Pretty much every social gathering in Atlanta devolves into the surreal (remember Drake’s cardboard cut-out party?) and this week’s episode was no exception. “The Old Man and the Tree” featured decoy houses, raging performative white guilt, and inexplicable pool-shoving. Most bizarrely, it may or may not have involved the actual Devil. On route to a party in London, held by a mysterious billionaire, our quartet of characters learn that their host is so rich because his “family gave out the first loan.”

FX

Which is a weird thing to say, considering that “Money lending can be traced to about 3000 BC in ancient Mesopotamia.” The billionaire, Fernando, has a South African accent and a swank pad complete with a Nando’s restaurant – incidentally Fernando claims that he’s not the same Fernando who started the South African chicken chain. He also, conspicuously,  has a giant tree on his property, one of the “oldest trees in London.” Which recalls the Tree of Knowledge from the Bible – but instead of an apple, Al is offered up some Nando’s chicken. 

FX

Fernando invites Al to a poker game and waxes on about the time he had sex with a ghost, Ray Stantz-style, who was Black and dripping wet (recalling the nightmare sequence from the season premiere). Then Fernando speaks at length about the existence of Satan, and how his fortune is proof of his existence – then he cheats Al out of his poker winnings. So are we to surmise that Fernando may actually be Beelzebub? 

FX

Later in the episode, Earn also spies a photo of a Black man relegated to the background of an old-timey photo of an 1893 South African bank loan –

FX

Which motivates Earn to guiltlessly fleece his wealthy white friend, but also seems to be implying that Fernando, regardless of his true identity, has deep ties to the economy of colonialism and racist violence throughout history. And given that this is the same show that gave us Tupac being euthanized by a Dutch cult last week, it doesn’t seem unlikely that, in the world of the show, he is also the literal embodiment of the Devil.

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Top Image: FX

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