Atlanta ’Robbin’ Season’ Season 2 Episode 2 Review ’Sportin’ Waves’

***Spoilers Ahead***

Sportin' Waves

Brian Tyree Henry (left), Donald Glover (right). Photo: Guy D'Alema (FX)
After focusing on the hilarious Katt Williams in the season opener, 'Sportin' Waves' marks Atlanta's return to Al's struggle with fame and the rap game. Money has always been an essential component in the grand scheme of Atlanta, but this outing puts it in center stage. Between Paperboi being robbed at gunpoint and Tracy stealing shoes, 'Sportin' Waves' makes it clear that Robbin' Season shows no mercy.

The episode starts with Paperboi being robbed by his plug at gunpoint. This scene beautifully sets up the theme of the episode. It also nicely taps into the darker side of the series. But, while Al's life is on the line, it's hard not to find some humor in this scene. Al's plug robs him in a ridiculously casual manner. It's basically comparable to as if he were simply borrowing money. Because of that, the cold opening perfectly captures the dramatic and comedic sides of the show. Afterward, 'Sportin' Waves' shifts gears as Alfred and Earn visit music outreach and meet with Peter "35" Savage to build their brand. Despite being a loyal viewer of the series, the organic quality of Atlanta's scenes and verbal exchanges never cease to amaze me. From Peter Savage struggling to play Paperboi's music to the awkward talks between Earn and Savage, every situation and conversation feels precisely like one that could take place in the real world.

In the second act, Alfred and Darius meet up with two different weed suppliers and Alfred continues to feel the pressure of fame come down on him. Al being flooded with endless fan praise and an embarrassing acoustic cover truly displays the fact that being Paperboi has its drawbacks. The writers do a perfect job encompassing the awkward, claustrophobic atmosphere of each setting. It flawlessly shows how the price of fame can take a toll on an individual. For Al, the price of fame left him short of a phone by the end of the episode.

Moreover, the Earn plot features a callback to season 1's 'The Streisand Effect' as Darius graciously comes through with $4,000 worth of puppy money. Unfortunately for Earn, he ends up losing it all after he falls for Tracy's credit card scheme. It's hilariously ironic that Earn both earned the money and lost it through separate shady schemes. It also adds to the constant financial misfortunes that have plagued his character throughout the show. Nevertheless, despite the miserable mood surrounding his setback, the story is packed with funny moments. The chemistry between the upbeat Tracy and down-to-earth Earn provides a lot of laughs in the same way that the banter between Willy and Earn did in 'Alligator Man'. Of course, the highlight of this plotline is when Tracy steals the shoes due to the 'no-chase policy'. It introduces the audience to the devious side of his character and simultaneously contributes to the robbing that plagues the episode from start to end.

In all, 'Sportin' Waves' is another solid episode of this dark comedy. Given Atlanta's nature, it felt appropriate that nobody won in the end. Earn was cheated out of $4,000 from Tracy. Tracy was cheated out of a job. Alfred was cheated out of his money by his plug. Alfred's plug now has a target on his head. This cycle of robbing runs rampant in a beautiful way. It may be a bit distressing seeing our protagonists struggle through these mishaps, but it definitely makes for great story-telling.

Stray Thoughts
  • Earn watching Paperboi through the window while eating that small box of Cheerios killed me. 
  • I really felt sorry for the worker at the shoe store.
  • Glad to see Darius come through with the puppy money. Shows that his crazy schemes do end up working out. 
  • I hate to admit it, but the Paperboi acoustic cover wasn't that bad. 
  • The Yoo-hoo commercial felt like a subtle dig at Lil Yachty's Sprite ads.

Grade: A-

What did you think of 'Sportin' Waves'?


What did you think of 'Sportin' Waves'? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »