I’d been enjoying Lovecraft Country, but Holy Ghost was the episode that sold me that this is a special show.
The pacing on LC is quickly proving to be a strength. There’s no wasted scenes giving each episode a dense feel with so much happening. Tic, Leti and Montrose have already returned to Chicago and in a brief montage, we’re shown Uncle George’s funeral.
Tic is realizing he’s overstaying his welcome with Aunt Hippolyta and is considering his next move. There’s too much tension with his “father” Montrose as their story about how Uncle George died has driven a deeper wedge in their relationship. Maybe returning to Florida is an option?
There’s a better one however as Leti has just bought a property in a formerly all-white neighborhood to set up as a boarding house. The glacial reception made me question if this was a wise move on Leti’s part as it literally just seems to poke the racist white bear.
But while risky from a peaceful state of mind, there’s nothing wrong with Leti’s actions. There’s not rules against buying a property regardless of the current residents.
Leti has already proven a super heroic ability to overcome great fear. She drove the car to escape the shotgun racists from the diner and didn’t hesitate to race out to distract the vampire dogs. In the face of some racists who utilize harassing techniques with bricks tied to their horns this was more of an annoyance for Leti.
Still, their presence was enough to convince Tic to take a room and provide the backup when the house starts acting a bit haunted with loud noises stemming from the basement and voices encouraging Leti to get out. So far we’ve gotten a little dose of monsters, magic and now ghosts. This has been a fun mix of genres. I can’t wait to see the sci-fi specific take.
Tic explained the horn drone was a similar tactic soldiers used in the Korean War to mentally wear down the opposition. And like in so many wars, the aggressor is willing to do whatever it takes to win.
Undeterred, Leti through a housewarming party for her boarders including James Baldwin and a soon to be departing on a trip Emmett Till. In some hands the Ouija board sequence with young Emmett asking will he enjoy his trip could have felt tacky or distasteful, but writer Misha Green makes that horrific lynching part of the fabric of the overall horror theme of the show and it works. Green even includes a quick reference to Martin Luther King Jr. in another fun Easter Egg moment.
Leti and Tic even manage to finally address their unspoken sexual tension during the party. They wrapped up just in time to see a message from the nice Christian folks in the neighborhood who burned a cross in the front yard.
This led to the best shot scene so far from Director Daniel Sackheim with a fired up Leti taking a baseball bat and smashing the cars parked outside her house. It was a powerful and beautifully shot sequence with a perfectly chosen song with Dorinda Clark-Cole’s Take It Back playing.
Naturally the cops come for the property damage — to the cars, not the still flaming cross on Leti’s front yard. Leti gets arrested and harassed by a police officer who tells her that the previous black residents at the property “disappeared.” After a little digging, Leti and Tic learn the house was previously owned by Hiram Epstein, who kidnapped blacks in the area and experimented on them in the name of science.
Ready to address her haunted house, Leti calls in a priestess with some experience in exorcisms to free the spirits. During this ceremony, a trio of the not-so-welcome neighbors decided to go after Leti with their own bats. This doesn’t work out for them as the house kills them in a series of fortunate events. Racists getting savagely killed is easily one of my favorite parts of Lovecraft Country.
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As the ceremony plays out, Hiram’s ghost takes out the priestess and then possesses Tic. Startled, but not paralyzed by fear, Leti calls on Hiram’s eight victims and those ghosts who seemed so terrifying earlier on reveal their intent was always to help Leti. They form a circle with Leti and drive Hiram’s ghost out of the house. It was another tremendous sequence watching the butchered and disfigured victims regain their original forms while uniting to get retribution against their tormentor.
I love how Lovecraft Country balances Tic and Leti’s storylines. Leti isn’t a side character and supporting player in Tic’s drama. They’re equals dealing with all kinds of madness together and the show is all the better for this approach.
Tic spots a familiar car in town and has a conversation with Christina, who clearly didn’t get killed in the Braithwhite compound’s destruction. She helped Leti secure the property for reasons unknown as of yet and apparently has some ability that prevents her from harm…or at least stops Tic from shooting her.
I appreciate Tic not caring about her motives and going for the kill shot to end that messy business with the Braithwhites once and for all.
So yeah, I’m all in with whatever direction Lovecraft Country wants to go next if they remain at this amazing quality.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: HBO