Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn’t yet watched Lovecraft Country’s fourth episode, “A History of Violence.”
Against all odds, Lovecraft Country largely held back on major WTF moments throughout the first half of Episode 4, although they definitely started piling up as the minutes ticked by. “A History of Violence” essentially jumped from the haunted house format of Episode 3 into an Indiana Jones-esque adventure, as Jonathan Majors’ Tic, Jurnee Smollett’s Leti and Michael K. Williams’ Montrose went on a trek to hunt down the missing pages from the Book of Names.
Let’s all hop in the car to drive up to Boston for this week’s look at Lovecraft Country‘s most WTF moments, starting off with the very first sequence. (For those who might have missed them, check out our WTF features for Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode 3.)
Montrose definitely had some curious reactions to reading the Bylaws and Precepts of the Order of the Ancient Dawn, and it makes me all the more fascinated by scenes in which Montrose is around other characters but isn’t also covered in sweat and drunkenly freaking the fuck out. He’s clearly going through a hardcore case of mourning over George’s death, while no doubt also being thrown for a loop by the fantastical text. But instead of just tossing the book into a dumpster, Montrose sets fire to it inside his own living room, saying “Smells like Tulsa,” while wearing only boxers as he watched it burn. (The episode’s title felt quite real there.) At least we later learned that Montrose returned his library books instead of burning everything he read.
Opening Titus’ Vault Door
This shit was like something right out of The Legend of Leti: A Tic to the Past. I know Montrose was clued in, but I still can’t believe they managed to figure this vault door out without some kind of online walkthrough – perhaps George had one in his glove compartment – not to mention that it took all of five minutes to arrive at the precise solution. And maybe it was the complete seriousness of the crime they were committing or something, but nobody went nearly as apeshit with pride as they should have as soon as the door started to open.
The Giant Chasm
Given everything that these characters have seen thus far, nobody blinked too hard upon seeing a giant gap in the earth that was only traversable by an extremely long and thin slat of wood. This was one of those moments where I had to remind myself that magical defense mechanisms exist in Lovecraft Country, and that I should not spend the next 10-15 minutes thinking about how those giant pendulums were first installed over that giant pit, and who would have been able to make that installment happen. (Clearly someone from Edgar Allen Poe’s family.) To showrunner Misha Green’s credit, by the time the wood started to ash into nothingness, it felt like the only logical thing the wood could have done in that moment.
William And Ruby Getting It On To Marilyn Manson
Lovecraft Country‘s new “It” couple is obviously William and Ruby, whose vertical bar conversation turned into a horizontal bedroom conversation, which was something I definitely did not see coming when the episode started. William thankfully didn’t seem to be taking advantage of Ruby in any way, so good for them! Making their lovemaking all the more meaningful was the accompanying Marilyn Manson cover of Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” meaningful because it’s a white guy performing a not-safe-for-the-women song originally written by a Black artist that partially inspired Manson’s shock-rock career path. Lovecraft Country continues to impress with its layered soundscape.
The Elevator And Neighbor’s Corpse
How did Leti not lose her fucking mind after seeing her neighbor’s corpse down in those tunnels? How did no one lose it whenever they came across that elevator? In this moment, I fully had it in mind that the giant chasm room might have been a wormhole-adjacent situation that didn’t follow normal physics, but the sight of the elevator still left me gobsmacked. How many times in life have I been stuck in a scenario where I wished there was a backdoor back to the comfort of my house? Or a water-logged home elevator, in this case. But if I ever actually found one, I would probably lose touch with my senses for a short while.
The Blood Door
By this point in the episode, I should not have been surprised for Tic, Leti and Montrose to come upon a rather technical door that ran solely on blood, and not just your run of the mill blood, because that shit will make a one-armed corpse out of whoever’s brave/dumb enough to try it out. (Though kudos on anyone else in the world actually finding this fucked up door in the first place, considering what had to be done to get there.) But I was still kind of surprised to see it, and I was already deep into wondering how the door would have pulled Tic’s blood upward into the applicable chambers before I remembered to stop it. Sweet ladder drop, too.
The Dining Hall Of Death
If Lovecraft Country ever inspires a Halloween attraction of some kind, I can already tell my favorite part would be the recreation of this corpse-ridden dining hall that wouldn’t have felt out of place on Game of Thrones if someone knocked all of those cobwebs out and replaced them with olde tyme sex workers. I don’t at all understand how this bizarrely designed room existed where it did, with glass ceilings that were apparently underwater. In any case, the entire scene was enjoyably grotesque and spooky, given that everyone in the room died instantaneously in the midst of a regal dinner – even the baby was eating – and I wish they could have just hung out in there a little longer. Though I guess that instinct isn’t a natural one.
The Siren Decipherer
When it comes to gnarly first appearances, let’s give it up for Yahima Maraokoti, a long-dormant siren shocked awake by someone trying to snatch her pages. Things got seriously ghoulish there at first as she got the ol’ bones working again with the most hideous body movements. Then, after a bit of full-frontal nudity revealed the duality of her nature, she related her bonkers story concerning her connection to Titus, revealing that all those corpses were her family. And guess what? She could decipher the pages, and Tic could arbitrarily understand her language. But then guess what after that? It turns out she was siren-cursed and so leaving the death room took away her voice forever. Well, I guess that leads to our next entry.
Montrose The Murderer
All these WTF moments started off with Montrose, so it only makes sense for the episode to end with him going off the beaten path and murdering the best chance everyone had of getting the pages deciphered. Montrose has made it clear that he wants to protect Tic, and obviously Leti if she’s around, so he presumably doesn’t take too kindly to the thought of Tic gaining access to magical spells, since that would just draw him deeper into this already fucked up occult world. That said, he did seem genuinely interested in knowing if Yahima could reverse the spell, so Montrose probably has motivations I’m not aware of just yet.
Lovecraft Country airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9:00 p.m. ET, and in between viewings, stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more coverage. Those curious about what’s coming to the small screen soon should check out our Fall TV 2020 premiere schedule.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn’t sound like that’s the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
- Nick Venable