HBO’s Lovecraft Country: I Am. (Episode 7) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s Lovecraft Country, I Am., we catch up with everyone as Christina’s (Abbey Lee) start to become clear, Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) searches for the truth, and Atticus (Jonathan Majors) goes to St. Louis to consult a family friend about his family history.
Oh, where to begin with this episode. There’s honestly so much crazy shit that happens in this episode, especially with Hippolyta, that it’s a little tough to figure out where to start talking about this week. I guess the best place to start is with some of the relationship mending we get this week between Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) and Christina as well as Ruby and Leti (Jurnee Smollett).
Following Ruby discovering that Christina has been William (Jordan Patrick Smith) the whole time using the same spell that made her white, we get a better idea of what Christina is after. It’s a little more of the same with her trying to change who has power within the Sons of Adam and taking a leadership role to become more powerful than anyone. She’s still on the hunt for the lost pages that will give her access to powerful spells that were once forbidden for her. It’s definitely a strong motivation for her that resonates well with Atticus coming into his own power and even better with Ruby who is tired of being at the bottom. We also learn that this is all motivated by revenge for William’s death as Christina tells us that they used to be lovers, but she also says that everything she said to Ruby was completely true. Whether there’s actually a romantic connection between her and Ruby now or Christina is using her to get closer to the lost pages, things are spicing up between these two and it could have some interesting results.
It could especially be interesting as Leti also buries the hatchet with Ruby as the two watch Dee (Jada Harris) and her friends while Hippolyta is off on her own journey. It’s really nice to see these two rekindle their relationship, but it’ll likely take a hit soon with Ruby seemingly working with Christina. Truthfully, it’s not even the most intriguing part of their reuniting as Leti has a bun in the oven. It seems like she’s pregnant with Atticus’ kid as foreshadowed by a cryptic dream she has and her getting sick at the smell of garlic – something she usually likes. It’s definitely going to create a major obstacle going forward but could create some ripples since Atticus being a big deal to Christina mainly stems from him being the last descendent of the Braithwhite family lineage. So, a new descendent could make major ripples in her plan and create a major change in the show.
As for Atticus, he deals with more family woes as he discovers that Montrose (Michael K. Williams) is gay as he sees him and Sammy (Jon Hudson Odom) leave his apartment together. Atticus’ reaction is actually very interesting as he calls him a faggot and looks at him with absolute disgust. Up until this point, the group has been connected by the racism they all face and that they are unified to fight against it. However, the reveal of Montrose being gay to Atticus now makes Montrose lower to him – especially given how he used to beat Atticus when he was younger so he “wouldn’t grow up soft.” This moment perfectly speaks to the harsher struggles that black gay men face, but it’s also another reflection of the time that sadly still holds true to modern day. Regardless, Atticus presses on and heads down to St. Louis on a solo mission to learn more about where the lost pages might be. Honestly, it’s not that important and things with Atticus only start to get interesting when he catches up with Hippolyta – who’s doing some truth seeking of her own.
Finally, we catch up with Hippolyta as she drove back to Ardham in order to really see what killed George (Courtney B. Vance). She finds the wreckage of the mansion and upon returning to Chicago in order to work on that golden model of the solar system that she got somewhere (can’t really remember honestly). Eventually she opens it and it leads her to go to an observatory in Kansas where she’s followed by some Sons of Adam members who are cops. Just after she’s able to get the strange instrument working, the two cops bust in and look like they’re about to silence her for good. However, Atticus breaks in to save the day and the instrument that Hippolyta activated ends up being a inter-dimensional portal that leads us into the most trippy, confusing, and just plain strangest sequence of this entire series.
Just as Hippolyta gets sucked into the portal, she ends up being stranded on a desolate, sandy planet and we get sucked into another plot dealing with a side character. I feel like a broken record saying this, these are cool sequences that definitely flesh out the characters it surrounds, but their overall connection to the main plot is just not there. Every time something like this happens, it’s like all of our progress halts and we get a story that just creates more questions than answers. These little side diversions are fun to watch, especially this one, but until their connections start to become clearer, diversions are all they’ll ever be. Not to mention, this one is just weird as hell.
It basically throws in everything sci-fi that we’ve been missing up to this point – afro aliens, time travel, strange colorful worlds, and psychological torture. Visually, it’s an absolute spectacle as the creatures looking intriguing, the aliens carrying a daunting presence, and each place that Hippolyta ends up looks very different than the last. In terms of story, it struggle to get off the ground as it’s pretty unclear what’s really happening. You’re really just watching, what looks like, Hippolyta have a psychological breakdown as she’s just spouting seemingly random things and things are just kind of happening. Again, this series isn’t the best about making things clear, but it totally redeems itself once Hippolyta starts traveling to different dimensions/different points in time.
Not only does the series provide her with some unexpected growth, but it’s done through her exploring different points in black history that aren’t typically explored. Watching her interact with legendary French-African entertainer Josephine Baker (Carra Patterson) and having her boost her self-confidence as well as fighting alongside the Dahomey Amazons, a group of all women warriors led by Nawi (Sufe Bradshaw), to put her confidence to the test, these scenes are awesome. All of the scenes with Josephine Baker carry this positivity and unity that allows Hippolyta to put her mind at ease and her fights with the Dahomey, which are brutal and bloody as hell, allows her to put her confidence to action and it’s a legitimately powerful sequence.
However, it’s nowhere near as impactful as Hippolyta facing her past and talking to George. It’s a heartbreaking moment as she confides in George about how she’s felt forced into a role where she can’t take action in their relationship and that she could never go on adventures of her own. It’s easy to see that it crushes her to tell him this, but it’s important and it’s likely a major moment in her life now as it allows her to finally move on from his death and lead her own life. The entire sequence of them exploring an alien planet together is both visually stunning and very powerful as you can feel her spirit be mended with every step she takes. Not to mention, with the words of poet and jazz musician Sun Ra playing over it and talking about existence as a black man, the scene perfectly encapsulates what Hippolyta’s journey has been about this episode. Ellis definitely provides one of the strongest performances of the series as she really makes you connect with Hippolyta’s journey of self-discovery and it’s one of the best character-driven narratives of the series thus far.
Once it ends though, we’re back to having more questions as Atticus suddenly springs through the portal without Hippolyta and is holding a book titled Lovecraft Country with George as the author. What does this mean? Hell if I know. Again, we’re left with more questions than answers as Atticus hightails it before the police can arrive.
This week’s episode of Lovecraft Country provides us with more of the same – a very intriguing plot surrounding a side character that very intriguing, emotional, and fun to watch, but just creates more questions. If this series is great at anything, it’s keeping its answers under lock and key and giving us no real insights as to what they are and when they’re coming. However, there’re something it presents with Christina and Leti that make me hope that answers are in sight – so, we’ll just have to wait and see.