Review: Lovecraft Country – History of Violence – Episode 4

If you read this blog, then it’s likely you have read, want to read, or at least are aware of my Andrew Doran stories. Andrew Doran is my sort of parody of Indiana Jones or the stereotypical pulp heroes that Indy is based on. Because of my own past and interest in archaeology a lot of Andrew’s backstory puts him into historical adventures in caves and tombs and constantly hunting artifacts.

So, to continue my thought from above: If you read this blog, then you’ll understand why “A History of Violence” was probably my favorite Lovecraft Country episode so far.

This story is an adventure story and a “Other half” story. We have Montrose, Tic, and Leti hunting for the pages from the book. We learn that George gave the By-Laws for the Sons of Adam to Montrose who read and, seemingly, memorized the book before burning it in a booze-fueled attempt to protect his family. Unfortunately, Montrose didn’t know that Braithwhite’s daughter, Christina, would show up and begin threatening them all.

Tic decides that the only way he’s going to stop her is if he becomes a wizard himself, which I immediately said to my brother “that never works out in Lovecraft.” Leti decided that she was going with him to find the pages because she’ll be damned if anyone is going to tell her she can’t do anything. The problem is that they don’t know where to start, but Leti makes an obvious point that Montrose knew enough to go to Ardham, he might know where to find some of the pages.

Tic hates the idea, but Leti doesn’t give him much in the way of a choice. Leti recruits him and he asks to borrow Hippolyta’s car. Hippolyta agrees but then invites herself, excited to go to the Boston Museum. Her daughter and Tree come along as well, and it’s obvious that Hippolyta is along only to find out what everyone is hiding. Tree is only along to imply that Montrose is gay, give Tic some stressors, and give us more circumstantial evidence to Montrose not being Tic’s father.

At this point, I’ll quickly go over the “Other side” story that is going on with Ruby, Leti’s sister. She is getting worn down by the way people treat blacks in America. She knows that white women would be treated better and her jealousy is coming to head with (I don’t know his name… “Boy-Christina?”) showing up and showing interest. When he stops and messes up the police tailing his sister(?) he already knows that he’s about to meet Ruby and change her life. Much like everything with the Braithwhite’s he already has the plan drawn out on how their meeting will go, and if previews for next week are any indication, Ruby’s about to learn exactly how the other side lives.

But honestly, that story didn’t matter nearly as much to me as the rest of the episode. I wanted magic and monsters and Montrose, Tic, and Leti delivered in spades on the magic. We had secret doors, flooding chambers, and a cave system that somehow bridges the distance between Boston and Chicago.

We even meet some sort of magical corpse/ghost/revived woman who was considered magical by her people for having the parts for both genders. Tic’s great great grandfather had locked her away and killed her family and friends to force her to translate the pages that Tic was hunting for. They save her and take her from the tomb, only for a horrible twist at the end that I felt was my only criticism of this episode. She could have had a much larger role in the story, with her own agenda or powers or problems, but instead, she was removed as quickly as she was brought into the story and I felt as though that robbed us of a great story tool.

That being said, I still loved this episode.

To summarize, this story was just fun. I had a blast with it and never expected them to go the traveling adventurer route, a la Indiana Jones.

Mikey’s thoughts: “First off, wow. Another great episode. My brother and I say the exact same thing after every episode: “Wow… This show” This episode is no exception! All of the episodes try to scare us and so did this one, but a little bit differently. At one point they were underground and some people might have had a claustrophobic moment, especially with the spider webs. Next, there was a plank over a HUGE bottomless pit with traps and the plank receding. And then… One of my fears shows up at the end. Fear of underwater. Not the fear of drowning btw, but fear of a tentacled monster grabbing them underwater because, let’s face it, it is Lovecraft. All in all, epic episode.”

–Back to Matt– Also, not to get on a high horse again, but I recently read an article from someone who, while I don’t know that they even have a body of work, they tend to highlight a lot of the Lovecraftian works of others, including myself. This article said that they are annoyed at the lack of Lovecraftian influence in Lovecraft Country and see the idea of tying the stories to anything even remotely connected to the author as a cash-grab based on his current celebrity status. He was referencing the entire series/book, but he used references from episode 3, “Holy Ghost.” I can’t do anything but question this guy’s credentials in analyzing what “Lovecraftian” means. Holy Ghost didn’t have any shoggoths or transdimensional beings of dread, but it had ghost stories (Lovecraft wrote a specific style of these) and human experimentation (I clearly state seeing Reanimator influence), and a secret group funneling him the people (also from Reanimator). Again, I don’t mean to be the guy who constantly keeps bringing this up, but there are a lot of people out there (much as in the Star Wars fandom) who have a specific idea of what these stories mean to them and how they define their fandom, and that’s entirely alright, but it’s obvious that a lot of these same people are using their definitions to ostracize the subject of their fandom, only because it doesn’t reflect exactly their thoughts. The problem with this is that if they succeed, they’ll cancel any other growth in the genre. Lovecraft stories have had such a hard time getting off of the ground in the past, arguably because portraying a “mind-shattering evil” without shattering the audience’s mind kind of defeats the description. So, when you shoot down shows that are trying to elevate your fandom, you’re shooting down future chances of your fandom to get more great content. I’m not saying that bad shows shouldn’t be reviewed negatively, but I am saying that if you want more of them, stop closing the gates and start critically reviewing the stuff. It’s one thing to say “I don’t like it and it could be better if it did these things,” and another to say “I hate it. Cancel it.” I would enjoy critical reviews of this show, but I’m getting sick and tired of the reviews that just hate it for not being their idea of what it should be.

Of course, I am in love with this show, so maybe I’m biased.

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