'Atlanta' Episode 2, 'Sportin' Waves': The Reality of Streaming Services & The Perks of a 'No Chase Policy'
Last week's season 2 premiere of Atlanta, which garnered 2.3 million total viewers, began on a high note, giving viewers a much-needed comedic lesson in “Florida Man” and the true power of an alligator in the room -- ultimately getting Earn’s uncle, Willie, out of a run-in with the police.
Robbin’ Season heads right back into it with a number of burglary motifs throughout Thursday night's (March 8) episode 2, titled “Sportin’ Waves,” with a scene of Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) and (what seems to be his go-to) drug dealer. Set in a car, about to do a drug deal, his “connect” pulls a gun out on the rapper after he put in an order for some weed and molly. Ironically enough, his drug dealer feels remorse, frequently apologizing, but still threatens Alfred (after all that) with a gun to hand over his backpack and keys.
What’s interesting about this scene is seeing Paper Boi’s demeanor -- not that he has much of a choice in the situation -- but he seems to just accept the fact that he has to take one big “L.” Touching on themes of scarcity in the 'hood and doing what’s necessary to survive, Paper Boi knows that's just part of the game, and also does not have much of a choice seeing he’s still on probation.
This particular episode presents many scenarios of Earn (Donald Glover), Paper Boi, Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) and Tracy (Khris Davis) dealing with white people in Atlanta, and the absurdities that come with it. With so many social implications throughout the 30-minute show, “Sportin’ Waves” is sporting some major realness along with priceless wit.
Run through the highlights from episode 2 below.
Earn and Paper Boi Go Tech
Debatably one of the most humorous moments of the show, dynamic duo Earn and Paper Boi visit a streaming-service company with no diversity whatsoever, displaying nothing but white people in a super hip office filled with ping-pong tables and “organic” snacks. Earn thinks it’s smart for his cousin to be there as the money will be worth it after the gig is over and it’ll give him more exposure in the music industry. From attempting to pass along Paper Boi’s new music on a CD to recording a promo for the company’s rap playlist, it was obvious Earn and Paper Boi stood out like sore thumbs. Alfred couldn't stand being there as he knows deep down, no one there was actually a hip-hop aficionado.
There’s a point where he gets onstage among the employees and their desks waiting to perform, only to realize that none of the employees are actually giving him the time of day. Exuding minimal effort, Paper Boi begins rapping very few lyrics until he’s completely over the environment and walks offstage. He gives the mic to the only one white male (eating a banana) in the room waiting for him to perform.
There’s no other way to put it other than how Earn describes the place, claiming it has a “vibe" -- sarcastically, of course.
Even Drug Dealers Can Be Fan Boys
Since Paper Boi’s initial connect for drugs isn't a reliable source anymore, he sets out to find another person he can buy marijuana from, but this time, with the help of Darius. Darius recommends one guy, who they go to, but he keeps taking photos of the two. While Alfred and Darius are sniffing different types of weed, the dealer is sneaking in photos of them doing so. There’s a point where Alfred even calls him out, but he steps aside to the corner to take another photo with his back facing them.
Darius’ phone buzzes and and he sees that the dealer posted a photo of the duo on Instagram with the caption, “Real n*ggas working #igotthatpaper.”
In another attempt to find weed, Paper Boi and Darius end up at a young (white) male’s house, looking somewhat hipster in appearance. Paper Boi is incredibly high, and shows appreciation for the quality of kush he sells. The dealer insists that he’ll give him a “good discount because he’s a fan," but Paper Boi and Darius were annoyed with his response. When the dealer -- deemed Andy -- realizes the distraught looks on their faces, he retracts his statement and says he’s playing.
Andy, not taking social cues whatsoever, continues raving about Paper Boi and admits that he’s a fan because of his girlfriend -- who he refers to as “gangsta.” He asks Alfred for his phone number and while skeptical, he obliges.
Almost immediately after leaving, still ridiculously high, Paper Boi receives a text from Andy saying, “Yo good meeting you bro…check out my girl.” He sends over a YouTube link of his (white) girlfriend covering Paper Boi’s song. She literally turned an Atlanta rap anthem to an acoustic cover. How dare she.
As they play the video, Darius utters, “White girls love that shit.” Paper Boi had enough and put his phone away when he hears it vibrate once more. Now, the girlfriend texts Paper Boi in a group chat along with her boyfriend saying, “Hey, this is Amber. I’m a big fan.” Andy chimes in suggesting they all meet up for drinks and Paper Boi simply throws his phone out of the window in front of the dealer’s home. Ignorance is truly bliss for some.
No Window Shopping When There’s a No Chase Policy
Tracy, who is staying with Alfred for the time being, heads to the mall to go shopping for a big job interview, and Earn joins him in an effort to double the money he received from selling puppies. Tracy told him he could double his $4,000 in cash in gift cards, and so they are off to the mall.
As they are shopping for shoes, Earn asks Tracy if the gift cards work at that particular store. Tracy says, “I don’t know. I’m going to take this shit. They have a no chase policy. They have a no chase policy, they can’t stop me. Most stores have it. It’s a liability thing.” He literally walks out acknowledging the employee in the store in what was an extremely anti-climatic moment.
Fast-forward to Tracy’s interview. He's in the waiting room with the other applicants. The friendly woman who works at the office invites him in and he takes off his doo rag as he heads into the room with the (white) male interviewer. Eventually, after rounds of questions, the interviewer tells Tracy that he can’t offer him a job because they are “fully staffed." Tracy stands up from his chair and begins freaking out, knowing it was a race issue. Calling the man racist, and the need for more black people at that company, Tracy furiously walks out. While completely unfair, at least Tracy walked out of that office looking fly and “sportin’ waves.”
Atlanta Robbin’ Season continues Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.