The surrealist comedy-drama “Atlanta,” which is currently had the fourth and final season, excelled at imprinting incomprehensible, discordant images in the minds of viewers, much like a television stuck between channels.
Its finale was no different: Following shows like “St. Elsewhere,” “Seinfeld,” “The Sopranos” and “Twin Peaks: The Return,” classics whose endings sparked critical pandemonium, it concludes with an episode that has the potential to change the way viewers consider everything that came before.
It defies expectations by repeatedly veering into wonderfully absurdist territory with an unmistakable swagger and regard for its audience’s intelligence.
The characters Earn and Van, played by Donald Glover and Zazie Beetz, circled a mall in the first episode of the final season and kept running into their ex-lovers, who appeared to loop around the premises in a kind of purgatory. This could be a joke about how everyone in Atlanta knows everyone else or about the confusing layout of shopping malls, which, like casinos, want you to lose track of time.
Although it continued to receive praise from critics, “Atlanta” never quite recovered the ratings it had in its first two seasons. This was probably due, in part, to the lengthy production breaks required while its stars pursued successful film careers.
The season finale opens with Darius watching television before going for his weekly session in the sensory deprivation tank to raise his spirits. The events that follow are less clear-cut, including a Cree Summer cameo, a farcical police encounter, a visit to a lost loved one, a “thick” Judge Judy, a tense lunch at a Black- wned sushi restaurant, and Darius saving the day with Popeyes chicken after arriving in a Maserati painted Pepto-Bismol.