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Major spoilers below for the latest episode of Lovecraft Country, so be warned!
It's hard to believe that it was just a week ago that Tic, Leti and Montrose were facing corpse-tainted waters in underground tunnels kept hidden by Hiram Epstein's perverse magic. With "Strange Case," Lovecraft Country moved away from Indiana Jones and honed its pulp-horror focus in on Wunmi Mosaku's Ruby half-enjoying some adventures in race-swapping and store-managing. Basically that whole storyline can be found below.
Ruby Waking Up As A White Woman
In comparison to scenes that occur later in "Strange Case," Lovecraft Country's opening sequence seems rather tame. But seeing what appeared to be a nude white woman waking up in complete disarray and calling herself Ruby was downright jarring to all the applicable senses. (Okay, mostly sight.) The post-title sequence with the cops roughing up the Black kid that she collided with was unfortunately far less of a WTF moment, whether we're talking about the 1950s or the 2020s.
Ruby's Gnarly Transition Back To Black
Just when we were getting used to the idea of Ruby taking over a white woman's body, she got a lesson in body-morphing from "William," during which she realized that her white-woman nature was not at all permanent. The shots of Ruby's body moving around underneath the outer skin were both awesome and unnerving at the same time. I'd make a comparison to A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, but I already used my Freddy quota when I brought up Dream Warriors last week. That eyeball in the mouth, seen above, was an excellent touch.
Tic Beating The Shit Out Of Montrose
Did Montrose deserve to get the shit beaten out of him for killing Yaheema the Deciphering Siren? Absolutely. But did I expect Tic to go all UFC on not-really-his-father after he figured out what happened? Not really. Granted, Lovecraft Country has hinted pretty hard at Tic having a dark and violent side that opened up when he went off to war, and he even said as much in this episode. But I didn't necessarily think his eagerness to gain access to these magical spells would have been another catalyst for his violent side to come out all over Montrose's face.
Montrose Getting His
Montrose is a textbook case of repression, so it makes perfect sense in this world for him to be gay and in a physical relationship with another man, Sammy, and for Montrose to aggressively return to that relationship to cope with the shame and anger over Tic whooping his ass. The more shocking thing about Montrose's journey in this episode is that their relationship is clearly deep enough that Sammy both knows enough to expect Montrose to occasionally need rough-edged quickies, and that he cares enough about Montrose to allow it to happen. Is Montrose actually capable of being a sweetie pie?
That Cop's Body And The Dude In His Closet
Truth be told, it's not all THAT shocking that Mac Brandt's Captain Lancaster had a guy strung up in his closet with his tongue cut out, since that guy's police tactics are anything but lawful and justice-minded. (Though I guess it's surprising that it was a white guy in there.) But the bigger WTF moment came when Lancaster had his shirt opened up, and his different-colored torso was revealed, as well as a line of wounds just under his throat. What kind of body experiments went on with this dude's body in the name of Hiram Epstein?
"Just Let Me Smell It"
In hindsight, I don't know whether or not viewers were supposed to believe all the female Marshall Field's employees who claimed that Mr. Hughes never came onto them, considering he got flirty early on with "Hillary Davenport" and then far more than flirty with Tamara, to whom he uttered the nausea-inducing line "Just let me smell it." Maybe the whole point was that Mr. Hughes had a thing only for Black women – despite his quick use of racial slurs – and inherently felt Ruby's energy coming from "Ms. Davenport." I could only get so far in thinking about it before the phrase "Let me smell it" echoed through my head and made me run my head under cold water.
Mr. Manager Takes A Heel
Speaking of Mr. Low Down And Dirty Hughes, he got his just desserts when Ruby made him think things were getting sexual, and then dropped a can of nightmare worms inside him. After making her now-former boss suck on her high heels as lube, she stabbed him right in the ass with it over and over again, which admittedly made every orifice on my body slam shut hard enough to suck all of the oxygen out of the room. (Don't ask me to explain that scientifically, but I'm pretty sure that's what happened.) Mr. Hughes then had to watch his attacker shed all of her skin and become a gore-covered Black woman, which probably made him forget about his anal pains for at least a split second. Incidentally, I'm very interested to know what would come up if those skin pieces got tested for DNA.
William = Christina
Throughout the first four episodes, it was clear that Christina and William were more than just friends, and while I thought there were definitely related in some way, I didn't immediately suspect that William was a White Male Avatar that Christina adopted to live the most privileged kind of life in the 1950s. I definitely should have seen it coming after Ruby's situation was revealed earlier in the episode, but I guess I was fixated on that being a singular situation. But still, wowzers. Now I'm wondering if it's possible for Christina and Ruby to take on different forms than just William and Ms. Davenport, respectively.
Tic's Phone Call
Tic came to a most frazzling realization at the end of the episode upon discovering the "D-I-E" translation, which made him immediately dash to the phone, where he rattled off a really long number to the operator. It wasn't made clear the person was on the other end of the line, but it almost definitely has to do with Jamie Chung's Ji-Ah, who showed up in the first two episodes, and appeared heavily in the preview for Episode 6. But what did she know, and what did she tell Tic that he should have listened to? She looks like she dealt with some pretty awful shit at the hands of the U.S. military, but what happened there, and what is Tic's big trauma?
Now at the halfway point of Season 1, Lovecraft Country has another five episodes left to go, and they'll be airing Sunday nights on HBO at 9:00 p.m. EST. While waiting for more madness from Episode 6 and beyond, head to our Fall TV 2020 premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are heading to the small screen soon.