Sunday, October 18, 2020

REVIEW: 'Lovecraft Country' - Tic and His Family Return to Ardham to Stop Christina from Casting Her Final Spell in 'Full Circle'

HBO's Lovecraft Country - Episode 1.10 "Full Circle"

After uncovering the origins of the Book of Names, the gang heads back to Ardham to cast the ultimate spell.

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 season finale of HBO's Lovecraft Country.

"Full Circle" was directed by Nelson McCormick with story by Misha Green & Ihuoma Ofordire and teleplay by Misha Green

Hanna escaped from her oppressors. She did so to provide protection and salvation to her family. Titus Braithwhite raped her. He wanted to use her unborn child in order to cast a spell that would make him even more powerful as a wizard. He never saw a life that needed to be cherished. Hanna's resolve was determined to protect her family line no matter what. Her actions saw the destruction of this order once. It allowed this part of the family tree to be hidden for generations. It came on the back-breaking actions and determination of this woman. Her spirit is still in anguish though. Her job isn't done. Tic has to connect back to his ancestors in order to gain the necessary power to save Dee's life and stop Christina from achieving her grand ambition. It's an important mission in order to combat the oppression and abuse that Black people have suffered for centuries. Christina has largely existed as a stand-in for white entitlement. That has made her less defined as a character. But her presence stands as the argument for why she can never be trusted to lead with empathy for these characters of color. Upon learning that Tic has the Book of Names, she demands he hand it over to her. She then acts in spite by removing Leti's invulnerability protection when he refuses to do so. Sure, she eventually honors her word to Ruby by protecting Leti even after pushing her out a window. However, all of this is in service to her ambition of becoming immortal. It's not something she wants for a direct purpose though. She mostly wants to achieve this goal to prove to all her male ancestors that they were wrong for disregarding the power that she held. She wanted to prove that she could succeed when they all failed. And yet, no one in the family is around to see her accomplish this. She sees it as acceptable to kill off the only remaining member of her extended family in order to become immortal. That just has to be the accepted consequence of this pursuit. She makes peace with it because she too doesn't view Tic's life as one that needs to be cherished. She continually claims that she is nothing like her father. But this mentality only further proves how similar she truly is. She is even willing to kill Ruby to avoid any distractions during this ceremony. She does so knowing that she can't trust Ruby to remain loyal to her. It's a difficult choice for Ruby as well. She is tempted by the arguments both versions of family are offering her. She has a blood relation to Leti. And yet, she knows that her sister only comes to her when she needs something. It is a constant proclamation of things being different this time. But it's a pattern she has seen play out too many times already. Meanwhile, Christina is offering something new. She has allowed a new world to open up entirely. It just comes with the understanding that lives will have to be lost in order to continue enjoying this happiness and power. And in the end, she isn't able to help her sister. That could have been the choice she wanted to make. Christina denied it from her. She refuses to let anything stand in her way of accomplishing this goal. She is brutal in that regard. And yes, it's disappointing that a character seems to be killed just as they began to explore the beauty of their sexuality. Ruby and Christina kissed for the first time as themselves. They no longer embraced as Hillary or William. These feelings are obviously real. But it still ends with a lethal cost.

However, Tic succeeds because he has the love and support of the ancestors who came before him. Christina does everything out of spite. She has always enjoyed the luxury of magic. She could bend the world to her will. She didn't have to fit in with what society would demand her to be. She pushed back against those constructs while oppressing others to even more humiliating boundaries. She towered over Tic believing that she was fundamentally more deserving of this magic than him. And in the end, she fails because the ties that bind this family together are simply too powerful. Sure, it's precarious for a huge section of this finale. It's a lot of action and exposition as well. As such, it's a mad dash towards the ending where some of the nuance on the discussion of race is lost. But it's still empowering to watch while recognizing the sacrifices that have been made along the way. Tic is forced to accept that he must die in order to create a more prosperous future. That's the only ending his story is allowed to have. It's devastating. His family will fight to save him no matter what. And yet, he strangely has found peace with this being the end for him. He knows he is doing it for the greater good. He is allowing generations of Black people to have more opportunities now that magic is accessible to them. He passes the lessons he has learned along the way to the people still in anguish. Ji-Ah has to learn how to master the darkness inside of her in order to be the vessel necessary in that final moment to connect the various bodies together. Leti has to accept that her faith is all around her through the actions others are willing to take to prevail in this conflict. Montrose has the opportunity to be the father he always wanted to be with his grandson. All of this is made possible because Tic spends time with Hanna and his mother. Seeing Dora again proves just how vulnerable he is at this moment. He is terrified of dying. However, he can't allow his grief to prevent him from doing what needs to be done. It's a stunning visual to see Christina drenched in Tic's blood. But he receives the blessing of seeing Leti alive one last time. He gets to bring this family together and ensure that they remain protected as well. He sets this family up to prosper. They no longer have to live in fear or hiding. But they do suffer a loss here. Leti stabs Christina and Ji-Ah completes the spell necessary to defeat her. Tic dies in the process. It's all in service of creating a better future. The story detailed in the novel he picked up in his journey to the future depicts one possible ending for this conflict. He knows it's much more complicated than that. However, it's a blessing to have Leti and their son survive and thrive after all of this is over. It's heartbreaking for him to know he won't be a part of it. However, he gives himself over to what the world demands of him. Choice is taken away from him. He is baptized to appease Leti. He casts a spell to finally give Hanna, Hattie and Dora the peace they have long needed. It's difficult. He doesn't want to say goodbye to the spirits who have helped him every step of the way. Leti helps him deal with some of that burden. And yet, the greatest victory is in seeing the gifts bestowed onto the next generation. At first, Dee is depressed and angry because her mother abandoned her and she lost an entire arm. She found freedom first through Hippolyta building a new robotic arm so her daughter can draw again and then Tic passing his connection to the shoggoth over to her. As such, she gets to stand tall and powerful in the final visual of the season. Sure, it means she is the one ultimately forced to kill Christina for her ignorance and refusal to accept what has happened to her. She failed for a distinct reason. Even Dee can see that clearly. But the future looks bright for Dee despite the horrors this family has endured together. They will still have to fight to ensure progress is made. And yet, this victory offers that glimmer of hope that is necessary for all great movements to come.