The opening moments of “Alligator Man” were all you need to know that things are dire in Atlanta as well as Atlanta itself. The winter season is approaching, so people need to get up on their bread in order to make ends meet. The two teenagers go from shooting the shit over a game of FIFA to robbing a Mrs. Winner’s like it’s nothing. And even when an unknown passenger of their car takes a stray bullet, they keep it pushing and just drop off the girl who was unlucky enough to be seated next to the victim. This is Robbin’ Season.
After these opening moments, we return back to the familiar of the series. Earn is still living out of his storage unit, but not for long as the owners have become aware of it and decided to clean (rob) him of his possessions. Due to Earn’s pride, he apparently refuses to take the clearest option of just talking with Van and seeing if he can stay with her. Hell, she even offered as much in the season 1 finale, but instead Earn heads to Al and Darius’ where he’s met with a weird tension between the two. I’d attribute this to Al having a new lady friend, but knowing this show it really doesn’t matter what caused the rift. I’m not sure if Earn’s possession charge and Al’s house arrest are results from events in season 1 or if it’s meant to show that some time has passed in between seasons, but it serves nicely for what follows in this episode.
Darius takes Earn to the station, where Earn learns that he’s good as long as he pays his fees, takes some classes, and doesn’t get another charge again or else jail time awaits. It just so happens that since Al is on house arrest, he isn’t able to assist in a kidnapping situation taking place between his father and Yvonne, who I assume to be a on-off girlfriend of Willy. Al tasks this off to Earn to accomplish in his stead, so Earn goes with it as he needs to win some good will with Al in order to hopefully crash at his place. Darius tags along because the vibes of Uncle Willy’s house intrigue him and they are met by the best performance Katt Williams has given in quite some time.
Turns out Yvonne wasn’t kidnapped, but just locked in a room since Willy thinks she stole $50 from him. The situation has escalated to the point that the police arrive and demand for Willy’s exiting of his home. This doesn’t bode well for anyone in the household as none can suffer from the wrath of the police. Earn knows he can’t get a charge against him again, so he pleads with Willy to just do the right thing and even gives Yvonne some money to pay Willy back. Despite all of this, things still backfire and Willy’s stubbornness result in Yvonne storming out of the house and yelling to the police that Willy did indeed kidnap her. Darius also bounces as well, sensing that “the vibes feel more and more like prison”, and leaves Earn and his uncle alone.
This is a good dramatic moment between the two as Willy states Earn only showed up to get in Al’s good grace. He feels that Earn is quickly realizing that he is outgrowing his usefulness to Al’s rap career and will eventually be left in the wind. Apparently this family had already suffered a previous rift due to the music business and Willy anticipates the same fate will happen here. Surprisingly, Earn fesses up to these fears as true, but also adds on that he’s scared he’ll become a person like Willy – a smart man who just let the world wear him down without fighting back.
This hits Willy deep and he heads to his room, where he begins rummaging through items. Earn somewhat apologizes for his words, even though he meant them, and states that he had that rant loaded as he’s still upset about what Willy did to his sister (Earn’s mom). We don’t get any follow-up on this, but Willy hands Earn a golden gun and states that he’ll need it in the music business (he probably also needs Earn to hide it from the police) and that if he wants to avoid being a fuck-up like him, he needs to drop the chip on his shoulder.
Earn departs and lets the police handle the rest, but out of the door doesn’t come Willy, but his pet alligator Coach that is mentioned throughout the episode. Willy is the alligator man after all, but Coach doesn’t seem as deadly as he may appear as he simply strides out for a bit and then turns to lay in the grass. This wasn’t meant as an attack on the police, but rather a distraction as we see Willy sprint down the street to avoid the law. Earn and Darius return to Al’s and inform him that the situation with Willy is solved and at least he isn’t in jail…for now.
Earn remembers the gun in his backpack and takes it out, which causes an eruption of laughter from Al and Darius, mostly due to the fact that the gun is completely gold-plated. Just as Earn is going to possibly ask to stay the night, a random man arrives and joins in on the laughter. He’s one of Al’s homies and needed a place to stay as he just got out of prison, leaving Earn cut and dry. Darius asks Earn if he’s good before he takes off, but he relies yes. Seems Willy’s words about the chip on his shoulder didn’t go completely to heart and so Earn finds himself out on the streets again, still homeless and unsure of his future with Al.
“Alligator Man” had more drama than I was expecting from the return of Atlanta, but I can understand why. It seems that with Robbin’ Season, Donald Glover wants a deeper, more personal story told. The first season, for the most part, could be watched in any order as episodes didn’t really have anything to do with the next. I liked that style, but I could definitely come to appreciate a more linear storyline. This episode also served to set up a lot of interesting angles for the rest of the season to take. Al’s rap career as Paper Boi has apparently taken off way more than where we last left him and it’s this reason why Earn is worried about his place in his cousin’s life. Will history repeat itself like Willy mentioned with previous family drama or can Al and Earn work together and find great success? Will Earn take down his pride and finally confide in Van for security or continue to want to be a self-made man? It’s definitely made me even more excited for the rest of the season to come.
Alligator Man – 4 out of 5
- Almost everything Darius said this episode was great. Too many quotables to list.
- Though, I will list that the “Florida Man” history lesson he gives Earn may be the highlight. Even better that Willy references it later to reinforce Darius’ story.
- Katt Williams as Uncle Willy is fantastic casting and I really hope he returns in a future episode.
- Earn getting real for a bit on Willy was good. I want more details on why Earn functions like he does as a person and this was the beginning signs that we might get just that.
- The opening was a great intro into “Robbin’ Season” and I’m sure that won’t be the robbery witnessed this season.
- Wasn’t a lot of Al this episode, though he was on house arrest, so it makes sense.
- Absolutely no Van though. I want to say she was in the majority of season 1’s episodes, so I hope this was just an outliner and not the norm. I know Zazie was filming Deadpool 2 around the same time.