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The Ending Of Atlanta Season 2 Explained

FX's Atlanta follows the rich tradition of modern television comedies in that it isn't afraid to get deep and philosophical when the situation calls for it. The "Teddy Perkins" episode highlights that beautifully, expertly mixing surrealism with tragedy to provide a point of view that trauma can sometimes lead to beautiful art and sometimes lead to disaster. That's not to say the show isn't outright hilarious when it needs to be. The Arizona Iced Tea commercial on "B.A.N." remains an all-time highlight of the series, and the show offering a little bit for everyone is a big reason why fans can't wait for plenty more Atlanta in the future.

Season 2 of Atlanta, subtitled Robbin' Season, was one of transformation for Earn (Donald Glover), Alfred/Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), and Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) as they each went through their own personal trials and tribulations to make it to the big European tour for Paper Boi. Alfred had a dark night of the soul in the woods while Darius was confronted with the creepy visage of a lost childhood in the form of Teddy Perkins. Season 2 may have come out a few years ago, but that's only given fans more time to ruminate on these eclectic characters and speculate on what's going to happen in the years to come.

After all, the show was picked up for both a third and fourth season, and as long as interest is there, more episodes could very well be on the horizon. Now's the perfect time to look back at where Season 2 left these characters to understand where the future may take us for the wacky, confusing world that is Atlanta.

Earn breaks bad in the season finale

One of the tensest moments in recent television history came during the Atlanta Season 2 finale. Throughout the episode, Earn tries to get everything together for Paper Boi's upcoming European tour, such as making sure Darius has his passport ready to go. Through all the craziness, he forgets that earlier, he put the golden gun belonging to Alligator Man (Katt Williams from Episode 1 of the season) inside his backpack. He's now at airport security, and he, a Black man, is about to be caught with a gun. 

Earn manages to act quickly, and when no one's looking, he places the gun among the luggage belonging to fellow rapper Clark County (RJ Walker). Clark County's manager ends up taking the blame so that the rapper can board the plane, but what's done is done. Earn may have thought no one saw him, but Paper Boi, who's been questioning whether to even keep Earn as a manager, says how much respect he now has for Earn, seeing as how he's proven he's willing to do whatever it takes to come out ahead. 

Throughout the series, Earn has largely been aimless. He dropped out of Princeton for still unknown reasons, and the only reason he wanted to be Paper Boi's manager (who also happens to be his cousin) is so that he could make some cash. He's largely devoid of agency, going along with whatever Al and Darius want to do, but with those final moments of Season 2, it's clear we're going to get a very different Earn moving forward, one who isn't afraid of operating on the wrong side of the law if it means he can come out on top.

Earn and Van's relationship is at a crossroads

Between prepping for the group's trip to Europe, Earn also takes time to go to a parent-teacher conference with Van (Zazie Beetz) for the daughter, Lottie, they share together. The two have always had a contentious relationship. One second they're having a quickie on the side of the road, and the next they're at each other's throats. Initially, it seems like things may be moving in a positive direction as they're told Lottie is doing exceptionally well in her classes, but for her to really excel, it would be preferable for her to go to a private school. 

Earn promises to give Van the money he makes from the European tour to go toward Lottie's education, but it isn't enough. This is exemplified later in the episode when Van texts Earn, telling him that she wants to move in with her mother so that Lottie can have a more stable household. All of these storylines intersect to inform us about Earn's decision to plant the gun on someone else. If Earn was caught with the firearm, then he would've been taken to jail, potentially for a long time. It's not like he has the money or resources to hire an amazing lawyer to get him off. He wouldn't have been able to give Lottie money or his attention, and that would've been immensely detrimental toward her overall development. 

As a metaphor for the Black experience in America, Earn seems aware that he needs to find a way to break the cycle. He may never get a Princeton degree or a big house, but if he plays his cards right, then his daughter may be able to get those things. It's all about planting seeds for the future so that his family can achieve something eventually. 

Where does this leave us for Atlanta Season 3?

Atlanta isn't a show afraid to take some risks, and Season 3 has the potential to be the best yet. For starters, it would be a ton of fun to see the central trio living it up in Europe. Even if it's just for a few episodes to open the season, it could make for an intriguing exploration into how Black Americans are treated abroad. Not only that, but Earn's getting a chance to live some of the high life. He may be presented with decisions and obstacles he's never had to confront before, and it'll be interesting to see if he carries on with his new "Everyone else can suck it but me" attitude or if he'll revert back to his old ways. 

Of course, when it comes to Atlanta, there are bound to be a few surprises in store. No one could have anticipated the absolute weirdness of the psychotic Teddy Perkins, so whatever Atlanta Season 3 has in store, it's bound to be something we can't even possibly conceive at this point.