Review: Lovecraft Country Episode 5 – Strange Case

Let’s start off by calling this episode “A Whole Lot of Butt.”

Although the Smallville fan in me just wants to call this episode “Metamorphasis.”

This episode is awesome, but it also reminds me of a horror version of “The Nutty Professor.”

And this is the first episode that I am going to bring up something I should have mentioned much sooner: The soundtrack for this show is a work of art.

The show starts off with the transformation that we had expected in the last episode. Ruby wakes up white and afraid. Within seconds she sees the power over life and death that the white world has over the black world and she’s so terrified that she almost doesn’t save the boy who bumped into her. While we saw this coming, what I didn’t expect was the painful and gory transformation process when Ruby changes back. This isn’t a permanent transition, and when it wears off we get either Blondy (I forgot his name again) cutting her out of her “white persona” or the werewolf style of change. It’s painful and bloody and almost not worth the cost.

The best line I’ve heard from any tale lately – “I don’t know what’s more difficult: Being Colored, or being a woman.” I love that line for it’s sheer power.

Wait…her “Last Name” is Davenport when she’s white? Interesting. I’m finding more and more stories I follow lately put that last name in there. Have I become a generic name placeholder? That’s unfortunate.

As per any great episode, we’re treated to two tales and Atticus discovered that Montrose killed the Zombie Lady and destroyed the pages. He is livid and almost kills his father over it, scaring Leti in the process. Honestly, I was not sure if I wanted him to kill him or not. His father is obviously tortured about something, but the flat out murder of someone who wasn’t a threat, instead of communicating was just “not cool.”

It’s alright though, because Leti took pictures of the pages and then we get some more Butt Scenes.

And then we get a scene that let’s another puzzle piece fall into place. Mikey and I have been toying with theories regarding Tic’s lineage. We think we’ve got it all together (Tic is actually George’s son and Montrose only married Tic’s mother as a beard to hide his being gay). The confirmation is the very injured Tic deciding he needed a good lay with his boyfriend bar-owner from the first episode.

Ruby uses her white superpowers to get a job (thus me realizing the Davenport name) at that store she’s obsessed with. There’s no better way to see how horrible white people in the fifties are than to work in retail, I guess.

After her first day as the Assistant Manager, she gets to learn what all this white skin is going to cost her. She has to attend a party as Ruby for Christina (remembered her name). The party is filled with those asshole cops and is for the brotherhood that won’t let Ms. Braithwhite into it.

Christina just said his name is William. I’ll try not to forget again.

Woah, it turns out that the police captain tried to have William killed. So Ruby is going to use some piece of magic to help her get her revenge.

I love the weird connections and secret messages in this episode. Specifically, Tic even gets a dream after he falls asleep on the pictures of the pages. It’s pretty clear that if he goes down this “You’re a Wizard, Harry,” path that he’s going to burn up.

Additionally, the archaeologist in me is happy that the language of Adam isn’t just a code (with letters equalling other letters) but also needs to be transliterated before it can be translated.

Tic isn’t an idiot either, and he has to let Leti know that Montrose didn’t just let the witch lady go, but killed her. Unfortunately, Leti thinks the pages themselves are what made Montrose do it. While I’m sure she’s right in the scheme of the story, if I was a character in here I would think she’s crazy. Montrose is just wacky. He would have killed her anyway.

There are so many twists in this show that I’m constantly on the edge of my seat.

While Ruby is acting out her half of the plan she finds some poor bastard in the closet of the Sheriff’s office. Woah!!! And I just noticed that the Captain is some sort of Patchwork Man, sewn together from other bodies. That’s why he was friends with Hiram.

The constant discussion of butterflies and locusts and then we get a scene with Montrose’s gay friends dressing as women and it makes me wonder if the message in this is more than tranformation. The beginning of the episode had the new guy stating that the locusts would devour everything in their path after they transformed.

The worst transformation for Ruby is when she destroys the vial. Her skin just melts off and damn that was nasty.

We get some interesting revelations after that. Ruby’s boss trying to rape Tamara, Montrose willing to show his face in public with his boyfriend. These seem like two worlds opening their eyes for both Ruby and Montrose. Montrose is suddenly free to be who he is and Ruby is suddenly aware that it’s not worth the freedoms of being white if you have to give up your humanity.

Question: Why did it matter that Ruby broke the vial if she has another one? Is the spell tied to the vial and that’s why she broke it, so that she could end that instance of the spell?

Oh, and another great line, this time from Christina. “Who are you really, uninterrupted?”

And then we find out…

Holy crap, and then more butt. My stomach almost couldn’t handle that.

Next question: Does Hillary Davenport have the same shoe size as Ruby? I guess she must.

This episode is less about advancing the season’s plot and more about character development, and that’s not a bad thing. We’re seeing some characters that, until now, have been mostly minor, getting detailed personality developments that are going to help us in the future of the season. We’re seeing Montrose knowing who he is and that’s going to save him or maybe his family. We’re seeing how cold Ruby can be, and that’s going to come in handy when the monsters come knocking. And we’re seeing how monstrous Tic can be. He might not have PTSD, but he’s not afraid to be extremely violent with even family if they stand between him and his goals.

Holy shit, then we learn William’s truth. He did die, like Christina said, and Christina has been turning into him to get into the lodge and manipulate Ruby. Holy shit, that’s something I didn’t see coming.

Then we’re left with some sort of weird cliffhanger at the end with Tic and the pages. My theory is that Tic just discovered that Christina wasn’t lying about the fact that she can’t die.

This episode was great, of course, but it was also…shall I say it…transformational for the cast…

Additionally, we had another opportunity (Leti in the bath) to see more butt and after everything that we just sat through I was surprised that they didn’t take that chance.

Mikey’s thoughts: “Hang on folks, this is gonna be a long one.

Shock note: Ruby’s first transformation reminded me of something that Guillermo del Toro might have done. 

Anger note: I don’t think Atticus could have beaten Montrose harder even if he knew that Montrose killed the native American.

Annoying note: I think that Ruby took the acceptance of magic in the world WAY too quickly and easily.

Cthulhu note: Every time Ruby changes and the things move under her skin, it makes me feel like tentacles are moving under her skin. 

Horror note: The Ruby/Hillary transformation we see outside the bar on the West Side reminds me of the really good Werewolf transformations they did in the scary old movies.

Odd note: It was really odd to see Montrose happy for once while he was dancing. It’s sad how he has to hide himself from everyone. 

Comicbook note: Jonathan Majors, the actor who plays Atticus, would be an amazing John Stewart. He would be a great architect and he does have a military build.

Ending note: the final “transformation” made me speechless.

Final note: What happened to George’s family? His wife and child were heading to the county where they Murder African Americans at night. They weren’t in this episode at all!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s