10 TV Episodes That Wanted To Piss You Off
9. The Big Payback - Atlanta
The recent third season of Atlanta was nothing short of a masterpiece, consisting of both stories connected to the central narrative and almost entirely standalone, Twilight Zone-esque tales tethered to the show's central tenets of race and modern America.
The season's biggest swing comes in the fantastic episode "The Big Payback," which depicts an alternate reality where a landmark court case rules that the descendants of Black slaves can sue the descendants of slave owners for reparations.
And so, abject chaos ensues for white America as everybody, including protagonist Marshall (a brilliant Justin Bartha), starts researching their family trees to figure out whether or not their ancestral past puts them in the firing line for a lawsuit.
With that, America begins changing drastically overnight: white people have their wages garnished on a monthly basis to benefit Black descendants of slaves, and Marshall is sued by a Black woman whose ancestors were owned by his.
The episode ends with a scene in a restaurant where most of the wait staff, including Marshall, are white, while the diners are largely Black and non-white, confirming that a major paradigm shift has taken place.
The episode set social media on fire almost immediately, with many praising its provocative and thoughtful examination of a challenging subject.
Predictably many white viewers expressed their outrage at such a hypothetical scenario, feeling that they shouldn't suffer for the sins of their ancestors, no matter how much they might've directly or indirectly benefitted from white supremacy.
But this was exactly the intended reaction - Atlanta has always prodded and probed the scabs of the modern world, and there are few things likely to make white people more uncomfortable than the notion of the societal scales being reset.