As the curtains close on the final season of the critically acclaimed and equally controversial show Atlanta, we say goodbye to the characters we’ve come to know and love, and the stories (or lack thereof) they leave behind. During a recent chat with Vanity Fair, director Hiro Murai discussed the series ending and whether or not we’ll hear Paper Boi spit another bar. We must warn you however, this article contains spoilersso if you haven’t seen the season finale, turn the block on this post a bit later.
The show starring creator and executive producer Donald Glover (Earn), Brian Tyree Henry (Alfred aka Paper Boi), Zazie Beetz (Earn Van’s girlfriend) and Lakeith Stanfield (Darius), gave us four seasons of absurd creativity, social commentary and intrigue deeply rooted in southern black culture. And while at times the show strayed completely from storylines focused on those characters (as many episodes didn’t even feature its main cast), from Atlanta The finale brought the quartet together once again, a decision that Hiro Murai was not initially part of the plan.
The finale wasn’t originally the finale, because in some ways it’s like a very normal Atlanta episode,” Murai told Vanity Fair. “And one of the writers said, ‘This has to be the last episode because it looks perfectly cast – moving and poignant but as ridiculous as the last episode of this four-season series. So there was never a plan for the final episode, we just stumbled upon it and realized we already had one.
So yeah, if you were expecting the finale to tie a nice little knot on the Atlanta package, you may have found yourself a little deflated. In the episode, Darius visits a sensory deprivation spa in the city and continues to emerge from the waters gasping for air as if he had suddenly woken from a dream or barely escaped death – it is hard to say. And according to Murai, that’s the whole point.
“Our show has always been obsessed with existential angst, you know?” continues the director. “So, as ridiculous as the concept is, it’s also about: Does this all mean anything in the long run? Is it all fleeting, like a dream, or is it something we can cherish and give meaning to in our lives? I think that’s always been the balance of the show – doing something silly and maybe semi-meaningful at the same time.
While the viewer might be happy to see all four characters together in the final scene, there’s not necessarily a heartfelt ending in how, say, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air wrapped up with Will left in LA then. as the rest of the family prepares to move out of state. Instead, the cast sits around a coffee table in the living room eating Popeyes after Earn, Van and Paper Boi leave a new black-owned sushi restaurant unsatisfied. The three end up getting up from the table to go for a smoke as Darius is left alone to watch Judge Judy.
“…We won’t necessarily give you an emotionally satisfying ending,” Murai says. “But in season four, Donald and I got to a place where – we sort of kind of grew. We have realized that we care about these people and we want to see them end up in a satisfying place.
Asked about the possibility of there being a final final season, or just once, Murai replied:
“We often joke that we’ll be back when we’re all 70. It’ll be called Atlanta: Lottie’s Revenge. If there is a good story to tell, I think we are all open to the idea of reopening the door. But it feels good to have that [finale] as a punctuation mark.
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