Have We Seen the Last of [Spoiler] in 'Lovecraft Country'?
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Lovecraft Country Season 1, Episode 2, "Whitey's on the Moon."]
If you have yet to be captivated by HBO's pulpy and topical horror series Lovecraft Country, now is a perfect time to turn around because spoilers aren't any fun when immersing yourself in this wild world.
Based on Matt Ruff's 2016 novel with the same title, Lovecraft Country is set in a world where pulp fiction and sci-fi author H.P. Lovecraft's monsters run amok alongside the real monsters of the Jim Crow era — racists. Following Atticus "Tic" Freeman (Jonathan Majors), the series chronicles his quest to find his father Montrose (Michael Kenneth Williams) who went missing after traveling to Ardham, Massachusetts in search of information about his deceased wife's past.
Tagging along are childhood friend Letitia "Leti" Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) and his uncle George Freeman (Courtney B. Vance). In the show's latest installment "Whitey's on the Moon," Tic, Leti and George awaken at Ardham Lodge where they arrived in the premiere episode's final moments following a terrifying run-in with Lovecraft's Shoggoths and some trigger-happy cops.
Welcomed by the the Braithwhites, Leti and George enjoy their "movin' on up" Jeffersons moment as they luxuriate in their assigned quarters, which include endless books for him and a bottomless wardrobe for her. Tic, on the other hand, is skeptical, and with good reason when he learns that he's the only one who can remember their run-in with the monsters — both human and inhuman.
Determined to uncover the reason for the Braithwhites' spell over his uncle and friend, Tic learns that he's a descendant of Lodge founder Titus Braithwhite and he's been lured to the estate to participate in proprietor Samuel Braithwhite's (Tony Goldwyn) "Sons of Adam" ceremony. Agreeing to participate in the ritual in exchange for his family and friends' freedom as the Braithwhite's also held Montrose captive, Tic goes willingly into the ceremony donning a golden ring lent to him by Samuel's daughter Christina Braithwhite (Abby Lee).
Attempting to open the door to Eden in hopes of restoring what he believes is balance to the world, Samuel carries on with the ritual. But the ring has an adverse affect as Tic's inherent power among this society of literal wizards — a metaphor for the white supremacists who call themselves Grand Wizards of the KKK, no doubt — ends up turning Samuel and his followers to stone. In a mad dash, Tic rushes for the exit, meeting his family and Leti who are already in a car waiting, but viewers discover that George has succumbed to previously inflicted injuries.
Overcome with emotions, Tic is distraught to learn that the man he was so clearly close to in the first few episodes of this series was actually dead. Feeling more like a finale than a second outing, this installment poses the question — have we seen the last of George?
In this episode, Leti was also injured and essentially died during an escape attempt from the Lodge, but Christina revived her with magic leading us to believe that not all dead things die in Lovecraft Country. Among some of the juicier revelations in the episode was the knowledge that Tic could possibly be George's son and not Montrose's as the brothers had a brief exchange on the matter. George advises Montrose to support Tic, knowing that he may not have long to live.
Little did viewers know that would in fact be the case by episode's end, but we can't help but feel as though there's more to George's story as the season carries on. As this episode revealed, the house and people of Ardham are stealthy manipulators, and while Tic seemed to see through most their ruses, it's unclear if he, Montrose and Leti are out of the woods in this respect.
Could more ruses and tricks await them back in Chicago? Will they strike on the road back to their city? It seems to be entirely possible as the preview for Episode 3 hinted at some spirit run-ins for Leti. Although they may have escaped Ardham, does that also mean Ardham won't stay with Leti, Tic and Montrose?
Currently billed for more than two episodes of the series, Courtney B. Vance's character is more likely than not to pop back up before the show's end, and whether George is alive or not remains a mystery that will hopefully unfold sooner rather than later. If wizards and monsters like the Shoggoths can exist in Lovecraft Country, we're willing to bet that anything is possible — just buckle up and don't forget your guide book.
Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO