Lovecraft Country S1.03 — Dead or alive

Tonight’s episode of Lovecraft Country is the first one that didn’t really push the plot forward (until the very end).

It starts with Leti buying a mansion on the North Side of Chicago, which obviously was not going to sit well with her new all-white neighbors. But, because it’s Lovecraft Country, that was not the only problem she had to worry about — the house is also haunted.

She skirts her sister’s line of questioning about how she got the money to afford the house and they begin setting up and renting the rooms out to boarders. The elevator is broken (read: it tried to kill Leti) so everyone is using the stairs (even for the piano). Leti is not helping at all and instead taking photos of everyone.

Tic shows up. He realized that he overstayed his welcome with Aunt Hippolyta and Dee but he is also not welcome at his own apartment, where Montrose is staying. He tells Leti he’s heading back to Florida, but then his goodbye is interrupted by their new white neighbors, who have placed bricks on their car horns and then…abandoned their cars? I understand the purpose is to bother Leti and her house, but what about the rest of the white neighbors? They just have to listen to the car horns too? Racists are literally so stupid.

So, once Tic realizes he is probably going to need to do some protecting, he decides to stay for the housewarming party at least. We see some classic horror movie stuff + racism happen in the meantime — a dismembered hand removes Leti’s sheet from her bed, the boiler is turned all the way up and the knob is pulled off, and spooky banging is heard from the trapdoor to the sub-basement room.

The housewarming party kicks off and it looks like a blast. Tic, in his soldier uniform, is patrolling the porch. He comes in and sees Leti dancing with another guy. He realizes he is into her and they have sex, after which she is bleeding (we find out later it was her first time). Meanwhile, in the attic, Dee and her friends are playing with the Ouija board. When they ask who they are speaking to, we’re pretty sure the board writes, “George is dead” and then Dee gets upset and runs off.

But then, the real trouble starts. The racist neighbors burn a cross on the front lawn of the house. So, Leti takes to the street and breaks their car windows so she can stop the honking. Seems reasonable enough. When the police arrive, she is the only one arrested. In the back of the paddywagon with the police chief, they take her on a rough ride while he questions her (but at the same time tells her more info about the house than she knew).

We learn that 8 Black people were found dismembered and murdered in the sub-basement of the (Winthrope) house. He asks her where she got the money and if she was told to buy the house, but she doesn’t answer. When she returns, all of her boarders move out and she gets into a fight with her sister because she accidentally tells her that their mother left her a large inheritance. Leti’s poor relationship with their mother has been brought up a bunch in the past few episodes, so we know this is a sore spot and her sister storms out.

In the sub-basement, Leti has set up a darkroom. She develops the photos she took on the day they moved in and she finds they all have white lines through them. When she puts them on the ground, they line up to make a face that appears from the ground and then the face becomes a 3D head that appears from the ground and tells her to get the fuck out.

So, the house is definitely haunted and Leti does all the groundwork to figure out how and why. It turns out that the most recent owner of the house was Hiram Epstein, a scientist from U Chicago who was fired for unethical practices (ie human experimentation). Apparently, he was working with the police chief to kidnap Black people on the South Side and bring them to the house for the experiments. Leti finds all of the people’s names and stories and then she & Tic invite a priestess to rid the house of the souls.

The priestess kills a goat on the porch and staves off the spirits by putting blood marks on each of their foreheads. They go into the sub-basement and she begins to chant. Things are circling around them and they all take up the chant. Meanwhile, the 3 leaders of the racist neighbors break into the house and are subsequently murdered by the spirits.

Leti, Tic, and the priestess think they have excised the house of the dead when the sprinklers go off, removing the marks from their foreheads. As they run, the priestess is dragged back into the room and possessed by Epstein. She attacks Tic and then he is possessed. As he internally fights off Epstein’s soul, Leti calls for help from the souls that he murdered. They come in the forms they died in before changing into their former selves and together, they release Epstein from Tic’s body and from the house.

This moment is Leti’s return to the world of the living. She died last episode and since then, she said she was feeling off, like something was missing. But, this experience brought her back — made her feel something again. In the next scene, the house is back to normal and full of artists and creatives who need a place to stay. A story is being written about her in the newspaper. She seems happy.

This not where the episode ends, though. We were pretty sure the collapsed house wasn’t the end of the Braithwhite storyline and luckily it is not. Tic sees Christina in a basically empty shop and confronts her. He tries to shoot her, but it is physically impossible. She explains that her father developed a spell for invulnerability (looks like he either taught it to her or passed it down). It turns out she gave Leti the money for the “inheritance” and she paid off the realtor who sold the Winthrope house to her.

Through her “history lesson,” we find out that Horatio Winthrope was a founding member of the Sons of Adam group, but he was removed after he stole some of the pages from the Book of Names. He wanted to develop a cipher to learn the Language of Adam, which only Titus had. Hiram Epstein was a follower of Winthrope’s. Christina is under the impression that the pages are still somewhere in the house and that Tic will be able to find them. I’m thinking that she is not telling him this because she cares about his destiny or anything like that, she is likely using him so that she can get the power.

Looks like next week we’ll see the first real story with the new threesome: Leti, Tic, and Montrose as they dive deeper into the story of Tic’s birthright.

Originally published at http://lizziekreitman.wordpress.com on August 31, 2020.

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