Searching for Paradise

Lovecraft Country | HBO Max | S1 E2: Whitey’s on the Moon

Inside the mansion, Leti and George enjoy themselves; Leti tries on a bunch of clothes, while George reads a bunch of books, but Tic can’t shake the monsters they just encountered. The trio hears an alarm bell, and are led to lunch by William (Jordan Patrick Smith), the man who first greeted them. William tells them Montrose left for Boston to see a lawyer with “Ms. Braithwhite” two days prior with no mention of when they would return. When George asks about them being expected, William says she left instructions to look after them and treat them like family while they wait.

William, being welcoming

William explains a man named Titus Braithwhite built the house and founded Ardham, Massachusetts; he says Titus was notoriously kind to his employees, and made his money in “shipping.” William also explains the current lodge is a replica of the house that burned down in 1833. He says it was an unfortunate accident that killed Titus and ‘almost’ everyone else inside.

William lets them know Mr. Braithwhite has called a gathering of lodge members for a celebratory dinner, and until then they have the run of the lodge. Tic says he wants to go into town, and William says it’s fine as long as he’s back by dinner. He tells them if they need anything, the butler will get it for them; when Leti says she thought he was the butler, William says he’s just a close friend of Christina Braithwhite.

Tic is suspicious of everything, and George says they want to keep them there. Leti sits down to eat, ringing the butler for some salt, and Tic asks her how she can eat after what happened. She looks confused and says she doesn’t remember what happened; she doesn’t remember being attacked by monsters, and George doesn’t either. They go to find George’s car, which is seemingly restored from its night of ramming into the cabin in the woods. William appears and gives George the keys; he says he found it and drove it up to the lodge. He says there was quite a bit of blood in the front seat but he had the butler wash it out.

Tic, George and Leti head out, and while Tic goes on ahead, Leti and George discuss Tic and Leti wonders if he’s delusional from coming back from the war. Tic says it makes no sense that they came to a mansion that has clothes that perfectly fit Leti and a bookshelf of George’s favorite books. A whistle sounds, and Tic says it’s the same whistle that called off the monsters the previous night. He runs towards it and sees a woman blowing the whistle; she’s also holding 2 ferocious dogs in front of a huge stone silo. She makes a not-so-thinly-veiled racist comment and shows them the inside of the silo, where they keep pig parts to protect them from bears. George says the silo is most definitely a prison…

The group makes their way through the woods when George remembers something Tic’s mother told him. She had an ancestor named Hannah who escaped her master’s house after a fire. They realize Titus must have gotten her pregnant, and that’s Tic’s ‘birthright’. As they are discussing things, they see burrowing in the ground towards them, and one of the vampire monsters pops out in front of them and another behind them. They hear the whistle, and a woman on horseback comes riding up, blowing on the instrument around her neck; the monsters retreat. The woman with the dogs is with her, and the woman on horseback instructs her to escort Tic to her father’s lab and make sure the guests stay in their rooms. George and Leti instantly forget what they’ve just seen, as they make their way back to the house.

George does some light reading

George paces back and forth in his room, trying to remember what happened; he then finds a secret passage when he pulls a book from the bookshelf. He ends up in a big library and on a table finds a book: Bylaws & Precepts of the Order of the Ancient Dawn.

In the lab, Tic finds a hooded man performing surgery on another man – removing something internal from him while he screams in pain – while the woman who was on horseback has a drink. The man on the table gets up after being stitched, and we learn the woman is Christina Braithwhite (Abbey Lee) and the man is her father, Samuel (Tony Goldwin). As they discuss the Biblical book of Genesis and how Adam named all the animals, Tic asks Samuel if he’s God in this scenario; Samuel says he is Adam, and he’s worked a very long time trying to get back to paradise. He says Christina thinks Tic can help him, but that he doesn’t want to see him until “the ceremony” at dawn.

Christina tries to be “friendly”

Christina tells Tic her father and his friends can be very dangerous and they should become friends; she also mentions there is a sort of spell that affects those who come in contact with their “guard dogs” and live to tell the tale. Tic says if they are friends she’ll remove the spell from Leti and George; as Christina says “done”, Tic tries to walk through his open door but is prevented by a barrier; he hears Leti screaming she can’t get out, either. Just then a young boy runs up to Christina and tells her “it’s time”; she runs to where a cow is giving birth, and helps deliver one of the vampire monsters. She tells the farmhands it’s her first time doing so.

Leti is trying to escape, and Tic comes into her room; she apologizes, and tells him she remembers everything and they need to escape but Tic says they’re trapped. They sit and Tic recites part of Psalms 23; Leti remembers the verse from Sunday School and recalls how she said the verse like a prayer when her mother abandoned her. Tic tells her he’ll never abandon her, and they kiss.

Things are not as they seem though, as we learn at the other side of the lodge, Tic is still in his room; he uses Morse Code to tap out the word “Wizards” to George, when suddenly Tic gets shot at; we see an Asian woman in an army uniform jump out of a wardrobe, and they struggle. George hears this and tries to the use secret passage in his room, but turns to see a woman he calls “Dora”, and says it can’t be possible because she’s dead. Tic is stabbed by the woman as George dances with Dora and Leti and Not-Tic begin to undress. Dora tells George of a memory of him and Montrose, but he pulls away and says she’s not real. As Not-Tic undoes his pants, a snake appears and they struggle; Tic subdues and kills the Asian woman. In the hallway, we see Christina and the lodge members watching Tic, Leti and George deal with their situations, which are clearly just illusions.

A dinner bell sounds, and Tic, George and Leti each open their room doors. William appears and tells them dinner is black-tie and men only, so Leti will dine on the veranda. George tells Tic and Leti to be strong and not let these people get to them.

Samuel, getting ready for dinner

William leads Tic and George to the dining room; he tells them to not mind the others, and just because they don’t want them there, doesn’t mean they’re not supposed to be [there]. Samuel comes in and gives a speech about giving (and giving of himself). Waiters come in and serve the rest of the men; on the plates is clearly pieces of the thing that was removed from Samuel earlier.

From reading the book earlier, George tells the group he knows that any direct descendants of Titus Braithwhite (a “Son Among Sons”) hold special powers and can order the other lodge members around; Tic orders all the men except Samuel to get out of the dining room. After they leave, Tic orders Samuel to return his father to him; Samuel says while Tic may be useful, he’s not indispensable, and leaves.

Tic and George run to the silo looking for Montrose, and find Mostrose’s flask in the basement. The woman with the dogs catches them, but Leti knocks her unconscious. George mentions Montrose’s favorite book and examines the wall; he removes a stone from the wall and they see a tunnel…

We see Montrose (Michael Kenneth Williams) stick his head up out of the ground and when he’s fully out, the trio find him. Montrose isn’t happy to see them, but they take a car and George explains the group is called the “Sons of Adam” and they’re obsessed with figuring out immortality; the first attempt is what burned down the house years earlier. As they try to escape, they cross a covered bridge but hit an invisible barrier at the end.

Samuel and Christina arrive and as Tic, Montrose, and Leti stumble out of the car, Samuel shoots Leti; Tic yells for Christina to help him, but Leti dies in front of him. Samuel says because Tic is a Son Among Sons, he’ll give him a choice of who lives, but turns and shoots George.

Back at the lodge, Tic is naked and being hand washed, while Christina tells him Samuel will attempt to open a door to the garden of Eden to gain immortality. Tic gets a robe, and he and Christina watch a doorway; in another room, they see Montrose tend to George while Leti, lying on a sofa, wakes up! Christina tells him her father will heal his uncle too, if Tic cooperates in the ceremony.

Leti goes to the bathroom and looks at where the bullet wound should be but there is nothing there; she tries to wash her clothes and starts crying. Meanwhile George and Montrose speak, and we learn George may actually be Tic’s father.

A second failed experiment

Tic goes to the ceremony, and as Samuel starts some machinery, electricity goes through Tic, and a portal opens in front of him. As Tic screams, a garden seemingly comes through the portal. Tic sees a pregnant woman inside the portal as the lodge begins to shake. Tic screams and releases a burst of energy, turning the lodge members to stone, as the pregnant woman turns and leaves; she leads Tic out of the lodge as the entire place crumbles behind him.

Leti calls out to him, and in the back of George’s car, Montrose is holding a dead George. Tic cries and says he’s sorry to his uncle.

Stray Thoughts

  • Lots going on in this episode! Will this mythology come back later? Probably not, since all the members are seemingly dead?
  • Are they dead? Where are Christina and William?
  • Seems as if Dora was Tic’s mother? (Have they mentioned her by name?)
  • I didn’t see the father twist coming, because there was seemingly no setup at all – until the dancing with a not-really-there Dora – or I just missed this completely.
  • I liked the Hannah bit coming back at the end, showing the parallels in the story as well as guiding Tic to safety.
  • Is this the last of Uncle George? Say it ain’t so! M

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