Lovecraft Country | HBO Max | Season 1 Episode 3: Holy Ghost
This week we start in church! Leti is watching her church service, remembering Ruby telling her to “fly.”
After the title card, there is another card that explains, well, this:
On “Day 1”, we cut to Leti dragging Ruby down a street on the North Side of Chicago. They talk about the money Ruby has given to Leti, and Leti asks her “what if she never had to pay rent again?” Leti stops in front of a huge Victorian house and tells her sister she bought it!
Ruby doesn’t believe her, but when they go in and see that it’s a major fixer-upper, Ruby understands. She asks Leti where she got the money for the house, and Leti sidesteps and says she’s going to open up a boarding house, a kind of safe haven. She says she wants to bond with Ruby, and Ruby says she’s taking the biggest room. The sisters laugh, but when Leti shows Ruby the elevator (!), she almost gets her head chopped off in the process. Spooky already!
George’s wife, Hippolyta, is looking at one of George’s books, then as if in a trance, starts ripping out pages. Tic and his cousin Diana are in the kitchen cooking and setting the table for breakfast; Hippolyta joins them, clearly adjusting to life without George. Tic has been staying with his family for weeks, but says he won’t be staying anymore because he has things he needs to take care of.
Tic goes home, where Montrose is drunk and passed out on the floor, muttering. Tic throws water in his face and asks his father if he can stay with him for a few nights. He agrees, and they discuss the past few weeks. They told Hippolyta that the sheriff shot George; they had a funeral and she saw George’s body. Tic wants to explain what really happened, but Montrose says there’s no point and gets angry when Tic brings up what his uncle would do if he was still there.
Leti has a ton of people in the new house, moving in, renovating, and carrying in furniture. Tic comes over and tells Leti he’s going back to Florida, since his aunt and cousin are doing okay. Leti tells him she has a spare room and he should stay for the housewarming party; Tic says he told his boss he’d only be gone for a few days – over a month ago. Some neighborhood racists show up, bricks tied to (and leaning on) their car horns in front of the house, while white cops drive by and watch. Tic decides to stay a little longer…
On “Day 5”, while the white neighbors are putting up signs to try to get Leti and company to leave, Leti is asleep in her bed. Her blanket is being taken off of her, and a ghastly woman with a bloody mouth watches her… Leti wakes (and jumps) up but the room is empty. She opens her very wet window and the car horns are still blaring. In the basement, the furnace is going at full blast so Leti uses a wrench to shut it down. She hears a banging sound and voices and goes to investigate, stepping over a bear trap; through some huge cobwebs she finds a trap door in the floor, which someone is trying to bust through… Tic and Leti open the door and go down into the room, but it’s empty. Tic says the room would make a good dark room; he tells Leti he’ll put reinforcements on the windows and keep watch, and Leti is grateful.
On “Day 8”, Leti has her housewarming party. Hippolyta and Diana come too, and Diana and her friends use a Ouija board in the basement. #BadIdea. They ask the board who they’re talking too, and it spells out “George is dead.” Hippolyta goes looking for Diana, but a room’s door opens behind her. Inside there’s an apparatus, and she goes to touch it…
Ruby is singing at the party as Tic arrives, in his army uniform. He watches Leti dance with a man, while another asks him what her situation is. He continues watching and gets increasingly jealous. Leti goes into the bathroom (and neglects to see a ghost in the shower!). Tic comes in and the two quickly have sex. Tic reaches down and sees blood on his hands and Leti apologizes for not realizing she “started her monthly.” Tic says it’s no big deal and Leti says she’ll see him downstairs; he leaves, and Leti cries.
Back at the party, Ruby is playing poker with some guys when she sees a burning cross out on the lawn. Leti grabs a baseball bat and some men get shotguns. Leti breaks the cars’ windows and headlights and hits the bricks off the horns so they stop. Ruby quickly pulls up in a car, and the people throw the bats and guns in the trunk as she speeds away. The cops come and arrest Leti; she is put in the back of a paddy wagon with a cop named Lancaster. He berates her, and the cops driving swerve the car so she gets thrown around the back. Lancaster asks her how she was able to buy the house, and tells her they found the bodies of 8 black people in the basement; he says she won’t last if she stays there. Such a charmer!
Leti comes back to the house, and in her new dark room, she turns on the red light to find her pictures have been marked up. When she arranges the pictures to line up the markings, it is a face. The face becomes real before her, and yells at her to get out of his house! A freaked out Leti goes looking through pictures, and while Ruby tells her people are moving out and they won’t be able to afford the house payment, Leti tells her she still has money from their mother. Leti says she got a call about an inheritance, and Ruby is incredulous, since their mother had no money, and Leti didn’t even go to her funeral. Leti and Ruby argue and Ruby calls her selfish.
Montrose goes to see Hippolyta; he sees she bought a book – George’s favorite – and Hippolyta lies and says she ‘spilled coffee’ on George’s copy. She tells Montrose that something isn’t right about the story of George’s death.
On “Day 10”, Leti is researching her new house; she tells Tic it’s haunted. It’s called The Winthrop House, and Leti says the realtor JJ (aka Jerome Jackson), was shady. It turns out the former owner was a scientist who was fired from his job for unethical practices. She tells Tic about the 8 bodies and how she thinks the doctor was experimenting on humans and Lancaster was supplying him with test subjects; now she says their souls are trapped in the house. She also lets Tic know when they had sex it was her first time. She says she died and it ‘feels like something’s missing’ from her since she came back.
Cut to Tic, Leti and a lady with a goat walking up to Leti’s house. The woman slits the goat’s throat (!) and collects its blood. The medium puts red blood X’s on all their foreheads, and they go down to the dark room. She does a ritual as 3 white male neighbors break into the house with baseball bats. Two go into one of the rooms and see a ghost of a basketball player with a head of a baby. They back up into a radiator bursting with steam… as another man opens the door to the elevator. He sticks his head in, and the car comes crashing down, cutting his head off, grossly. There seems to be a ghost in the car as it comes back to the floor. In the basement, after things stop swirling around the trio, a pipe bursts, and the water wipes the blood from their heads. The medium is possessed and attacks Leti and Tic; Leti calls out the victims’ names for help and as Tic subdues the medium, he is possessed. Leti sees the victims’ ghosts converge in the room and all together they chant, exposing the astrophysicist’s spirit and expelling it from the house.
Afterwards, people move back into the house, and the elevator is working again. Leti and a reporter use it, and the reporter asks her if she’s heard about the disappearance of 3 of her white neighbors. Leti says she didn’t know anyone went missing, and they get off the elevator… which closes by itself and goes down several levels to a hidden tunnel where the bodies of the 3 men are, along with the remains of the doctor’s 8 victims.
In town, Tic watches as a car pulls up in front of the office of Jerome Jackson; a white woman gets out and goes in, and he follows. Tic sees none other than Christina Braithwhite (!) talking to the realtor in an otherwise empty office. Jerome leaves and Tic says Leti’s inheritance came from Christina, not Leti’s mother. Tic says he recognized the name Winthrop – as in The Winthrop House – which was carved into the frame of Samuel Braithwhite’s favorite painting. Christina says Horatio Winthrop was a founding member of the Sons of Adam but was banished when he stole pages of a book needed to decipher ‘the language of Adam’ to read the Book of Names. Horatio didn’t want Titus Braithwhite to be the only one who could read the language.
Tic pulls a gun on Christina, but is not able to pull the trigger. She continues her ‘lesson’; she says her father created an invulnerability spell for himself but had to remove it when he tried to open his portal. She says that every spell created by the Sons has come from 1 deciphered chapter of the Book of Names, orally passed down; the book is now gone and Titus locked his pages in a booby trapped vault only he could access. Christina says if Horatio Winthrop’s stolen pages could be found, they could decode the language in its entirety. She tells Tic he needs to be smarter, because he obviously can’t go around killing white women…
So another episode with lots to unpack! This one was creepy all the way through, and brought the scary many times. In the preview for next week, we see a very much alive (?) William, and Tic, Montrose and Leti going exploring. Looks like the Braithwhites will be sticking around, but what about dear departed uncle George?! M