FX's 'Atlanta' recap ('Barbershop'): season 2, episode 5

Posted Thursday, March 29, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog'

The title of this episode is "Barbershop," which may evoke the movies of the same title.

But it's absolutely nothing like those films at all. There is no punchy give and take among the barbers and regulars, no trash talking, no political debates.

In fact, a good portion of the episode is not even in the barbershop.

In this episode directed by Donald Glover, Alfred's effort to get a simple haircut for a photo shoot goes awry almost immediately.

Blame it on Bibby the barber who is having... a day.

He is basically a fast-talkin', lying thief and former felon. He is rude. He gabs on his phone, confusing Alfred. Who is he talking to? He is inconsiderate. He takes a break to eat an apple. He has a short attention span.

He makes one ragged cut on Alfred's hair but then gets distracted yet again. He stops to show Alfred a video of the invisible car from season one. He hits the restroom.

He then insists he has to go to his girlfriend's home immediately to cut her kid's hair.

Since Alfred's hair now looks horrid, he feels he has no choice but to go along with Bibby. And boy, will he regret it.

Bibby offers stolen T-Mobile phones and hands Alfred business cards offering dubious cable plans. (How many side hustles does this barber have?) Once at his girlfriend's house, he tries to use Alfred as an excuse for why he was late, then cuts the boy's hair instead of Alfred's. When she asks if he paid the water bill, the electricity conveniently gets cut off. Guess lyin' Bibby didn't pay that one either despite his insistence that he did.

To make up for the inconvenience, Bibby promises to get Alfred some Zaxby's (Absolutely Craveable Chicken)! Alfred is hungry and happy... until they show up at some random unfinished home. There, Bibby re-heats raggedy leftovers. Alfred is not cool with that. He just wants a dang haircut. But Bibby convinces him to move some wood into his pick-up truck first.

The actual owner of the house arrives, accuses Bibby of stealing. He makes up some absurd lie and drives away. Then he sees his teen son skipping school and chases after him. Once caught, his son recognizes PaperBoi and mocks his terrible haircut, pure insult to injury for poor Alfred.

On the way back to the shop, Bibby lectures his son about truancy and keeps looking away from the road. Alfred tells him multiple times to watch the road. Naturally, Bibby rear-ends a car in front of him. The driver - an Asian woman - gets out of the car and starts wailing in a classic surreal "Atlanta" fashion.

Of course, Bibby has warrants and Alfred is freaking out because he's on probation and has weed in his pockets. So Bibby commits a hit and run.

Once back at the shop, Alfred has to physically threaten Bibby to get his haircut because Bibby appeared ready to bolt again. On the bright side: Bibby does a great job.

But Alfred's loyalties are limited. In the final scene at a later date, he walks past Bibby and goes to a new stylist. Bibby seems unperturbed. But Alfred looks utterly miserable, not even sure how to describe what he wants because Bibby had done "the usual' for him for so long.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.