Family Sacrifice in ‘Lovecraft Country’ Season Finale (RECAP)
[Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers from Lovecraft Country Season 1 Episode 10, “Full Circle.“]
Lovecraft Country has had some incredible, breathtaking sequences across the season, including the epic blood-sacrifice showdown that concludes this finale. However, perhaps my favorite scene across the whole series is an understated moment halfway through this episode. Our entire group of heroes is packed into Woody on a road trip to Ardham. After a brief silence, Diana (Jada Harris) kicks off a sing-along of The Chords’ “Sh-Boom,” and, one-by-one, the others join in. It’s a moment of levity and unity in a series that is often dark and horrible. And it’s symbolic of Lovecraft‘s biggest strength: family.
Family is at the center of this electrifying season finale. It’s the driving force behind everyone’s actions. “We’ve been confused about what family means,” Leti (Jurnee Smollett) tells Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) as the sisters share a moment beside their mother’s gravestone. “It is not an obligation. It’s acceptance — a willingness to sacrifice everything that is necessary in order to protect it.”
We see that sacrifice across the episode as these characters come together to protect one another and fix broken bonds. It doesn’t come without pain, devastation and even death, but it beautifully highlights the heart that beats beneath Lovecraft Country‘s tales of evil wizards and monsters.
Before the ultimate sacrifice made by Tic (Jonathan Majors), the family comes together to save Diana, still suffering the effects of Captain Lancaster’s curse. With the Book of Names now in their possession, Tic and Leti can cast a spell to reverse the curse. This spell sees Tic and Leti enter some sort of fiery dream sequence. Leti is confronted by Grandma Hattie (Regina Taylor), who tells her the family history of the Book and how Leti must now protect it and bind it from being used by others. Meanwhile, Tic is reunited with his mother, who comforts him in his moment of need.
“I don’t wanna die, momma,” cries Tic, his head resting on his mother’s lap. But she tells him sometimes sacrifice must be made to help others. “You’re a hero,” she tells him. “Just like in those stories you cherish.”
Together, Tic and Leti, along with their deceased ancestors, recite an incantation. In the real world, Diana comes back to life, albeit with one of her arms still twisted and mangled. Then Tic and Leti awaken from their shared dream and waste no time getting to their next mission: They must stop Christina (Abbey Lee) from performing her immortality spell.
Montrose (Michael K. Williams) tries to plead with his son not to go through with it, knowing the consequences will likely lead to death. Tic, however, doesn’t believe it has to end that way. “That’s just one potential future,” Tic says, almost trying to convince himself that what Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung) saw in her premonition was not set in stone.
Speaking of Ji-Ah, she returns to help the group after Tic apologizes for how he treated her. He knows that she was just trying to help and admits that what they had together was real. Ji-Ah is still struggling with who she is — part human, part monster. When she met Tic, she realized that she could still love, that the real her still existed. But without Tic, and with the recent death of her mother, Ji-Ah worries that the darkness is back. Tic tells her that what she’s feeling does not make her a monster. “It’s called grieving,” Tic says, while also telling Ji-Ah that he considers her family. “We have a choice,” he says. “We can be monsters or heroes.”
Other family bonds also need fixing before the group comes together. Diana is upset that her mother abandoned her. Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) apologizes, but it takes a while for Dee to realize that her mother’s adventures through time and space were done to protect her. “I will make sure this moment will pass, just like I will make sure you will draw again,” says Hippolyta, who uses her new-found skills to build Dee a mechanical arm.
There is still tension between Leti and Ruby, too. “You only want to be my sister when you need something,” says Ruby after Leti asks her to bring her a part of Christina’s body to use in the binding spell. Ruby has grown close with Christina/William and is torn between family and potentially…love?
The spell can only work, though, if Tic combines his flesh and blood with that of Christina’s and Titus Braithwhite’s (Michael Rose). He manages to obtain a part of Titus’ flesh after using a conjuring spell to bring the old racist wizard into the earthly realm. But the only way to get close to Christina is through Ruby. And the opportunity for Ruby is right there in front of her. Christina has already mixed a potion, including her blood, hair, and nails. Ruby talks with Christina about her spell and the consequences of it all.
“If my spell doesn’t work,” says Christina, “I killed the last of my family for nothing.” At that moment, Ruby and Christina kiss, not for the first time, but the first time they’ve each been in their real skin, not disguised as Dell or William. But Ruby uses this moment of affection to swipe the potion and bring it to Leti, choosing family first.
Or, at least, that’s how it appears. In reality, Christina caught Ruby in the act and, apparently, killed her. Leti doesn’t find this out until the night of the Vernal equinox after Tic has already entered the Ardham lodge. The woman claiming to be her sister is merely Christina in disguise.
“[Ruby] made me promise not to harm you, and it’s your fault that she’s dead,” says Christina, who throws Leti from atop a watchtower, sending her crashing to the ground below. Earlier in the episode, Christina had supposedly removed Leti’s invulnerability spell, leading us to believe Leti fell to her death. Meanwhile, a bunch of pitchfork-wielding farmhands gather up Montrose, Ji-Ah, and Hippolyta and march them into the lodge just in time to see Christina sacrifice Tic.
It’s a delightfully gruesome final sequence as Christina showers in Tic’s blood before being impaled by Leti, who it turns out is still protected by the invulnerability spell. Leti attempts to reverse Christina’s magic with the help of Ji-Ah, who “becomes one with the darkness,” her tails wrapping around Tic and Christina. There is an explosion, leaving Christina trapped beneath the rubble. Leti binds the Book of Names, banning Christina and other white people from its powers.
“Magic is ours now,” Leti says defiantly. Sadly, it’s too late for Tic. Leti hands Montrose a letter Tic wrote before he died, which says how only those who have experienced the deepest grief can feel supreme happiness. He tells Montrose to take care of his son and not waste his second chance to be the father he always wanted.
The ending is tragic and yet hopeful, like many of this season’s best episodes have been. It’s unclear right now whether Lovecraft Country will be back for a second season. If this is it, then I think the finale did a good job of wrapping up all the major plot points, especially with Christina being killed off at the end by Diana and her mechanical hand. However, given the show’s ability to play with genres, plus all the back-story, there is certainly potential for a lot more fun should Lovecraft Country return.
Lovecraft Country, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO