‘Lovecraft Country’ 1×04 Review: “A History of Violence”

Last episode of Lovecraft Country not only gave us it’s usual mystical creepiness and gore, it also flexed its adventure muscles in a big way. “A History of Violence” was an epic exploration that touched on several topics from beginning to end.

A History of Violence

This episode was violent in the ways that we have come to expect from Lovecraft Country. There was murder and mystery, but what this episode also had was the violence that often goes unspoken and leaves behind many scars: emotional violence. The violence of neglect, jealousy and rage that festers in those that are supposed to love us.

Montrose has proven to be untrustworthy on so many levels. He concealed that he was given the Order’s book by George and lied about George’s instructions. He was told to give the book to Atticus. Whatever legacy lies in the pages of that book belongs to Atticus, not Montrose. Atticus is a man, but with abusive and often violent language, he continually takes that away from his son. Montrose’s abuse tears away at Atticus and what little relationship they have. He calls him everything from boy to fool and only at the end of the episode does he acknowledge that Atticus is indeed a man.

Isn’t it just like an abuser to beat you down and then expect your help? Montrose gets in trouble, and like the coward he is during their tomb raider-like adventure he expects that Atticus should come to his rescue. Atticus does his duty, but it is just excruciating to watch him be abused. Atticus isn’t the only person who suffers this emotional and verbal violence.

As much as I don’t like Christina Braithwhite, I can’t help but feel for her because of the misogyny she faces. She is constantly put on the outs of the “boys club” until she flexes her power, but even then she is still constantly put down. The sheriff calls her a cunt and scoffs at her reminder that The Order is her family birthright. In that sense, she is like Atticus — what is rightfully hers will be withheld from her because of something she has no control over.

Leti gets this treatment as well, and sometimes from Atticus. She saved their asses on many occasions and she is still treated like a delicate thing. She bristles at this treatment, but it continues.

The violence we are used to seeing comes very late in this episode. We see the remains of the indigenous people that Titus Braithwhite murdered and the spirit of the one he let “live” in order to torture for eternity. The magnitude of white violence is only tempered by Atticus’ kindness. Of course Montrose has to fuck that ALL the way up.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

The blowout in the library that Tic and Leti have is only made more interesting by the little boy who is the mirror image of Tic, staring at them. He has his adventure book ready to enjoy, only to be interrupted by their bickering. (No one storms away quite like Letitia, do they?)

What I continue to love about this show is its ability to showcase utter horror and beauty at the same time. I hate the violence and the reminders of our bloody past. I hate the pain that it is digging up for the Freeman family, but I love, love, love the situations they are put in in order to find the release from their pain.

The science, the books, and now we can add the epic journey to the list of awesome things these black characters get to bring to life. I’ve never seen an all black cast go on a treasure hunt. Maybe it’s out there somewhere, but I have never run across it. In one episode of television, we got it. We got the tug of war between the folks who think they know which way to go, we got the simmering romance and then we got the win. They found Titus’ hidden pages and survived.

What’s funny is that while Tic, Leti and Montrose were on the ride of their lives, Ruby was too — literally. We all know that William is some type of monster, but even the strongest of us can fail to resist a monster who promises the world when we are at our lowest point. The mere fact that he comes to an all black bar to stalk her and licks her blood should give us all pause. This won’t end well.

Other Things I was Thinking:
  • William and Christina are the same person.
  • The scene where they are packing up Woody for Boston is hilarious.
  • Why does Christina drive on the opposite side of her car?
  • Ruby is going to have William turn her into a white woman, I just know it! Her deep resentment for her lighter half-sister has eaten away at her, and the world only helps to make her feel unseen.
  • When Tic and Leti kissed in that elevator, all I could think of was all the times I have laughed at white movies when folks kiss at the absolute wrong time. I’ll allow it, though.
  • Montrose is a monster. A jealous and hateful person who cannot stand that Atticus has made something of himself, even without his support.
  • Hippolyta is about to get in the mix of things and I bet she is able to help move this adventure right along when she does.
  • How much time passed before they got back to Chicago and how did they get there? Bus? The siren? Other magic?
  • Why won’t Montrose just share what he knows? Atticus is at risk no matter what happens, so his understanding of the danger he faces would be worth it. I think he is afraid of Atticus uncovering things about him.
  • Atticus is such a good guy. Nerdy and loyal. A dream…

” A History of Violence” was a hell of an episode; Lovecraft Country is a hell of show and I can’t wait to see what they come up with every week. Are you watching? If not, you can catch it Sunday nights on HBO.

If you are into it, check out some of my other reviews of past episodes with Fangirlish. Thanks for reading!

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