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"Helen" is the fourth episode of Atlanta: Robbin' Season. It is the fourteenth episode of the series overall. It was released on March 22, 2018. It was written by Taofik Kolade and directed by Amy Seimetz.[1]

Synopsis[]

Earn discovers just how weird white people can be when he accompanies Van to a traditional German festival she frequented as a kid.

Plot[]

Earnest Marks performs oral sex on Vanessa Keefer before driving to Helen, Georgia for Fastnacht, an annual German tradition that Van celebrates because of her German heritage. Van expresses worry that Earn will not like it, but he assures that if he does not, they can go back to the lodge they are staying at and have sex. Earn narrowly avoids hitting a giant black pig in the middle of the road that wanders off on its own accord. As they arrive, Earn remarks that they are going to be the only black people there, Van correcting him that her friend Christina is biracial. As they walk, Van tells him about the faschingstanz couples dance and the competition involved, expressing hope that she and Earn can win. She warns Earn that there is a folklore character that people often do blackface for as two white women watch them walk by in awe.

Van says hello to Christina and her husband Dave and has Earn take a picture of the three of them. Dave tries to convince Earn to wear a costume, offering him one of his spare masks, and a cackling demon costume walks by, Dave identifying it as the thieving Schnappviecher. A woman approaches Earn, thinking him to be the blackface character, only to be horrified and apologetic when she realizes he is a black man. Earn asks Dave to get him a mask. Earn wears a hockey mask while the partygoers prepare to play Hootz-Kutz, a game Earn does not understand that involves people getting in a circle, bouncing balls between them and trying to get them into a jug in the middle, and at some point saying "hootz-kutz." As Earn struggles to play the game, he reflexively places all the balls in at once without bouncing them, leaving the crowd stunned as to how he was able to do that. The crowd erupts into applause and give him the nickname "Halten" or "to hold." Van and the bartender converse in German and Earn awkwardly tries to keep up until he rudely orders a drink in English, the bartender reacting in disgust as he reveals that he too can speak it. Earn sheepishly drinks his beer as the Schnappviecher comes up behind him and laughs.

As Van and the costumed crowd dance to polka music, Earn and Dave discuss his confusion over what kind of boyfriend Van wants him to be. Dave insists she just wants to share the things she likes with him as Van approaches, asking if Earn wants to practice faschingstanz dance moves. He pulls her aside to a secluded corner with a ping-pong table in hopes of spending alone time with her, and she makes him a deal: they play a best of three game, and if she wins, Earn is no longer allowed to complain and must dance with her. If Earn wins, they go back to the lodge. Van wins in two games and Earn asks her why she beat him so easily, as "when we play basketball, I don't just destroy you in front of everybody." She points out that they are alone, but he gestures to a silent figure in a disturbing, wrinkled mask who was watching them the whole time. Earn refuses to go and dance, and Van tells him he is "being a fucking baby" and points out that they do what he wants, like going to a strip club, all the time. She points out that she goes to Alfred Miles' concerts every weekend, and Earn notes that the concerts are what pays her bills. Visibly hurt, she leaves as the masked figure stares at Earn, and he snaps "fuck you" at it.

Van vents to Christina about Earn's behavior and they are approached by a couple who watches Lottie sometimes. The husband praises Earn's work with Al and they ask Van what she does, and she tells them she tends to stay at home. An upset Van moves to get a drink but Christina stops her, instead sitting down with her. She states that she does not just want to be "Lottie's mom" for the rest of her life, but Christina points out that she makes it look good and that she is cut it out for it. Van asks her what she means, and Christina awkwardly states that "I chose white, you chose black." Van points out that she did not choose any race, but that Christina chose to embrace white culture and would pander to her black friends. Dave approaches, having won the faschingstanz competition, and asks Van to take a picture of him and Christina. She realizes she does not have her phone just as the festival organizer proclaims it the "witching hour." Dave states that her phone has been "schnapped," taken by the Schnappviecher, and the partygoers surround a visibly annoyed Van.

The party goes out to recover Van's phone from the Schnappviecher and she talks in German to the bartender, who asks if she will ever go to Germany again. She says she likely never will, despite him offering accomodations for her and Earn, who he refers to as "your boyfriend." She states that Earn is not exactly her boyfriend, and that they are "good together, but only when we really have to be. And I'm slowly figuring out that maybe we don't have to." The bartender responds that "love is what you make of it. It's not up to him to define it for you." He says that Van needs to start a relationship with herself if she truly wants to love someone. Van asks if he believes love can die, and he states that everything does, but at least she lived through it. Van chuckles that "you're so German" and steps aside to pee, and the bartender awkwardly walks next to Earn. As Van crouches behind a dumpster to pee, she hears the giggling of the Schnappviecher and it rises up behind her. She yelps when she notices it and knocks it down with a punch. Van hears her phone buzzing in a dumpster and plucks it out, finding a text from Earn that asks to talk. The partygoers find her and she tells them she found her phone, and they cheer for her.

She finds Earn by the ping-pong table and asks what he wants out of their relationship. Earn tells her to go first, and she says that she wants to be in a committed relationship where she is seen as a human instead of a friend with benefits. Earn admits that he is satisfied with their current arrangement and tries to delay the conversation until morning, but Van states that she is tired of waiting around for him. He responds that he does not want her to waste any more time on him. She decides to settle the situation with a best of five ping-pong game, Earn only being allowed to see her about Lottie or money if she wins. Earn asks her what winning will prove, and she says "it's gonna prove that I'm tired." They start to play, Van winning the first round and Earn winning the second. The next morning, they wake in the lodge bed together and Van drives them away in silence. Earn smokes and offers her some, but she ignores him. They arrive at her apartment and Earn tells her he will pick up Lottie from his mother's house the next day and they say an emotionless goodbye before she shuts the door on him, implying that she won the game.

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References[]

  1.  (February 20, 2018) "Atlanta - Episode 2.04 - Helen - Press Release". Spoiler TV. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
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