Director: Daniel Sackheim
Starring: Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Courtney B. Vance, Abbey Lee
Lovecraft Country Episode 2 “Whitey’s on the Moon” is almost exhausting with the amount it is throwing at you and how little of it actually seems to stick.
By now our trio of Atticus, George and Leti have made it to Ardham Lodge – the site that Atticus’ father Montrose invited him to – having stumbled through the night fresh from their nightmarish attack.
There at this lavish manor they are greeted by the whitest of all posh white men, the garish William who has been expecting them.
And unfortunately for Atticus William’s more than too friendly welcome isn’t the only thing to make him wary of his new hosts as both George and Leti wake up the next day entirely unscathed and with no memory of the previous night’s attack.
Things are very clearly off.
Now the real fun begins as we are introduced to the legacy of the Braithwhite’s (note the white of the name) and this manor which previously burned down in 1833 with only one survivor – a pregnant slave woman.
The current patriarch of the Braithwhite’s is Samuel: a man who heads up a secret cult called the “Sons of Adam” and reckons himself to be God incarnate.
Basically the exact tenets of every white supremacy order distilled to its base ideas.
Samuel’s goal is to open a portal to the Garden of Eden in order to gain immortality and to do so he needs Atticus (I’ll leave out why).
Oh and his daughter Christina is also the mysterious blonde woman seen in episode one.
And yes she does appear to be a witch of sorts.
Holy White Supremacy Batman!
This cult is the crème de la crème of eery cult white supremacists beyond even the KKK who are allegedly “too poor” for the likes of the Braithwhite’s to bother with.
It all starts to get very Get Out-ish as the cult gather in their best evening wear to muse over each of our three protagonists suffering through their own personal hallucinations that betray certain parts of their own personal feelings and/or history.
Each hallucination is more bizarre than the last.
Similar to Get Out they continue to make Atticus and co perform for them unknowingly which eventually culminates in Atticus as the ritualistic sacrifice for their own Godly conquest.
This sequence is where the episode earns its title as the ritual is scored by Gil Scott Heron’s spoken word poem, “Whitey on the Moon”, while we see images of Atticus suffering in the pursuit of white male desire.
The purpose and commentary of which is obvious as the poem describes the black struggle of Gil Scott and his family while contrastively the whites are applauding themselves over their own lavish achievements of getting to the moon.
It is probably the best sequence of the episode however it is partially undone by the fact that several other hugely major moments have quite literally just crashed by but are abandoned far too soon in favour of a disorienting cut straight to this ritual out of seemingly nowhere.
The Bizarre Pace and Cutting of Lovecraft Country Episode 2 – Purposeful or Mistake?
Read more: Lovecraft Country Episode 1 Review
This episode is perhaps where things start to reach a bit of a jumping-off point and as the audience, you’re really going to have to be either completely with it, taking it all in stride just as the characters do (almost bafflingly so at times), or you’re not and the show may start to be a bit more of a slog as a result.
It seems clear to me that since Lovecraft’s work is defined by the descending madness of its characters and the impossible comprehensibility of its cosmic images that Misha Green and co wanted to bring that same struggle to the show’s viewers by making its own images and comprehension difficult.
While watching you will sit mouth agape in utter confusion for 90% of the time while uttering the word “what” in increasingly strained perplexion as the show begins to move at a blistering pace while explaining what feels like everything and yet nothing all at once.
This episode is filled with a lot of major moments which unfortunately a lot of the time seem to clash into each other meaning each new piece of information doesn’t have its time to fully register and make an impression upon you.
Scenes seem to end abruptly and new whole action sequences ignite without any lead-up or explanation as to quite how we got here.
It leaves the viewer feeling exhausted and by the end so much has washed over you that it becomes a little more difficult to really care about some of the more emotionally heavy beats.
Especially when the rules of this world appear to be so fast and loose that it’s hard to know what is actually a lasting consequence and what is just more fantastical dressing.
If it is a creative decision to add to the mystique and Lovecraftian nature of the show then viewers may find it a very fine line between genius manipulation and nauseating viewing.
Only time will tell where the needle may drop with the rest of the series.
What did you make of episode 2 of Lovecraft Country?
Let us know in the comments below.