Like when reading stories from HP Lovecraft, I entered Lovecraft Country not knowing what to expect. What I do know is that this series is set in the United States in the 1950s which tells the story of a black character who faces pressure, threats and dangers due to ongoing racial segregation. I didn't even know that the fantasy and the occult would appear literally like the Lovecraft story, and I was wrong. Here, all the madness that I feel while reading each of the stories about HP Lovecraft I come across again.
I am indeed a fan of the work of HP Lovecraft, which is able to tell a story with its complex language and wildness that always appears in unexpected places. Even for those who are not a fan of reading novels, I have a novel that contains short stories of hers that introduce me to a lot of horror fantasy sides that I have not encountered before. My admiration for it actually came from the game Bloodborne which introduced me to a very unique genre: Lovecraftian horror .
But the biggest drawback I find in some HP Lovecraft stories is how it writes races, especially black people, which is still the biggest controversy of it all. What’s unique about Lovecraft Country is how the series uses that aspect as the main protagonist of its story, using the black race - something often roughly written by HP Lovecraft - in a genre that is most embedded in HP Lovecraft: Lovecraftian horror .
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While I didn't realize what I was going to get watching this series, Lovecraft Country opens with a soldier (Jonathan Majors) running in a trench in the middle of a battlefield in black and white. He ran, hit and stabbed every enemy who approached him with his rifle. Then he came out of the trench and the screen changed from black and white to a color with domineering red due to the explosions and flames that roared around him. And here comes the UFO ; a giant octopus like “Cthulhu” from the HP Lovecraft story that flies above; an alien machine that fired a laser at every soldier below it; a creature in red descending from the UFO , and Jackie Robinson who descended to hit the octopus creature with a stick baseball and says "I got ya, kid" to the soldier.
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All of that is just a dream from the soldier we saw, whose name is Atticus or usually called "Tic". But even if it's just a dream, those first two minutes tell me that my journey with this series will be as strange, eccentric, wild and chaotic. The first two minutes worked, which even if it was just a dream, persuaded me to follow Lovecraft Country and to keep anticipating what would happen because if in the first two minutes they managed to make it that way, what about the next 10 hours with one hour each episode. ?
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And it is true, just like reading the story from HP Lovecraft, Lovecraft Country is full of crazy and thrilling adventures, nothing more with a sprinkling of magical elements that add to this series is a truly wild journey. Atticus, a former soldier in the Korean War, returns to his hometown of Chicago and finds his father missing and leaves a letter inviting Atticus to explore his family history in an area called Ardham. Atticus, together with his uncle who wrote a travel guidebook for black people, George Freeman (Courtney B. Vance) and his friend Atticus, Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) or as he is usually called "Leti", both head to Ardham to find his father Atticus. , Montrose (Michael K. Williams).
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Lovecraft Country does not arbitrarily cram all its genres and themes in the first episode. But slowly began to explore every motive, with racism being the main basis for the first episode, "Sundown". In the first episode, director Yann Demange has made an episode that shows how chaotic racism works in the United States with a series of scenes that are not only tense, but also make us think. Like when the three of them were about to eat at a restaurant, and ended up being chased by a group of white people who chased him and shot him just because they wanted to eat. Or when they are stopped by the police and say that there shouldn't be any black people when the sun has set in the area.
When we have seen how brutal racism is, now we are shown how brutal it is with magic and occult events that befell those who began to explore at the end of the first episode and began to develop into one of the main movers in this first season. And like the fantasy elements in the HP Lovecraft story, the oddities in the fantasy elements in HP Lovecraft are also not small. Monster? Dark pack for witches? A spell for magic in the Adam Language? Everything is combined and produces a unique adventure.
Here, Lovecraft Country expertly combines several themes and genres at once to produce a series that is like a spell, which can bewitch the audience to always be curious about what will happen. Even they can cleverly combine magic and racism into one solid, such as in the fifth episode of "Strange Case" where a magic can swap a person's body and at one time turn a black person into a white skin. With his new skin, he also learns what it is like to live as white, to gain rights that black people do not get and when asked why he did not take the money that was given, he replied that he already had the currency he needed: white skin.
Lovecraft Country also at one time felt meta in its storytelling, which often offended HP Lovecraft itself and its works, with one of its largest being Ardham, a fictional city similar to the city of Arkham, a fictional city also often used as a backdrop for the story of HP Lovecraft. Even Atticus initially thought the inscription "Ardham" was "Arkham" and said that it was not possible because Arkham was not a native city, and in fact Ardham was not even a native of Massachusetts.
Apart from the story that is really deep and full of meaning at all times, what makes Lovecraft Country even more alive is its characters which are full of diverse traits, their past is solid and played to the fullest by each of the actors. Especially Jonathan Majors, whom I only knew before playing as the second character in The Last Black Man in San Francisco , now he is able to play the main character in this wild series, as Atticus, a character full of a past that is like a roller coaster. .
Set in the 1950s, Lovecraft Country also does not hesitate to include some real events that have shocked one country and changed history such as the brutal death of teenager Emmett Till due to radical and senseless racism or the racial slaughter in Tulsa. By including real events like that, the story in the film also finally becomes more believable, feels a little more realistic because these events actually happened in the real world even though the magic that roams in this series doesn't really happen.
Lovecraft CountryIt is indeed another series that is the champion of HBO, but there is one that makes me a little disappointed. That is how this series treats the character of Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung), a sister in Korea who has a relationship with Atticus. Although he has a full episode to tell his past in the sixth episode "Meet Me in Daegu", but he did not feel much impact throughout the first season, even his action in the last episode which may be quite vital but feels too forced. He is not involved in any of the stories except to show the little clues that and only appear shortly after the sixth episode. With him, let alone his pretty extreme past, I feel he can add an element of craziness in the fantasy side of this series. After all, craziness is what makes itLovecraft Country is unique and fresh from other series. Hopefully he will have a bigger role in season two, if there is a second season.
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