimate episode of Atlanta, the series, with a bunch of gunfire had me feeling a way! Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw Alfred outside the city having to deal with [checks notes] feral hogs going after his pot crops. Moreso, it’s a story we don’t normally get to see. For most of my life, I’ve heard many wise folks speak of making enough money to retire somewhere comfortably. For everything Alfred has had to deal with, from altercations in the street as his single is just starting to hit radio to confusing traditions in Europe to, well, guys in Batman masks, Alfred has had to endure a lot. The fact that we get to see him scared of creatures in the wild, searching up machine repair on YouTube, or even almost getting folded by the tractor he got working, we got to see him do it. These stories don’t usually end with the rapper living to tackle the challenges of country living. It’s also a testament to the work of Brian Tyree Henry; during Atlanta’s run, we’ve seen him tackle everything from Broadway to the MCU; giving him a solo quest so close to the end is beautiful, leaf-cluttered hair and all. —khal

Episode MVP: Alfred
Best quote: “These backhoes ain’t loyal.” —Ya Boy from the “These Backhoes Ain’t Loyal” YouTube channel

5. “Alligator Man” (Season 2, Episode 1)

The Season 2 premiere of Atlanta has Florida Man, a thesis statement on “Robbin’ Season,” and the introduction of Tracy, one of the show’s deepest wells of comedic relief. But it stands out for two simpler reasons: a pitch-perfect Katt Williams as Earn’s Uncle Willy, and the emergence of the alligator that gives the episode its name. In a performance that’s all the more resonant because of his real life—when this episode premiered, Williams was just a couple years removed from stealing a photographer’s camera with Suge Knight and getting into a fight with a 17-year-old at a Gainesville soccer game—Williams is both hilarious and heartbreaking, a man full of pride and unlikely wisdom. It’s perhaps the show’s greatest cameo to date. And one of its best sequences to date is when Willy, the Alligator Man, unleashes his scaly friend to distract a group of cops who have arrived on his doorstep investigating a domestic dispute. As the Delfonics’ “Hey! Love” blares and the alligator saunters onto the front lawn, Uncle Willy makes his escape. —AG

Episode MVP: Uncle Willy
Best quote: “I would say nice to meet you, but I don’t believe in time as a concept, so I’ll just say we always met.” —Darius

4. “It Was All a Dream” (Season 4, Episode 10)

In typical Atlanta fashion, the series finale gave you something you’d been looking for (more Darius!) but not in the way you’d imagine. Centered on his hilarious device for tracking whether he’s zoned out in a sensory deprivation tank or experiencing real life, we get to experience life with Darius—be it deep conversations while waiting in line at the pharmacy, catching up with old friends, or rescuing your squad from the clutches of a new Black-owned sushi restaurant. AND we got a dope lesson on unity within our community to boot. Atlanta ends on a high note, leaving us with a chill, Inception-esque closer that will surely be debated in the coolest of circles for years to come. —khal

Episode MVP: Darius
Best quote: “I can’t stop thinking about the Popeyes.” —Van

3. “Woods” (Season 2, Episode 8)

The episode can be broken down into three parts. Alfred wakes up to the sound of his mother cleaning and singing; it’s the anniversary of her death. After picking himself up off the couch, he goes out with fellow entertainer Sierra, who inundates him with talk of his ineffectual manager and cringe-inducing concepts like his brand and his image. Part 2: the titular woods, where Al flees to and goes through a baptism of sorts via a mugging, a rotting deer, and a dreamlike encounter with a man (ghost?) named Wiley. Part 3: acceptance. Stumbling into a convenience store, he’s recognized by a white kid. This time, Alfred doesn’t flip out like he did when Sierra took a photo earlier in the episode. “Wanna picture?” he asks. He looks dead into the kid’s iPhone and smiles, his teeth stained with blood. Something’s changed. Alfred will never again be the man he was when he woke up that morning. —AG

Episode MVP: Alfred
Best quote: “You’re wasting time. And the only people who got time are dead.” —Wiley

2. “The Goof Who Sat by the Door” (Season 4, Episode 8)

It’s hard to tell what one should expect when a show like Atlanta ends. There’s enough time where, when you get to the eighth episode of the series’ final 10-episode season, you could either be setting up the end of your story, or you could drop a perfectly crafted mockumentary about that time in 1992 when a guy named Thomas Washington ran Disney. Produced by B.A.N. (the same network from the iconic seventh episode of Season 1), we get the story of Washington’s rise, which includes A Goofy Movie, which is said to be laced with deeper meaning for Black folks than what we’ve already taken from this animated classic. If this were any other series? I’d be pissed. (I’m glad Westworld won’t be able to pull this kind of malarky.) At this point in Atlanta’s run, viewers have been trained for this kind of curveball—the only reference to the story they’ve been telling is the network that produced this “documentary.” That said, if Atlanta had one more heater left in the chamber; one more “step-out” or risk to take before closing out their awe-inspiring time on television? Let’s go out with an “examination” of a film that legitimately has held a place in the community for decades. —khal

Episode MVP: Thomas “Tom” Washington
Best quote: “Of course I am! I’m Goofy.” —Thomas “Tom” Washington

1. “Teddy Perkins” (Season 2, Episode 6)

Donald Glover has the golden heart of a troll. His desire to avoid giving an audience what they want or expect seems insatiable, as if the act of swinging for the fences is more important than whether the gambit connects.

“Teddy Perkins,” written by Glover and directed by Hiro Murai, shouldn’t work. It’s a TV show built on physics that are as combustible as they are creative. “Teddy Perkins” is a bottle episode that sequesters Darius from the main cast, at a time in the show’s existence when the alchemy of the main trio was electric. Instead of examining the ludicrous nature of the modern music industry, Atlanta’s 16th episode mines the past. Trapped in a mansion built on the generational trauma of a deteriorating soul musician, the 34 minutes unspool as a two-hander between Darius and an unrecognizable Glover, who plays Teddy.

Behind pasty skin and sharp prosthetics, Glover delivers the signature performance of his career by excavating the doomed stories of preternaturally talented Black musicians like Michael Jackson. Teddy’s petulant rage and mocking falsetto feel like they contain the complexities of a generation of creatives desperately trying to live up to parental expectations that could lift themselves and their Black families out of destitution forever.

Like a mirror, “Teddy Perkins” reflects a light back on Atlanta’s chief creative force, Donald Glover. It interrogates the role that ambition plays in a Black soul, which it contorts and gnarls. Watching Teddy eat a soft-boiled ostrich egg, complete with a thick, dripping chicken-noodle-esque yolk, is like observing the effects of a life curdle before your eyes. It’s what happens when a talented family—now living on the fringes of society—is trapped in a coffin of its own aspiration. No matter how much Teddy tries to reclaim time, throughout the episode we’re forced to recognize that the world of Black art, and especially music, moves on. Alfred, Earn, and Darius are the music industry’s present for now, and depending upon their lot in life they may end up devolving into a Teddy.

“Teddy Perkins” changed the scope of Atlanta. From that moment on, the creative bounds of the show became endless. By becoming unrecognizable, Glover delivered potentially the most honest moment of his career, a story about how the art that sustains a person is often the very thing that’s destroying them from the inside out. —Charles Holmes

Episode MVP: Darius
Best quote: “Most people wouldn’t understand. To make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. I mean, to build bridges, people have to fall.” —Teddy Perkins

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