The premiere, titled “The Most Atlanta” wastes no time in its initial moments, opening with a Target overcome with looters. Darius, there only to return an air fryer he no longer desires after “realizing [he] has an oven,” is unable to fulfill his refund amidst the chaos, and is forced to walk back out with the appliance. Mistaken for one of the looters, we’re reminded of an infamous moment from Summer 2020, and here a woman in a wheelchair begins pursuing Darius with a knife. She follows him out of the store and around the city, as he spends the entirety of the episode trying to escape her.
Meanwhile, Alfred, stuck in traffic, learns of the death of rapper “Blue Blood.” Listening to his posthumous album, he begins to realize that the lyrics contain a scavenger hunt around Atlanta. Earn and Vanessa, however, running an errand at the mall, find themselves in a purgatory of former lovers, some of which have been caught in the inescapable loop of the shopping center since “Now You See Me 2 [was in theaters.]”
This introductory episode is effective in relocating the series back to its home city. As each character is on their mission—Darius, Earn, and Van set on escaping as Alfred pursues discovery—we are transported throughout the streets of Atlanta. It makes a poignant declaration about the inescapability and interconnectedness of Black relationships.
“The Most Atlanta” touches on this statement by juxtaposing past relationships with ones in limbo, and by analyzing the pathos between Black musicians and their audiences and the flippancy of white racism. It synthesizes love, violence, and confusion into an expert investigation of what motivates the pursuits of Black people.
The show’s cinematography remains simple throughout the season, with steady camera movements and long takes allowing the outstanding performances to steer the scenes. Yet, among the expected amount of absurdist comedy, there are true moments of emotional impact regarding stigmatized aspects of Black life. The inherent nature of spite as a part of the Black experience, the traditional anti-therapy sentiment, the shorter life span of careers, and whether or not a price tag can be put on the exchange of culture are just a few topics dissected early on.