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Series Review: Lovecraft Country Episode 7 - I Am

Written by tha - bang from the blog Movies and Things with Thabang on 29 Sep 2020
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With one more episode to go in the series, "I am" gives us a Sci-Fi episode that centres round a black woman's experience... how rare is that!... whilst also giving us a Sci-Fi inspired episode that touches on themes from Sci-Fi greats like 2001, Quantum Leap, A Princess of Mars, which Disney produced as John Carter, examined through the Lovecraft Country lens.

What an examination it was... the show examined how black women have to reduce themselves to have a job, family life and to exist in 1950s Jim Crow's America.

Unfortunately those issues still continue to today.

The show also celebrated the power of agency.



We last saw Hippolyta trying to uncover what happened to George for herself en route to the Ardem mansion, she passes Bessie Stringfield who was the first African American woman to travel cross country in the US.

Today it may not sound like anything but in the 30s to 50s that were anti-black and anti-woman it was and still is a great example of woman surpassing their confines and signalled Hippolyta's own journey.

Hippolyta's travels through the Orrery, which we were introduced to in the Holy Ghost episode, was a visual feast.

Her interest in astronomy and science comes to help her decipher the co-ordinates that the Orrery gives her and she opens up the portal as some police come through, who seem to be in link with Lancaster because they refer to him.

Her first jump is to Paris where she interacts with two historical figures at different levels: Josephine Baker and a quick-or-you'll-miss-it cameo-like representation of the artist Frida.

Josephine Baker of the Native American and African American heritage who found fame as a dancer in France but was also an activist.

Like James Baldwin, she found France more receptive to her than the US.



Here, in the burlesque club, Hippolyta embraces her wild side We see her smoking weed, flirting with men and women, even doing a bit of cocaine... yep, mama bear is nowhere to be seen.

Just like Ruby, we get to see a version of Hippolyta uninterrupted but more in touch with her hedonistic side 

She is then transported to a world of warriors, where she finds herself in training as part of the Mino of Benin, famously known as the Dahomey Amazons, who were the inspiration behind the Dora Milaje of Black Panther fame and a nice Easter egg to the comics were Hippolyta is mom to Wonder Woman aka Diana. 

The series kinda references their battle with the French, which is an actual battle, although the French kinda look more like the Confederate soldiers.

Pity there was no "vali necklace" this time around as the show did not even attempt adding any local languages, but get away with it because the time jumps the more they happen do not come up as historical events but Hippolyta reconstructing her own reality.



This becomes more apparent with her touching time jump when she interacts with George and they have a heart-to-heart about their relationship. I liked that the character raises the paradox of being dead and having this interaction with Hippolyta.

The conversation touches on crucial points around how as society we constrict women. We see that even a progressive individual like George was also guilty of such but I love how this shows that conversations that are hard but meaningful can be a point leading to a better understanding and place.

For Hippolyta, after discovering this truth that she has let herself shrink, that even her relationship was limiting her, the two are able to go to the next level of her actualisation as an intergalaxy explorer.

Something Dee has always seen her mom as evidenced by the comic book she created of her mom in the first episode, which we saw again in this episode depicting Hippolyta as galaxy explorer.

I really found what the episode was doing quite moving. Hippolyta is played by Anjauane Ellis who is in her middle ages and is given a chance to bear it all.

From her physical form, to hand-to-hand combat, to dancing... how many roles are written that challenge the concept of what a black middle aged woman can do and be?



When she finally has her pow wow with the afro queen/time goddess creature and she chooses to stay in the realm instead of returning back with all that she knows to benefit her and Dee, I was a bit disappointed but I get why the show went that way.

Maybe we shall still have a twist of sorts?

Episode 7 was a meal and a half. We were teased with Leti's pregnancy, we got to see that Ruby is drinking Christina's Cool Aide just a little and we were left with a big set-up for the final episode that may see poor little Dee in the cross hairs of the police and son of Adam. Colour me super intrigued.

We got questions still to be answered of: did Atticus have a similar experience or he was not sucked into the wall?

Where did the book Lovecraft Country come from? - because it has George's name on it.

What will happen to Dee without both parents around?

Will just have to wait and see

What it felt like: Quantum Leap 2.0 with better visual effects and real world analogies.

Verdict 
****1/2
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*trash ** ja ne ***it tries ****almost perfect *****Instant classic.


 

Actors in this post: Jurnee Smollett-Bell



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