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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

Somebody Help that Damn Child!: Lovecraft Country 1x08 Review.

In this week’s Lovecraft Country the realities and horrors of racism follow a young girl both figuratively and literally, and the whole time I’m thinking “Why is nobody helping this poor child?? So wrapped up in their own issues, all of which relate to the mysterious Christina and her meddling in their lives, that they’re too busy to help poor Diana. Diana’s mother has yet to return from her around-the-universe-and-time tour, so she has to face the horrors of racism and magic alone and it leads to some horrific viewing that keeps you hooked.

For context, the episode is set after the murder of Emmett Till, a young African American boy who was wrongfully killed for “harassing” a white woman in a store. This tragic real-life event was a crucial moment in the civil rights movement, and a stark reminder that in the US and across the globe racism shatters through the childhoods of black kids every day.

Diana, at Till’s funeral, is caught and harassed by the crooked, magical police chief who has been harassing Leti and wants to lead a cult of wizards. He asks for the whereabouts of her mother, who warped through time using the machine last week. When Dee obviously has no answers for the police, he spits on her and curses her, and this is when the true horror starts.

After returning home a book falls off of her shelf, the cover portraying a white child playing with a black child, the art depicting the racist pickaninny cartoons of the time. After leaving the house Dee is then followed by two real-life incarnations of this cartoon, two horrifying caricatures whose bodies twist and dance horribly, chasing Dee all over town with their mouths twisting in cruel smiles.

Dee is literally being haunted by the world’s perceptions of her as a black child, the metaphor couldn’t be clearer. In true Lovecraft Country fashion it’s saying “This is what it feels like to be black in America”. When being harassed by the cops she even utters “I can’t breathe”, words etched into the publics minds as reminders of the wrongful deaths of African American men in the past like George Floyd and Eric Garner.

Meanwhile Ruby is dealing with her own guilt and feelings about the death of Till also. She’s with her lover Christina, the body-swapping duo sharing a horrifying, tender moment before Ruby confronts Christina.

“Do you care?” Ruby asks about Till’s death. There’s fury and frustration and exhaustion on Ruby’s face as she carries her community’s grief over the death over the young boy. Christina has the gall to say that no, she doesn’t care. SCREW that, this woman clearly only has her own interests (immortality) in mind.

As she is already invincible to some degree, Christina has herself lynched in the same fashion as Till for, what I can only assume, is some sick way of trying to understand and empathise, but personally I would prefer it if she stayed the hell away from Ruby who deserves way better.

Christina also visits both Tic and Leti, offering Tic a protection spell, and one Leti invulnerability, a power that comes into play when the police try to shoot up her house later that episode and the bullets fly off of her. Tic’s protection comes in the form of a shoggoth, one of the horrendous, thousand-eyed monsters that hunted Leti and Tic in the first couple of episodes. With his father’s help, he’s gotten himself a giant, horrifying watchdog who will protect him until his prophesied death at the hands of Christina, who obviously wants to save him for the proper moment.

Speaking of prophecies, Ji-Ah returns to America in this episode for a short time to reveal to Leti her history with Tic. This scene seemed pointless and irrelevant to the rest of the episode as the pair move on pretty quickly. I wanted better for Ji-Ah, and a more interesting re-entry into the story. She does get a well-deserved shot in at Tic, “I kill because it is my nature, what is your excuse?”

This episode managed to balance driving the story forward, albeit a bit sloppily, with the chilling tale of Dee, so it was overall pretty enjoyable to watch if a bit emotionally devastating, as I think it should be. We should see these stories the show is telling and try and bear the full weight of them, only then might we understand these character’s struggles and the struggles of everyone affected by racism and anti-blackness.

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