Donald Glover’s creation returns with a chilling take on the Hart family’s murder-suicide – with a twist
Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” returned to television March 24 with its Season 3 premiere. After being off the airwaves for nearly four years, the comedy-drama is cementing its position as one of the most distinct and ambitious shows in the world. ‘antenna.
For those unfamiliar with the Emmy-winning series, the show’s typical plot follows the life of Earnest “Earn” Marks (played by Donald Glover) who manages his cousin, Alfred Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), a up-and-coming rapper who goes by the stage name “Paper Boi”. The show was created by Glover, who stars in and co-writes the show, and occasionally directs the series alongside lead director Hiro Murai.
The show’s four-year hiatus prompted fans to re-watch their favorite on-screen characters as they traveled the world for Paper Boi’s European tour. However, the series returned by telling a shocking true crime story that took place almost four years ago – seeming to stray away from where we left off in Season 2.
The first episode, “Three Slaps,” doesn’t feature the usual star cast, but instead follows Loquareeous (Christopher Farrar), a classy clown who ends up in foster care after a series of unfortunate events go against his favor.
Loquareeous finds himself in a parent-teacher conference after his latest outburst of dance moves in class. The school counselor – a white woman – suggests the recent string of misbehavior is reason to believe the young boy is not equipped to handle his schoolwork and should be sent to remedial education. Taken up by the claim of putting her son in developmental learning classes, Loquareeous’ mother informs the counselor and principal, “My son isn’t stupid, he’s an idiot,” and suggests that if he acts , he should be taken into custody. rather than being diagnosed with a learning disability.
The boy’s grandfather gives the episode title meaning after disciplining Loquareeous in front of the school counselor, with the respective number of slaps in the face. The scene also references a viral internet video of a man performing the same action seen in the episode.
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The grandfather’s actions prompt the counselor to call Loquareeous’ family child services, and he is placed in the hands of a freak lesbian couple, Gayle and Amber, who brew their own kombucha and make their own. own soap. The couple are the legal guardians of three other children, all of whom are black, and their amazement at Loquareeous’ request for a washcloth to properly clean themselves while showering are reason to believe this house is no home .
The audience quickly determines that the environment Loquareeous is sent to is virtually uninhabitable. The children are dressed in extravagant clothes, served inedible food (or not fed at all), forced to do manual labor in the garden and then serve as props at the couple’s farmer’s market. With Loquareeous carrying a sign reading “Free Hugs”, he flees the stand and jumps into the arms of a police officer, pleading for help. The officer practically ignores the call for help, attributing the hug to nothing but a misunderstanding.
The nightmare continues after the couple kill a woman from Child Services and fly with the kids to the Grand Canyon – or so the kids are told. The couple’s dark intentions become clear, but as the women leave the edge of a cliff, they realize too late that all the children have escaped their evil clutches by jumping out of the trunk.
The scary episode was a reference to the tragedy of the Hart family murder-suicide, where Jennifer and Sarah Hart killed themselves and their six adopted children in a murder-suicide on March 26, 2018. The couple had been investigated by child protection officials and had been repeatedly reported for child abuse. The couple deliberately skidded off a cliff when they learned of the investigation against them.
Markis, 19; Hannah, 16; Jeremy, 14 years old; Abigail, 14; and Ciera, 12, were all killed. Devonte, 15, is still considered missing but is presumed dead. Jennifer had a blood alcohol level of 0.102% while driving – the legal limit in California, where the disaster took place, is 0.08%.
The pair were repeatedly reported by neighbors, but no real case was ever created until it was too late. A neighbor said he saw the children eating from the garbage cans of neighboring houses. According to reports, Devonte went to a neighbor’s house two or three times a day to ask for food, begging him not to tell his parents. He claimed that if they knew, they would abuse him and withhold food as punishment. Hannah also allegedly fled to a neighbor’s house, locking herself in a room and refusing to come out. She was missing two teeth and said she jumped out of a second story window to escape.
The family became an international sensation when a photo of Devonte hugging a police officer at a rally in 2014 went viral.
“Atlanta” is known for having an all-black writing staff, a rare occurrence in American television; it’s a rare occurrence when the show’s cast resembles the writers. This allows “Atlanta” to share black experiences in new and innovative ways. Telling the story of the Hart family with a different ending reflects the show’s ability to tackle heavy subject matter in a light-hearted way, while raising awareness of how white institutions are tearing households of color apart under false pretenses.
The comedy/drama isn’t shy about tackling serious themes like racism, sexism, gang violence, and other heavy topics, but often doesn’t reveal its hand and leaves episodes up to the audience.
“Atlanta” airs new episodes every Thursday at 10 p.m. on FX, and can be streamed the next day on Hulu.
Michael Araujo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @araujo_michael_.