Monday, September 28, 2020

REVIEW: 'Lovecraft Country' - Hippolyta Explores Every Facet of Her Identity as She Lives Out All Her Dreams in 'I Am.'

HBO's Lovecraft Country - Episode 1.07 "I Am."

Hippolyta's relentless search for answers takes her on a multidimensional journey of self-discovery as Atticus heads to St. Louis to consult an old family friend.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Lovecraft Country.

"I Am." was written by Misha Green & Shannon Houston and directed by Charlotte Sieling

How can this world possibly contain all of the majestic wonders and ambitions of the human identity? Are people overwhelmingly forced to accept that they have to shrink themselves and their desires just to feel a sense of fulfillment? Is that tradeoff equally balanced amongst the human experience? These are the profound questions being asked throughout this hour that focuses on Hippolyta's journey to get answers about what happened to George. She knows that Tic, Leti and Montrose aren't telling her the full truth. And yet, this adventure causes an awakening in her. Yes, her love for her husband is a core part of her identity. She embraces that and wishes to explore it for as long as she can. However, that isn't all that she is. The narrative has kept her confined. She has served the role of the long-suffering wife forced to stay at home. She had to give up her dreams in order to have a family. Her mind is brilliant. She can solve puzzles just as easily as anyone else. She unlocks the codes that have baffled others for a long time. Her brilliance causes a rip in the space-time continuum. That's phenomenal and empowering. It's also terrifying and haunting. She wakes up in a strange and foreign land. One that makes her feel like a prisoner. One where she is told to change her perspective despite the horrifying reality faced right in front of her. She does find freedom though. She just needs to seek out the power to control and embrace it. This new world isn't nefarious. In fact, it is welcoming to all that she desires to be. That creates a multi-faceted individual. One who is allowed to seek out the glory of performing onstage. One who is also capable of taking about depression and how limiting the world can be. She gets to perform alongside Josephine Baker. She explores a completely new world. She understands just how much she has had to compromise and accept in her life back in Chicago. She sees that freedom for her is mostly just what she was allowed to have by those who seek natural control over her. She is only as free as the white man allows her to be. She thought she had happiness. In reality, she is full of anger. She hates the oppression. She wants the freedom to kill the oppressors. She gets to live out that fantasy as well. She is spirited away to the battlefield of living amongst trained soldiers. These Black women are towering figures who fight with passion and skill. Hippolyta receives the glory of fighting alongside them. It's a learning curve for her. She wakes up in these new worlds being completely thrown and confused. But she is still fully accepted and allowed to be so much more than she was ever capable of accepting previously. She gets to confront that head on as well. George is a part of her identity and expression of the human experience. She wants the opportunity to feel love with him once more. However, she also wants to reveal her resentments. He made her feel small as well. He too forced her into accepting a life where she compromised on her own dreams and ambitions. She wanted to be treated as an equal partner. They could explore the universe together. They get to live out that fantasy here. That's glorious. They step off a space ship and into the unknown. Diana's comic book comes to life. That too is a significant part of Hippolyta's identity. It would be easy for her to turn her back on a 20th century world that condemns her. She could conjure up a new reality as a mother and wife. However, she would be abandoning her daughter in order to escape with a projection of another. That pains her. Becoming a parent is fundamentally life-changing. It forces a person to have a new perspective because it is no longer solely about them. It could no longer be about Hippolyta's dreams. She had to care for someone else. She still needs to do that. She feels that calling. She wants to return to Earth. She is given the freedom to do so. The dreams of her daughter have become Hippolyta's dreams as well. Being a parent changes so much. But it is an expansion of life as well. That's joyous. But again, Hippolyta is returning to a perilous world. It's one in which she has changed massively. All of these characters have gone on their own unique personal journeys this season. They are still ongoing as well. Hippolyta's expansion of her mind and her world seems full in this one episode. Meanwhile, Tic and Leti are still chasing down leads that could hopefully point to something better. Ruby is seemingly convinced to listen to Christina while betraying her sister. Montrose feels humiliated once Tic and Leti see a new side of his life. It's a lot. This episode absolutely features more exposition and disjointed plotting than previously. That too is a compromise for all that the season hopes to accomplish. It's a stretch for Tic to make it to Hippolyta in time to fight off the cops alongside her. And yet, so much storytelling excellence is on display when it comes to depicting Hippolyta's journey and the mark she is hoping to leave on this world.