Before showing what has happened after Earn’s beatdown by Tracy in the present, Atlanta decided to head back to the 90s to get a better glimpse of Earn’s better days. Sadly, they turn out not to be such better days either as the day we land on is one where Earn found a fake FUBU shirt at a thrift store and decided to rock it to school the next day, only to realize someone else also came to school in one – the real one. It’s not only an episode that takes all the viewers back to the traumas of high school, especially in regards to bullying, but also one that reminds us that Earn and Al have known each other for a long time being cousins and all. It’s a very different mirror on their relationship, however.
After seeing a fellow classmate with the same FUBU shirt, it doesn’t take long for all the major players in the school to start debating which is the real deal. This terrifies Earn, especially since he’s fairly certain it’s his that is the fake, but he can’t admit defeat just yet and only has to survive the day and then never wear the shirt again. There’s a boy that would know which is the real one (Because of course there is) and despite original reports that he was tardy that day, he shows up near the end and everyone’s desperate to lure Earn and the other boy over to him to finally start the roasting on who is the fake. Luckily, Earn makes a stop over to Al before this and asks for a little bit of help. Al only offers advice on how Earn should act for the rest of the day until he’s able to get home and ditch the shirt, but he also stops by when Earn is revealed as the fake and reassures everyone that Earn actually has the real one.
This moment is to basically show that Al has had Earn’s back in the past and Earn would probably always be the one to come to Al for help rather than vice versa based on this small window we’re granted. Bring this back to the present and you’d think that Earn would be paying off these debts to Al by being a good manager…but nah. Maybe with the beatdown that Earn took and knowing that Al is about ready to call it quits with him, it will spark something off in Earn’s mind to finally take responsibility and grow up. There’s even echoes of past Earn in present Earn, especially taking into account the FUBU shirt. He buys it to show it off at school and flex, something that we know current Earn also tries to do (The third episode of this season was dedicated to this fact). It shows that Earn really hasn’t matured much from those younger years and that could possibly be a reason why he never finished Princeton.
One side effect of Al sticking up for Earn is that the boy who really had the real FUBU shirt is bullied endlessly as a result of it. The following day arrives and it’s revealed by the school principal that the boy killed himself due to the bullying, though he suspects it had to do with the recent divorce that the boy’s parents went through instead of bullying since nobody ever reports that shit in school. It seems like an afterthought to the episode and is actually kinda sudden, but it is good commentary on the idea that bullying is still a major part of school and it can end up in very bad ways when you don’t think about your actions or what the person’s experiences are like at home.
So there’s only one episode remaining this season and based on the preview, we’ll be getting a direct aftermath to “North of the Border”. Earn’s bruises are still present on his face, so it doesn’t take place too far into the future. Also it definitely seems like Al hasn’t completely dropped Earn just yet as he’s coordinating what seems to be a plane trip, maybe for a tour? This could very well be the final chance Earn gets to prove himself to Al, so let’s hope that after a season of Ls, Earn can finally get a W.
FUBU – 4 out of 5