Atlanta (Season 4), Episode 9 Recap & Ending, Explained: One of the best things that came out of the FX series – Atlanta, is the collaboration between the creative minds of Donald Glover and Hiro Murai. From Teddy Perkins to Alligator Man, the duo has managed to bring some of the most intense and wildest episodes from the series. The second last episode of Atlanta, streaming on Hulu, is another one that they work on together. It uses an understated approach to bring the surreal undertones to the viewers’ understanding. It focuses on the character of the rapper Paper Boi aka Alfred and his life in the wide and empty terrains, which he refers to as his ‘safe farm’.
Atlanta (Season 4), Episode 9 Recap:
Andrew Wyeth, Alfred’s World
Directed by Hiro Murai, the 9th episode titled ‘Andrew Wyeth, Alfred’s World’ is written by Donald Glover and Taofik Kolade. It begins with the sounds of gunshots in the woods. Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry) is practicing his aim with a gun while listening to The Braids by Mystikal. One of the bullets hit right next to the central circle after which he decides to keep his pistol down. He receives a missed call from Earn (Donald Glover), after which, Al starts shooting towards the aim with a rifle, without a break. Perhaps that is his anger talking after missing most of the shots earlier.
Then he starts walking back to his house and on his way, sees a tractor lying in the grass. He goes to his greenhouse, tends to the plants inside, and while leaving, sees a hole in its wooden door. He goes right to a nearby hardware store to look for a solution. Since he cannot find a cast-iron skillet the way he wanted, he asks the shop owner about it. He notes they might be out-of-stock. Al then asks for an animal repellent, which is not there either. The owner then mentions that he can order a skillet for Al, which he tells him not to do. He thinks that Al would probably get it on Amazon since it is not available in the store. We see how small stores lose to these big businesses that are getting more sales due to their convenience factor besides availability.
Al then walks to the place where he saw the tractor. He gets on it and tries starting it, but it does not work. He opens a YouTube video that advises about the repair. While the video is on, Al receives a text from Earn but ignores it to see what the guy in the video has to say. Thanks to this person, Al saves himself from getting killed. Later at night, he cooks a meal for himself when he hears a loud banging in the distance. When he goes outside, he finds the door to his greenhouse open and banging. When he gets closer, he finds all the plants damaged and gets the turd of some animal on the back of his slippers.
The next day, he goes to the same store and shows the pictures he took of the same rubbish and damage. The owner notes it is a result of feral hogs. He asks about the quality of the turd and Al gets frustrated by this question. So then, he asks about the kind of crops Al is growing. When Al mentions corn, the man notes that hogs love it. He suggests keeping the corn somewhere outside in the open to catch the hog in the act and to keep firing at it when it does. Al wants an easier solution like poisoning the hog (probably owing to his easier life in the city where such solutions were readily available). The man paints a terrifying picture of this wild hog. Al cannot help himself laughing at the stories the owner cooks up.
Al goes back to the tractor and fails at his attempt to make it work. He opens up one of its parts to see a dead rodent inside. Perhaps that was the reason the tractor was not working. He goes to the greenhouse and puts a lock on the door so that a hog would not be able to enter. He puts some plants outside his house in a cart to trap the hog as the shop owner suggested. He goes inside and sleeps watching a nature documentary. He wakes up suddenly hears a loud noise and rushes out. He sees the cart damaged with no signs of an animal. So, the plan to capture it fails.
Later, after several failed attempts, Al manages to make the tractor work. He wears a T-shirt that says – ‘Been hustling’. When he drives it around the farm, Rollin by Dungeon family plays in the background. While he is elated by his success, he ends up getting one of its wheels stuck in the mud. The tractor starts rolling down and he tries to save himself from getting caught under. He wakes up a few hours later, with one of his feet, stuck under its wheel. He struggles to get out and somehow manages to squeeze his foot out. He then walks back to his house despite the injured leg. On his way, he gets tired and decides to sit it out for a while.
Later, he starts crawling when his house is in his view. He sees a delivery van stopping by where a woman walks out to deliver his parcel. He shouts to get her attention. But, while listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s good 4 u, she cannot hear Al’s screams. He keeps shouting for help, but he does not get any from her. After a long time of crawling, he finally reaches the doorstep and opens the parcel. He holds the skillet and throws it to the side. That is when he hears the sound of a hog and sees it running right toward him. It jumps right into him, and he tries to get it off his body. While it makes him fall to the ground, Al hits it with his skillet, relentlessly and manages to calm the wild creature.
Atlanta (Season 4) Episode 9 Ending Explained:
Who is Andrew Wyeth and how is he related to Alfred’s world?
Al acknowledges this moment of peace, which gets interrupted by his vibrating phone. He picks up the call from Earn, who speaks about an upcoming contract. He feels that Al is tired due to the way he speaks. Al hides the nightmare he just witnessed and tells him that they will talk the next day. Early in the morning, he fries some pieces of bacon for himself and throws the trash out. While eating it along with whiskey, he has a video call with Earn. Earn notices a band-aid on Al’s face and inquires about it.
Al does not reveal the reason and blurts out some random happenings like being able to work the tractor and doing some shooting. Earn warns him about the dangers of such farms, even if Al calls it his safe farm. Out of care, he asks Al to come back to Atlanta. Since Al was outside for a long time the previous day, Earn thinks that he has a sunburnt. Al laughs at his claim that black people can get sunburn and Earn keeps insisting on it being true because of the science behind it. They have a breezy conversation about this topic and the episode ends with Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying by Ray Charles.
The usage of songs is very much indicative of the humour that the show wants to bring into the discussion. Whether it is the white woman listening to the chartbuster breakup song or a completely unrelated sun-related song after the chat about the damage from sunburn, the humour is subtly added in this way. The title of the episode is connected to the 20th-century realist painter – Andrew Wyeth and his most notable work – Christina’s World. The way Alfred struggles to get to his house, which he considers safe for him, Cristina also struggled in the wide, empty terrain with a house in distance. The distance may be just a few minutes of walking, but for both of them, it seemed like a struggle.
The struggle for Christina, who Andrew painted referring to an actual person, was not being able to get out of her house (that we see in that painting). Her posture in the painting also shows the activity of her hands while evoking a feeling of her feet, being stuck in the grass. The subdued color tones from the painting are similar to the subdued tonality that the narration achieves in this episode. Alfred’s house on the farm, where life is often considered to be stress-free, comes with its share of conflicts. Being near nature is not as carefree as what popular culture portrays.
Throughout the episode, we see Alfred being in conflict with life on this farm, where he cannot do things as easily and conveniently as he is used to in Atlanta. A repairman is just a call away in the city, but the work needs to be done by yourself on the farm. In this Alfred’s world, we see him getting saved from almost getting killed, more than once. It is the skill of the direction and Brian Tyree Henry’s impeccable performance that the episode builds an omnipresent fear in this serene plot of land.