Dee, Tic, Leti, Ruby, and Montrose are waiting in line for Emmett Till’s funeral. Dee, of course, is distraught. Her mother isn’t back yet, either. Ruby and the others try to keep her calm, but there’s just so much going on. They get momentarily distracted and Dee runs off, it’s all just too much for her. They split up and go looking for her. Ruby stays in line, just in case Dee comes back. She’s the only one to view the body of the slain boy.
Dee wanders the streets aimlessly, in a daze. Unable to process her grief for the death of her friend, Dee lashes out at a couple of girls her age. Then, she gets cornered by the cops. Captain Lancaster and one of his cronies assault Dee and question her on her mother’s whereabouts. They have Dee’s hand-drawn travel comic that her mother dropped at the observatory. It was next to the dead officer. Tic, in his hurry, left it there. Dee isn’t giving them the answer they want so Lancaster casts a spell on her, wiping a giant glob of spit on her forehead.
Leti went to her place to look for Dee, she doesn’t find her, but she does find Ji-ah, waiting for Tic. Meanwhile, Tic meets with Christina in a crypt. He makes a deal with her: the key from the orrery for help casting a spell. Montrose goes back to Dee’s house and he finds her there, more upset than she was earlier. She locks herself in the bathroom and he tries to talk her down, he doesn’t know why she’s so upset though. She escapes through the window.
Ruby goes to William’s (Christina’s) house after the funeral. She’s in a bad way. He comforts her and later, William and Dell have sex. Ruby transforms in the middle of their lovemaking. Later, she confronts Christina about her white privilege. She demands to know if Christina even cares about Emmet Till’s death, she says she doesn’t.
Ji-ah explains what she is to a frustrated Tic and an upset Leti. She tells them about her vision, but Tic refuses to believe her. Leti deduced that Ji-ah loves him. She storms off and Tic rushes after her. They have a huge fight. Tic decides to cast a spell to make things right. They argue about that too. He leaves anyway.
Dee ends up at the train station and she has her first encounter with two terrifying girls, apparitions that only she can see. Lancaster’s curse. They chase her but she manages to escape. She goes to Leti’s house looking for Tic, the apparitions follow her. She finds Woody parked behind the house, but she has to run. She speeds off on her bike.
Leti prays for Tic at church, she asks God to protect him. Christina meets her there and tries to trade the negatives of Titus’s pages for a protection spell for Tic. Christina refuses, but offers to place the spell on Leti instead. She accepts. Christina does a quick incantation, placing the Mark of Cain on Leti. Later, Christina meets with two men on the docks, they’re armed with barbed wire and a cotton gin fan. She pays them to beat her, shoot her, tie her to the fan by the neck with the barbed wire, and drop her into the lake. Mirroring the tragic death of Emmet Till. She immediately resurfaces, unharmed but greatly traumatized.
Tic and Montrose finally talk. He tells Tic what it was like growing up and being gay. Tic shows him the book he got in the portal and reveals that it was written by his son. He knows that Leti is pregnant. Tic ended up in the future, but he wasn’t there long. Montrose promises to help with the spell, vowing to protect his family. They go to his place to cast the spell, Tic uses the symbol Christina taught him, but nothing happens. They both leave, feeling hopeless.
Dee follows Lancaster to his secret office and confronts him. She demands to know what happens if she’s caught. He proposes a deal: the orrery for the removal of the curse. She refuses. He decides to go after it on his own. Dee goes home, resolved to confront the apparitions. Montrose catches her in what looks to him like a mental break. He stops her and the apparitions finally get her. They scratch her arm, spreading some sort of poison. It creeps up her arm toward her face.
Ruby confronts Leti about her involvement with Tic and magic. Leti reveals her pregnancy. Lancaster shows up at Leti’s but the protection spell on the house stops him from entering. So, he and his officers shoot up the house. Everyone, except for Leti, runs for cover. The bullets bounce off of an invisible shield encasing her body, the spell worked. Tic is walking to her house and he hears the gunshots. The cops take aim at him and Leti rushes out to shield him, but she’s too slow. Just as he’s about to be shot, a shoggoth erupts from the ground, getting shot instead. Unfazed, the nightmarish creature attacks the cops, as Tic and Leti run for cover. The shoggoth kills all of the cops, including Lancaster. It rushes at Tic and stops short, nuzzling his outstretched palm. His spell worked after all.
This week’s episode was by far the most disturbing. It explored one of the ugliest moments in history, the lynching of 14-year-old black boy Emmet Till. He’s been in previous episodes briefly, once at Leti’s party, and once at Hippolyta’s garage. As if that weren’t horrible enough, Dee who is deeply upset about his death, gets assaulted by the police, and then cursed. All while having no idea where her mother is.
Dee’s assault comes after her mother discovers Hiram’s secret machine at the observatory. Lancaster and Christina have been searching for the key to this machine, hidden inside a golden orrery, for most of the season. What happened to Dee mirrors not only the police brutality suffered by black people during the Jim Crow era, but also what’s been happening in recent years as well. She manages to survive her encounter, but the mental, and maybe physical scars, will always be there. Obviously, nothing has changed.
After Lancaster casts his curse, Dee spends the rest of the episode running for her life. The curse causes her to see two dancing apparitions. They have terrifying smiles and glowing eyes. They are likely a manifestation of how Lancaster views black people. In an earlier episode, Lancaster’s body is stitched together from the skin of black people. It seems that even though he hates black people he still wants to be like us. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I was so proud of Dee for confronting Lancaster, but also I was terrified for her. No one knew she was there, if something would’ve happened, no one would’ve been able to find her. Watching Dee confront her literal demons was inspiring. Hopefully Tic and the rest can figure out how to cure her before the poison kills her.
Tic knows about Leti’s pregnancy from the book he got in the future. He hasn’t told her about it. He keeps things secret in an effort to protect others, but by withholding the information he puts them in more danger. His biggest secret, Ji-ah, comes to visit and she tells Leti everything. Tic, in another misguided attempt at protecting everyone asks Christina for help in casting a spell.
Christina, the master manipulator, is slowly getting everything she wants. She now has the key, Titus’s pages, and she knows that her cousin, Tic, is protected. She wouldn’t make him invulnerable, making him impossible to kill, but she helped him cast a spell to protect himself. Why? She must be planning to kill him. But oddly enough, her feelings for Ruby are real. She provides her with the transformation potion, let’s her live in her house, and she lifted her own invulnerability spell to experience what Emmet Till’s murder in an effort to understand Ruby’s grief. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
Tic and Montrose finally have a conversation about Montrose being gay. He confesses that the love between him and Tic’s mother was only platonic, their marriage mutually beneficial. He tells Tic about the Oklahoma massacre and why he chose to live in secret. I’m happy that they make up and that Tic is at least trying to understand. Their love and trust in each other gave the spell the power it needed to keep Tic safe. The shoggoth that appeared seems to be his now, like some sort of hellish stray adopted off the street. Was it born in Ardham or was it created by the spell? The answer could be the difference between life and death if Christina gets her way.
Tic is determined not to die, but it seems like the universe is against him. Christina is after him, Ji-ah had that vision, and the book from the future confirms it. He’s going to die. The only hope we have is that things in the book don’t line up with reality. Maybe he, like Uncle George, will survive. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
Check out the trailer below for a sneak peek at next week’s episode.