Atlanta ’Robbin’ Season’ Season 2 Episode 1 Review ’Alligator Man’

***Spoilers Ahead***

Alligator Man

 Donald Glover (right). Photo: Guy D'Alema/FX

If there's one thing that the first season of Atlanta made very clear, it's that the Donald Glover vehicle does not rely on any sort of formulaic concept. An episode like 'Value' solely focused on Van instead of the show's protagonist while an installment like 'B.A.N' decided to use a different plot structure entirely and omit most of the main cast. Nevertheless, the second season premiere of the Emmy-winning comedy does parallel the beginning of the first season by opening 'Alligator Man' with an intense shoot-out at a fast food restaurant. Aside from that, 'Alligator Man' takes some familiar themes and mixes them together with new and interesting storylines to create an engaging season opener. 

Following the shooting debacle, the series returns right where it left off with Earn sleeping in his storage locker. Afterward, the bulk of the episode takes place in Willy's (Kat Williams) house with the police surrounding him after he lightly kidnaps Yvonne for stealing his money. The most enjoyable moments of the episode come from Earn's hopeless persistence to defuse the situation. Glover's generally collected personality brilliantly plays off the slightly senile, maniac Williams. The suspenseful atmosphere also helps further the story in both the comedy and drama department. While Willy's interactions with the policemen were hilarious, the looming threat of being arrested or gunned down stunts the comedy a bit and creates a much-needed serious vibe. This somber tone follows through to the moment when Earn and Willy make amends. That particular scene helps humanize the cartoonish Willy and portray his character in a more sensible light. But, the drama does end up taking a justifiable backseat when Willy makes a run for it and finally releases the alligator that was teased throughout the installment in a beautifully hysterical moment.

Moreover, 'Alligator Man' introduces a thought-provoking scenario during the final act. During his conversation with Willy, Earn admits that he fears that Alfred no longer needs him and explains how he hopes they don't drift away. Given the crucial role that Earn played in Alfred's rap career before, this comes as a shock and will be an interesting avenue for the series to explore. Additionally, Earn's financial instability and homeless status continue to play a crucial role in the grand scheme of Atlanta. One can't help but pity Glover's character and simultaneously root for him to eventually make ends meet. Plot aside, Darius continues to supply us with his signature, conspiracy-based style of comedy and Stanfield expectedly excels in this role. From his speech about Florida Man to his general nonchalant behavior, Darius is always a welcome addition to the series and never fails to provide laughs.

In the end, 'Alligator Man' is a flawless episode of Atlanta. This outing perfectly captures the strengths of the first season while introducing new characters and opening up fresh storylines. If I had to offer some criticism, I would gripe about the fact that Van was absent and that the hostile situation between Darius and Alfred was hardly resolved and barely explained. But, I expect the writers and cast members to explore those details in future episodes of what looks to be another incredible season. 

Stray Thoughts
  • I wonder if the events of the shooting will play a part in the plot of future episodes. 
  • Makes me sad to see Darius and Alfred on bad terms.
  • Surprised that Van was nowhere to be found.
  • Katt Williams was amazing in his role. 
  • I definitely didn't expect to see that alligator. 
  • Flaming hot Cheetos definitely have a 'hot' flavor. 
  • I expect 'Florida Man' to make an appearance soon. 
  • Overall, really glad to have this show back. 

Grade: A

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