If Season 1 ended on a note of fragile optimism, the premiere of “Robbin’ Season”feels defined by a simmering panic, like the anxiety that stampedes back in once a high wears off, like the dread of knowing you’ll have to either make decisions or have them made for you soon. The season premiere opens with Earn getting forced out of the storage unit he had been living in, and it’s three full minutes before any other familiar characters are shown. There’s a detached cold open that follows two new young men around the twist of a boring, gray winter day that suddenly turns violent. They play FIFA, they talk music, they decide that they’re hungry, they go to Mrs. Winner’s—a fictive version of the real chicken and biscuits spot, and one that doubles as a drug front. They rob the place, it turns bloody, it sets the tone: This is still Atlanta, but the stakes are irretrievably higher than they were two years ago. Disaster strikes elsewhere when Alfred, on house arrest, sends Earn over to his Uncle Willy’s after having received a call from Uncle Willy’s girlfriend, Yvonne, who said that Willy had “kidnapped” her. As it turns out, Uncle Willy is Katt Williams.
And he looks good, but, crucially, not great. At least as bad as when he retired from stand-up six years ago on KOMO 4 Seattle News dressed in a Kurt Cobain tee and ski goggles, and on purpose. Since his mid-2000s success, Williams’s fall from grace has been exceedingly long and noisy; in 2016 alone he was arrested four times for everything from “criminal damage to property” to sucker-punching a seventh-graderduring a friendly pickup soccer game. He’s back to doing stand-up now, though. He released a Netflix special in mid-January, Great America, where he talks into a golden microphone about racial tension and Trumpism, but also about the ways in which life—and he has lived a life—changed him.