‘Lovecraft Country’ 1×05 Review: “Strange Case”

I know I say this just about every week, but it isn’t my fault. Lovecraft Country just keeps topping itself, so I gotta give credit where credit is due, like with “Strange Case.” That’s not to say it didn’t have its moments where I was like that is too much for me, but I’ll roll with it because the shit is just that entertaining.

The Strange Case of Ruby

I freaking knew it! I knew William would turn Ruby into a white woman! The look in Ruby’s eyes when she sat at that bar gave it all away. When you are voluptuous, dark skinned AND a woman, all of the doors that you want opened seem to be closed. They are closed and there is often no chance of getting in them. Her sister Letitia is a reminder of that – Leti’s petite build and light skin make space for her in the world. Though she is black, she isn’t Ruby’s black and that makes a hell of a difference. White skin would bust those spaces wide open.

William senses Ruby’s despair and her desire, so he grants that unholy unspeakable wish. Man, she discovers her privilege in a messed up way but quickly starts to cash in on her whiteness. The presumption of innocence, free ice cream and assistant manager all in one fell swoop. Life was good. But Lovecraft Country couldn’t let us off the hook that easily. There had to be some pain behind that transformation. We got to see it in all its gruesomeness, and I loved every minute of it. Seeing black folks mired in guts and gore and in the service of a great story makes me so happy.

We are used to seeing anti-blackness, but another thing I appreciated about this episode was that it tackled size. Ruby wasn’t “qualified” for that job at Marshall’s because of her black skin, but I also think her size was a factor. The black girl they did hire had dark skin but she was petite. She didn’t have the background Ruby had, but she was an acceptable version of a black woman. For black women, size and skin color many times go hand in hand in our marginalization story.

I gotta say that by the time Ruby got done rocking her white skin dress, she had truly gotten her money’s worth.

Montrose and Atticus

It all makes sense. It may be a little predictable, but art can imitate life sometimes so I will kind of accept this. I do have a raised eyebrow though. So, Montrose is a closeted gay man and of course he beat and emotionally abused Atticus because he’s a self-hating ass. Nah. The more I write it, the more I hate it.

We get to see Montrose run to his lover and grossly use sex as a shameful release after Tic beats him to a pulp. He can’t even bring himself to kiss the person we know he has feelings for. But I guess we are supposed to be happy for him when he finally let’s his inhibitions down and kisses Sammy on the dance floor. Good for him, but that doesn’t excuse his abuse and his murder of Yahima.

The murder of Yahima is what caused Atticus to attack Montrose in the first place. Montrose is determined to keep Atticus’ legacy from coming to light at whatever the cost, and the issue is that Atticus is a grown man who has the right to walk or run head first into this own destiny no matter how dangerous or down right mind bending it might be.

Other Things I was Thinking
  • I said it right here in this very spot last week. Christina is freaking Williams!
  • I feel kinda bad for Ruby because I think she was catching some emotions for William – will they keep doing whatever they were doing….
  • Why are they keeping that man in the closet with blood gushing out of his throat?
  • Atticus and Letitia are so interesting to me. They are like fire and ice on the surface but Atticus has a temper just like Leti.
  • Atticus keeps getting these calls for Korea. I have a feeling Ruby isn’t the only one that’s about to be interrupted.

Lovecraft Country just keeps pulling you in week after week. “Strange Case” just continued their winning streak. If you haven’t started watching, what are you waiting for? You can catch it on HBO every Sunday at 8 p.m. Thanks for reading!

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