HBO’s Lovecraft Country: Season Finale Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On the season finale of HBO’s Lovecraft Country, Full Circle, the group heads back to Ardham in order to stop Christina (Abbey Lee) from completing her spell, gaining immortality, and enacting on her master plan that could put the fate of the world in jeopardy.
Now with the Book of Names in hand, the group tries to bring Dee (Jada Harris) out of her coma and Atticus (Jonathan Majors) and Leti (Jurnee Smollett) end up having some confidence building with Atticus’ ancestors. Just as they crack open the book to start an incantation, the two of them collapse and are transported into what seem to be safe havens for their family and meet some familiar faces. While Leti’s meeting with Dora’s grandmother (Regina Taylor) makes her better at reading the book, Atticus’ meetings are much more emotional as he has a conversation with Hanna (Joaquina Kalukango) in the burning house we’ve seen throughout the series as well as an encounter with his mother Dora (Erica Tazel). Hanna tells Atticus to find strength in the things that he fears like she did with the flames that surround them and Dora reassures him of what he’s doing and even says how he harnesses the best qualities of both of his fathers. It’s a very touching moment that allows the past to bleed into the present and for Atticus to find strength in his family. Altogether, they’re able to heal Dee, aside from her one arm, and then the real healing begins before the final battle.
With Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) being gone while Dee was attacked and cursed, Dee is feeling a lot of resentment towards her blue-haired mother – who now looks like the comic book character Dee always drew for Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance). Hippolyta does eventually win Dee back by drawing and printing a newer version of her comic and even though Dee says she’ll never draw again, Hippolyta has an idea to help with that that we see at the end of the episode. Atticus also tries to mend things with Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung) to get her to help them out against Christina. The conversation between the two is really sweet as Atticus accepts that he’ll always have feelings for Ji-Ah and that they likely need each other more than ever to change the death fate that Ji-Ah saw so long ago.
Bigger problems start to come up though as Leti and Atticus’ attempts to gain an advantage over Christina ends up tipping her off. With the help of Dora’s grandmother, Dora, and Hanna, the two try to summon Titus (Michael Rose) in order to take a piece of his body so they can perform a spell that can help them defeat Christina. It’s a pretty wild scene as a whole as the visuals are spectacular and seeing Christina see him just suddenly appear has such a game-changing impact on everything. While the group gets what they want from Titus, they also face Christina’s wrath when they don’t hand over the Book of Names in order to “have her word” that she won’t kill Atticus. Honestly, they make the right choice to deny Christina her wish since she’s at the endgame and will happily screw them over if it means becoming immortal. They do lose Leti’s invulnerability though, but she still has one more trick up her sleeve to get the edge on Christina.
Leti also makes one last attempt to mend things with Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) and things don’t exactly go well. Ruby not just willing to forgive Leti for everything at the drop of a hat or in a “movie moment” at their mother’s grave really shows how far she’s come. She’s grown to be more self-fulfilling and not just be used by other people for their interests. I know that statement sounds a little untrue since she’s been attached to the hip with Christina, but a secret that Leti tells her seems to change everything and finally cause a deep wedge between these two. Although Ruby and Christina kiss and seem like they’re going to work together, it never feels like Ruby goes back to her for anything but to get what Leti needs – Christina’s blood. At first, everything seems to have gone according to plan with Ruby coming through with a vial full of blood, but then a big twist happens sets off a deadly chain reaction as the final battle ensues.
As everyone heads back into Ardham to foil Christina’s plans, everything seems like it’s going to work out as the group has one last charming car ride sing-along to “Life Could be a Dream” by The Chords. It’s a really great moment that acts as symbol of the great chemistry and likeability this group has as well as one last moment of calmness before the storm. However, there’s one last big twist this series has in store for us in that Ruby isn’t exactly herself. Just as Leti and Ruby are prepping things in a nearby tower, Leti notices that something is off about Ruby and then the bomb is dropped that Christina is posing as Ruby and that she killed her because she was onto her ruse. It’s definitely an intriguing twist that catches you off guard in the moments, but also kicks off this finale’s underwhelming, well, finale.
It’s hard to say what it exactly is about the final sequence of Christina’ plan coming together that’s so underwhelming, but I just came off a little let down. It’s disappointing that Ruby’s death had to be off-screen since her character became so pivotal and while the ritualistic look of the final battleground is really cool, what happens there lacks the deep impact. It almost feels like this ending sequence was totally written on the fly with so things just fall into place and things just happen. Ji-Ah’s whole reasoning for stepping in, having it back to what she was told about her fate, felt a little random and just the whole ceremony as a whole, while visually cool, didn’t feel as epic as the one from episode two. Even the whole part of Christina becoming immortal is so short-lived and unsatisfying because of how quickly it’s reversed.
While it’s a finale that feels conclusive as it doesn’t really hint at anything in the future with the story, there’s rarely anything about it that feels permanent. Atticus dying and his final letter to Montrose (Michael K. Williams) is incredibly sweet and speaks to his great character, but it just doesn’t feel real. It feels more like a set-up for his return rather than a real departure and the same can be said about Ruby’s death with a flash of her in a comatose state like Christina has done with other people. Also, the whole, almost post-credit scene, deal with Dee and the monster unceremoniously killing Christina feels totally unearned and her having a robot arm now is just kind of dumb to me.
Unfortunately, Lovecraft Country just can’t put all the pieces together to deliver as satisfying finale its final battle feels totally rushed and leaves things on incredibly unsatisfying notes. There’re plenty of great character moments throughout the episode with relationships mending and the past confronting the present, but it just can’t land the ending and make the season long build-up fully worth it.