This week’s Lovecraft Country indulged in a little Indiana Jones –style spelunking in seemingly ancient temples. While our heroes were focused on the external dangers of Christina Braithwaite, they might be blinding themselves to the dangers closer to home, things like keeping Hippolyta in the dark, and Montrose‘s extreme aversion to digging any deeper into the mysteries of the lodge. In the end, while Atticus and Leti might be in a mood to celebrate victory, at least one of those dangers became much more pronounced, and much more extreme.
To begin with, we see the Freeman men actively hiding things. Montrose has the book containing the Orders of the Ancient Dawn, and he reads it, burns it, and remarks that it smells like toast. Meanwhile, Atticus is at the library, literally doing the same research his father once did when he’s interrupted by Leti, who’s irate because Christina stopped by the old Winthrop house looking for the model of the solar system Hippolyta discovered, which is evidently the key to finding the missing pages to the Book of Names.
“…while Atticus and Leti might be in a mood to celebrate victory, at least one [danger] became much more pronounced, and much more extreme.”
The desperate need to get an advantage over Christina sent the gang back east to Boston, and this time with Hippolyta and Diana along for the ride. We learned that Hippolyta removed the solar system model from the Winthrop house, and that it’s not in working order. We also know that the model is not of our home solar system, but of a binary star system, which is interesting because there’s a binary star that’s central to the Cthulhu myth. It’s the place where many of the Old Ones come from, including Cthulhu’s mate and their children.
There were no Old Ones this week, but there was a trip to the museum, which hid the entrance to the place that hid the secret vault of Titus Braithwaite and the pages needed to decipher spells from the Book of Names. Naturally, the specific location in the museum was a statue of Titus in the Titus Braithwaite wing, where the items that were so generously gifted to Titus by the Indigenous people he met on his travels were housed. Titus, as we know, was not a humanitarian, and the ill-gotten booty displayed in the museum was nothing compared to what was in his secret stash.
The journey to the stash was perilous and filled with riddles to solve, not to mention the looming deadline of the tunnels filling up with water at high tide. Composers Laura Karpman and Raphael Saadiq did a good job of approximating John Williams as Atticus, Leti, and Montrose walk over a skinny plank across a deep chasm, follow tunnels that lead to doors unlocked with blood, and into rooms filled with mummified remains. It seemed that souvenirs and chachkies were not the only thing that Titus brought back from his trip to South America.
Indeed, if Atticus and the others were looking for a translator, they found one in the form Yahima, who looked like just another mummy until Montrose tried to grab the necessary pages, and then she came back to life. Presumably, Yahima never gave Titus all the information he wanted, so he did what all great philanthropists do and imprisoned her in a magic spell for 150 years, and cursed her if she ever tried to leave. Regardless of Titus‘ safeguard Yahima escaped with the others, and in the spirit of the adventure, Atticus gives Leti a big, romantic leading man kiss to celebrate success in their mission.
“All-in-all it felt like our heroes made real progress this week in getting one step ahead of the bad guys…”
That plot description skips over some key bits like how the tunnels beneath the Winthrop house somehow connect to the tunnels beneath a museum in Boston, and you can walk the distance in about an hour. It’s possible that Winthrop designed the tunnels specifically to give him access to Titus’ vault, secure in the knowledge that he was the only one who knew where it was after the original lodge burned down and Titus was killed. Of course, the missing ingredient was Braithwaite blood to unlock the door, which Winthrop would have discovered right away, so why maintain the tunnel system?
Another wrinkle is our old friend Captain Lancaster, the police officer who supposedly helped Hiram Epstein collect his human test subjects. As we learned tonight, there’s more than one lodge, and Lancaster is the head of the Chicago one, but the tone of Christina‘s withering condemnation suggests that these other 34 lodges may not be legit. It’s possible that the lodge has bled members over the century who start their own order, like Winthrop, dissatisfied with being a follower and trying to achieve their own means to power. So was Epstein trying to use the tunnels under the Winthrop house to access Titus‘ vault? Did he know it was even there, and all this is just an outstanding coincidence?
We didn’t dwell on it a lot, but it does appear that there’s a schism in the followers of the Orders of the Ancient Dawn. Lancaster does not exactly welcome Christina to town, but of course she’s a woman, and while what Lancaster tells her is not worth repeating in polite company, we do know there’s a reason why the group is called the “Sons of Adam”. Lancaster had two plainclothes officers follow Christina, and William later beat the crap out of them to send a message. Will Lancaster get the message, and how likely is that he’ll listen?
But seriously, what’s this all about anyway? Christina asked Lancaster about unlocking the time machine, which is a concept central to at least one H.P. Lovecraft story, The Shadow Out of Time. That 1936 novella was about an alien species from another galaxy called the Great Race of Yith, who travel in time and space by sending their consciousness to take over the bodies of others, and in the story, a person possessed by one of these aliens looks similar to someone possessed by a demon. So understanding that, what was that snarling in Lancaster‘s closet?
“So what’s behind the dark(er) turn? Is Montrose so determined to protect his family from the lodge, or is he being influenced by outside forces?”
All-in-all it felt like our heroes made real progress this week in getting one step ahead of the bad guys, but then Montrose went and killed Yahima. It’s disappointing personally because it seemed like he and Atticus did a lot of work this week to close the distance between them, and Montrose even expressed pride in the man his son has become in one touching moment. So what’s behind the dark(er) turn? Is Montrose so determined to protect his family from the lodge, or is he being influenced by outside forces? Stay tuned…
What are your thoughts on Lovecraft Country? Excited to see what monsters will rear their ugly heads in the episodes to come? Continue the conversation with us and be sure to let us know all your thoughts on the dark shadow looming over the characters of Lovecraft Country on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club.