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Keep it 100 with ‘Atlanta: Robbin’ Season’

FX comedy returns for an equally-acclaimed second season after a two-year hiatus.

Donald+Glover+returns+with+%22Atlanta%3A+Robbin%27+Season%22+two+years+after+his+debut.+
Donald Glover returns with

Donald Glover returns with "Atlanta: Robbin' Season" two years after his debut.

Courtesy of IMDB

Courtesy of IMDB

Donald Glover returns with "Atlanta: Robbin' Season" two years after his debut.

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When Donald Glover debuted his new series, “Atlanta” of which he created, starred, wrote and executively produced, in 2016, it blew everyone away.

Despite a quick renewal by network FX, it was also announced that due to Glover’s packed schedule, the second season wouldn’t return until 2018. This would allow Glover more time to develop the series before production.

The wait is finally over. “Robbin’ Season” premiered Thursday night, and it has already proven that Glover’s first season was not all this comedy had to offer. Critics have awarded the second season a 100 “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the proof is in the details.

Set near Christmas and sometime after the prior finale, Earn (Glover) is no longer living in his storage unit after being evicted and his cousin Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry) has run into some trouble with the law and is on house arrest, being at some odds with Darius (Lakeith Stanfield).

The first season really set the tone of the series quick with its blend of surrealist comedy and social commentary, and while the worry of a familiar formula is prominent with any sophomore season, it is quickly put to bed with staying in the tone while also delivering fresh storytelling.

One of the key highlights is the titular setting of the season, the time of the year when crime spikes in Georgia city. Glover takes his talent at balancing a comedic and serious tone and using this time period to deliver some laughs alongside some deep drama.

One example can be seen in the opening scene of the season premiere, in which two local men rob a Mrs. Winner’s Chicken & Waffles restaurant. Despite the fear that would come from this all too-real situation, Glover turns it into a humorous moment by showing the restaurant has a secret menu selling marijuana to customer.

Even the subsequent shootout that occurs feels bizarre enough to allow us to laugh as the drive-thru employee chases one of the men through the restaurant with an AK-47, followed by shock as an innocent woman jumps out of the getaway car revealing a gunshot wound from the employee’s shooting.

Another major highlight is the jump from the first season’s story, during which the majority of the characters seem to have parted ways for a bit. Though the finale showed the trio heading toward a better path in life, we see they’ve all taken a step back. Earn has had to resort to asking Alfred for a place to crash again while Al has clearly gone back to his outrageous days as he’s on house arrest and is fighting with his best friend.

This step back offers audiences a chance to see these characters grow, but in vastly different ways as they’ve returned to their old circumstances with new spins that will give them a chance to better themselves in a larger sense.

The surreal comedy continues to be a driving force in the season, with Darius’ telling of the “Florida Man” urban legend/theory providing a strong starting point. The conspiracy that this man committing real bizarre crimes, including punching an ostrich to death, is a ploy to prevent black people from voting in Florida evokes some deep laughs.

Stanfield, who unfairly went unnominated for his performance in the first season, re-embodies the character of Darius with ease as audiences remain thoroughly confused by many of his beliefs, but also long to hang out with someone as open-minded and inquisitive as him.

Two years might have been a big request for the soul of audiences dying for a quick follow-up, but it was well worth the wait as Glover and company return with an equally brilliant and hilarious second season of “Atlanta” that proves this series has a lot of potential for years to come.

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