Since the real world never truly operates under a justice system it’s nice to see it carried out in Lovecraft Country. Jig-A-Bobo was the It creature thriller episode with haunting, demented demons coming for the youngest member of the cast while the adults were unaware. And Tic tapped into his magic ability birthright. Big time. Lovecraft Country has delicately walked this fascinating line of being firmly set in the 1950s while tapping into fears and emotions of 2020.
The biggest downside of the last two episodes were how far they strayed from the main story. This played out early on with a week having gone by since Hippolyta’s departure for her guide trip and Ji-Ah showing up at Leti’s place.
Before then, the Southside was mourning the killing of Emmett Till and folks were crowding the streets to be unified in grief, sorrow and anger. Again, showrunner Misha Green, who also directed this episode, weaves in historical horror in her magic/horror/thriller show to excellent effect.
A somber Ruby returns to Christina’s place and after William gives her a bath, she takes the potion to become Dell as they have sex. This is hardly a romantic encounter — a theme for LC — as she reverts to Ruby midway through so Dell’s skin is falling off. It’s a gruesome visual that seems to convey Ruby’s disgust with herself. Afterwards, Ruby tells Christina she wants her to care about Emmett and to feel what she feels about black boys and men being killed for no reason. It’s like a window into 2020 to folks who insist all lives matter as a response to black lives matter pleas.
Christina says she doesn’t care about Emmett or a number of recently killed black men. She sums Ruby up as woman who wanted what she wanted.
Later on, Christina has two guys attack her and give her the Till treatment so she can get a taste of what he felt. This scene didn’t work for me since Christina knew all along she was safe and wasn’t going to stay at the bottom of the river with barbed wire around her neck.
Christina is a very complex character and she’s not as easy to label as a villain compared to other characters. In a lot of ways she’s been more a guide and an doorway to other areas for characters. I still don’t see even the allure of magic being captivating enough for Ruby to be in this relationship with William/Christina. Even when she eventually tells Leti about everything her explanation for being with William/Christina sounds weak. If only Leti had higher ground to talk more sense into her sister, who clearly needs a what the heck are you thinking conversation with someone.
Dee is missing her mother and bails on attending the wake of her best friend. It’s easy to forget given his historical importance that Emmet was just a child with friends who would grieve him and take his death hard. For Dee this was the latest in a string of losses with George’s death and her mother’s longer than anticipated absence.
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The payoff to the discarded comics come when Capt. Lancaster and some of his goon officer squad corner Dee in an alley. It’s purposely uncomfortable as one officer puts her in a chokehold and Dee says “I can’t breathe.” In Lovecraft Country it goes a step further as he puts a curse on her. LC’s effectiveness in setting scenes helps overlook pressing questions like how did Lancaster find Dee so easily. In the backdrop, Green lingers on a Cream of Wheat sign with the smiling super offensive portrait.
Back home, Dee notices her copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin has demonic looking faces on it and soon finds herself stalked by nightmarish versions of Topsy and Eva. With their contorted movements, wide smiles and expanding nails they make for the frightening duo that only Dee can see.
After a terror-filled day, Dee is tired of running and goes to Lancaster to see if he knows Hippolyta’s whereabouts. He offers to remove the curse if she gets him the orrey. I enjoyed seeing Dee return the spit Lancaster used to curse her. As she leaves, she spots the ghouls again, but she charges like she’s leading a squad of Amazons and the ghoul moves. Initially it seems like they’re just tormenting Dee, but at her parents’ garage they seem to do some physical harm to her even with Montrose present.
To balance the odds more in their favor, both Tic and Leti separately go to Christina for magical aide. Tic wants her help in casting spells and hands over the key to the broken orrey while Leti wants Christina to make Tic invulnerable in exchange for the negatives of the missing pages of the Book of Name. Christina won’t do it for Tic, but will protect Leti.
Tic and Montrose finally talk in a rare quiet moment where no one’s yelling. Montrose reveals why he chose a closeted lifestyle after relaying a terrible story about a pastor being placed in an asylum after being caught with another man. Tic shares that he knows Leti is pregnant.
During his portal visit, he went to the future and the Lovecraft Country book he has is written by George Freeman, Tic’s son. This was a cathartic moment for both characters and finally allowed father (uncle) and son (nephew) to heal.
Armored up with Christina’s magic spell help, Tic tries to summon protection with a little aid from Montrose. And an amen, because it couldn’t hurt. Uncle Montrose is one of this series’ best characters. But it doesn’t work? Hmph.
Leti and Ruby’s heart to heart is interrupted by Lancaster, who’s pissed when he learns Leti has a spell of protection over magic users. Not today Satan never felt more appropriate, did it?
Lancaster and his police gang shoot up Leti’s place and while the bullets bunce off her, they’re still leveling all of her months of hard work and money to make a safe haven for blacks in this neighborhood.
Tic arrives just in time to get the guns aimed at him. Despite him complying and putting his hands up, a cop still shoots at him only to get blocked by a shoggoth, which devastates the cop gang. This show is immensely satisfying whenever it shows evil racist people getting mauled, decapitated, dismembered and gorged on. Sundown was a nice teaser, but this was so much more rewarding.
Looks like the spell worked after all.
Jig-A-Bobo shoots up to the best of the season with its tremendous use of horror — both from the supernatural and actual realms. With just two more episodes left in the season I’m fascinated to see where it goes next.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Photo Credit: HBO