Lovecraft’s Country Recap: Sci-Fi Worldburning

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Lovecraft Country

Whitey is on the moon

Season 1

Episode 2

Editor’s Note

4 stars

Photo: HBO

If the infamous “Something has changed. Shit about to get really weird ”The tweet predicted something other than the apocalypse, it could have been this episode of Lovecraft Country, or maybe the show as a whole. In “Whitey’s on the Moon”, Lovecraft Country double on strange. In its climactic streak, it reminds me of something you’d see a family member half-dozing until late at night on Syfy. It doesn’t have to be bad, of course, depending on your taste. It might not be that different from any episode at the end of a season of, say, The Vampire Diaries – full of mythology and traditions that it is not easy to pass on to someone else in full. I’m okay with that, and I still see the genre play charm of it all. But what happens is definitely unexpected, especially in a second episode.

What seems hard to digest about this episode is in his surprise: that much of what we’ve been introduced to is, after an hour, already at an apparent end. I expected the people and lore introduced to us last week to last for several episodes, but it all falls apart as quickly as we were given. But there may be a reason for this approach. In the opening scene, we watch George and Letitia dance happily around their new rooms while The Jeffersons theme song is playing. George is lounging in a bed filled with his favorite books as Letitia swirls in expensive colorful dresses, clapping to the beat as if they move up. It’s played for a laugh, but even more, it’s a nod to the public.

And we need that nod. It teaches us that there’s something we’re meant to be in about: while what follows can be at times weird or campy or even a little silly, it’s the black characters at the center of this story, not the world they meet here which is extremely alien and extremely white. We need to focus on them, not on all the fringe details of the world they find themselves in. We see that wink The tactic was later reflected in the final sequence of the Sons of Adam ceremony, as the episode’s poem, Gil Scott-Heron, spoke in full swing about the chants and specifics of the ritual. We see robed white men, a portal between dimensions, and magical energies manifesting from spells cast, while a poem speaks of humans inhabiting two very distinct worlds: ” I can’t pay doctor bills / but Whitey’s over the moon.“Tic is just trying to find his father, but this group of great (real) white wizards are trying to use him to open a door to Eden.

If you notice, we rarely have a single white character scene in this episode. We usually only meet them when they are in a room with or watching our black protagonists. The only exception to this is when Christina Braithwhite (Abbey Lee) helps birth the wiggly gestating cow creature – something we have no context for. It seems that we are not given all the details of this world of Ardham because our black protagonists are not given the details either. And the person who learns the most about her story, offscreen, is ultimately dead. This episode tells that Atticus, George and Leti complete the journey they started in the first episode: to find Atticus’ father. Everything else, for now, is superfluous.

Maybe I’m too generous, but I see it working in almost any scene. The episode switches from one to the other as our trio learns information relevant to their central mission. When the trio come out for the first time from their room on the afternoon of their arrival, we formally meet William (who welcomed them “at home”, last episode). He speaks ominously about the history of the lodge. It once belonged to the wealthy Titus Braithwhite, who was in the business of “shipping” which, as Leti reminds us, is a “code for slaves”. Long ago, Titus perished in a fire, along with the original lodge, and there were almost no survivors. It becomes part of a subsequent achievement.

Not only are our characters inundated with a new world, on top of that Leti and George can’t seem to remember the events of the night before. It turns out that foreigners who meet the shoggoths are called to “forget” afterwards. Could Atticus be immune to this? After venturing into the village of Ardham, the trio suspect that Atticus’ father may be held captive in the stone silo dungeon that houses the town’s food. On their return to the lodge, they meet the beasts and Leti and George forget again. But not until the crew realizes that Atticus is the descendant of Titus Braithwhite.

With this development, things get even stranger. Christina takes Tic to her father and current lodge owner Samuel Braithwhite (Tony Goldwyn). We learn that Samuel is obsessed with the biblical Adam. He covets his ability, as Tic says, to “put everything back in its place.” He believes that the Garden of Eden was a time when “man was immortal” and, as Christina will explain later, believes that walking through a gate in the Garden of Eden will give him eternal life. Samuel is convinced that the blood of Atticus will help make this all possible. This is all indulgently absurd for a second episode. But I think that too is intentional. It shows the strangeness of a proud whiteness constructed this way – those great mythical conceptions of it extending to Adam and God.

Atticus can’t even think of planning an escape while George and Leti continue to forget what’s going on. Christina helps, barely, as she restores Leti and George’s memory before immediately trapping the three of them in their respective rooms so that they cannot communicate with each other. White attendees of upcoming events watch with amusement. The rooms evoke the demons of our characters, so to speak, making each interact with a projection of someone in their present or past: George is dancing with the woman in his portfolio photo last week, Dora (Erica Tazel); Leti is seduced and then almost assaulted by a false version of Tic with an Edenic snake for the genitals; and Atticus is attacked by a woman in combat gear named Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung). They are released from their rooms before the pre-dinner ceremony.

Fortunately, Uncle George found a statute book for “The Order of the Elder Dawn” before dinner (this chapter of the Order apparently goes through the “Sons of Adam”). While Samuel is a monologue, he is happily eclipsed by Uncle George, who tells the white participants that the descendants of Titus are not just any former members but are “sons among sons”, and as such. Atticus can give orders to all of them. Atticus orders everyone except Samuel to “get up and get the hell out of it”, and they do. The ceremony has derailed for now, giving our trio a chance to escape. If this sounds disappointing, it’s because we’re focusing on the bad parts of the story. The other thing is superfluous – this is their way out of this predicament. George did what he had to do, and there is no need to delay.

At this point, I started to realize that this episode would be a lot more standalone than I initially thought. This episode is so loaded that there were many moments where I was like “okay, this is the last shot. But the episode doesn’t end when they find Montrose’s escape hatch from the dungeon. It doesn’t stop when we see Montrose (Michael K. Williams) pierce the surface of the ground, covered in dirt. It doesn’t end when the quartet, trying to flee Ardham, crash into an invisible barrier. It doesn’t end when Leti is shot and dies, or on the cliffhanger when a second fatal shot emerges from Samuel’s pistol. It doesn’t end when we see Leti brought back from the dead. And it doesn’t end even when the ceremony goes awry and Atticus, apparently with the help of his ancestor Hannah, derails the process, turning everyone in the room to stone as the lodge crumbles with them. . It’s all a little tiring, but I still find myself engaged by his ambition. The episode made all the world-building debut, only to burn it down at the end of the episode. We actually see the flames, although in this timeline there isn’t one. The lodge, and all it stands for, is now dust, as everything was ashes with Hannah.

Our trio found Montrose, but not all of them survive. Uncle George is bleeding from his gunshot wound, and Samuel is not alive to “save” him like he did with Leti. Leti breaks the bad news to Atticus with just a look, and he goes to Woody to see his two father figures, Montrose cradling George’s body in his arms. It is a devastating moment. Uncle George is gone and things will never be the same again.

• “My father and his associates would never fraternize with the Klan… They are too poor.”

• Jurnee Smollett’s performance of “Whites Don’t Season Their Food”, with the perfect “thank you”, and the tilt of her head to the faceless butler is OR.

• Atticus was quite shaken after fighting and strangling the fake Ji-Ah. He said to George and Leti afterwards, “Something happened during the war…” And I’m so afraid of what he could have done.

• Re: the series’ engagement with colorism – the first thing Samuel says when he sees Atticus is that he’s “darker than [he] expected. He expected Atticus to be lighter in skin tone and was disappointed.

• I was very absorbed by Leti’s “Bible” is speech full of demons and monsters. The characters take into account the limits and truths of the reality they find themselves in, and whether this horror is really new. I find that quite fascinating.

• Family tradition follow-up: Atticus’ mother once told of a enslaved ancestor named Hannah who escaped from her master’s house after a fire while she was pregnant. This implies that Hannah may have intentionally started the fire – she’s carrying what appears to be a very large book (of spells?). Did she also help Atticus interrupt the ceremony and kill the men during the ceremony?

• Jonathan Majors helps emotional beats land even when they shouldn’t always be working. I was emotionally drained by the end, but his reaction to Uncle George’s death made me feel drained again.

• “She never told me or said anything about her people… but did she tell you?” Hmmm. “It might not be yours. »HMMMMMM. “You were overflowing with love… nothing wrong with loving so much.” HMMMMMMMMM. Gaywatch??

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