In my experience, not many things live up to their hype, but Lovecraft Country absolutely does. The premiere of the HBO series grabs and holds you in place from the very beginning with dialogue and visuals that are not generally imagined with black folks in mind.
But there we were – beautifully, yet horribly existing in a world of mystery, science-fiction and gore. If you think I was excited, turn that up about twenty notches!
The Beauty of Lovecraft Country
Black folks often pop up in horror as the friend who never gets very far before catching the ax. They might tell somebody how stupid they are for doing some dumb shit, nevertheless, they rarely survive act one. One beautiful aspect of “Sundown” is that the center of the story is the black guy, his black family, AND his black friend.
Atticus is back home looking for his dad and who does he turn to? His family – an uncle who is a writer and well- read lover of literature, an aunt who admires the constellations, and a comic book creator of a niece. Not to mention that Atticus himself is a lover of books.
The family’s casual conversation about books, history and the easy way they check reading material off of a list for a long trip might seem trivial, but it isn’t. This isn’t the black family we often see, so pardon me if I seem to linger on this point.
Atticus, Uncle George and Letitia set off on a journey to map the safest places for blacks to travel and to find Atticus’ father. Before they go, black love, black brilliance and black joy are on display. The horror of Lovecraft Country overtakes its beauty as they hit the road.
The Horror of Lovecraft Country
We all know that some monsters are all too real. Lovecraft Country expertly parallels the monsters facing the Freemans and Letitia. The danger that they are in increases with every encounter they have with white people. First it’s the dirty looks, then the gesturing and finally two all out assaults. Hell, even the dog is racist towards them. And I must say that the diner scene is one of the most suspenseful things I’ve seen on TV. Without saying much, the horror of what happened to another black patron who dared to dine in that establishment was easily inferred.
They outrun the racists dead set on killing them, only to encounter the type of monsters we dream up from other worlds – the kind with hundreds of eyes that only creep around at night. The kind that burrow under the ground and that have a bite that turns you into one of them! Yes, I am hype you can see, but the creep factor doesn’t stop there.
There’s still the polished white woman with a big silver car that follows Atticus and doesn’t seem to get a scratch after mangling another car. The mystery behind his dad’s weird letter – and that huge creepy ass mansion that seemed to appear out of nowhere.
So, yes if you didn’t notice, Lovecraft Country is what I have been looking for in a show for a long time. Compelling characters living full lives in a world filled with questions, creatures that exist beyond their understanding, and an unfolding mystery that makes you hang on every episode.
That’s the television we all want to see, and the one black folks deserve.
Other Things I Was Thinking…
- I never understood the word strapping until I saw Jonathan Majors.
- Letita “Fucking” Lewis: wow, what a woman. She has to deal with racism and the casual sexism of her male counterparts. The way she has to save them twice has me thinking she’s the star – a track star at that!
- I know it was purposeful, but my heart pounded more when they were being hunted by the sheriff than when the creatures attacked.
- The sheriff turning into a fucking monster right before their eyes and the other white deputy STILL refused to shoot him- I can’t even…
- What do the white people want with Atticus???
- I had the biggest smile when Aunt Hippolyta was star gazing! Something about black women and astronomy makes me happy.
- I haven’t been this excited about a show I can’t binge in a really long time!
Lovecraft Country airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.