This article contains opinion.
One of the newest HBO max shows to air is a whimsical, fantasy-horror series called “Lovecraft Country,” based on a book of the same name by Matt Ruff. Its strange twists and turns definitely keep its watchers on their toes.
The first episode of the show was released on Aug. 16, and the plot never fails to surprise viewers of this strange series.
Each episode is about an hour long, except the first episode, which reaches about 10 minutes longer, and follows the adventures of Atticus Freeman, played by Jonathan Majors, his friend and potential love interest, Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance), his father, Montrose Freeman (Michael Kenneth Williams), and Uncle George’s wife, Hippolyta Black, played by Aunjanue Ellis.
The horror-fantasy series pulls Lovecraft’s monsters from other dimensions while simultaneously framing an entirely different kind of monster. It centers around a journey plagued by racial violence.
The storyline, however, is fortunately focused on the lives of strongly-written black characters with an agency and without any of the unfortunately common “white savior” narrative elements that we’ve seen in so many other films and series.
This story is introduced by a trip into one of Freeman’s dreams as he rides toward his home town in the back of a segregated bus. There is a sepia-toned sequence which involves soldiers engaged in a war with strange flying creatures and a multitude of hovering UFOs that are assumed to be alien aircrafts.
A nearly laughable scene follows within the dream where a presumably female ‘alien’ descends from a spaceship, embraces the war-torn Atticus, and then turns him around by the shoulders to face a huge monster that bursts from the ground at his feet. This perfectly Lovecraftian beast is immediately whacked into a splatter of green goo by Jackie Robinson, just to reform in a matter of seconds. Truly wild stuff.
The audience then embarks on a journey with Atticus, his friend Letitia, and his Uncle George. They set out on a road trip across America in the 1950’s to find Atticus’s missing father, Montrose, who left behind a curious note that he believes to be a clue to his whereabouts.
Uncle George also uses their journey to write a guidebook that aims to help other African Americans of the Jim Crow era to find safe, friendly lodging and places to eat while travelling.
While on their way to ‘Ardham,’ Massachusetts they encounter a forest full of racist police officers and strangely enough, huge monsters called “Shoggoths.” These oozy creatures of the night are basically blobs of flesh with eyes that are randomly absorbed and reappear on eye-stalks originating from their pulsating body mass. The scene leaves the viewer wondering which monster was the larger threat to our main characters, racist, gun-sporting cop, or shoggoth?
The episodes that follow hold the promise of even more outrageous elements including ghosts, another barrage more of bigoted human beasties, and the occasional weird Aryan wizard.
The show, despite the promising strong start of the first episode has slowly gotten sillier and a bit more out of control with each passing episode, but continues to explore the difficult elements that society has been centered on present-day with the Black Lives Matter movement.
There are now four episodes and counting, with the newest fourth episode premiering on Sept. 6, and there are supposed to be 10 episodes in the season with the final episode to be released Oct. 18 Be sure to tune in every Sunday at 9 p.m for each new episode.