Atlanta ’Robbin’ Season’ Season 2 Episode 6 Review ’Teddy Perkins’

***Spoilers Ahead***

Teddy Perkins

Photo: Lakeith Stanfield. Credit: FX/Atlanta

Atlanta has a commendable habit of rewarding each main character with an episode to have their moment in the spotlight. From season 1's 'Value' to this season's 'Barbershop', the comedy consistently provides meaningful and humorous installments focusing on one member of Atlanta's talented cast. While that aspect of 'Teddy Perkins' is similar to previous stories, the episode is drastically different from them. In fact, 'Teddy Perkins' is unlike anything the show has ever tackled. The ominous setting and intricate narrative make for a captivating and surprisingly chilling outing.

First off, the writers deceive the viewers by starting out with a fairly simplistic storyline. Darius drives to Theodore Perkin's mansion to obtain a free piano with multi-colored keys. Slowly but surely, Atlanta begins to escalate the situation and raise the stakes. Through Teddy stalling and leaving Darius trapped, the installment foreshadows the gruesome climax and crafts the sinister mood. Additionally, the abnormal personality of Perkins combined with the menacing environment of the mansion produced a frightening and dire scenario. While I wouldn't expect Atlanta to kill off a main character, the events of the episode had me fearing for Darius's life at times. This displays how raw and intense the show can get and the way it can create serious conflict despite usually being fixated on comedy. Furthermore, I enjoyed how calm and collected Darius remained throughout. Even at gunpoint, he kept a tranquil mood and attempted to talk some sense into Teddy. Since the series rarely focuses on Stanfield's character, 'Teddy Perkins' gave him a chance to showcase his acting abilities and he succeeded in a marvelous way. Moreover, the audience got to learn more about his past and his own father troubles. This moment of character development gave Darius the opportunity to move out of his comic relief comfort zone. Also, the final scene between him and Teddy felt genuine and heartwarming.

Outside of Darius, Atlanta dishes out some very profound commentary about how fame tears apart lives and relationships. The jealousy that Teddy feels about his brother and the pain that his father put him through adds a ton of depth and separates him from a traditional antagonist. The connections between his situation and the likes of Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye makes the story all too relevant. One can only wonder if this foreshadows or will tie into Paperboi's success as he continues to build a large presence in the rap game. As the episode comes to an end, both Teddy and Benny reach the end of their lives. There are signs pointing to Teddy actually being Benny and Benny being his father. If so, the parallelism between Benny's story and Marvin Gaye's was wonderfully tragic. Also, like many Atlanta episodes, a character leaves without accomplishing his goal. Darius never received his multi-colored piano just like Teddy never got the fame, recognition, or love he wanted. It's a beautifully somber ending that only a show like Atlanta could pull off.

'Teddy Perkins' is a concrete and amazingly complex episode of Atlanta. There are many different theories about who Teddy and Benny really were. The beauty of the series is how people who collectively enjoy it can interpret the events in a different way. Overall, the amazing cinematography, impeccable writing, and phenomenal acting all tied together to create a thirty-four-minute masterpiece.

Stray Thoughts
  • I had no idea that Donald Glover played Teddy Perkins. In fact, I never would've known if I didn't see articles talking about it.
  • In the home video that Teddy was watching, the father referred to the kid as Benny. That makes it seem that Teddy is really Benny. 
  • These past two episodes have been great, but I hope the show has some episodes with the entire ensemble in one setting. 
  • Darius's hat made the episode worthy of an Emmy. 
  • Early in the episode, Teddy played a recording reminding himself to wash his hands. That beautifully tied into the scene where Darius found blood on the piano key. 
  • "U dead yet?" - Paperboi's hilariously blunt text to Darius. 

Grade: A+

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