‘Lovecraft Country’ 1×3: “Holy Ghost” Recap
3 Things we loved and learned in Lovecraft Country S1E3
Holy Ghost picks up about 3 weeks after the events of Whitey’s on the Moon. Uncle George has been buried and everyone is trying to return to a sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, normal is not in the cards.
1. Horror tropes aplenty
When Leti’s arch for the episode opens, she has is convincing her sister to move in with her in a large house in Chicago’s mostly “whites only” north-side. I was mad about how obviously haunted this house was. I understand that I am watching a story designed for my entertainment, but this was one of the single most haunted houses I had ever laid eyes on. The inside of this house did nothing to change my mind. This cheapened the episode a bit. The acting was still incredible and the larger story around all these characters continues to hold strong, but the myriad of horror movie staples robbed the episode of uniqueness. If Whitey’s on the Moon when too far left for some of the audience, Holy Ghost steered too hard back into safety.
All the hits were there. There was the sheet slowly being pulled off of the sleeping person. We had the elevator with “curious” timing of being stuck and unstuck. My personal “saw it coming” moment is the “person suddenly appears behind someone in a mirror”. It all even followed the normal haunting trope of escalation over time. Again, I am not implying that these things were executed poorly, rather they make the episode a bit more predictable. What they managed to with everything in the end, I did enjoy, but more on that in a moment.
2. Exposing History
Lovecraft Country continues to excel at weaving history lessons into the larger narrative. There are events, moments, and periods in the retelling of American history that are not highlighted with the appropriate context or retrospective impact. Illuminating that history really makes this show special. It is important to note that your “everyday” folks, people that did not belong to the Klan, were not above using Klan tactics to free themselves of the perceived Black menace. Equally as important, seeing and understanding how the police participated in the culture by turning a blind eye and giving rough rides.
Event the more supernatural moments in the episode brings points of discussion and discovery. The Ouija board tell a boy that he will not enjoy his trip to the south; a reference to Emmett Till. The doctor and his experiments could easily be seen as reference to the Tuskegee experiments. Scarier yet, Misha Green could be taking this opportunity to highlight the dangers Black people face when dealing with medical professionals to this day, based on a history racist misinformation. To that end, it is entirely therapeutic watching Leti go all Beyonce’/Jazmine Sullivan when she is fed up.
3. Christina is Scary
I tried to tell you all. As Holy Ghost wraps up, Tic has the opportunity to confront Christina Brathwaite. He figures she gave Leti the money for the house, so clearly Christina is not done with Tic and his associates. Tic seems cold and calculating. He closes the blinds and draws his gun with ever intention of blowing her away, but he cannot. He is absolutely frozen. Christina either has some charm over him from weeks ago, or she can stop him dead in real time. Either way, Tic was never a threat.
Perhaps the most chilling part is the fact that she reopened the blinds while his arm was still extended, gun in hand. She cares very little about this playing out privately or publicly. As she tells Tic, you can’t just go killing white women. It is a double whammy. Even removing the supernatural elements, Tic laying a finger on Christina could be a death sentence. She is equally protected by the culture as she is her magic, and she knows it.
Holy Ghost sees Leti buy a home in a white neighborhood and have to rid herself of racist neighbors and a racist poltergeist. Hippolyta is not convinced she has the full story on Uncle George’s death and is going to start asking questions. Christina Brathwaithe, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, “ain’t nothing to f*ck with”.
Rest in Power Emmett Till!