April 6, 2022
Donald Glover recently returned to television when he released the third season of “Atlanta”, for which he is a writer, executive producer and actor. Episodes are released once a week, but just from taking a look at the three episodes that are out thus far, season three has a lot of promise.
“Atlanta” has always been deeply concerned with diving into contemporary social issues, but with the characters moving out of the locational norm of Atlanta, Glover’s critiques have changed aims.
The main targets that “Atlanta” seems to be pointed at are ignorant, white liberals, or what I believe conservatives might describe as “the ‘woke’ left”. The first episode follows the story of a white couple that routinely adopts black children. What originally appears to be simple, tone-deafness and microaggression from them quickly manifests into something sinister. I found myself gawking at the TV when I finally realized what was actually taking place before me.
It is difficult to say what exactly makes Glover such an effective social critic. He has a unique knack for defamiliarizing everything we see. It is subtle, but through the masterful acting and meticulously paced shots, something uncanny begins to form, which almost always consummates in a dramatic plot shift further down the road.
You get the sense that something is off from the very beginning, but you have to stick around to find out exactly what that is.
The show is also tremendous at concealing insightful remarks through humor. Lakeith Stanfield, who plays Darius Epps, is tremendous as the comedic relief. His character is typically laid back and ultra-chill, but that only makes his piercing remarks all the more impactful.
“Atlanta” is unparalleled when it comes to using brilliant critiques to shock its audience out of a lolled state of aesthetic enjoyment.