Parents imprint on us. No matter where we live, especially in our heads, we don’t live ‘rent-free.
One of my favorite quotes is from someone who knew too much about family-
“Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.”
Welcome to the eighth episode of Atlanta (FX) titled “New Jazz.”
There’s nothing like drugs. It opens you up, it loosens you up and it shows what your other half consists of.
As Al (Brian Tyree Henry) and Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) partake in the lovely unlimited smoke and all the Netherlands can handle, they are bonding. The thing is that they also break up in paths.
Sometimes friends need to bake you lovely and teach you what is what.
This comes in the form of love. Earn (Donald Glover) brings cashola to the table and watches over Alfred. He’s got everyone covered.
In transit to the weed spot, Al spots someone in a Goofy hat. Darius warns him not to be like that guy, tweaking.
Nepalese Space Cake. If you forget everything in this article, remember those words… because, with one sip, you will assuredly forget.
Though Al doesn’t know what he’s partaking in, there’s one thing that is for certain: the movie Cats is underrated.
Sauntering through the streets, the drug is beginning to take effect.
They wax about Stereolab and their song “The Flower Called Nowhere“.
Well, that flower was in their tea and now in their bloodstream. I, for one, couldn’t be more jealous.
Time slows down for Paper Boi, scurrying through the avenues. He’s realizing that life is a happier endeavor for everybody.
Everybody but himself.
This is until he spots a rat suffering on the street. Darius pulls no punches, totally unphased by the grotesque display of reality. The adventure continues.
In fact, he tries to lead Al past a few black people, labeling them as tourists.
Al’s mind is elsewhere, finding a siren in the form of a courtesan through a glass window. This is the Red District, after all.
But before he can ruminate, a scuffle ensues, shoving him into an alley.
Al is famous. He’s no longer Alfred.
He’s Paper Boi and that fame comes at a high coin. All because of a stupid hat, and with the fans left without a signature, they steal the next best thing… a baby, before tossing it.
With a woman wailing in earshot, Al is down bad.
Though of slight consternation, it’s of no concern to us surveying. It’s nearly perverse.
She’s part and parcel of an art installation.
Al’s met with a woman that doesn’t like his hat. She roasts him for that sartorial choice. This is Lorraine (Ava Grey).
As he takes a gander at the museum, the sax player included, she keeps on roasting the poor guy.
She’s a puck. Think of her like a Bat-Mite.
Her unique hot take on the art is as offensive as it is beautiful.
I’ve been that person before. A total fucking dick in the name of being precious. Holding something as sacrosanct when it’s anything but. I mean, that’s why bad art exists.
Al’s over it, though. She’s annoying, but also a standard. Again, Bat-Mite.
She speaks in riddles and isn’t exactly a fan of his.
She does posit a pointed query: Does he own his masters?
This could be taken another way as well.
Say hello to Lorraine. They haven’t been formally introduced until now, but now that we are, she gets real- really quick.
This starts with a warning shot, for him to replace the bomb ass pork-pie with a Goofy hat.
This is for him to become what he fears most- being corny.
With him donning what is basically a Dunce Cap, the adventure can proceed!
As she smokes, he realizes there are a bunch more people with the same hats.
Sauntering through the Red District, he loses her for a moment.
He’s in panic mode until her soothing voice guides him back. No cap, I can easily follow her to the ends of the Earth as well. It’s called a siren. It’s called a voice. A vox in your brain, and sometimes, those are the sweetest.
She’s inducting him into a new, exclusive club.
These are the things only spake about in back alleys and in code. He’s now a bonified card-carrying member. He’s New Jazz.
Apparently, everybody is hip to the term, save for him.
Once seated in the Crimson Club, he’s treated to a White Hennesey, neat. The Chris Evans.
While meeting other patrons, assuming he knows other more popular rappers, he’s not in on the joke with his Goofy hat. In fact, he’s front and center and now wishing that he hadn’t followed Lorraine down that garden path.
All immediately presume that he and Lorraine are bedtime buddies, but Al tosses ice on that hot mess of a story.
They go hard on them actually fucking, but he denies it because in his mind, she’s batshit insane and why would he?
Ostensibly, she’s a sexual sniper for brothers. They even have a fucked up term for her exploits: 106 & Park.
Alfred needs a drink after his drink, a pre-drink. No amount of booze could ease the horrible nature of the atmosphere, but he bellies up to the bar and who is his better angel?
Liam-fucking-Neeson playing himself.
It is within him getting his drink that we find out the name of the joint- Cancel Club. I know, it’s a bit on the nose, but you can always boop and still be savage.
Liam talks about his transgression, and as aberrant and abhorrent as his words may fall, they land with a semblance of elegance.
The frightening thing is he still harbors those feelings. Those very toxic feelings. It’s something he’s trying to grapple with and this takes Paper Boi aback.
Now, for the record, Liam is the sweetest guy and he’s just playing a role.
With that being said, he leaves Al with an interesting parting word: the best part of being white is, given all the horrible, racist shit he may have said, he doesn’t have to learn anything he doesn’t want to.
He’s non-compos mentis, which Al can understand.
With the red curtain a la David Lynch behind the stage, Paper Boi is called up only to be saved by Lorraine, guiding him elsewhere.
It’s now daytime and he has no idea where the adventure will drag him. I mean, he didn’t know how to say “NO” back there.
Lorraine’s got a hold on him, but he’s not having it.
She assures him that growing a pair of balls isn’t the worst thing to come out of the experience. In fact, she spits facts. His fam got him looking like a goddamn fool, but he can’t see it.
He can’t see him looking Goofy. He can’t take stock of any of his potential. He can’t feel any of it because he can’t feel anything.
The chronic is now kicking in hard as fuck and in an “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” Midsommar way, he’s willing to know that the bud hit but hard.
We open up nearly where the first episode left off: in a hotel room, safe in bed.
Earn’s been keeping vigil over his cousin. Al was in a bad way, passing out on the street.
The funny thing though is Alfred asks but one question: Where is Lorraine?
It turns out, that Lorraine was the name of his mother.
Who owns his masters? He does. He sure as hell does.
I really like how this episode ended. With Earn taking care of not only his client but his cousin. He legitimately cares for him and hearing that he owns his masters surprised me but just reaffirm that Earn is looking out for Al’@ best interest. These guys have come a long way since the first season. Earn was living in a storage building (been there myself) now they are in Europe staying in nice hotels. This is one of my favorite shows currently on. Sometime it makes me uncomfortable with some of the topics/situations but honestly that’s needed sometimes. The building tension in episodes while getting some release is never fully released. At the end of the day everyone makes out ok but then again never 100% “OK”
This sounded better in my head…. oh well I’m exhausted and typing my stream of consciousness with my thumbs on a tiny phone screen… Shit was doomed from the start…
We as humans, were doomed to start.