Lovecraft Country Season-Finale Recap: Save ’Em All

Lovecraft Country

Full Circle
Season 1 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

Lovecraft Country

Full Circle
Season 1 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: HBO

Well, Lovecraft Country was a ride full of ups and downs up until the end, wasn’t it? Just like the pulp stories that Atticus waxed poetic about in “Sundown,” the show had its share of thrilling adventure alongside its own frustrating flaws. Was it triumphant? Not always. Did it have flashes of brilliance, haunting imagery, and evocative genre material? Yes.

“Look what we’ve been through to get here,” Atticus reminds Montrose and Letitia, “monsters, ghosts, a magical treasure hunt, curses, the past, the future.” He is re-articulating not just the stops along the way, but the sacrifices made on their journey, one that started out looking for Montrose but grew into something much bigger and much more dangerous. Now, with the Book of Names they’ve collected from Tulsa, Atticus reminds them of their persisting goal: protecting their family. “We can’t stop fightin’ now,” he insists.

“Full Circle,” picks up right after our gang’s return to Chicago from the observatory in Kentucky. With the Book of Names finally theirs, they can save Diana and prepare for the big bad of endings — the Autumnal Equinox where Atticus seems destined to die by Christina’s sacrifice. Once Atticus reads aloud the (un)binding spell of the Book, he and Leti faint and are propelled into a red-washed ancestral realm. It turns out that Tic and his unborn son’s ancestors have been hard at work; when Hannah “took her own life,” the ancestral space was created. It’s full of red fire, Hannah’s “rage made manifest.” Here they learn the magic they will need in order to beat out Christina in Ardham.

So how did everyone fare?

In the ancestral space, Atticus not only gets to formally meet and speak with Hannah, but he is also reunited with his mother, Dora. He lays his head in her lap and the two share a tender moment. Hannah tells him, “I realized this magic was not something to be feared, but a gift to pass on.” After this, Atticus acts less out of fear and is more kind. He apologizes to Ji-Ah and is loving toward Letitia. Atticus is given an “out” for the entire situation: if they give Christina the Book of Names, then she won’t kill him. But to honor his ancestor’s plans, he isn’t swayed. Atticus acts with selflessness in his final days.

As predicted, Atticus dies in the Autumnal Equinox ceremony. He is strapped to the machine that we saw in Ji-Ah’s vision of the future at the end of “Meet Me in Daegu”. Christina drains the blood from his arms before they can kill her. Before Atticus dies, he is able to see Leti and the two exchange “I love you’s.” He knew this would be his fate, but he knows his lineage will live on. In the ancestral realm, Hannah told him “you gon’ save ’em all” — they had bigger plans for tonight. It’s not just his family he’s saved.

At their mother’s grave, Letitia asks for Ruby’s help in getting a “piece” of Christina. Ruby is resistant, indicating that Leti only wants her to act like “family” when she wants something. Ruby ultimately comes around, albeit offscreen. We see Ruby clock that the metamorphosis potion actually contains some of Christina’s blood, hair, and nails (at least that’s what Christina tells her), and we know she intends to steal it. The two have sex as themselves. Does Ruby do this just to give Christina a false sense of security? It seems that in choosing to steal the potion, she picks a side.

We see “Ruby” bring the potion to the gang before they set out for Ardham. But when prepping for the ceremony in a tower near the ruined lodge, it’s revealed that Ruby never made it out of Chicago — Christina has killed Ruby (offscreen) and is posing as her. She fights with Letitia in the tower and pushes her out the window, as Ruby. It’s nice knowing that Ruby dies trying to help her sister, but this death (and their lack of reconciliation) hurts.

After her experience in the ancestral realm, Leti uses the magic and spell casting she learned from Hattie to help Atticus prepare before their journey to Ardham. The couple takes the elevator down into the caverns underneath the museum to conjure Titus Braithwhite with the help of Hannah, Dora, and Hattie. They are able to trap him long enough for Atticus to get a “piece” of him—slicing off some muscle around his chest. Christina removes Leti’s Mark of Cain (i.e., her invulnerability) when Atticus doesn’t agree to give her the Book of Names. Leti leans heavy into her faith and she and Atticus are baptized with Atticus.

In Ardham, after being pushed out of the tower, she comes back to life during the ceremony while Christina and Atticus are connected. It’s revealed (in Ji-Ah’s vision) that Christina restored Leti’s invulnerability after she pushed from the window, perhaps having some change of heart. Leti incants her heart out while Christina approaches invulnerability, but it will never work without Christina being connected to Tic—her blood was never in the potion! Leti even stabs Christina with a sword but the wound doesn’t stick. Thankfully, Ji-Ah uses her tails to connect the two, and Leti successfully bans Christina from magic. “Not just you,” she tells an injured Christina, “every white person in the world.” Okay, Leti! This is what Hannah meant about saving them “all.” White people can no longer use magic in this world.

In Chicago, Ji-Ah agrees to meet with Atticus where he apologizes for saying their love was never real. Her mother has recently died, and she’s worried that her ability to feel has died along with her. Atticus helps her assess her feelings, saying that her human feelings will return and that she is just grieving. Atticus calls them “family,” and Ji-Ah is taken in by the group as such.

In Ardham, she understands what the shaman meant when she said, “You have not even become one with the darkness yet.” She walks into the dark cloud that brews as the ceremony ends and uses her tails to tether Tic and Christina’s body while Leti finishes the spell.

Christina spends “Full Circle” prepping for the Autumnal Equinox ceremony, sometimes with Ruby by her side. There are occasional glimmers of hope, that she might learn something and leave our protagonists unscathed, but of course those don’t come to fruition. Christina kills Ruby (both putting into question all that she’s said before to Ruby about her romantic feelings and further insisting what she’s willing to sacrifice for power). Christina’s plans are foiled when Ji-Ah intervenes and the completed spell causes an explosion. She’s crushed under rubble and left in pain — until Diana shows up to tell her one last thing.

Now that Diana’s curse has been lifted, Hippolyta can finally tell her about her journeys to other worlds. Diana is upset she was left alone. Hippolyta apologies for not being there when Diana needed her (though we learn that she named herself “Mother” in order to return). In Ardham, Hippolyta helps Ji-Ah and Montrose draw protection symbols and battle off a horde of white townspeople before they’re eventually brought to the ceremony. Hippolyta has a surprise for Diana that’s revealed to us in the final moments of the episode.

Montrose is knocked out during the fight with the horde. He comes to after the ceremony and is devastated that his son is dead; he was hoping the future Atticus saw was just an alternate one. Atticus left Hippolyta a loving note addressed to Montrose, celebrating that Montrose now has a second chance at fatherhood as baby George’s grandfather.

Dee’s curse is lifted, but she can no longer use her left arm. She feels abandoned and is worried she’ll never draw again. In Ardham she is left alone (again!) in the car. A shoggoth starts to attack but the black shoggoth shows up to protect her. Ji-Ah’s vision shows that in Chicago, Tic introduced them and has transferred its allegiance to her.

After the ceremony is complete, with no one left around, Dee approaches a suffering Christina who pleads for her help. Dee says, “you still haven’t learned,” and it’s revealed that Hippolyta made her a fancy robotic arm. Dee chokes Christina so hard with her new hand that her neck explodes, killing her. The black shoggoth roars in the light of the moon as the episode ends.

Leftover Country

• Fittingly, there were few laughs this week, but I found the white gown that Christina wore to the ceremony — and the way she slowly ascended and descended the ruins’ stairs — to be an inspired choice. She has a lot of nerve!

• Hannah’s magic has protected the family for a long time. Tic’s family birthmark worked as a way to hide the bloodline from the Braithwhites all these years.

• We never witnessed the future that Atticus saw when he went through the portal. Who’s the hooded woman who gave him the copy of Lovecraft Country written by his son?

• Dee to Hippolyta: “You weren’t here, and they …” The way she trails off before she’s able to mention Bobo’s name to her mother is pretty heartbreaking.

• In a show where our characters now have full access to magic and where we’ve seen a resurrection, I suppose it’s possible that no one is dead for good. However, because the rules of the magic aren’t entirely spelled out, it’s unclear what all is actually possible. There’s no indication from any of our characters that Ruby can or will be saved. Which is a shame.

• In this episode, there’s a lot of conversation about where the magic our characters have inherited came from and who it belongs to — even occurring in the caves below the museum wing dedicated to Titus Braithwhite’s “explorations.” This, combined with Tic’s talks of family taking care of one another with Ji-Ah, makes Yahima’s absence conspicuous. There was room for Yahima to live and fight alongside our protagonists in the finale.

• I enjoyed the levity of the doo-wop singalong scene on the way to Ardham — though that image is tainted knowing now that we know it was really Christina posing as Ruby and singing in her place.

• Dee’s final act of violence (or mercy?) felt like an ode to comics and character spinoffs, rather than the actual indication of one in the works. I would read that comic or graphic novel, but I don’t know that I’d want to watch that show. It’s an interesting origin story, but very dark! I’m too sensitive! I hope she’s okay after this!

• Gaywatch: Ruby and Christina have sex off-screen as two women for the first time, though Ruby is immediately killed. Should Montrose and Sammy reconcile and take care of baby George together?

• Thank you so much for reading and including these recaps in your Lovecraft Country journey. Take care! May we find “supreme happiness,” as Dumas would say, in this world.

Lovecraft Country Season-Finale Recap: Save ’Em All