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‘Atlanta’ recap: Season 2, Episode 4: Could this be the end of Van and Earn?

Van, we could all tell you’ve been holding on to this one since your childhood

Season 2, Episode 4 | “Helen” | March 22

This episode has to be one of the craziest. rom Van knocking out the monster moose character that steals phones to a white woman thinking Earn is in blackface to (and I know we’re all thinking it) … did Van just speak German?

Things start off with Earn and Van driving to the town of Helen to go to Fastnacht. What is Fastnacht, you ask? It appears to be a German celebration where people dress up in costumes mostly resembling animals, dance to polka and play games. It’s very traditional. Van makes this clear to Earn.

At this point, Earn radiates nothing but positivity and says if he doesn’t like it they can go to the lodge to enjoy each other’s company. Then (in my Beyoncé voice): World, stop — they almost hit a black hog finishing his meal in the middle of the road. Did anyone else get Get Out vibes from this scene?

Carrying on: Van definitely had an interesting life growing up. Fake friend Christina shows up — remember the one who bought tickets without Van so they couldn’t sit together at the Beyoncé concert? … yes, that friend — with her white husband, Dave. While Dave pressures Earn to put on a costume, a woman comes up to Earn grabbing his face and then apologizes because she realizes it’s real and not blackface. I know what you are all thinking: I know she didn’t. But yes, yes, she did. Of course, after that Earn decides to take Dave up on the offer of an extra mask.

As if this day couldn’t get more weird, the festivities continue with a game known as Hootz Kootz where they pass tennis balls around, only to eventually throw them in a jug in the middle of the circle. Van attempts to explain the game to Earn, but he ignores her and proceeds to just put both tennis balls into the jug without passing it around and the crowd is amazed because it has never been done. The crowd goes wild chanting Earn’s name.

Van tells Earn he got lucky and to listen to her the next time; he replies, “You’re starting to sound more like Serena Williams’ dad.” Throughout the entire night, Earn makes jabs at Van — like when she tells him to learn German and he sarcastically replies, “Because it’s so useful.” But then he’s being embarrassed because Van and the bartender have a delightful conversation in German, right in front of him. Earn feels left out, so he makes a jab at the bartender, asking if they can get some service.

Van, we could all tell you have been holding on to this one since your childhood.

The episode continues with people dancing to polka, dressed up as birds and bears. As Earn takes it all in, he confides in a guest at the party. “Sometimes I feel like she wants to be lame … this isn’t me,” says Earn. A guest offers his advice on the matter. “She just wants to spend more time with you … that’s what girls do when they like you … they just want to twist their life up with yours. That’s why it’s harder to disconnect.”

Earn finally asks Van to play a good old-fashioned game of pingpong with him. They bet that if Van wins, Earn will stop complaining and go dancing with her. She bests him, two out of three, leaving Earn angry that she beat him so quickly. Even though Van wins, Earn refuses to go dancing because “he’s not in the mood.”

And the argument begins.

Van feels like she does things with Earn just to spend time with him even though she doesn’t enjoy herself, but Van doesn’t understand why Earn won’t return the favor. Earn feels that Fastnacht is stupid and is over the festival. After the eventful night Van had, all she wanted to do was confide in her friend Christina about Earn, but Van quickly realizes Christina went from friend to enemy in 10 seconds. When Christina introduces Van to a white couple, she refers to Van as Lottie’s (Earn and Van’s daughter’s) mom.

Noticing the condescending attitude, Van confronts Christina and realizes her brainwashing level is on 1,000 when she says Van makes being a baby mama look good and Van is in that situation because she chose black and Christina chose white. “You literally just told me I’m going to be a baby mama and that’s OK because I chose black!” says Van.

The shade and jabs keep coming from both sides, but my favorite is when Van justifies why she never brought Christina around her black friends. Extremely heated, Van mocks Christina and says, “I wish I had kinky hair, but you do. You just straighten it.” Van, we could all tell you have been holding on to this one since your childhood.

Miniya Shabazz is a Rhoden Fellow and a junior mass communication major from Laurel, MD. She attends Grambling State University and is a staff writer for The Gramblinite.