Christmas came on Friday when I saw a message on Black With No Chaser’s Facebook page that announced episode 4 was already available. (Good looking out Jay G for letting us know!) I hurriedly opened my iPad to see if I could find it. My heart swelled with joy as I realized I could actually watch three days early. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make me happy, and this little treat made my day.
“…but I love pulp stories. I love that the heroes get to go on adventures in other worlds, defy insurmountable odds, defeat monsters, save the day. Little negro boys from the southside of Chicago don’t notoriously get to do that.” – Atticus Freeman
This episode, much like the first, was drenched in adventure. It took me back to being a young girl watching Indiana Jones and Goonies. I LOVED adventure movies, but never saw folks like myself positively centered in that genre. It was a new and wonderful feeling to see Black characters hunting down clues, solving riddles, and facing the unknown, instead of being missing, ignored, or used as props in those spaces. Each week the writers are finding a way to seamlessly pull us into different styles of storytelling where we’ve not been thought to fit and honey, I LIVE!!!! Ok, let’s get on with the review…
I Don’t See It For Montrose
The show opens to Montrose seemingly in the throws of an alcoholic stupor, hearing voices from both his past and present. There are many revelations and reminders in this mash-up of voices; among them are George’s instructions about the By-Laws & Precepts of the Order of the Ancient Dawn, Hyppolyta’s suspicions about George, and a heated interaction between a father and son. (It is unclear to me if the father and son are Montrose and Tic, or if this is Montrose and his father.) Montrose then reads an important passage aloud from the book before setting it on fire. Not only is he defying George’s dying wish for him to give the book to Tic, he seems to be doing so in a trance-like state.
I thought I would warm to Montrose, but that seems impossible after this episode. I hoped his unwillingness to help Tic was rooted in fear for his son’s safety, which I believed to be an indication that he knows FAR MORE than he wants to reveal. However, I start to question his motives when he keeps lying. He lies about George’s dying wish and he lies about the knot Tic ties in the rope for Leti (from which we learn the Freeman bloodline was never enslaved). Is there anything redeemable about Montrose? I was momentarily fooled when he tells Tic he’s proud of him, until he goes to slice the throat of the only person that can help with deciphering the stolen pages. Side note… considering what Tree’s ole messy @$$ insinuated about Montrose’s sexuality, I thought that scene was about to go A WHOLE DIFFERENT DIRECTION.
All I Have to Say About Ruby is…
Ruby, girl! You are playing with fire and this is not going to end well for you. Of course, Ruby is clueless to the underbelly of what’s really going on with the folks around her, so we can’t look at her too crazy because we have information she does not. At the core of this scene is a woman who feels betrayed by her deceased mother, her sister, and a society that couldn’t care any less about a plus-size, dark-skinned WOMAN. William comes along and he is eagerly filling her need to be seen, to be heard, to be remembered, and her need to forget all the ugliness around her. And he’s doing so with the promise that she can lay all of her burdens down. Anyone’s defenses can be overcome when they are at their weakest.
Isn’t buying any of this and she knows, as the old folks used to say, “something in the milk ain’t clean.” All throughout the episode her face tells us she wants the group to think she’s dumb to their secretive behavior, but she knows they are up to something. She’s annoyed that they somehow managed to get back, fifteen hours, to Chicago without her and Diana. When she realizes that the grim reaper Diana drew on her father’s Atlas is near where George was killed, she decides that she and Diana are headed to Ardham to find answers. Tic, Montrose, and Leti have tried to shield Hyppolyta, but she may hold the key to answers they will need.
- “Smells like Tulsa.” Montrose gives us another reference to The Tulsa Massacre when he burns the book.
- The Virgo cluster is mentioned. Couldn’t find any reference to a specific system with two suns in that cluster.
- Emmett “Bobo” Till is seen with Diana again in this episode.
- The book Journey to the Center of the Earth is held by a young boy in the library and is mentioned by Tic as they embark down the tunnels beneath the museum.
- Hera’s Chariot is a call back to Greek mythology. Hera is a Greek Goddess of women, marriage, family, and childbirth, who rides a chariot drawn by peacocks.
- Montrose references Jesse Owens after making a death-defying leap.
- Is Montrose in total control of himself or is he now a puppet of Christina or someone else in the Order? There are a few times where he does not seem like he’s at the helm of his mental ship. Could they have cast a spell or done something to Montrose while he was held prisoner in Ardham?
- Even though we know Montrose was kidnapped to lure Tic, he was doing research on his wife’s lineage before that happened. What happened to Tic’s Mom? Is that what is causing Montrose to sabotage this endeavor at every possible turn?
- The orrery was created by Hirem and is thought to be the key to his time machine. What will unlock the orrery?
- When Christina visits Captain Lancaster in his office, who is that with the labored breathing and moaning being held/hidden in the closet?
- Is Christina a vampire? There are two reasons I say no. The first, she is often seen in broad daylight, which we know is uncharacteristic of the undead. The second, she was about to walk right into Leti’s house. If we are going by traditional vampire lore, they have to be invited into the house. We also see that the marking made of goat’s blood on the doorjamb kept her from being able to enter. I’m not sure that would have worked on a vampire.
- Is Christina a shapeshifter? I think our member (Delorise L.) is onto something with this theory. We never see her and William in the same place at the same time. They both have shock-blonde hair and blue eyes. William always seems to be used in places where Christina would be ineffective. William does, however, “drink” Ruby’s blood… (refer back to question 5) when her hand is cut. Shape-shifting is also traditionally an ability of Vampires.
- What is the symbol carved into William’s chest?
- Is Montrose battling with his sexuality? Does that account for his anger and alcoholism?
- How is Tic able to communicate with Yahima Maraokoti in the Arawak language? Is this because of the ring or is it some innate power that has been awakened within him?
- Montrose was the last person in possession of the pages when they floated away from the group in the elevator. He took no notice of them being gone. Did he release them on purpose?
- The elevator in the tunnels is connected back to Leti’s house in Chicago. That is foreshadowed when she sees the body floating and explains that is one of her missing neighbors. After they retrieve the pages, they board the elevator and end up back in Chicago. Since the characters have discovered the elevator in the house is a portal, where else can/will they travel?
Every week I think they have topped the previous episodes. Every week they surprise me even more. Can’t wait to see what happens next!