Lovecraft Country: Full Circle   Show Only 
October 18, 2020 7:10 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

After uncovering the origins of the Book of Names, the gang heads back to Ardham to cast the ultimate spell. (Season Finale)
posted by oh yeah! (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hippolyta’s “An artist named Afua taught me” line had layers.
posted by FallibleHuman at 9:30 PM on October 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

Mixed feelings over here. Two things that stuck out: Ruby dying offscreen was unexpected and didn't all live up to the character's importance over the course of the season. Second, how did Leti get a new birthmark and renewed invulnerability? Was it explained in the Tic-flashback sequence somehow?

I have to go along with the Den of Geek recap above - for as stupefyingly huge as some of the individual episodes along the way were, trying to wrap it all up in an equally big way was probably going to be impossible. Not in an hour, anyway.
posted by jquinby at 5:49 AM on October 19, 2020

I haven't rewatched and paused, but according to eagle-eyed Redditors there's a brief flashback to not-Ruby putting the invulnerability back (thus fulfilling her promise to Actual Ruby).

I liked this episode. It wasn't perfect, and it could definitely have been longer, but it was pretty good.
posted by confluency at 6:13 AM on October 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

(Maybe I should have made this a ‘Books Included’ post, or no spoiler-condition tag at all, since it’s the finale? Whatever the consensus is, I’m fine with having a mod change this thread)

I agree with the Den of Geek recap on the problems with this finale. This show was always at its best when they used the supernatural to explore the horrors inflicted by white supremacy rather than the reverse. I’m not sure there was a way for this finale not to be underwhelming after the power of the previous 3 episodes, especially Tulsa. If they had established that magic-wielding was widespread amongst white people, maybe Tic’s sacrifice wouldn’t feel so hollow?
posted by oh yeah! at 7:01 AM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Second, how did Leti get a new birthmark and renewed invulnerability?

Christina gives Leti's invulnerability back after her fall. Perhaps she does this to fulfill Ruby's promise not to hurt Leti, but it seems out of character that would she risk her ascension for someone she killed. I wondered if bringing Leti back was perhaps a failsafe in case her ritual with Tic didn't work. Then she could potentially use the baby in the future.

I also felt like Ruby dying off screen was crappy. After all that it felt like she got hustled off screen.

And man, I would be pissed if I was Dee. After all that happened because adults abandoned her to deal with their own issues. What do they do? Leave her alone in the forest where they were first attacked. Luckily Sprinkles saved the day!
posted by miss-lapin at 7:09 AM on October 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

I liked this episode. It wasn't perfect, and it could definitely have been longer, but it was pretty good.

I've constantly felt like every episode was too short or maybe the season should have been 13 episodes. Usually I'm critical of series that feel padded out to fill the number of episodes but Lovecraft constantly felt overstuffed and too rushed to get to the next thing.
posted by octothorpe at 7:51 AM on October 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Another flashback showed Tic introducing Dee to Sprinkles in some kind of symbolic handover -- I think they left Sprinkles as her guard shoggoth on purpose.

Sprinkles is a very good boy.
posted by confluency at 8:27 AM on October 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

Love how blood magic leaves one's skin clean and dyes a dress red. Also this episode reminded me of A Quiet Place in terms of I think people underestimate how much salt/sand you need to make a long trail.

Nitpicks aside, this whole show is so dramatically clunky. The finale most of all, so much saving Dee then saving Tic peril I just got so bored. Also whenever plot is knit together with FAMBLY it's boring a lot of the time to me. This show is in a hurry to strike a lot of poses but it's just going through the motions to get to them.

The ending -- Dee murdering a helpless Christina -- landed strange. Also weird after Hippolyta leveled up her art skill so she could teach Dee, cheapening Dee's talent to nothing. The neglect of Dee wasn't really resolved and Dee has no personal reason to kill Christina so I'm not sure what the show was trying to convey with a malevolent pose. There's so much Rule of Cool going on in this show I don't want to think it's very deep, and it also felt like the loss and destruction of Dee really by her family, not Christina Braithwaite... Similarly, like does she show really remember how Montrose slit a woman's throat.
posted by fleacircus at 12:05 PM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

The disturbing thought I had about Ruby is not that she's dead, but that she's in a coma, like the other two bodies Christina kept to make sleeves out of, and the whole crew thinks she's dead and wouldn't know where to look, anyway, so
posted by sonascope at 1:25 PM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Dee telling Christina “you still haven’t learned” made it seem like there could be some time/space traveling happening. At least that’s what I took from it. Like Dee and Christina had a run in at another time.

Also, we see NotRuby cast a spell as Leti was falling.
posted by BooneTheCowboyToy at 7:01 PM on October 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

I thought the leti v ruby arc was deft, since we got an emotional resolution at the car, plus a sister's sacrifice that made that resolution hit more in retrospect.

Not for nothing does notruby finally appreciate humanity, and only in ruby's skin. But Christina doesn't learn from it. she s got the damn book, too, but doesn't use it.

This sets up Christina vs Leti very well--the one drawing strength and purpose from history and collectivity vs the one making deals with Dee's life, and trying to exploit it all for herself.

I did miss how Christina saved Leti again, but now that y'all point that out, it just adds even more to leti's power, and power to ruby's sacrifice for Leti, that as sisters they could cast a spell over Christina.

Dee getting the coup de grace seems fitting, as payback for ruby, and as payback for Christina's playing games with her life, when she could have just helped Dee, like if she had really absorbed the lesson of shared purpose.

Dee has her father's poesy, Atticus' monster, has ruby's and her mother's bloodlust, strength, and divine rage to action, her mother's wisdom. The sacrifices of the others have changed her and made her powerful.

I like how the solution to her self-hatred was just to cut her arm off and get a new one. And of course, we learn that she was the time traveler who gave atticus george's book, which sets up tic' s sacrifice and gives Montrose his purpose as well. Very neat, interwoven.

The show could end here. I didn't find the rhetoric about family and collective purpose cheap at all, it s been set up as the point all along.
posted by eustatic at 11:31 PM on October 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

One thing, what was the 'other thing' that leti told ruby?
posted by eustatic at 11:39 PM on October 19, 2020

Dee telling Christina “you still haven’t learned” made it seem like there could be some time/space traveling happening. At least that’s what I took from it. Like Dee and Christina had a run in at another time.

Dee's mech-arm was new so yeah, maybe there's a season of Dee and Sprinkles traveling through time?
posted by mikelieman at 4:19 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I got distracted during the big finale with the hope that Christina, still immortal, would somehow get banished via that smoke-column onto the Moon, where she'd be trapped in perpetual freezing asphyxiation. Years later, she's aware from afar of Neil and Buzz showing up, but even an immortal needs air to, like, get up and walk around, so all she can do is helplessly watch her only way back to Earth.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:34 AM on October 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

Dee's mech-arm was new so yeah

My spouse pointed out that it was likely what Hypolita had shown her when she opened the door to the room with the whirring sounds.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:15 AM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

(It's worth remembering the first rule of soap opera and fantastical fiction: If you don't see the corpse, they're definitely not dead. Even if you do see the corpse, they're probably not dead. Even if they're dead, they might not be dead).
posted by Grangousier at 10:49 AM on October 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

I'm not sure what the show was trying to convey with a malevolent pose.

I don't think it's malevolent. This show is pretty forthright in its theme that's black women's anger and will to violence is righteous and to be respected in this show, although it's not respected in our culture.

Hannah's spirit world, for example, is a fortress of her rage. Hippolyta claims the right to kill as essential to freedom. Ruby is a 'Batman' superhero, vengeance with a stiletto. Leticia fucking Lewis with her bat and her shotgun.

and so

1) Dee's act is a mercy, like shooting a lame horse
2) Dee's anger is totally justified. She's lost Ruby and Atticus to this horrid woman, Cristina has lied and manipulated Dee herself, and she used Dee's own life as a negotiating token. Also, her friend Emmet was just brutally murdered in a earth-shattering spectacle. I would think she's completely furious. I would assume she would be over emotional.

but instead, I saw her attitude as an anger curdled into purpose, because she knows she has power now. I see the ending as Dee inheriting the power of her culture, all the gifts that her family have fought for.

With her power, she acts. That's it.

i think the dialogue is "they haven't learned". it think it's ambiguous who the they is, but it's clear that Cristina should not be left alive, for a few reasons.

Is this like the nazi punching debate again? Dee's violence isn't excessive or cruel. it's just what is necessary.
posted by eustatic at 8:47 PM on October 21, 2020 [7 favorites]

I found it a bit uneven, but outstanding in some places. Killing (or coma-inducing?) Ruby offscreen without even a bit in the flashback to see how she went out - angry, righteous, terrified, what? - was really disappointing. I was wondering if Christina would be left immortal but in some terrible situation (I love the 'on the moon' idea!) as punishment for her hubris, but I'm good with killing her, partly because it continues to center the stories of the Black folks, not this white magician woman. I did not expect Tic to actually die, but I also didn't expect "save them all" to be quite that big an "all", but given that, losing Tic makes more dramatic sense.

As with "Watchmen", I'd be good if the series ended after season 1 - trying to provide dramatic escalation from this point and handle the repercussions of blocking white people from magic and Dee's magic arm etc etc seems like it would be hard to maneuver, same as the difficulty telling a story starting with "what happens if Sister Night is a god?" It's okay for stories to end - not everything has to be an ever-escalating dramatic staircase or (given Abrams' involvement) a season-long escalation followed by dropping major plot elements on the ground with minimal closure.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:25 AM on October 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also, more flippantly, I'm wondering how the "no magic for you" spell decides if you're too white for magic - my first thought was to wonder if is there a magical version of the 'paper bag test' now.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:31 AM on October 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

She does say "They haven't learned." Which made me think she was talking about her own family. That they haven't learned that they needed to kill Cristina. That simply robbing her of magic isn't enough.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:25 AM on October 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

It's worth remembering the first rule of soap opera and fantastical fiction: If you don't see the corpse, they're definitely not dead.

Ruby is almost definitely not dead in this case - remember that Christina had to keep the body-donors alive but comatose to harvest the potions from them, and we see Ruby laid out on one of the basement harvesting tables looking very intact. It's not made clear if they are kept alive just so there's a source of fresh blood, or if the function of the potions is directly tied to the vitality of the donor via sympathetic magic. In addition, Christina had actual affection for Ruby and may well be inclined to keep her alive after the ascension, in a 'you had a crisis of faith but it's all worked out now, let's patch things up' kind of way.

Also, Dee with the robot arm is who gave Tic the copy of the novel when he was timespace jumping, and it's unlikely that the transformative cybersurgery required happened in the brief moment before she jumped in the car for a road trip, so the whirring room was quite likely a lead-in to an offscreen jaunt sideways in time to give her the full upgrade recovery and adventure time needed.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:52 PM on October 22, 2020 [6 favorites]

For anyone who missed out on seeing Misha Green's "Underground" during the original run, per TV Line OWN will be rebroadcasting the series starting Tuesday 1/5, followed by a half-hour 'Revisiting Underground' special, and that "each of the 20 episodes has been expanded to include newly filmed introductions by Legend and various cast members, producer/cast commentary and more.".
posted by oh yeah! at 3:00 PM on December 30, 2020

Well, that was a lot. As in, could have been stretched out over two and maybe even three episodes. Things I would like to have seen: Ruby's fate; Hippolyta and Dee's explorations, with Dee processing all of the terrifying events she has just been through plus her taming of the shoggoth; more Ji-ah, maybe (she gets turned into a plot device). Overstuffed and rushed is absolutely right. That said, even this show's misses are ambitious and interesting, and the good stuff is so. damn. good.

I'm OK with a one-and-done series and am glad that I finally had the chance to see it for myself, after having followed along with the commentary in these threads. Thanks for giving me the nudge I needed to try it!
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:05 PM on March 17, 2021

This is really unfortunate. I liked the acting from a lot of these people. It would be nice if they could do a Lovecraft anthology series, American Horror Story-style.
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:43 PM on July 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

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