• Tiye Naeemah Cort

Crabs in a Barrel

Updated: Apr 7

Curtis Baker/FX


I can’t believe that we are already at the end of a whole season. I feel like Darius and I have grown so much closer throughout this season and I’m not ready to let him go yet!

The episode opens with the Lyft driver singing a gospel song… if that ain’t Mama Cort. I’ll never forget her Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams phases. I can’t stand Lyft drivers who don’t follow the GPS, and it’s always when you have somewhere to be. Aww, look at Lottie. She’s reading already!

Earn brings his daughter to a business meeting with a lawyer. I guess sometimes it be’s like that. The lawyer has a huge billboard of himself outside of his office window. Red flag #1. This isn’t how lawyers should introduce themselves- why is he listing his accolades instead of asking about the client and their needs? Red flag #2. He has some clients in entertainment on LAHH Atlanta. Not very promising, bruh. Red flag #3. He’s asking for 5% of all deals? And he’s calling that standard? Does he mean standard for Black entertainment lawyers in Atlanta? All the read flags. Earn knows nothing about law and neither does Alfred (I'm calling him by his government, now that I know his real name), but if he’s learned anything from the rap game, he knows that he needs a Jewish lawyer. Alfred throws some light shade in response to Earn’s comment that he should be headlining the tour “I should be, but I ain’t,” hence the need for the Jewish lawyer, ahh, I see. Earn, you should be afraid of losing your job as manager right about now.

A Jewish lawyer does “level you up on niggas.” At least that’s what all the rappers say. Apparently they “keep what’s in the safe safe.”

Look at Alfred carrying Earn’s daughter while Earn carries the carseat. I’m pretty sure this little girl is old enough to walk on her own, but I am loving seeing how Alfred looks out and helps Earn even in the smallest ways in this season. I'm just trying to figure out how they went from doing shows in college auditoriums to European tours? Talk about leveling up, for real!

Next scene: Earn, why are you driving this huge truck? Y’all planning on driving to Europe? I’m loving how much Lottie is enjoying the quality time that she is getting with her dad. Just when I was thinking that this baby is getting a lot of screen time and she always has on headphones, he hands her two books. OK, super dad!

The truck is for the movers who are…drinking? Earn is in full "Mr. Mom" mode. He has his daughter and he’s checking to see if Alfred and Darius are all packed. He sounded like a mom when he asked. Asking all the questions. The boxes are packed, but Earn’s beautiful gun was in the house. I know we've been going through a lot with fun tings in society lately, but that piece really is a work of art. Why would you leave the gun in the house, though? Did I imagine that Paper Boi has been on probation? Can he even leave the country? Darius has an expired passport. He said, “I think the date’s a little late…” I love this dude! He is the live version of Hakuna Matata, they leave for Europe later today and he's is comfortably playing chess with himself. Earn can’t be bothered.

I hope these dudes don’t end up missing their flight. Earn tells Alfred, “I know you sell weed so you don’t care about time.” Real talk.

Next scene: It starts with another black woman humming, this time it’s Lottie’s teacher. Parent-teacher conference about Lottie. Yes, come on, Lottie, being advanced in school! Awww, the teacher is trying to help out by recommending a private school for next year since the current school is “awful,” but private schools cost money, or a “reasonable tuition” as the teacher calls it.

Earn asks for a “cheaper” option, and Miss Teacher throws light shade and suggests “Keep her in a happy two parent household.” Interesting, indeed, Van. She asks a good question, too. “Would you have told us that the school was bad if she was just a normal student?”

Teacher: “No. If I see a steer smart enough to get out of the pen, I leave the gate open.” That was def a comparison to a slaughterhouse. Time to unpack. As crazy as that whole interaction sounds, I know of teachers who really do look out for their students. If it weren't for some of my amazing teachers, who knows if I ever would have been put on to some of the extracurricular programs that I enrolled in that helped me get ahead.

“But at least here she won’t be the only Black kid.” Earn, man. Also a lot to unpack. I had teachers who recommended private school as well, but then I got into a really good public high school, so being "the only Black kid" wasn't really something that I faced until college. Is it a good thing not to be the only Black kid? Lottie's teacher blatantly said that the school is horrible and not a good place for a student like Lottie, so in comes the dilemma- is culture and representation more important than academic opportunity? Here, Van and Earn equate the private school with whiteness as they briefly discuss the private school option, but it is still an option because Earn is about to make big bucks on this Europe tour.

Dang, every time Earn gets a little cash, he has to do things like, you know, make the best decisions for his family? Hmmm, spend money doing hood rat things with your cousin or send your kid to private school? Decisions, decisions.

That’s got to be such a proud moment- realizing that your kid is smart, and this is a cute moment that Earn and Van are sharing talking about where Lottie’s intelligence came from. I bet my parents were ecstatic when they found out that I was a kid genius in K-2.

Earn definitely has a black eye or something, which is a reminder of his decisions to do hood rat things with his friends instead of being there for his daughter. Van notices, and that brings them both back to reality. Yes, they had a cute moment talking about their daughter, but Earn still hasn’t changed.

Next scene: Earn comes back to the house and these dudes are still not done packing everything into the truck and the movers’ kids are at the house playing video games? WTF. The movers are taking a “lunch break” at 3 pm, but for an extra $50 they get back to work. Earn is paying them extra money to do the job that he is already paying them to do. Ain’t that some…

Darius is all packed… to move, not for the trip, but something tells me he won’t need to pack much anyway because Hakuna Matata, remember? I just hope he doesn’t get busted with weed at the airport. Darius, baby, please don’t get busted with weed at the airport, okay? I love these moments where Earn just gets fed up with Darius. Those are his sincere “Nigga” moments. He literally has nothing more to say to this dude than “nigga.” Darius is so stuck. He thinks he packed up the keys, but no, they’re in his pocket. This dude is always high and I love it.

Next scene: At the passport spot, Darius is asking high questions, like, real philosophical questions about the proper way to urinate. They’re clearly in a Jewish office looking for an immediate passport replacement and I have a feeling Earn is going to try to find a Jewish lawyer here.

Their “specific clientele” is procrastinating rappers, so they know that they need immediate passport service, and then *boom* I KNEW IT. Dude offered Earn an entertainment lawyer. How does Darius remember to bring his ID with him if he can’t even remember where he puts his keys? Darius makes no sense while making all the sense.

Earn asks, “Do you think there’s a Black lawyer who’s as good as your cousin?”

The clerk responds, “Part of being good at your job is your connections. Black people just don’t have the connections that my cousin has… for systemic reasons.” I'm not even going to attempt to unpack this... for systemic reasons.

“Ya’ll take Rush Cards?… Here you go, my Jewish friend.” Darius.

Earn has a lot going on, and now his sorta bae/all-the-way baby mama is thinking about moving back to her mom’s house with Lottie. Why is that a problem? Is that outside of Atlanta?

Earn tells Darius, “I know you’re always at peace with everything, but my whole world’s falling apart.” Maybe you need to hit a blunt, bruh. Kidding. But seriously, if Alfred fires Earn, Earn has no other options right now. They have two hours to kill, so Earn talks about this with Darius and he turns into the Kush Sage: “Learning requires failure. Al just trying to make sure you’re not failing in his life.”, “Y’all both black, so y’all both can’t afford to fail.”

Earn: “Do Nigerians get a chance to fail?”

Darius: “Don’t you start that, you know Nigerians don’t fail.”

Now this exchange right there. I’m not Nigerian, but I know quite a few. Nigerians don’t be out here failing, y’all.

Darius doesn’t think that Al will fire Earn until they get to Europe, but would that really be any better? Imagine landing in London and your cousin turns to you like “Man, I’m good.” What do you do? Grab some Nando’s and book a flight back home? Also, what does Darius do? He’s not the manager, not the assistant… is he just the comic relief friend who keeps Paper Boi grounded?

Next scene: Alfred is really stoic sitting on this couch and smoking, and it is worrying me. He doesn’t want to talk about anything with Earn until they land. Ugh, I hope he doesn’t fire his cousin but it sounds like he might fire his cousin. Here comes happy-go-lucky Darius with a backpack because he packed “like a Navy SEAL.” They’re going to Europe on tour for two months, and Darius only needs a backpack. My man can do the impossible, y’all.

He offers Earn a chance to hit the blunt and, honestly, it is probably the best thing for him right now, but he turns it down. OK, Earn. This part of the scene is really long. The peer pressure from Al and Darius to get Earn to smoke, but it’s also really cute. It’s a little bit of comic relief before an impending European firing, but I can’t knock saying no to drugs. Earn is paranoid enough as it is.

Next scene: They’re running late for their flight and they run into Clark County before they reach security. Earn is suspicious when Clark quickly asks Alfred if he got his message about some lawyer. Apparently Alfred’s been moving silence (like lasagna). Luke says “Flight’s not gonna leave without Clark County, man,” pretty ominous.

“Opt out!” Uh oh, Darius opts out of the metal detector to get patted down because of some conspiracy theory. Lord, please don’t tell me that my man is a hotep. That would be devastating. OK, surprisingly he gets through security. I’m not trying that. I feel like I can't opt out of anything in security because no matter what, someone is going to slip on blue gloves and attempt to pat down my locs. The closest I ever come to "opting out" is asking them to put on a fresh pair of gloves to do so. Being black at the airport. I'm not sure if that was accurately portrayed here, but it is also the Atlanta airport, and I've never had problems there.

Earn opens his backpack to put it through the metal detector. Oh. Shit. Is that beautiful golden piece is still in Earn’s backpack? It sure is. Ummm… you gotta go to the trashcan outside real quick, homie. Think fast. Do something. Wait, how did his bag make it through? Yo, Earn put his gun in someone else’s bag. If that ain’t some gangsta shit… All you hear is someone get called back to security and Clark says “What’s going on? Ayo, Luke, come back.”

Next scene: Earn has a window seat and he is trying to relax. Damn, Alfred saw what he did and now he is giving him the pep talk. “Niggas do not care about us, man. Niggas gonna do whatever they gotta do to survive because they ain’t got no choice.” Aww, he tells him that he needs him. Yes, Earn does give a fuck. So, Alfred didn’t wait until they landed to talk. Did he basically just tell Earn that he’s safe?

Oh man, so Earn put the gun in Luke’s bag? Yo, I love how Alfred sticks up for Earn. He knows exactly what happened and plays it off like he has no idea when Clark tells him why Luke isn't on the plane. They found the gun in his bag. Everyone acts clueless. once Clark walks away, Earn says the piece was in Clark’s bag… so… yoooo! Wow, what Alfred just said came full-circle! Clark is only looking out for himself, and after Luke’s comment that the flight isn’t going to leave without Clark County?! He was right, but you, Lukey baby, are staying right here in the A. Clark County had no problem pinning his mess on Luke. He did what he had to do to survive. You can’t trust NOBODY in these streets or, ahem, on these planes. Alfred better watch his back, too, though. Going on tour with a dude who is willing to be that kind of shady can be dangerous, but at least he has Earn to watch his back. I love Darius's face throughout the entire conversation. It looks like he is piecing all the information together and understanding what happened slight milliseconds after we watching from home do. And then *poof* it's gone when Alfred says "Let's get this money!" and daps him up.

I’m keeping a close eye on my bags when I go through TSA from now on. I shall not be going through the metal detector until I see my bag go through the machine, you hear me? You will not be calling me back to find a piece in my carry-on.

Next scene: Haha,this is the Atlanta version of “Bruh Man” at the end of the episode tryna come into the apartment (that they moved out of) to chill and eat with his girl. I can’t.

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