The pieces of the puzzle are coming together and the full picture is almost in view! I cannot believe we only have one more episode of this show left. I am not okay. Somebody check on me week-after-next.
The episode begins with the group bickering about whose fault it is that Dee has fallen under a curse. Ruby snaps them out of it by placing the blame at all of THEIR feet, never mind she was the one was actually supposed to be babysitting Dee. Tic decides he will give Titus’ stolen pages to Christina as an incentive to get her to break the curse. He learns from Leti that, that ship has sailed, which enrages Montrose. Ruby reveals that she can get Christina to do their bidding, which surprises everyone except Leti.
Christina tells them that since Captain Lancaster is dead, she can only reverse the curse back to the beginning, buying them some time to find an alternate solution. Christina agrees to save Dee on the condition that Tic willingly return to Ardham to take part in her ceremony for immortality. He agrees. Christina gives them instructions to prepare Dee while she runs an errand. That errand takes her to the Captain. We learn the stone she gave Ruby was to cast a spell of regeneration on him, which does not work to his advantage now that he has been hurt by the creature. Christina, in William’s body, does not seem to derive the pleasure she thought she would from his death.
The Ties That Bind
We’ve seen the bonds of family tested over and over again in this series. This episode stretched them even farther. Montrose acts like he wants to fight when he finds out that Leti took invulnerability, even though he already knows she’s pregnant. With Hyppolyta missing, they need the blood of the closest relative to help Dee. Everyone believes that to be Montrose. Tic is hurt, yet again, when Montrose reveals that George could be his father, making him Dee’s half-brother. This only spurs Tic to question his mother’s role in all of the confusion. Hyppolyta returns, questioning them about Dee’s welfare. Thanks to her blood, Dee’s curse can be temporarily reversed.
After the curse reversal, Ruby and Leti have a come-to-Jesus about trusting Christina. Though Ruby defends Christina, it is later evident that she also questions Christina’s motives. Christina tries to assure Ruby she does not have bad intentions towards them, even though she will need all of Tic’s blood for the ceremony. Ruby makes Christina promise that she won’t hurt Leti.
In Kentucky, Montrose starts singing like a canary. While he’s chastising Leti for giving Christina the pages, he tells her that Tic knows about the baby. He also shares that Tic knows he will die in Ardham. Before Leti has time to process that information, Lyta gets the portal open and the three of them have to rush through.
It was evident when the portal opened that 1912 was not a time to which Montrose wanted to return, and who could blame him. We hear snatches of an argument between Montrose and his father before he makes the leap. It’s been foreshadowed many times that their relationship was not a good one. Once they arrive, it is evident to Tic that Montrose has been in the bottle. The two argue and Tic washes his hands of Montrose. However, Leti points out they need Montrose to find the house. The three of them arrive in time to witness the beating that we’ve already heard three times, but Montrose lies about the reason for it.
Montrose has been in pain for quite some time. His father beat the crap out of him because of who he was, his first crush was killed right in front of him in a horrible way, and he barely survived the Tulsa massacre. Considering the era, Montrose had no way of surviving all of that AND turning out to be a healthy, happy human being. Seeing his story in it’s entirety caused me to feel compassion for Montrose.
Tic, after saying some pretty tough things to Montrose, finally sees the full picture as well. One of the most touching moments of the episode was when Montrose said, “He’s just the first in the long list of sacrifices I made to be your father… I cut out all the soft parts of myself just to be a man, because men have sons.” Those words, in conjunction with Tic witnessing firsthand the traumas Montrose experienced, may have helped Tic to finally find peace with Montrose and to forgive him for the abuse AND for hiding the truth about Tic’s paternity. I believe that was evident when we learn that Tic was the stranger who had saved George, Montrose, and Dora all those years ago. When he delivers the line, “I got you, kid,” he stood and looked directly at Montrose. (Did anyone else lose it upon realizing it was Tic all along?! I. Lost. It.)
How many of us could benefit from understanding our parent’s early lives and the impact it had on their choices?
A Mother’s Love
Hyppolyta finally returns! She’s focused on using her energy and all that she’s learned to save Dee. She allows Christina to perform magic to give them enough time to travel to the multiverse machine. When she explains her plan to the crew, they think she is crazy. However, she quickly and succinctly tells them she knows what she’s doing and they have got to get the Book of Names.
When they arrive at the machine and Hyppolyta starts rattling off information and she mentions the machine needing a motherboard to give it instruction, Leti asks, “What’s a motherboard?” Lyta responds, “I Am.” YAAAAS, HYPPOLYTA! Before episode 8 Hyppolyta was diminutive. In this episode, she carried herself like a warrior ready for battle. I’m sure that was due in part to the nature of a mother. However, I believe it could also be credited to her experiences on Earth 504 where she was able to spend 200 years coming to know herself. Hyppolyta channeled herself into saving her baby, even in the face of her own demise.
Because of Hyppolyta, they were able to retrieve the Book of Names. This will not only help to save Dee, but could be the answer to saving Tic from the death he believe awaits him in Ardham.
Through The Fire
Letitia “Mother F****g” Lewis did it again. Leti’s dream came to fruition, even down to the dress she was wearing. Hannah led them to the book. The best part of this section (outside of the poem and the opera used as soundtrack) was how Leti had the strength to stay and watch her child’s ancestor burn up as a sacrifice so that her child could live. Yes, she was covered with invulnerability, but Hattie didn’t know that. Leti could have easily gotten the book and hightailed it up out of there. Instead, she chose to stay until the end, honoring Hattie and the rest of the family.
- Montrose mentions that his father was a Pullman porter, a group of Black men hired to attend to the guests in the sleeping cars on the train.
- The Stradford Hotel was the finest Black-owned hotel in the country and could rival the White hotels in Tulsa. The Stradford was owned by John Stradford, who was a Black millionaire before the destruction of the massacre.
- As the trio is walking through Greenwood, “Avalon” by Al Jolson is playing. Natalie Cole would later record a cover of this song.
- Montrose mentioned Byar’s Tailor Shop, a real Black-owned business in Greenwood.
- The Booker T. Washington high school did exist and thankfully survived the massacre.
- Sonia Sanchez’s poem “Catch the Fire” plays as Dora’s family’s house burns.
- Williams Dreamland Theater (also featured in Watchmen) was seen in the background. The theater, which served the Greenwood community, was destroyed in the massacre; however, it was later rebuilt. (Thank you, Delorise L.)
- In addition to the real places that were mentioned during the show, there were several real people mentioned as well: Horace “Peg Leg” Taylor who stood his ground on Standpipe Hill; Dr. AC Jackson, a famous surgeon whose inventions are still being used today; White Phelps, a White man who took in Black people who were fleeing the town; Commodore Knox, whose death Montrose called the worst, but whose details are not publicly shared.
- The operatic song that was played as Leti is returning to the Stradford Hotel is one that was scored by Composer Laura Karpman (who co-scores the show with Raphael Saadiq) and was sung by Janai Brugger. It was specifically written for the show. Due to Covid-19, every instrument, as well as the vocals, were performed separately in the homes or studios of the individual musicians. They were later mixed and mastered to deliver the piece you heard on the show.
- Hyppolyta’s hair turns blue as she tries to hold the portal open. Though we’ve seen Lyta look like Orynthia Blue with her clothing and her spacecraft in episode 7, this is the final nod to the character in Dee’s comic books.
- What was Christina reading when she was flipping pages? She called Diana gifted and said that the detail was amazing. She also said that she can tell from the story where the curse came from. I said early on that I believed Diana had the gift of sight. Did Diana write about what happened to her prior to it happening?
- Does Christina think the group is clinging onto false hope of saving Dee or have they shown her their hand? Even though they believe the book to be destroyed, they have to think they have another way to save Dee. Maybe she’s just entertaining them in order to get Tic to Ardham.
- Christina hightails it to the precinct to see if the Captain is really dead. Though she was in William’s body, the Captain called her Christina. How did he know immediately that it was her? Why does she seem like his death was not as gratifying as she thought it would be?
- The “Multiverse Machine” was originally in Kansas. How did they end up going to Kentucky to fix it?
- Ruby turns off Dell’s (or Miss Davenport’s) life support and says she dreamed of being a redhead. How does she anticipate finding a half-dead, red-haired corpse or is she willing to harm someone to get what she wants? What are the implications of that to who or what Ruby is becoming?
- When Leti jumpstarts the car for Tic it is still bright outside. When she returns to Dora’s family’s house, it is very dark out. They weren’t that far away from the house. Where was Leti between the time she left Tic and the time she arrived at the house?
A special shout out to Shellita Boxie out here doing her thang as an actor and stunt double! She has added Lovecraft Country to her long list of film and television credits. You saw her being thrown against the ceiling in episode 3. Very proud of you!