A Deep Dive into Lovecraft Country: “Sundown”

I have told anyone who will listen that Lovecraft Country is the best show on TV, right now, period. The layers in each episode paired with the storyline itself is phenomenal and I love a show where I have to think and piece things together. I am a nerd, this I know, but what I want to do, since at this juncture in the show we have three episodes left in the season, is take a look back at all the episodes in depth. What we missed, some things I missed and initial predictions of what was to come.

“Sundown”

So the beginning of this episode puts us directly into the action, which encompasses the weirdness of this show. This beginning sequence, now, makes more sense to me but when I initially watched it, I did not like it. Too much going on and it all confused me as an opening to a show. James Baldwin is the background to a chaotic dream or fantasy sequence of Atticus Freeman, which is a typical last name for a black man in America because of former slaves picking that surname once free, in battle with aliens. I feel like this sequence was supposed to be a foreshadowing or a preview, if you will, to what was to come throughout this series. We see a red alien woman wearing a bathing suit, what we now know is Ji-Ah, Jackie Robinson and alien monster things that look like they came straight from Men in Black. Now, it wasn’t until I spoke to my play brother-in-law (they aren’t married yet but that’s what we’re working towards. They know who they are.) that I began to sort of understand why Jackie Robinson was included in this sequence. Atticus is a soldier, and to many Americans, soldiers are our superheroes. Going into battle, without question, and defending the liberties of America is something not many of us would volunteer for. Not many are willing to stare death in the face for the freedom of another. Jackie Robinson, in his own battle with breaking the color barrier, did the same thing. He is the black superhero at the time and is probably why Atticus sees, or makes, him save him from the alien thing that was trying to kill him. It could also be seen as a father figure. Think about it. Jackie Robinson was the perfect black American man who could be someone’s father or authority figure. He was the start of the notion of having a role model on TV or in society that little kids could look up to.

Fast forward to Atticus arriving home. Yes, I’m skipping the bus ride. Segregation on the bus. Atticus reads a book. End scene. I think don’t think Atticus’ tenure in the Army was just done. I think he went AWOL. Not based on this episode entirely but there are some things that lead me to believe that in this episode. For example, why did he come through the fire escape when he arrives at Uncle George and Hippolyta’s house? He could just come through the normal way. Seems like he was trying to avoid being seen or stopped to talk. Uncle George’s house seems like a safe haven for him so it would make sense that he would go there. Also, you don’t really see him connect with anyone when he comes back. Seems like he’s trying to get in and get out but Uncle George is also a resource. His father, Montrose, is missing and he leaves in a letter to say that he has information he needs to learn about his mother’s side of the family. Now, I should probably go back and watch this episode, but something tells me Montrose didn’t write this letter. At this point, I think Christine probably did. Uncle George, and later Hippolyta, publish the “Safe Negro Travel”, a play on “Green Book” which was a guide for negroes that they used to be…well safe while they travel into unfamiliar places. I think Uncle George should have done some more research because vampire monster things were not in his guide. I also would like to point out that Diana and Hippolyta are the names of Amazonian women, Wonder Woman and her mother. I just learned that today which makes the fact that Diana creates comics with the title character being a female superhero for her dad when he goes on his guide trips. You’re welcome!

So after some deciphering, Atticus, Uncle George, and everyone’s favorite, Letitia Lewis set off to Ardham, Massachusetts. The scene in the diner went fast and was kind of confusing when I first watched it. So, Leti goes to the bathroom while Atticus and Uncle George sit waiting to be served. Now, because I’m a nerd and I know a little bit about a lot of things, I knew about the White House being burned during the war and slaves repainting it white. What I didn’t know was how Uncle George knew that that was what happened to the diner and what that meant to then in general. Still trying to figure that out. What caught my eye in this episode was Christina’s car trick. I am a person who looks at all aspects of a show, the writing, the cinematography, the acting, etc. At first, when I saw Christina’s car speed down the road to cut off the car chasing our characters and later flipping said car, I thought it was a mistake. You know how you go on IMDB and see all the continuity mistakes made in movies? That’s what I thought that was and I hated it because you could see that the car never hit her car. Instead, there was about a foot or so of space between her car and the chasing car before it flipped. It drove me insane; however, I later realized that there was a reason why that was. It was to give us a glimpse into the magic we would see later.

Here is where everything gets both funny and confusing. Some of you all were introduced to “sundown towns.” The law basically says that negroes cannot be out on the roads after sundown. Yes, someone made an unofficial rule that black people specifically could not be on the road in the dark. Why? Could not tell you and no one else can either. Any who, what frustrated me with this sundown town was the fact that there were three of them and one of the police officer. They could have taken him and been on their way but television does not work that way. Instead, we end up in a high speed chase to the next town only to accosted by more officers from that town who are ready and willing to lynch all three of our heroes. So then, the vampire monsters come out. What’s funny is these police are still being racist even as their lives, and our characters lives’, hang in the balance equally. Later, we see how these monsters are being breed but we still don’t know the actual purpose. They make it to sunrise and down the way to a mansion, that I said they shouldn’t go into but no one listens to me, where a handsome white man greets Atticus and says they’ve been expecting him. Then the credits rolled and I yelled at the TV because I wanted more.

Tell me, did I miss anything? Did you notice something that I forgot? Also, there were a lot of images I could pick for this post that would have been better than what I used but one, I love this scene and two, look at Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Just look at her! I want that attitude and outfit.

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