Director: Misha Green
Starring: Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Michael K. Williams, Jada Harris
I am a huge fan of horror. I’m always looking for a good scare which unfortunately means I’ve seen all manner of horror monsters, jump scares and teen screams to the point of a now diluted enjoyment a lot of the time. It is just harder now to find something that still really gets to me.
That said, episode 8 of Lovecraft Country, “Jig-a-Bobo”, has creeped me out to no end. And I LOVE it for that.
As the first and so far only episode actually directed by showrunner Misha Green herself, “Jig-a-Bobo” weaves together some of the best elements of producer Jordan Peele’s horrors with a further magnification of the real-life lynching’s of young black Americans like Emmet Till to produce one of the best episodes of the series and the setup for a thrilling final act.
THE NEVERENDING FIGHT FOR BLACK LIVES MATTER
Read more: Lovecraft Country Episode 1 Review
Episode 8 begins with a memorial for 14-year-old Emmet Till – a real-life Black American who was horrifically lynched for the mere baseless accusation of inappropriately talking/flirting with Carolyn Bryant, a white woman tending to her family grocery shop.
The barbarism of Till’s abduction and death has made him a posthumous icon of the civil rights movement, and his open-casket funeral was attended by thousands to support the black rally against continued white violence. Of course, as we know, these violent acts and the number of black victims still grows today.
By explicitly handling this historic event and attaching it to Diana Freeman – described as a friend of Emmet – Lovecraft Country expertly conveys the impact of these killings on Black Americans, and the empty empathy of white America unwilling to show any care for the situation.
In a crucial scene Ruby confronts Christina Braithwhite to argue over the moralism of caring about the day’s events. Ruby is justifiably outraged by yet another of these killings, producing a monologue about her anger and tiredness at these events that has been parroted across social media and videos many, many times over the last few months in the midst of our own BLM movement.
Ruby’s accusation that Christina doesn’t seem to care, hasn’t and will never feel the anger that she does is the salient point on white privilege and the continued lack of support from white people who would rather gloss over the point of BLM by sticking their own self-involved All Lives Matter flag in the ground as an egregious covering for their own actual hidden (or maybe not hidden) prejudices and lack of care for Black citizens under oppression.
In wrapping up this thought, the show then has Christina horrifically put herself through the exact same beating, gun shot to the head, and barbed-wire dragging into the river that Emmet Till was victim to – only Christina can resurrect herself too.
By recreating this scene Lovecraft Country is loudly shouting “Do you care now? Do you get it now?” to Christina and a white audience disconnected from the continued horrors of white on black violence.
It is as harrowing a scene as it is salient.
DIANA AND THE CREEPIEST GODDAMN TWINS YOU’VE EVER SEEN
To the meat of the episode now: Diana is having possibly the worst summer ever – a point overturned by Banarama’s Cruel Summer in the opening – with her father dead, a disappeared mother and now her friend horrifically lynched.
And it only gets worse in this Diana-focused episode as she is assaulted and cursed by Captain Lancaster to be followed forevermore by a pair of terrifying prancing twins resemblant of the Jim Crow era racialised gollywogs/pickaninny caricatures of black children mixed with Freddy Krueger claws and a darkened smile and giggle indicative of Jordan Peele’s influence on the series.
These twins mirror the similar janky movements and creepy bowed head smiles of Peele’s Tethered in Us, however now coupled with the schizophrenic prancing of a sickened ballet dancer and the accompanying minstrel theme of A.F Winnemore’s 1847 Stop Dat Knocking.
It is truly unnerving and every scene with them will fill you with utter dread as you watch them continually creep upon Diana behind clenched fingers. The phrase it will “shit you up” has never been more astute for these gnashing hell children
My only regret is that with the show’s slightly declining numbers they may not be granted the deserved recognition in the annals of horror monster rankings.
So of you’ve not been keeping on with the show, do yourself a favour and at the very least watch this episode just for the treat of these two.
INTO THE SERIES’ FINAL ACT
Read more: Lovecraft Country Episode 3 Review
This episode has a lot, and every plot and character line is coming together now with some fiery results as we enter the final act of the series – and it is looking explosive so far.
The end of this episode is one of the bigger set-pieces of the series as the Epstein manor is shot to pieces and a troop of police officers are ripped to pieces amid a blazing street by one of the “shoggoths” seen in episode 1.
It is a stunning conclusion to the episode, and the episode overall has been deftly put together by Green herself to announce the likely fiery endgame for the season’s final few episodes.
Episode nine is not directed by Misha Green, however, I would not be altogether surprised if she stepped in again for the finale, and, so, on account of the excellence of this episode that would be more than alright.
What did you make of this episode? Let us know in the comments below.
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