Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Atlanta Season 1 Ep. 10 Recap: 'The Jacket'

Photo: Quantrell Colber/FX
For the finale to a superb freshman season, Atlanta's season finale "The Jacket," revels in some of the series' familiar absurdity while bringing things home on a more grounded, emotional note.

We first happen upon Earn being awakened by slightly irritated homeowner, who places was laid waste to by trip. We're talking trash all over the living room floor and a trash can sit on fire. Yeah, it was of those nights, one that included a trip to the strip club and rapping along to early 00's hits like Nelly's "Ride Wit' Me" and J.Lo's "I'm Real" remix, Ja Rule mumble and all.  As the aforementioned acquaintance tells Earn in no uncertain terms to step in a variety of ways ("It's like I know ya'll, but I don't know ya'll, kno' what I mean?"), he realizes he can't find a jacket he had on the night before. Alfred, who left hours ago, is no help, so Earn, after scoring a free chicken sandwich, travels back to the strip club to search for it.

It's pretty much common knowledge that strip clubs are to the ATL what brunch/lunch spots are everywhere else--meaning people literally go to strip clubs in Atlanta to eat lunch, so its no surprise the bar is open in the middle of the day. Earn unsuccessfully tries to get the bouncer with kicking in that $10 cover charge, and though he makes a contact with a chill, ambitious stripper (and possible future video girl--Mama made sure Earn had those digits before he left!), he's no closer to finding his jacket.

Joining Alfred and Darius on their beloved outdoor couch--which, come to think of it, now reminds me of Nickelodeon's SNICK couch from back in the gap--Earn expresses a little remorse for how they destroyed ol' boy's house, while Alfred's in his usual "fuck it" mode, saying he doesn't even remember last night, though he did managed to document it via Snapchat.

"This rap shit is all about appearances," Alfred says, as he and Darius agree it's time start perfecting the art of stunting to give the image of success. After seeing him be so conflicted and unhappy in his role as rapper, it is nice to see Alfred feeling more comfortable in his celebrity. Hopefully no more homes will have to suffer for the good vibes to continue, but hey, that's why renters' insurance exists.

After getting off the phone, Earn explains he'll have to cough up 50 bucks for Uber driver Fidel to bring him his jacket, but instead manages to convince Alfred to drive him by Fidel's house. While their "negro stakeout," Earn gets call from rapper Senator K asking if Alfred will join him on tour. Things are looking up for Paperboi! Alfred's too on edge to absorb the good news though; thinking something is off with the whole scenario, he starts drive off when the jump out boys do what they do best, descending on them seemingly out of thin air with guns drawn, asking if they were attempting to buy weapons or drugs from Fidel. Apparently F Money was involved in shit far more nefarious than lifting bomber jackets from drunk customers.

Just then, Fidel appears and tries to make a run for it before getting lit up with bullets and collapsing in his front yard. Undeterred by the fact a dead man wearing his bomber and his body barely dipped to room temperature, Earn walks up to one of the officers and awkwardly asks him to check the jacket's pockets to find whatever had him pressed enough to embark on this journey in first place, but no luck.

Once back at Alfred's, Darius retires inside to prepare for a night of weirdness (he swallowed the two blunts he had on him in the jump out boy panic) and Alfred tosses Earn a roll of bills, his first real money made a manager. "You did good," Alfred tells him, and the two share a look that really makes you feel their bond goes beyond opportunistic cousin and hustling rapper. We've seen Earn stumble so much in trying to push Alfred's career forward, at times to his cousin's vocal exasperation, that it's nice to see under all the bickering and World Star Hip Hop situations they manage to become ensnared in that each one appreciates the other.

Earn goes home to Van and his daughter, and after getting back what he thought was lost in his jacket, a key, he gives Van some of his Paperboi money and tells her he'll come by tomorrow. Walking to a storage place, he takes the key to unlock one of the garages and lays down on a bed, then turns off the light.

Earn may be still technically homeless, but judging from the look of focused calm on his face, he finally appears to be finding a direction. It's fitting the last musical choice for Altanta's inaugural season would be Outkast's "Elevators," from their sophomore release ATLiens. Like that classic release, this has been a deeply strange, southern, profoundly creative black experience.

See ya next year!

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