'Lovecraft Country' Episode 7 Review: Will Hippolyta's actions have consequences or will Tic save her in time?
Spoilers for 'Lovecraft Country' Episode 7 'I Am'
Ignorance is bliss, but it can be a frustrating one at that. So when Hippolyta Freeman discovers she actually has a shot at finding out just what exactly happened to her nice husband, snatching him from their nice life and forcing them to face the cold realities of life, she goes all the way into nothing short of an adventure of self-actualization.
HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' has long established a format of a semi-anthology cluster of episodes, with each of the more recent ones focusing on the minor characters rising to their rightful position in the show, and this time, Episode 7 'I Am' is all Hippolyta, with a brief nod at Montrose and his rising anger at being so suppressed for so long.
Tic and Leti fall into the equation as pawns serving Hippolyta's purpose with their own desires coming to the forefront only when Hippolyta's actions demand consequences. The most interesting part — although shrouded with the drab mythology of the story that just won't quit — is Ruby most likely playing the double agent as Christina Braithwaite's spy. Could anything good come out of this? Let's worry for Hippolyta now and whether Tic and Leti will be able to ave her.
Divided into two halves, the first half of the story picks up right where we left off after finding out about Ji-Ah, Tic's kumiho counterpart from the war. Tic's story starts with Ruby demanding them for all information they have on Christina, but the way her stare lingers on Leti is suspicious to implicate the possibility of her reporting back all of this to the Braithwaite heiress.
While Ruby is interested in this magic she has just found out about, Tic and Leti are practically obsessed — neither can stop dreaming about the Book of Names and Tic's ancestor running away from the mansion with it, revealing their innermost desires of possessing that supreme level of magic.
The source of the book lies in a distant relative on Tic's mother's side and the slice of life portrayals of Tic sitting down and indulging in a bowl of man 'n' cheese and some good old reminiscence with a family member comes as heartwarming, only to foreshadow the upcoming conflict between him and his father, Montrose.
Having found his newfound self at the drag ball, Monstrose is still conscious about neighbors finding out he's gay. He's hot and cold towards Sammy as his own debilitating conscience comes and goes, leaving him an angry mess of a man, once again bursting out at his own son ripping off shirts in a poster cut out for masculinity, fragile all the while.
Sure, it's all very manly but it just doesn't fit the mood in this episode where we know greater things lie on Hippolyta's end after she discovered the orrery at Leti's house in the third episode. From arriving at the Ardham mansion to dig into George's death by toying with the orrery and getting it to yield a key to a stranded observatory ‚ Hippolyta is only opening up to this whole new world and boy, is she ready to fly.
Getting sucked into the wormhole that the orrery opens up in the observatory, Hippolyta makes three stops in the passage of time. Greeted by some kind of an alien lifeform that puts her in a cell, demanding her to make wishes and turn into whatever she wants to be, this episode gets very campy very fast. It's a very very niched 'Lovecraft Country' that we have grown to love and be frustrated at the same time.
From her all-powerful futuristic cell, Hippolyta becomes a backup dancer for Josephine Baker, fights as a warrior for some Amazonian tribe, takes a trip around the universe in a spaceship framed straight out of a '50s pulp fiction, reunites with George and almost starts resembling her daughter's drawings in a way that makes one wonder if all of this is really happening or just a fantasy.
The fantasy that liberates Hippolyta, actually propelling her into questioning just how happy she was with the life she lives, and how the pent up anger and frustration molded a person so ready for adventure, is short-lived. In her tryst at the observatory, which utilizes the show's beloved graphics every possible way, Hippolyta is also interrupted by the cops, and in an attempt to make a run for it, she ends up shooting one of them.
This doesn't happen before Tic arrives to save his aunt, but before he can do anything to stop the police from doing what they did to unsuspecting black women at the time, a scuffle ensues and Hippolyta acts in self-defense. The final bloody shot of the cop reveals that he's dead, but what are the consequences going to be for a black man and his aunt when the incident is revealed?
Playing its dual game of magic, paralleled with racial horror, 'Lovecraft Country' once again asks through Hippolyta's journey if the consequences of self-defense will once again be marred by a racist system? It's haunting, but just the right amount of teasing that will leave us returning for answers in the upcoming episode 8. A job well done indeed.
'Lovecraft Country' airs on Sundays at 9 pm on HBO.