Lovecraft Country: I Am   Show Only 
September 27, 2020 7:16 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Hyppolyta's relentless search for answers takes her on a multidimensional journey of self-discovery, and Atticus heads to St. Louis to consult an old family friend.
posted by oh yeah! (27 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow. That was one hell of an episode.
posted by ssmith at 7:30 PM on September 27 [7 favorites]


I have... so many questions.
posted by Scattercat at 10:10 PM on September 27


Is this the first time there's been major Afro-futurism in a big budget TV show? I'm thinking so but would welcome any correction. Stunning visuals and holy cats there's a lot to unpack here.
posted by jquinby at 5:40 AM on September 28 [10 favorites]


From that Den of Geek recap:

Emmet Till (nicknamed Bobo) is a friend of Diana’s and has been seen or referenced several times, including in this episode. It’s likely next week’s episode, titled ‘Jig-A-Bobo,’ will center Diana and feature references to his death. I’m not sure we can prepare for that.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 5:56 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


As I was watching last night's episode, I kept thinking that in this world, Janelle Monae, Beyonce, and Erykah Badu were all applauding various scenes right along with me; and from the next world, Octavia Butler and Ursula LeGuin joined us in clapping.

And George Clinton too.

I love that a recurring theme in this series is "Who are you, really? What parts of your performance as you --any of the various yous -- are your choice and what parts have been forced upon you?"

I feel like everybody from Sammy to Montrose to Tic to Ji-Ah to Hippolyta to Ruby to Christina and even department store manager guy struggles with that question.

God, it felt good to see an older black woman be centered in a big budget weird fiction show, to see her get to have the kinds of "through the doorway to other worlds" adventures normally only reserved for precocious white children. So grateful to Misha Green and the rest of the crew and Aunjanue (I *love* her name) Ellis for allowing us to see that so wonderfully created and performed.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:27 AM on September 28 [22 favorites]


The podcast called our alien "Beyond-Ce", which is amusing, but I was struck by her being one pair of sunglasses away from being a live-action Garnet from Steven Universe.

Not the episode I was expecting, but a fine run through various potential realities for her.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:47 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


in the credits the alien is Seraphina AKA Beyond C'est (C'est = It/This Is) played by Karen Leblanc
posted by kokaku at 5:15 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Wow. That was beautiful and marvelous and one of my favorite hours of TV ever.
posted by pointystick at 5:25 PM on September 28 [4 favorites]


Damn. What a fantastic episode.

J'adore the light steampunk intersecting with non euclidean spacetime, Afrofuturism, and celestial mechanics/ mathematics.

Hippolyta's various training/ leveling-up montages through the many worlds were glorious.

Nice contrast between Ruby's magic of changing her appearance and Hyppolyta's changing herself from the inside (to be fair, also changing the way that people perceive her but in a more subtle way that allows for growth).
posted by porpoise at 9:35 PM on September 28 [7 favorites]


The woman on the motorcycle was Bessie Stringfield.
posted by cazoo at 8:07 AM on September 29 [11 favorites]


Is this the first time there's been major Afro-futurism in a big budget TV show? I'm thinking so but would welcome any correction.

Not a full TV show off the top of my head. But anyone who's enjoying Lovecraft Country should check out the Deep Space Nine episode Far Beyond the Stars. It's a perfect companion piece for this show. The episode is mostly set in a 1950s flashback/alternate reality/whatever, and is about a Black science fiction author's struggle against white gatekeepers as he tries to sell a story about... well, about the main plot of DS9, which is about a Black space station commander. It's one of the most lauded episodes of the show and there's a very good chance that many of the people involved in Lovecraft Country have seen it.

I think it would work even for audiences that haven't seen the rest of the show, as long as you're willing to roll with the space magic that sets the plot into motion.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:09 AM on September 29 [10 favorites]


Does Dee have magic powers? She drew monsters on the map of Ardem, and there were monsters. She created a new astronaut character for her comic book, and Hippolyta became that blue-haired space-traveller with an amazing orery dress.

Also, did Tip exit from the time vortex with copies of the Lovecraft Country paperback? Is he going to read it and know the ending, like Spaceballs where they fast-forward the VHS copy of the movie to find out how it ends?
posted by autopilot at 9:34 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Definitely not big budget, but Vagrant Queen is influenced by some similar aesthetics.
posted by porpoise at 9:42 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


As I was watching last night's episode, I kept thinking that in this world, Janelle Monae, Beyonce, and Erykah Badu were all applauding various scenes right along with me; and from the next world, Octavia Butler and Ursula LeGuin joined us in clapping.

And George Clinton too.

I love that a recurring theme in this series is "Who are you, really? What parts of your performance as you --any of the various yous -- are your choice and what parts have been forced upon you?"

I feel like everybody from Sammy to Montrose to Tic to Ji-Ah to Hippolyta to Ruby to Christina and even department store manager guy struggles with that question.

God, it felt good to see an older black woman be centered in a big budget weird fiction show, to see her get to have the kinds of "through the doorway to other worlds" adventures normally only reserved for precocious white children. So grateful to Misha Green and the rest of the crew and Aunjanue (I *love* her name) Ellis for allowing us to see that so wonderfully created and performed.


I wish I could favorite this a hundred times
posted by supermedusa at 10:13 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I can't wait to see how Hippolyta, mother of Wonder Woman in the DC Universe, engages with her daughter, Dee (Diana, aka Diana Prince, is Wonder Woman's "government" name), after going through the "speak it and make it so" galactic self-actualization engine.

Did anyone else notice that there were no men at all in the Josephine Baker sequence other than the audience members right when she first landed there?

I found it very interesting that Lyta ended up somewhere designed to feel inherently safe and accepting of her, a middle-aged black woman dressed up in full vaudeville stage regalia.

As soon as this episode ended, I remarked that it was possibly the best hour of television I've ever watched. That is not hyperbole, it's my genuine assessment. There are just too many thoughts, ideas and emotions it brought out in me to even articulate fully here in a way that does them justice.

Really interesting to see Tic's reaction to realizing what was going on with Montrose. So much pain in that one facial expression, like: Really? Mom knew? Uncle George implied that I might be his kid on his deathbed, so obviously he knew, too. Did everyone know except for me? Is this why you spent your whole life pushing me away, engaging with me only in moments of violence because you were afraid of letting me see the real you? And how dare you stand here trying to reject me again, using the same hateful words that pushed me into a war halfway across the world I had no business fighting in!

Tic's suffered years of pain for the simple fact that being gay in the 1950s could get any man killed, especially someone like Montrose. He internalized Montrose's lifelong rejection and violence, wrongly believing that some defect in himself was really to blame.

It better rain Emmys on this show, y'all. And I'm so afraid that it won't, because Hollywood still rarely considers anything in the horror genre worthy of real attention.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:20 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Really interesting to see Tic's reaction to realizing what was going on with Montrose.

The second half of this episode was so packed that I actually forgot all about this, but I wanted to say (as a queer person myself) that I LOVE the decision to have Tic use that slur. A lot of shows wouldn't have gone there, because Tic is Our Lovable Protagonist (even considering the atrocities we now know he participated in) and you don't want to hear that word coming out of his mouth. But considering the time period and the issues Tic has with Montrose, it was absolutely the correct decision.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:49 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Three thoughts:

1) Alongside all its other virtues, you've got to love this show just for the sheer scope of its ambition. Inevitably, there's the occasional misfire when you're being so boldly experimental but so far they're been few and far between.

2) I wonder what happened to the white cop who Tic threw into the multiverse vortex thing? Is he off having adventures of his own in another, unseen, episode? Or perhaps trapped in a hell of his own making for his refusal to grow in the admirable way Hippolyta did?

3) Were the French dancers Hippolyta met speaking to her in French or English? I ask because the show had them speaking in heavily-accented English rather than just using the subtitles of the Korean episode. We did get a brief burst of subtitles when someone French made a toast, and I'm happy to assume Josephine Baker was speaking to Hippolyta in perfect English, but the dancers do bug me a bit.
posted by Paul Slade at 10:54 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


2) They didn't have a benefactor waiting on the other end; just randomly thrown into the utter vastness of the known(+) universe(S).

In my head cannon, they probably freeze dry instantly in the utter vacuum of interstellar space, where even an occasional molecule of hydrogen is scarce - and became an anomalous pocket of "exotic" atoms/ matter, given the coordinates.

Anomalous, but utterly minuscule.
posted by porpoise at 11:20 PM on September 29


showbiz_liz, thanks so much for the DS9 "Far Beyond the Stars" suggestion. I hadn't seen that episode and it was fun to spot the Star Trek characters out of uniform and prosthetics, as well as to have the actors in period outfits in a plot that didn't involve time travel or the holodeck. Having such a diverse cast really let them confront a significant social issue in a way that felt connected to the post-racial post-scarcity future of Star Trek, and I don't remember any other shows of that era ever tackling racism in such a forward manner, the way Watchmen, Lovecraft Country and others are doing this year, so the episode feels very modern despite airing over two decades ago.
posted by autopilot at 4:26 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


i'm seeing a pattern of episodes looking at the anger carried by different characters...
ep1 - we're just getting started
ep2 - christina?
ep3 - leti
ep4 - montrose?
ep5 - ruby
ep6 - ji-ah
ep7 - hippolyta

seeing that connection, helped me see why ep2 and ep4 feel like the weakest (that and other reasons)
hippolyta is able to heal her anger in a way that ruby is not

at this point, Tic, who seemed like the main protagonist, now feels like the connector to bring all these other wonderful stories forward
posted by kokaku at 5:28 AM on September 30


I feel bad but I couldn't help but think of the math lady meme during the scene with the floating equations.
posted by exogenous at 7:04 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Also, did Tip exit from the time vortex with copies of the Lovecraft Country paperback? Is he going to read it and know the ending, like Spaceballs where they fast-forward the VHS copy of the movie to find out how it ends?

I went back when I first saw it. It is “Lovecraft Country” but the author’s credit is George Freeman.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:59 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]


Sun. Fucking. Ra.

I have been waiting this whole time for the show to find the most perfect moment to drop that OG Afrofuturist into an episode.
posted by desuetude at 10:31 PM on October 6 [1 favorite]


I wonder what happened to the white cop who Tic threw into the multiverse vortex thing?

I laughed so fucking hard when that happened. I don't care to imagine any particular fate for him but he's fucking GONE hahaha.
posted by fleacircus at 9:42 AM on October 7


This episode was incredibly powerful. I, as a married lady, absolutely cried during that scene with her with George.
posted by corb at 12:04 AM on October 10


Did this episode redeem the stiletto scene for people, now that we had a whole sequence to explain it, in this episode?
posted by eustatic at 12:26 AM on October 12


What was the explanation?
posted by fleacircus at 7:09 PM on October 12


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