Photo: Oliver Upton/FX
Over the course of Paper Boi’s European tour, Alfred, Earn, and Darius (and sometimes Van, lol) encountered shouts and chases. This week, the boys are playing a blame game in Budapest, Hungary. “I smell adventure,” Darius said after finding a blueprint for the venue’s building. He tries unsuccessfully to encourage the men to uncover the ghosts that allegedly inhabit Earth, but when Al’s phone goes missing after his collection, they find themselves thrown into a Whodunit mystery. Darius’ prayer for the “Rap Gods” goes unanswered when the entire place becomes a secondary crime scene, and people who have gone behind the scenes or stayed for too long are now the prime suspects. Often met with suspicion or seen as guilty (the place’s security guard continues to check Earn’s identity every time he sees him), the trio indulge in the art of interrogation in their search for a stolen smartphone. As they search the bodies of unsuspecting suspects and play “good cop and bad cop” with would-be thieves, Eren and Alfred team up to retrieve the device. Since the phone isn’t backed up to iCloud or registered to Find My iPhone thanks to the influence of Darius, aka “conspiracy Jones,” who declares, “We don’t use that; that’s how they track us,” Al is dumbfounded. private. His life and his music are on this phone, and without him coming back, he has to come out without access to his past and the art he fashioned from it.
The first presumed culprits on the set is an unlikely suspect: a pediatric cancer patient who has been awarded tickets to the VIP and Greet meet through the Dream Foundation, a white boy who came to the show with his parents hat-on-his-to-be chemotherapy. And who takes a bottle of brown liquor with him as a souvenir from his time with Paper Boi. When Al first realizes his phone is missing after the set, Earn first suggests it might be the baby, whom they refer to as “the cancer kid,” who took him and is now on his way to the hospital due to a “cancer attack.” Earn runs to find the boy and stops his family from lifting the stretcher into the ambulance. The child, who admits Earn is a manager of Paper Boi, sees this as an opportunity to pledge allegiance to the Atlanta star. The boy asserts: ‘If it’s for Paper Boi, I’m I want help.” “What does Paper Boi need?” he asks, trying to be of help. Without answering, Eren begins to lift the boy’s blankets and look for the phone in his clothes. A parent shouts “Get away from my son” as the crowd that formed around the sick child began to boo EARN (Get these folks some tomatoes!)
The second suspect is much more gruesome. The first time we met the alleged thief, a white man named Wiley, supposedly the “unprofessional theater director” who had taken to the stage before the Paper Boi to make the crowd fuss. As it turns out, however, Wiley is not the stage manager but a nephew (by marriage!) to the man who was the stage manager. Although Wiley is said to have attended the event to interview for a behind-the-scenes job, his cover is revealed when the group learns his resume is riddled with lies. After pulling his teeth with his uncle to obtain Wiley’s number, Earn called him under the guise of arranging a meeting with Paper Boi and Wiley as fans. Wiley doubts why they decided to call him hours after the show and suspects they have an “ulterior motive”, but nonetheless decides to return to the scene to discuss where Al’s phone is. A “longtime fan” of Paper Boi music, Wiley revels in his closeness to his idol (with whom he shares a birthday April 28. Taurus kings!) and displays cool charisma. Is there anything special about this phone? He asks shyly. When the men are frustrated and threats of violence are thrown, Wiley does not flinch but instead predicts that their common future would have happened to him. “If you died today, people would assume you did,” he comments. “No one’s going to die, Wiley,” Eren replies, hoping to calm the situation. “We all have to die at some point,” Willie said. “Maybe my end should come to Paper Boi’s hand.”
Despite his young age, Willy proves himself wise beyond his years (he says he’s 32 though his uncle said he was 19) and manages to make the men question him uneasy. Reflecting on Paper Boi’s dreams of having the top of a Chevy chest and a girl named Rose, Wiley reveals an insight into Al’s life pulled straight from the unpublished tracks on his phone. Overwhelmed and perhaps outdone by the mind games unfolding before them, Earn, Al and Darius walk out of the room with Wiley to regroup and debrief in the hallway. Darius notes that Wiley blinks every five seconds, while Al can’t shake the feeling that Wiley is tapping into information directly from his mobile phone. Darius, who plays “simple cop” alongside “good cop” and “bad cop” for both Eren and Al, says very little during interrogation while the other two lean on Wiley in hopes of getting him to confess. While the men are all back for bizarre crime drama, Wiley plays along, orders his phone call, impatiently drinks the interrogation drink, and orders a cigarette to smoke in the middle of the conversation.
In a moment of weakness, Al shared with Wiley that he needed to return the phone because he had recorded his first song in seven months. Speaking about his disappointment with the industry and his career, Al opens up about losing his sense of musical taste and feeling that it’s too late for him to pursue any other dreams. After bringing an acoustic guitar and playing a surprisingly good song, Wiley stands up and walks out of the interrogation room (an office in place). “Thanks for seeing me. I hope you find your phone,” he says.
As the group boards the tour bus, accepting defeat and declaring it cold, the truth is revealed to the show’s viewers. What the group failed to anticipate was that the thief was someone among them who had let their guard down – the stockings, the white man in the yellow beanie of the London ring who had become friends with Darius after”12 years a slavepresent. Since ‘The Old Man and Tree’, Socks supposedly accompanied the trio in the final leg of the tour. As one might remember, the Socks were established early in the season as a powerful social force. He’s a white man who makes novels He enjoys anger.
Always ready to crusade on someone else’s behalf, socks expertly divert any possibility of suspicion by assuming the position of the aggrieved party, in many cases embodying more frustration and anger than the victims themselves. First, he fought for Darius, whose stockings exaggerated his experience of petty aggression at a party in order to muster a crowd of white sympathizers who would not even listen to the black man they were supposed to cry over. This time, the socks are activated by hurting Al. Taking the phone from Earn, Socks blows up Wiley for theft. threatening him with “mob bullshit” and declaring him to be “white Liam Neeson” and thus willing to “stalk him and [bury him], “Socks shows so much rage about the disappearance of the smartphone that doesn’t even reflect Al’s expression.” “The damn white Liam Neeson already!” yells at him (LMAO!). “I’m so angry; I could kill this ni-,” Socks screams, cuts himself. Darius, Eren, and Al note that Socks come close to saying forbidden slander but don’t stray from the topic. Later, after apologizing for his behavior, Sox took Al’s phone out of his pocket and tossed the gold-covered device In the trash before hopping on the tour bus, Al lights a hinge to calm his nerves while sitting next to the same man who stole it.
But in the end, the socks aren’t the mystery that escalates in this episode. Instead, the unsolved mysteries are those that plague Earn’s most intimate relationships. Early in the episode, Al looks up to Earn, who was vacant and lost in the manager’s position, and tries to connect with his cousin. “how are you?” Asks. “You seem busy all the time.” Earn little to say in response. Exhausted from his role as a manager, he begins to reduce his relationship with Al to the art of anticipating needs and correcting mistakes on his behalf. Eren may not yet be comforted by this sense of purpose to see the chasm he creates between himself and his cousin-turned-agent. “Good busy,” he said before leaving Al again.
Even Van, who does not appear in this episode, stalks Eren in her absence. After six days of silence, Earn analyzes the check-in script that Van does not respond to until the end of the episode. He asks about her health, and she just sends a thumbs up emoji in return. True connection evades gain at every step, and to uncover the source of this absence, he will have to embark on another quest for answers, the interrogation of the self.
• Black Card Invalidation to earn: While questioning them, Wiley notices that Eren does not have the same southern accent as Al and asks, “Were you told as a child that you spoke white?” Taking a psychoanalytic stance, Wiley comments on how estranged and “detached” Eren feels from being growing up not to be part of the “group” he would like to join. As a white Hungarian, he found Eren’s alleged racial alienation to be “interesting”. Sure, no one credits Wiley with this 2012 Tumblr diagnosis, yet one still wonders to what extent Earn’s styles of dribbling and isolation go back and how much they are influenced by race.
• We’re not really strangers for truck: Van has some major difficulty communicating her feelings to Earn and has resorted to using individual emojis in response to his frantic texts. I think a round of this game might loosen both of them and get the conversation flowing. These two have been acting like strangers lately, and it’s time to rebuild their relationship and start acting like they know each other again.
• I’m spying Doga?: As a Doja Cat stan, I can’t help but notice that one of the songs playing in this episode is “Doja” with A$AP Rocky by $NOT (a song that Doja herself had a strong reaction to) and her name appeared on the show again in “The Old Man and the Tree” is when Earn tells the white patron TJ that he should check if the Doja Cat is actually working at an influential inn. I can’t tell if these references were done in good faith, but I’ll be looking for any other references to the illustrious leader of Planet Her.