Lovecraft Country: Whitey on the Moon
Original air date: August 23, 2020
Following the premiere, the show picks up the next day. We get the typical montage of happiness for Leti and Uncle George; the lodge contains everything they could wish for and they have blissfully forgotten the events of the previous evening. Of course, we know this won’t last, but it is nice to see the characters getting a brief reprieve.
The episode leans heavily on exposition with only a few moments of action. I wouldn’t say it was boring– there was enough weirdness to keep my interest, but it was a lot to ingest in an hour. If schoolwork had a somewhat more fun, younger cousin—this would be it.
I spent a long time looking up the artwork seen in this episode, as I didn’t recognize any of it. I believe they were all made for the series and are not historic pieces. Take for example the Josef Tannhauser, Genesis 2:20. This is not a “real” painting but plays a part in explaining Samuel Braithwhite’s belief he can find immortality if he opens the gates to the Garden of Eden. I can’t help but think the artist’s name is important. Tannhauser, an opera by Richard Wagner, is based on the legend of the poet Tannhauser who travels the land and finds a cave with Venus in it; and as she is the Goddess of love… you can guess the rest.
Since mythologies all borrow from each other—think of instead of Venus, Lilith (Adam’s first wife). Made from the earth like Adam, she was an individual and didn’t always agree with Adam; like when he was naming animals. So, Adam decides to get a new wife, a more compliant partner. Hence Eve was created from his rib.
I’m going into this because I think this could be a big clue as to what role Christina Braithwhite might play in the series. We don’t see her in the lodge when it explodes, so I do think we will see her and William again. We saw Christina at the birth of a creature (or really unfortunate calf) and I feel again there is a Dr. Moreau vibe going on. Christina seems to be intrigued by what her father plans on doing, but she also seems bitter at the fact she can’t claim status because she’s a woman. I think she has very definite opinions on how things should be done, and I bet she has her own agenda that will play out.
Samuel Braithwhite is a member of the Order of the Ancient Dawn. This isn’t something that appears in Lovecraft material, but what is ancient if not old? Does the Order stem from the “Great Old Ones”? Will the looking for immortality awaken these sleeping deities?
As for the other art pieces in the hallway when William is bringing them to lunch, we see a Madonna and Child, reminiscent but darker than Da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks. We see more water and maybe an older John the Baptist? The older gentlemen of the two, maybe Uriel? Uriel as in the one that guards the gates of Eden. The scene is anything but tranquil and I think the message is of warning.
The other piece was that of an angel (or person) ascending to heaven. The triangle held pointed up means ascension. On the right is the Grim Reaper, looking a lot like the one little Diana drew. Not to get all Robert Langdon on you, but I don’t think we were shown these because they look pretty. If you look closely at the painting, there are Roman numerals; they look to be X and V (or II) hard to tell exactly. But if we look at Genesis 10:2, we are talking about the seven sons of Japheth (Noah’s son) and how they correlate to the seven geographic regions. If it is 10:5, it is specifically talking about maritime people spreading and creating their own nations. Why could this be important, I’m thinking Innsmouth from Lovecraft and the people in it. Or maybe the numbers have nothing to do with the Bible at all but pointing to something else.
Uncle George (RIP) was talking about the Necronomicon and the Book of Life when they were trying to escape and how the Order believed they were the key to eternal life. Now if watching Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy has taught me anything, it’s first don’t read out loud. Second, the book of death (Necronomicon) is where they want to be looking. Third, death is only the beginning.
Like many hero stories, the death of Uncle George (or is it Daddy George) will weigh heavily on Atticus. Enough that he may search for ways to bring him back. Is that what Christina wanted all along? Maybe only a direct descendant of Titus Braithwhite can find the books! The Order of the Ancient Dawn seems to be dust in the wind now, but I don’t think this part of the story has completely played out.
The ones in the ceremony are toast and the lodge is now a pile of ruins—but the creepy, Midsommar like village is still there and the creatures are alive and well (I assume). I believe those left behind in Ardham will be back to haunt Atticus.
So much of this review is looking at what could happen, but let me take a moment to ponder what we did learn. When locked in their rooms, some heavy stuff went down. Uncle George may be missing Dora (wife of Montrose, mother of Atticus) more than Atticus and Montrose are. From the scene of them dancing and George’s talk with Montrose, Atticus may be the son of either. So, if an affair was had, does Hippolyta know? Was this before her? The details haven’t come to light, but I’m sure more will be revealed and it also explains why George knew more about Dora’s heritage than Atticus and Montrose.
We know Atticus called someone in Korea– was it Ji-ah? Ji-ah being the person he was fighting in his room. He was hesitant to fight her but did and ended up killing her. Did he do this in real life? Or did he fall for the enemy? Who did he call? All we do know is the Korean War did a number on him and we are just scratching the surface of that.
Leti’s room fantasy started out nice enough, but turned dark fast. Christina was watching all these scenes playing out along with the Order, but did she create them? If so, did she make it turn dark to scare Leti away from her attraction to Atticus? Or were they created from the person’s subconscious? If so, what has happened to Leti to make her afraid of intimacy? I feel we know the answer to that, and it’s not a happy picture.
Again, the rampant racism in the story is truly terrifying and looking to next week’s episode, it is just getting started. The supernatural and monsters are scary—but you know what you are getting. With people, a friendly face may hide true evil. I wonder how much of the drama we see in this series will be anything other than people being their most horrible selves. Finally, at least Atticus found his father. I didn’t expect him to be alive. He and Atticus have some issues, and abuse seems to be a tradition in the family. I wonder how that will play out and if Montrose can redeem himself to Atticus?