Lovecraft Country Episode 3: The Haunting

Quick recap

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In this week’s episode, “Holy Ghost”, Letitia buys a house in a white neighborhood. The plan is for her to run it as a boarding house along with her estranged sister Ruby. Atticus wears out his welcome at his Aunt Hippolyta’s house following the death of Uncle George. She’s grieving and every little thing Tic does gets on her nerves, although he’s just trying to be helpful. He takes the hint and leaves, seeking refuge at his father’s place. Montrose is talking in his sleep, recalling an event from his childhood. It’s a familiar story to Tic, involving a stranger with a bat saving young George and Montrose. Similar to the dream Atticus had in the bus in episode one. The two waste no time arguing, they discuss the cover up of George’s death. Once again, Tic wears out his welcome.

Move in day at Leti’s boarding house is underway and problems are everywhere. Tic visits and says he’s going back to Florida, but decides to stay. White neighbors make their hatred known and start harassing Letitia and her new tenants. As if that’s not enough to deal with, ghosts are causing mischief in the boarding house, but they only show up when Leti is alone. Down in the basement Leti and Tic, led unknowingly by the gruesome ghosts, find a secret room. She decides to use it as a dark room. Later, at the house warming party things start to heat up. Dee and her friends play with a spirit board in the basement and accidentally make contact with the ghosts haunting the house. Hippolyta vents her frustrations, and later finds a golden model solar system in an upstairs bedroom. Tic and Leti finally have sex, though it ends awkwardly after Leti reveals that it was her first time.

Later, racist neighbors burn a cross on the lawn and Letitia fucking Lewis goes on the war path to defend her property. Armed with a baseball bat, she shatters the windows of the cars parked out front and removes the bricks from the horns. She finishes just as the police show up to arrest her. In the patty wagon Leti, is “interrogated”, but the cop seems more interested in the house than what she did to the cars. He tells her the bloody history of the house, the Winthrop house. Eight black people where murdered and buried their by the previous owner. Next day she’s bruised but back home. She sees that someone has scratched up her photos, realizing that the scratches make a face, she puts them together and something comes out and tells her to leave her house. Spooked by the events at the party, all the boarders move out. A distraught Ruby tries to talk to Leti but she’s too preoccupied with her search for answers about the house. In her frenzy she accidentally reveals that the money she used to buy the house came from their deceased mother, not the lottery. This news sparks a huge fight between the two.

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Montrose pays a visit to Hippolyta and she questions him about George’s death. She suspects that both he and Tic aren’t telling her the whole story. He denies it of course. Leti researches the history of her house and gives Tic the rundown. She discovered that Hiram Epstein was the last owner, and he did experiments on human test subjects. Reveals that the cop who arrested her, Lancaster, knew the previous owner, suspects that he supplied Epstein with the black people for his experiments. She also reveals that their bathroom tryst was her first time.

The duo go back to the house accompanied by a priestess of some sort. The priestess promptly makes a blood sacrifice and makes each of their foreheads and the front door with a bloody protection symbol. In the basement she performs a ceremony to call forth the evil spirit of Hiram. At the same time, three white men break into the house to cause trouble. Unfortunately, they fall victim to the benevolent ghosts that reside there. Back in the basement, the seals of protection wash away and first the priestess, then Tic, is possessed by Hiram. Leti saves the day again when she calls out to the spirits, they help her cast out Hiram’s ghost, which simultaneously heals the mutilated ghosts. Later she’s interviewed by a reporter and all is well again in the Winthrop house.

The elevator, moving on its own, goes below the house and passes glowing magic symbols and reveals a tunnel full of skeletons, including the three white men. Tic sees Christina at a realtor and confronts her about Leti’s money. He tries to kill her but can’t because of a invulnerability spell. She reveals how her father was able to die and tells him some information about the Book of Names.

Review

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This episode is more somber than previous episodes. Following the death of the wise and charismatic George, everyone is hurt and grieving in their own way. Unable to tell Hippolyta and Dee the truth of George’s death, the trio tell her a half truth: that her was gunned down by a white cop. Since it was common then, and now (cough, cough), for black people to be terrorized and murdered by law enforcement, I can see why this was the obvious solution to their problem. Had they told her the truth, she likely wouldn’t have believed them. And who could blame her.

After being killed and resurrected all within the span of an hour, Leti was due some good news. Unfortunately it seems that her happiness isn’t to last. The mysterious money and the terrible history of the Winthrop house makes for a curse that just keeps on giving. I’m really tired of seeing bad things happen to her, but also I love seeing her kick ass and get shit done. Leti is a fighter and I love to see it.

Leti’s tumultuous relationship with her sister only gets worse when Ruby finds out how she really got the money to buy the house. The sisters never seemed all that close, they tolerate each other, but barely. Hopefully they patch things up.

Atticus can’t seem to catch a break in this episode either. First, he leaves his aunt’s house because he’s working her nerves, then he goes to his dad and immediately gets into an argument with him. Although, we do get some incite into his dream from the first episode. At the end of the dream he’s saved by Jackie Robinson, this mirrors an event from his father’s (uncle’s?) life as well. Maybe some other elements of his dream have already happened too, we already know he was a soldier.

HBO

The house warming party is full of both good and bad surprises. It gives Hippolyta and Dee some much needed joy, though it doesn’t last. Leti and Tic finally hook up. I’m glad because the tension was killing me. Despite all the merrymaking at the party, the bitter bigoted neighbor just couldn’t leave well enough alone. The burning cross is a familiar site by now of all the hatred and torment that black Americans had to endure at the hands of their white counterparts.

The fun didn’t stop there. After Leti was arrested for taking a bat to the cars parked in front her home, she was further tormented by the police. Sheriff Lancaster had his own motives for arrest only Leti. Not only did he know the previous owner, but he helped him carry out his inhumane experiments. Maybe there’s some evidence linking him to the terrible crimes committed there.

Christina’s motives are becoming clearer, though she remains mysterious. Stalking Atticus all the way from Detroit to Ardham was creepy enough, but now she’s paying off realtors and anonymously gifting Leti with large sums of money. All of this for the Winthrop house. She seems to think that Horacio Winthrop’s stolen pages are somewhere in the house, so why didn’t she just buy the house herself? Let’s hope she doesn’t find those pages because if she does and develops a cipher, I get the feeling she’ll do far worse than her father ever did.

Check out the trailer for the next episode below.

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