The last episode of Atlanta’s season three aired in the middle of May. If you’ve seen it, there’s a good chance that some of the episodes have stuck with your mind. To this day, we’re still wondering about some of the excursions involving Earn, Al, Darius, and Van. Even more, this season premiered some one-off episodes that don’t even feature the show’s main characters and usually provide some serious modern social commentary. It all leads to a haunting cliffhanger, leaving many to speculate how the fourth season will proceed.
***Atlanta Season 3 Spoilers Ahead***
Most of the season’s episodes focused on the eerie, the ominous, and the downright devious elements of the show’s writing. The tone is set early in “Three Slaps,” where two friends are night fishing on Lake Lanier. The white man tells the black man that the lake resulted from a flood that killed a prosperous black town. After the two discuss “whiteness” and the curse of the two races, the black man is engulfed by the hands of the deceased black people. That’s just the first three minutes of the episode.
The white man (first referred to as “White” and later as “E”) reappears in short, but impressionable scenes throughout the season. Many are convinced that he is a ghost, symbolizing a parallel to Earn (Donald Glover) and what curses follow him if Glover was a white man. The end credits result in Glover receiving E’s duffel bag containing a Deftones shirt, pills, and a portrait of his family.
Many plot threads are left open when it comes to Al, Darius, and Van. Al’s (Bryan Tyree Henry) journey as an artist is left disjointed, as he confronts his relationship with success, fame, and a stolen phone. Van’s (Zazie Beetz) development reaches a breaking point as she abandons Lottie–her and Earn’s child–in the states. She finds a new life in France before realizing that she has strayed too far from her original life. The character of Darius has the most subtle change but his character is met with more challenges. When facing racism and gentrification, Darius feels guilt and pain but cannot necessarily confront the situation assertively.
This season took viewers on a wild ride throughout Europe, as well as the United States. In addition to Three Slaps, “The Big Payback,” “Trini 2 De Bone,” and “Rich Wigga, Poor Wigga” discuss disconnects between black and white people on American soil. Though these episodes lack our main characters, the direction (Glover and Hiro Murai) and writing (Stephen Glover, Donald’s younger brother) are some of the best yet.
In an interview with Deadline, Beetz talks about the show’s final season and what it could mean for the core four characters moving forward.
“We wanted to end this season or end that episode with the feeling of some things have been addressed, but not necessarily solved,” said Beetz.
It has been announced that season four will be the show’s last, leaving many to speculate what will happen. Our guess is as good as anyone’s, but we have some ideas on what will happen.
“I think in Season 4, there’s a continuation of identity searching…The final season is really about homecoming and what that means,” said Beetz.
Homecoming might be the key phrase here. Ironically, this past season of Atlanta primarily took our characters overseas. Except for the one-off episodes, which take place in the US (or in Earn’s subconscious), the show depicts the gang on a music tour in Europe. The highly-anticipated return to the homeland will be coming this fall of 2022.
Whatever happens, Twisted Magazine will be tuning in.