Before Atlanta Season 3 premiered, I wrote a series of questions regarding the hit dramedy’s return, followed by a prediction that we would likely receive few answers and have even more questions by the end of the season. Well, I turned out to be right, with the latest season finale of creator and star Donald Glover’s astonishingly surreal and morbidly funny FX original extremely titillated, especially by the post-credits scene. I will see what closure I can help to provide in our following breakdown of the Atlanta Season 3 ending, starting with a basic summary of la folie.
Vanessa Adopts A Bizarre New Persona In Paris
The Atlanta Season 3 finale begins with Candice (Adriyan Rae) - first seen in Season 2’s “Champagne Papi” - with her friend, Xosha (Xosha Roquemore), and Xosha’s cousin, Shanice (Shanice Castro), in Paris to pee on a dude she met online. She spots Vanessa “Van” Kiefer (Zazie Beetz), curiously boasting a bob haircut and French accent, who takes the ladies on a tour of her wild new life in France. They start with a visit to Alexander Skarsgård’s hotel room, where Van leaves large amounts of illicit drugs which, as she claims, is part of a game they play weekly.
The next stop is some “Candyman-looking” apartment complex where a package that Van was expecting to pick up is missing, and an ambush of armed men who call her “Tarrere” (also the name of the episode and a real, 18th Century French cannibal (opens in new tab)) are waiting for her. After narrowly escaping, they go to a museum to find the man who was supposed to hook Van up with the package, Emilio (Yoli Fuller), whom she violently beats with a stale baguette until he reveals it was in a nearby vase. We later find out the package is a pair of human hands, which Van’s chef boyfriend, Marcel (Maël Besnard), is preparing as the main course for a party attended by wealthy aristocrats - including Skarsgård.
Candice finally gets through to Van by asking about Lottie, causing her to suffer a manic episode that brings her back to normal. She reveals that she had been going through an existential crisis, which led her to buy a ticket to Europe, where she caught an airing of the 2001 French film Amélie and decided she wanted to try living like Audrey Tautou’s title character. Candice accompanies Van after she decides to go home to Atlanta, leaving Shanice to be the one to pee on the Frenchman who hired Candice.
How Vanessa's Arc Led To This And What It Could Mean For Atlanta Season 4
To provide a more detailed account of Van’s confession at the end of the Atlanta Season 3 finale, she tells Candice she was driving one day when a “dark feeling” came over her and she closed her eyes, only to find herself in the wrong lane when she opened them. When she picked up Lottie from school that day, she felt as if her daughter knew what she had done and resented her for it.
I believe these insecurities have been brewing since Season 1, which sees her struggle as a single mother only worsened by her turbulent relationship with Lottie’s father, Earnest “Earn” Marks (Donald Glover), and her bout with unemployment after losing her teaching job. There was also a key moment in one of the best Atlanta episodes from Season 2, “Helen,” when Van confronts her friend about introducing her to people as “Lottie’s Mom” - which she says was not the only thing she would be for the rest of her life. It makes her strange behavior throughout Season 3 (the surprise Europe trip, shoving strangers into a swimming pool at a party, possibly shoplifting in London, etc.) not necessarily justified, but far more understandable and sympathetic in retrospect.
In an interview with The A.V. Club, executive producer and “Terrare” scribe Stefani Robinson spoke about the episode’s commentary on depression among young mothers and how it was important to see that represented in the show, as it is rarely seen much in television. I imagine - or, at least, hope - that what Van has gone through will be more thoroughly explored in the upcoming fourth, and final, season in 2023. In fact, I have a lot of questions about Season 4, especially after the post-credits scene.
Earn Receives A Mysterious Delivery In A Post-Credits Scene
After the credits, we see Earn at a hotel where a delivery man gives him a travel bag with his name on the tag, but he does not recognize it. After reluctantly accepting it, he curiously rifles through the bag to find various items, including a black leather fanny pack, a ziplock baggy of prescription pill bottles, a cool Deftones T-shirt that he decides to keep, and a picture frame that Earn sets off to the side without much of a thought.
However, as he walks away with the Deftones shirt slung over his shoulder, the camera begins to zoom in closer to the picture frame and the music playing in the background begins to slow down to an eerie pace. The photo in the frame depicts a white, bearded, and slightly balding man posing with his wife and two children and he happens to be the only one not smiling. If you were not one of the eagle-eyed Atlanta fans who instantly recognized this person when the camera dissolved into a startling close-up of his face, read on.
How The Post-Credit Scene Connects To Previous Episodes And What It Could Mean For Atlanta Season 4
The man in the photo (Tobias Segal) first appeared in the Atlanta Season 3 premiere, “Three Slaps” - also the first of the season’s four episodes that diverts from the main narrative - in a creepy cold open that is revealed to be a dream of the story’s young main character. Of course, this story was also revealed to be just a dream Earn was having from his Amsterdam hotel room, suggesting these anthological chapters all exist in his subconscious. However, that does not seem to be the case for the fourth episode, “The Big Payback,” upon further review.
The story of that one-shot depicts a world in which slave reparations become a normal part of life, as seen through the eyes of one disgraced white man named Marshall, (Justin Bartha) who, after losing his apartment to the Black woman he owes money, takes refuge at a hotel where he meets a white, bearded and slightly balding man going through the same thing. After giving a surprisingly honest and thought-provoking testimony that almost seems to favor the situation, he goes outside and shoots himself in the head and his body falls into the pool outside. Earlier, however, he had mentioned to Marshall that the hotel could not find his bag after he introduced himself as “Earnest.”
What this means, at face value, is that the storyline of “The Big Payback” is, indeed, canon to the world within Atlanta and that, supposedly, the post-credits scene of the finale is actually a prequel to the season premiere, because Earn would have needed to see Earnest’s face before, and the picture found in the bag, if he appeared in his dream. Stefani Robinson, in a different interview with IndieWire, said she interpreted the Earnest reveal as a symbol of how people, no matter how culturally estranged or disparate from one another, are all interconnected by the life’s most unfortunate truths, especially in America. On that note, unfortunate truths and cultural differences in America were a recurring theme throughout the entire season, especially in the anthology episodes.
The discovery of Earnest’s bag in the post-credits scene was also the first time we saw a solid connection between the main narrative and the one-shots, making Season 3 truly feel complete. It is hard to say if we can expect to see any other appearances or references to Earnest in the next season and, in fact, I would be willing to bet that his arc in the series has officially ended, along with the themes he symbolized. However, I only see that as more of a reason to be excited for Atlanta Season 4, because what keeps me interested in coming back to this show is its dedication to constantly reinventing itself at every turn. As Donald Glover himself has said, “It’s high quality shit.”
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What does the ending of Atlanta season 3 mean? ›
In the end, Candice (Adriyan Rae) manages to help Van drop her French-themed coping mechanism, which turns out to have a surprisingly tragic side. However, with "Atlanta" Season 4 reportedly continuing the Europe theme, it remains to be seen how her time in France impacts her, or where her future lies.Who was the guy in the photo at the end of Atlanta season 3? ›
It's a photo of actor Tobias Segal, who played the white guy telling the story of the flood at the beginning of the Season Three opener "Three Slaps." In that unnerving opening scene, he more or less turned into a demon after delivering his monologue about whiteness.Why was Atlanta Cancelled? ›
Each of the actors have moved on to star in other major projects, but that hasn't been cited as a reason why the show is ending. The creator Glover spoke out on his reasons for ending Atlanta at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour earlier this year. "Death is natural," he said.What was the point of Atlanta season 3? ›
The characters, and essence of the show, both did some major-soul searching this season. On the eve of the Season 3 premiere of Atlanta, show creator and star Donald Glover released an interview… with himself.What is Three Slaps about in Atlanta season 3? ›
Season 3 Atlanta opener “Three Slaps” alluded to two real-life stories, the Hart Family murders and the underwater Georgia town Lake Lanier.What was the meaning of Atlanta season 3 Episode 10? ›
Most significantly, Episode 10 offered valuable insight into what Van (Zazie Beetz) has been going through during her impromptu trip to Europe. She's drifted in and out of earlier episodes, offering little explanation for her whereabouts or state of mind, but “Tarrare” finds her with a whole new identity.Is Tracy in Atlanta Season 4? ›
Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry) goes on a scavenger hunt run by a dead man. Tracy (Khris Davis) makes his triumphant return as a bossy receptionist (in what turns out to be a pretty impressive secret performance).Why is Van pretending to be French? ›
In “Atlanta,” that hunger belongs to Van (Zazie Beetz), who becomes so unsure of who she is that she has a nervous breakdown, engulfing herself in a French alter ego complete with an accent, a boyfriend, an apartment and a job in a butcher shop that serves human hands.Who is Teddy supposed to be in Atlanta? ›
Donald Glover plays Teddy. It is said that he remained in character during the entire filming process. Many on set found it creepy and others had little to no clue it was in fact Donald Glover; he was even addressed as "Teddy" by the director and crew.Why did Donald Glover end Atlanta? ›
He's choosing to end his Emmy- and Peabody-winning series simply because he's told the story he wanted to tell, and it's time for the show to end, Glover said during a virtual Television Critics Association session on Thursday..
Will there be a s5 of Atlanta? ›
The groundbreaking comedy series 'Atlanta' is ending after four seasons : NPR. The groundbreaking comedy series 'Atlanta' is ending after four seasons FX's comedy-drama series "Atlanta" is ending Thursday after four seasons.Is Atlanta season 5 coming? ›
Atlanta has ended, so there won't be a fifth season. Could it be revived someday? Stay tuned for further updates.Is Atlanta Season 3 episode 4 a true story? ›
The episode is loosely based on the horrifying true story of the Hart family, reimagining what led up to the fateful March night in 2018 when Jennifer Hart drunkenly drove an SUV carrying her wife, Sarah, and adopted children off a cliff, killing them all.What is Three Slaps based on? ›
Writing. The episode was inspired by the Hart family murders in which Jennifer Hart and her wife, Sarah, murdered their six adopted children and themselves by driving the family's sport utility vehicle off a cliff in Mendocino County, California.Why did it take 4 years for Atlanta Season 3? ›
Glover's complicated schedule and other priorities in his personal life, including injuries he was dealing with, further contributed to the Atlanta production delay. After the initial delays, season 4 was set to film directly following season 3 in the spring of 2020.What was the smell in Atlanta Season 3 episode 1? ›
Loquareeous is then dropped off at the home of Amber and Gayle, two white women who have already adopted three other black children. The home is smelly, which Amber says is due to them making homemade kombucha that they sell at a market, and messy.Who is Loquareeous on Atlanta? ›
A child named Loquareeous (Christopher Farrar) also has a lesson to learn. He is a fictional avatar of a boy named Devonte, one of six Black children adopted by Jennifer and Sarah Hart, a white-savior couple who, in 2016, drove their S.U.V. off a cliff, killing everybody inside.What does Darius represent in Atlanta? ›
Darius' heightened intellect and unusual humor can sometimes present as someone on the autism spectrum. With his sensory disorders and coping mechanisms, fidgeting, self medicating and existential outlook on life. Darius redefines the borders between insanity and genius.What happens at the end of Atlanta Season 3 episode 9? ›
After another failed attempt to prove himself, Aaron finally chooses to stick to the identity he's been avoiding all his life, and one year later, we find him working at an electronic store with a low fade, gold chain, and stud earrings to match — he chose his Blackness.What was the picture in Atlanta Season 3 episode 7? ›
The package is a sleeve of photos from family picture day at Sebastian's school, underlining the point that she was his family. The closing moments of the episode suggest that Sylvia's influence will be with Sebastian the rest of his life.
Who is the person at the end of Atlanta? ›
The man in the photo (Tobias Segal) first appeared in the Atlanta Season 3 premiere, “Three Slaps” - also the first of the season's four episodes that diverts from the main narrative - in a creepy cold open that is revealed to be a dream of the story's young main character.What is the funniest episode of Atlanta? ›
“Barbershop” (Season 2, Episode 5)
“Barbershop” is Atlanta's funniest episode to date and one of the 2010s' funniest half hours of television.
Sylvia is a character in Season 3 of Atlanta. She was a caretaker for Sebastian but she passed away unexpectedly.What happened to earn at Princeton? ›
Sasha (who his therapist correctly intuits is white) deemed Earn's actions an extreme invasion of her privacy and the rapidly escalating situation resulted in his expulsion. The dismissal cut the upward mobility he was striving for off at the knees, drastically altering the trajectory of his life.Is Van from Atlanta bipolar? ›
She had been diagnosed as bipolar and experienced occasional anxiety and panic attacks, she said. When she quit her job to begin van life on the road, the loss of health insurance led her to a decision to wean herself off medication and stop seeing a psychiatrist.What happened in the last episode of Atlanta? › Why was van in Amsterdam Atlanta? ›
When Darius picks up Van, he learns that she has lost her luggage, and the two set out to find her a new coat. Feeling lost after losing a job she really wanted, Van came to Amsterdam to “figure it out” and struggles to hide the glaze of sadness in her eyes.What was the point of Teddy Perkins? ›
The story Teddy Perkins tells is centered on their father's abusive parenting skills and how that can figuratively rob a child of their adolescence.Who was Teddy Perkins based on? ›
The character Teddy Perkins, while not entirely, is reportedly heavily based on Michael Jackson. Hiro Murai was nominated for the 2018 Emmy Award in the Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series category for Atlanta: Teddy Perkins (2018), but lost to Amy Sherman-Palladino for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Pilot (2017).Did Donald Glover do white face? ›
Donald Glover Stayed in Whiteface the Entire Time on Set During the Filming of Latest 'Atlanta' Episode. Actor Derrick Haywood, who played Benny Hope in 'Atlanta,' confirmed to 'Vulture' that the outlandish Teddy Perkins character from the latest episode was indeed portrayed in whiteface by Donald…
Was Atlanta a dream? ›
“It Was All a Dream,” the series finale, posits that everything in “Atlanta” took place in Darius' head. “Maybe it's just my dream, and you were just in it,” he tells Earn, Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), and Van, near the episode's ending.Why does Donald Glover use Childish Gambino? ›
Glover's stage name, Childish Gambino, which he used to start his musical career, came from a Wu-Tang Clan name generator.Was the Disney episode of Atlanta real? ›
Of course, the episode is complete fiction and a far cry from the real story behind A Goofy Movie, which was documented in a 1995 “Making Of” special on Disney Channel but which is nowhere near as entertaining.Where is Atlanta filmed? ›
The series was produced by RBA, 343 Incorporated, MGMT. Entertainment, and FXP and is primarily set and filmed in Atlanta and the surrounding Georgia area; the third season features international filming locations.Is Atlanta the 6? ›
What does “Zone 6” mean? and What is “Zone 6”? The slang term “Zone 6” (also spelled Zone Six) is a noun which is used to reference a zone in Atlanta. Zone 6 means the Eastside of Atlanta. The slang term “Zone 6” has been used by Childish Gambino, Future, 21 Savage, and many more rappers.What is Donald Glover doing now? ›
While attending the 2023 Golden Globe Awards, Donald Glover confirmed that he's back in the studio, making new music as 'Childish Gambino. ' The saga of Childish Gambino continues, according to Donald Glover.How many seasons will Atlanta be? ›
More Stories by Lesley. Atlanta's end is officially in sight. FX CEO John Landgraf revealed Thursday during his time at the Television Critics Association's (virtual) winter press tour that the previously announced fourth season of Donald Glover's Emmy-winning comedy will be its last.Why did Atlanta go on hiatus? ›
The Stars Have Been Busy With Other Projects
They are all wildly talented and are a central aspect to the show's success. Being widely sought-after, their schedules are very full and other projects quickly lined up for them amidst the initial season three hiatus, which only further delayed the project.
Still, when he was asked about the anthology approach, frequent Atlanta director Hiro Murai did not mention the actors' schedules. He instead described it as a creative choice, explaining to TIME, "It just felt like the best way to tell this story was these weird little offbeat parables."Who is the villain in Atlanta? ›
In the TV series Atlanta, the main antagonist is Teddy Perkins, played by Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino.
Who is Lottie in Atlanta? ›
Atlanta (TV Series 2016–2022) - Mia Atehortua as Lottie - IMDb.What happens in Atlanta s3 ep 4? ›
At home, Marshall is confronted at his front door by a Black woman, Sheniqua Johnson (Melissa Youngblood), who is live-streaming on her phone that Marshall's ancestors enslaved hers, he owes her money, and she'll probably take his house. She later shows up with a bullhorn outside his office, demanding a payout.Who are the Hart children's biological parents? ›
The car crash shattered far more than any illusions Jennifer and Sarah Hart might have hoped to create, of course. First and foremost, it took the lives of six children. Beyond that, is the unimaginable pain of Tammy Scheurich, the biological mother of Markis, Hannah, and Abigail Hart.What is Atlanta based off of? ›
Atlanta takes inspiration from everything from David Lynch to Tiny Toons, but some of scenes in the show are inspired by the real life absurdities of the rap game. With season three set to premiere tonight, GQ is taking a look back at all the times when Atlanta was inspired by things that have actually happened in rap.Who was the guy in the photo at the end of Atlanta Season 3? ›
It's a photo of actor Tobias Segal, who played the white guy telling the story of the flood at the beginning of the Season Three opener "Three Slaps." In that unnerving opening scene, he more or less turned into a demon after delivering his monologue about whiteness.What was the point of Atlanta Season 3? ›
The characters, and essence of the show, both did some major-soul searching this season. On the eve of the Season 3 premiere of Atlanta, show creator and star Donald Glover released an interview… with himself.What is Three Slaps about in Atlanta Season 3? ›
Season 3 Atlanta opener “Three Slaps” alluded to two real-life stories, the Hart Family murders and the underwater Georgia town Lake Lanier.What happened at the end of Atlanta season 3 Episode 10? ›
Friendship does not undo Van's depression, but it does provide her with a life vest that keeps her from drowning for the time being. In the end, it is Van who declares it is time to return home, and Candace pulls her close and affirms her direction.What happens at the end of Atlanta season 3 episode 9? ›
After another failed attempt to prove himself, Aaron finally chooses to stick to the identity he's been avoiding all his life, and one year later, we find him working at an electronic store with a low fade, gold chain, and stud earrings to match — he chose his Blackness.Is Atlanta getting a season 4? ›
Atlanta (season 4)
|Starring||Donald Glover Brian Tyree Henry Lakeith Stanfield Zazie Beetz|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||10|
What was the picture in Atlanta season 3 episode 7? ›
The package is a sleeve of photos from family picture day at Sebastian's school, underlining the point that she was his family. The closing moments of the episode suggest that Sylvia's influence will be with Sebastian the rest of his life.Is Tracy in Atlanta season 4? ›
Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry) goes on a scavenger hunt run by a dead man. Tracy (Khris Davis) makes his triumphant return as a bossy receptionist (in what turns out to be a pretty impressive secret performance).Is Atlanta season 4 the last one? ›
The fourth and final season of “Atlanta” notably begins with Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) returning an air fryer to Target amid absolute chaos.What is the meaning to Atlanta Season 3 episode 9? ›
Once the main title rolls in, the episode reveals its true cards, Aaron is a biracial kid, his dad is Black and though it's clear he's explained what it means to be Black in the United States to his son, he doesn't want his son hanging out in the wrong place or with the wrong people at the wrong time.What happened last episode of Atlanta? › Will there be Atlanta season 5? ›
The groundbreaking comedy series 'Atlanta' is ending after four seasons : NPR. The groundbreaking comedy series 'Atlanta' is ending after four seasons FX's comedy-drama series "Atlanta" is ending Thursday after four seasons.