This Episode's Big Question
"Are some people just supposed to lose? To put balance in the universe? Like- are there just some people on earth that are supposed to be here to make it easier for the winners? Like, really?"- Earn
The Blackest Moments
Trying to get in the club before 11 so that you can get in free. The Atlanta intro that just had too much sauce. Vanessa in headwraps and Bantu knots when she got out of bed. Earn's black ass, regular ass mama who is equal opportunity when it comes to throwing shade. The nod to Don Lemon's for playing the role of "fool" in politics.
Best Darius Quotes
"If you could use a rat as a phone, I mean that'd be genius. I mean, they're like five rats for every one person in NY alone. Everybody would have an affordable phone. Yeah, man- I mean it'd be messy but...worth it."
"I was just wondering- can I measure your tree? ...Not right now? That basically means no, man."
"When is an appropriate time to talk about my balls being smashed?"
All right, let's begin.
Scene: "Boy, you so gahbage!"
The rearview mirror of Alfred's (Brian Tyree Henry) car gets knocked off and Earn (Childish Gambino/ Donald Glover) gets out of the car in his a-little-longer-than normal short shorts running through a hood parking lot. There's a standoff and someone yells Worldstar.
My best friend Darius (Keith Stanfield) gets deja vu- throughout the season, I truly believe that he will reveal himself as a clairvoyant. The man who is going off on Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry but also Paper Boi) is telling him the Postal mixtape is garbage and he has no idea what "mucking." We later find out that this term is a portmanteau of "massaging and f_____ing" which is the laziest term for foreplay that I have ever heard used, but there it is. Then, much like a scene from a western, guns are drawn and someone who is being nosy in the parking lot yells "this is definitely going on Worldstar!" Earn tried to calm it down, but someone get shot. We start to hear a very VERY black intro that I am certainly here for. And, the show officially starts.
Scene: "What IS that....curry?"
Ugly sleeping is so necessary when trying to show the authenticity of love and we get a glimpse of that in this scene with Earn and Vanessa (who is lovingly called Van and portrayed by Zazie Beetz WHICH IS THE COOLEST NAME EVER). Also, Vanessa is giving you Regular AF Black girl that we never get the privilege of seeing on TV- especially when she asks the question "who's the girl- what she look like?" when Earl starts to explain his dream to her. At first glance, you want them to be together and you think they are honest and real enough to be together and then- we all get our relationship goals dreams stomped on just a few seconds later. He laughs awkwardly when she says tell me you love me- and he's clearly uncomfortable with saying it. She's like you know what- I'm going to take out these cornrows and announce that I'm going OUT and I AIN'T SORRY cause you're being weak. Also, we get to see a shared moment of love between a Black father and his daughter when Earn picks her up and snuggles with her. Adorable. He then tells her that Mommy is going out with some corny dude and this is where I pause because I already love Earn as a character- but in my head I'm like- what is your definition of corny? You're the corniest person on this show- so you really get to define what corny is?
Scene: "Fuck you. I know, right?"
We switch to "a day in the life of Earn's job" and he works with some fine dude who's name I can never remember (Harold House Moore) that clearly he tolerates but doesn't really want to be friends with. We get a pan on Freaky Deaky Grandma (Earn's work competitor + overall disturbing individual) who is doing something strange for a piece of change as she flirts with any PYT that decides to giver her commission. Fine Dude pulls out the Paperboi video and plants in Earn's head that he could get money if he works with his cousin. So Earn dips from work early because he wants to start getting REAL schmoney.
Scene: "You gon invite me in?" "No- I can't afford it."
Earn walks him and his Backpack over to his parents house to say hey (except not really) and his dad greets him at the door like love don't live there anymore. Earn's mom is hilarious because she clearly loves him but also knows her son well enough to know that at this point in his life- he isn't about ANYTHING. She's so calm with it, though, it makes you wonder if a smidgen of her doesn't believe that Earn can't get it together eventually. In a petty turn of events, Earn's parents are more excited to hear about Vanessa glowing up and going on dates which lets you know even more that they are tired of his trash behavior at that point. No matter how old you get- your parents will always call you out on your trifling behavior. After they treat his life for leaving grown man turds in their bathroom and analyzing it for unhealthy eating habits, they dismiss him and him and Backpack dip.
Scene: When the last time you was nice to a girl you didn't want to smash?
My best friend Darius and Alfred are chillin at the house, having a convo about the most opportune time to use spoiled milk when Earn comes to the door. Alfred greets him with a gun because he already knows what he is there for. Earn denies that he only wants money from his cousin, but everyone be pulling Earn's card so we can all assume at this point that they're right. They have this awkward moment about smashing women for favors that involves his daughter and then Earn says that he wants to manage his cousin- not look for handouts. No one believes that Earn has a manly bone in his body- which at his age is just being another version of a fuckboy. Alfred also comes at his life when he says that needs a Malcolm, not a Martin and that Earn may be too soft for the job. (I'm not taking sides on who is manlier, you can check Hotep Twitter for that.) You get to hear more ridiculous gems from Darius until they say something about being "late" and it's because they have missed their official 4:20 time slot to smoke on a random couch outside.
Scene: "Ain't you homeless?" I'm not real homeless- I'm not using a rat as a phone."
On this beaten down couch that sombody's granny put in the alley days before, Alfred and Darius are smoking weed. Earn doesn't want to smoke, and Darius and Alfred debate if he can actually manage a rapper if he doesn't smoke. We learn that Earn is a Princeton dropout and he was only supposed to take a year off, but it's going on year 3 of finding himself. We get this feeling that he dropped out for a reason bigger than what everyone else thinks and I can't wait to hear what it is. I have a feeling it's race related because.....PWI. Darius then brings up the idea that rap is no more- that actually it is D-E-D. So, there's that. Earn breaks down for him all of the ways that Alfred is not groundbreaking in this industry and his cousin tries to convince him that he is selling sex and connecting to the people by way of his rap explanation of mucking (please see above). At this point, Alfred is still not convinced that he's his manager. Earn says that he still has connects at the local radio station, but Alfred does not see it for him because Earn ain't real. Earn ain't been in contact with Alfred since his mom's funeral and now he wants to buy in? Nah. Where ya ass was at, Earn?
Scene: Really, nigga?
Earn runs into this white dude (Griffin Freeman) in what we later find out is the radio station parking lot and he throws shade instantly by asking Earn "did you just come from that dumpster?" But the way Earn replies, he may slick have just done that. Not important though. I don't see it for White Boy at all. White Boy starts telling a story of a party he attended the night before where they were playing wack music (Flo Rida, to be specific). He then punctuates his story with "really nigga." He sees absolutely no problem with that word at all. Earn tries to get him to spin the record and White Boy isn't going unless he's getting the coins. White boy says nigga AGAIN and I just can't stomach him anymore especially when he walks up to some other Black people and calls THEM "dudes." Earn teaches us all a valuable lesson when he realizes it's not what you know, but who you know when he makes a deal with the garbage man (Prince) to get him into the station later. He also learns that white boy never says nigga to anyone who can beat his ass. Duly noted.
Scene: Not right now? That basically means no, man.
Alfred and Darius pull up to Earn's parents house and Mama throws more shade at her nephews high class activities. They're happy to see him though- way more happy than they were to see Earn. Darius asks to measure the tree and you can just see the confusion spill over on everyone's face. They have a convo about Earn being Alfred's manager at the same time as we Earn is putting in work for Alfred on the radio. This is when I realize that Earn is with the shits- even if he is lazy. He is just one of those creative types that don't mind being broke and demand that you be ok with being broke as well should you choose to date him. Like, there's some type of broke magic that will eventually get the bills paid. Earn shows up to the radio station and gives that record and the $500 to KP- instead of White Boy. Swerve. And we realize that, in fact, Earl does things on his own terms like his dad has just said off screen.
Scene: Bite this sandwich.
Earn and the baby are on the bus. Someone who appears to be from the Nation is giving Earn a shoulder to cry on as he asks the big question that I mentioned above. He seems to give Earn the advice of punking out when he says "let the path push you like a broken branch in the current" which basically means "lay down and take it." And Earn is like "yeah ok- im going to not choose that option that you just gave and I'm going to be successful. He tells him to bite a sandwich and then he like disappears into a forest- I'm not sure if the Nation Man is an apparition or a freak but we see him dip off the bus. Earn drafts a message to his girl finally saying I love you, pauses for infinity, and takes an incoming call from Paperboi instead. His cousin says that the song is on the radio and Earn is feeling good because he knows that he was the plug for that and asks again to be manager.
Scene: Say hi to KP for me.
The end scene loops us back to the beginning where we met at the hood parking lot. Earn finally agrees to smoke. White boy walks up and wants to know how Earn finesses his way into the station since Earn swerved him with the cash. He lies and says that KP is pissed, but Earn calls his bluff and is like "nah, it's on the radio." Earn tells him to tell the Flo Rida story again and he omits the word "nigga" this time because he's amongst real niggas and he gets played. Earn gets petty and feels good about it. His cousin yells out the window to a girl and they sit in the car cool when two important things happen: his cousin reveals that he hates his own song and Alfred's rearview mirror gets knocked off by the boyfriend of the girl he called a "stank broad."
Scene: You're outta wine. The bottle?!
Comes home from her date and turnson the news and sees her baby daddy on the news for the shoot out in the parking lot. She realizes once again the kind of dude she has chosen to procreate with and we roll to credits.
If you liked this recap and made it all the way to end: first of all, amen and thank you. Second, tweet this.
What did y'all think of the first episode?