SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details about Sunday night’s season finale of Lovecraft Country.
Ever since Misha Green unleashed the wonder that is Lovecraft Country to the world in August, she, along with an all-star roster of writers and directors has immersed us in the LCCU: The Lovecraft Country Cinematic Universe. The series played out like an anthology of sorts that connect to create a 10-hour movie. Each episode is an origin story for each character — who could easily be a superhero — and tonight, we saw what is the series’ equivalent to Avengers: Endgame, with Jonathan Majors’ Atticus (or as his friends and fam refer to him, Tic) being Iron Man.
Directed by Nelson McCormick and written by Green (read Dominic Patten’s interview about the finale here), the episode was appropriately titled “Full Circle” and picks up immediately after episode 9. Diana (Jada Harris) has been cursed by the nightmare fuel that is Topsy and Bopsy. Tic, Leti (Jurnee Smollett), a fierce blue-haired Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) and Montrose (Michael K. Williams) attempt to rid her of this curse.
Tic and Leti summon the newly-retrieved Book of Names to help and they immediately pass out and are transported to what seems like a fiery upside-down dimension, but in actuality, its a place where Tic’s ancestor Hanna (Joaquina Kalukango), who we have seen plenty of throughout the series, have kept their ancestors safe from the power-hungry white people.
While in this flaming dimension, we are reunited with Tic’s mom Dora (Erica Tazel) and her grandmother Hattie (Regina Taylor). While there, they learn how to highjack Christina’s (Abbey Lee) spell of immortality. And, of course, they cast a spell to save Diana.
Diana is saved, but she is still on a long road to recovery as her arm is still rotted and she is still mad at her mom for abandoning her. But before we move forward, there is one moment during Tic’s reunion with his mom that is the root of this episode — and the entire series for that matter. We know that based on Ji-ah’s (Jamie Chung) vision, Tic is going to die. That is becoming more and more apparent as the series moved forward. Dora consoles Tic in a tender moment when he tells her that he doesn’t want to die. She responds with the most profound thing in the episode: “If we ain’t walking toward an altar to sacrifice ourselves for something important, what is our purpose?”
Jaw. Dropped. These words are fully baked and served to us at the conclusion of the episode.
As they plan this great highjack of Christina’s spell, Leti and Tic rally the troops and prepare. Montrose refuses to take part in something that will take the life of his son. In order to protect him, Tic says that his death is “one potential future” when he knows it’s the only way to save his family, bloodline and, as his mom said, “you’re gonna save them all.” Montrose is apprehensively is on board as is Hippolyta.
There are three things they need for this spell: a piece of the big baddie white racist Titus Braithwaite and a piece of Christina — and when I say piece, I mean a chunk of skin or blood. Something organic. Tic must connect these things to him in order for the spell to work. Yes, he must consume them. Gross, but it’s just one other sacrifice Tic has to do in order to save his family and the world, further illustrating the selflessness of his character.
With the help of Hanna, Dora and Hattie, Leti and Tic bring Titus back from the dead — but in a small glitch he briefly appears in front of Christina, who is with Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku). He tells her that Tic and company have the Book of Names and she must retrieve it.
Titus disappears and reappears in front of Tic as Leti, Hattie, Dora and Hanna ritualistically chant and keep him in check. Tic successfully slices a piece of Titus out of his chest.
With that, Leti and Tic make Titus dissolve while Hattie, Dora and Hanna disappear in good faith.
While Tic and company are prepping for what is basically a war, Christina rudely appears with some white woman “I want to speak with a manager” energy. She claims her need to kill Tic in her quest for immortality “isn’t about generational hate” and that it “has never been personal”. Montrose, like the audience, calls her out on her bullsh*t.
She demands that Tic give her the Book of Names. If he does, she will leave his family alone. Tic doesn’t buy this and he says no. Disgruntled like a Karen refusing to wear a mask in a Trader Joe’s, she storms out and takes away Leti’s invulnerability.
Now that’s just petty.
Tic reaches out to Ji-ah, who we haven’t seen in a minute. He wants to reconcile and tie up loose ends with her because the last time they met, he wasn’t really nice.
We see Ji-ah waiting for Tic in a bar. While sitting there, a man hits on her and gushes about her Asian-ness. She simply responds, “Would you be willing to die to f*ck me?”, reminding us that she is a sex monster that will suck the soul out of your being.
Tic and Ji-ah make nice and resolve the unresolved — and then they start talking about her vision of Tic’s death. She talked about the shaman who told her that she should not be concerned with mortal things and that Ji-ah is “destined to enter the darkness”.
Yeesh, what a Debbie Downer.
Being the shining light that Tic is, he responds, “I don’t believe that”. He reminds her of what she once told her: “We have a choice: we can be monsters…we can be heroes.”
Speaking of reconciling relationships, Ruby and Leti are at their mom’s grave and Leti admits that she wasn’t at the funeral because she was in jail. What starts off as what could be an argument quickly turns into a sisterly moment of reconciliation — but then Leti asks Ruby for the favor of getting some of Christina’s blood for the binding spell they are working because she knows Ruby is tight with her like that.
Ruby is not having it and she responds “You only want to be my sister when you need something.”
This scene isn’t 100% resolved — this kind of thing continues throughout the episode. The same exact thing happens in the next scene where Hippolyta and Diana are working through their issues. Diana takes her apology and Hippolyta talks about her interdimensional travels and then takes her to a room. Diana’s eyes light up as she enters a secret room that is definitely filled with out-of-this-world machinery. Again, we cut away to the next scene where Ruby meets in Christina’s lab and it is clear she is conflicted on whether or not to take the blood of someone she has grown to care about. They share a romantic moment and then…you guessed it… we cut away.
Green is just dangling a carrot in front of us at this point — and we are living for it.
Tic, Leti, Montrose, Hippolyta, Diana and Ji-ah are packing up the car to head to Ardham to complete the binding spell. As they are about to leave, Ruby comes through! She hands Leti a vial of Christina’s blood. They have all they need for the spell.
As they make their way to Arkham, there is a moment of joy found in what is clearly a roadtrip to a life or death fate. It’s nice. It’s comforting. It shows a sense of family as this is, to my recollection, we have seen all of them in one place at the same time.
They reach Ardham and they prepare to cast the spell. As Montrose puts it, he must “pinch and swallow” that hunk of skin he cut from Titus and he must drink Christina’s blood in order for the spell to work.
All seems to be going to plan, but when Leti and Ruby are talking, it is clear something is off. Leti notices that Ruby is acting very sisterly — maybe too sisterly. SURPRISE: Ruby is not Ruby after all. It is Christina in Ruby’s skin. Christina caught Ruby trying to steal the vial of her blood and as a result, Christina killed her. However, I just want to take the opportunity to tell you about my theory of deaths on TV shows and films. If we don’t see someone die on screen, it is my belief that they aren’t really dead. In the case of Lovecraft Country, we will just go with it because it makes for great storytelling.
Christina-as-Ruby tells Leti: “She made me promise not to harm you and it’s your fault that she’s dead.” Which are clearly fighting words. The two start to punch it out.
At the same time, Hippolyta, Montrose and Ji-ah on a bridge and are attacked by an army of what looks like the casts of high school productions of Newsies and The Crucible. They are outnumbered and we cut back to see that while Leti has the upperhand, Christina-as-Ruby is a formidable opponent. She throws Leti off the top of a tower and she seems to be left for dead.
While all this is happening, Diana is back in the car reading Lovecraft Country (how meta). Out of the darkness, the car is attacked by one of those gnarly nocturnal multi-eyed toothy beasts from the beginning of the series that we have grown to love — but out of nowhere she seems to be saved by a more evolved version of the creature.
Cut to: Christina performing the immortality ritual on Tic set to the tune of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” (by the way, this show’s use of music and spoken word is next level). She slices his arms open with a dagger and blood flows out and she drinks it up in the most unsanitary way possible. She begins to consume his power — but wait! We see Leti has awakened. Seems that the invulnerability spell is back! She runs to where the ritual is taking place and when she gets there it seems like she is too late. She locks eyes with Tic as he is being sacrificed. She says “I love you” as he passes out and seemingly dies. Christina has taken his power and life.
Leti stabs her and attempts to cast a spell with Christina laughing in her face amidst lightning and furious wind. “You’re too late… I’m immortal now,” gloats Chistina.
Hippolyta points out that the spell is not going to work unless Christina and Tic’s bodies are connected. Ji-ah realized it’s her time to step up. She remembers what the shaman told her: “You have not even become one with the darkness yet. You will see countless deaths before your journey is done.” She uses her sex monster tentacles to connect Christina and Tic. Thus making the spell work.
We see flashes of what has happened and what’s going to happen. A lot of what we see are vague answers to a lot of questions but still leaves things hanging. We see Ruby’s body in Christina’s lab, Leti baptizing Tic, Diana making nice with the evolved beasts, Tic handing Hippolyta a letter, among other things.
A grand magical burst explodes and as the dust settles we see Christina pinned down by rubble. Her immortality is gone. She attempts to cast a spell. Leti walks over to her with the Book of Names.
“It’s not gonna work,” says Leti.
“You bound me from magic,” complains Christina.
“Not just you…but every white person in the world,” says Leti. “The magic is ours now.”
And in one of the most emotional scenes in the entire series, Montrose attempts to revive Tic as he lays dead. Leti sobs. A tearful Montrose refuses to believe his death — until Hippolyta hands him a note that Tic told him to give to him:
I hope you will forgive me for this one last secret. I know you wouldn’t accept it, but it had to be done to protect our family. To protect us all. There is neither happiness nor misery in the world. There is only the comparison of one state with another… nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. Recognize that? Dumas’s wise words are my wish for you. Supreme happiness. Teach my son new ways of living instead of repeating what we’ve been through. As little George’s grandfather, you have a second chance to be the father you always wanted. Don’t waste it.
As the letter is read in a voiceover, we see Leti, Montrose, Hippolyta and Ji-ah carry Tic across the bridge. The symbolism is too profound to not sob into your Sunday night dinner.
In an epilogue we still see Christina struggling under the rubble, gasping for air. We see the evolved beast enter the frame followed by Diana who we haven’t since she was attacked in the car. Christina desperately asks for her help and Diana looks at her with “b*tch, please?” eyes.
With newfound confidence and badassery, Diana says, “You still haven’t learned?” She takes off her coat to serve some cyborg realness, exposing a robotic arm. She takes her by the neck and crushes it to a bloody pulp. In the distance, the beast roars into the moonlight and the episode ends.
There has not been a series like this that has effortlessly folded in social commentary on racial politics and identity with elements of sci-fi, horror and fantasy since…ever. Green has certainly built a foundation to a brilliant series that has the potential to reach legendary Star Trek status. No season 2 has been announced, but HBO would be crazy not to have one.
The lens of Lovecraft Country may be fantastical, sci-fi and steeped in horror — but it is genuinely one of the most grounded series in the past 10 years, tackling racism, identity and empowering people of color, queer people and other marginalized voices — specifically the Black community — to not be told how to act or what place they hold in society. It allows them to not be eclipsed by the dominant culture and not have their “magic” stolen. With the talent in front of and behind the camera, this finale and the entire series is the epitome of “representation matters”. It’s what happens when you let people of color tell their stories. Lovecraft Country is not only a TV show, it elevates the movement to new heights. Misha Green is a queen and we bow to her.