Lovecraft Country Jurnee Smollett

Horror. Science fiction. Non-fiction. Fantasy. Adventure. Coming of Age. War. A lot of shows have a hard time executing any sole genre. Lovecraft Country, which just wrapped its first season on HBO, blends all of these together at once and still sticks the landing more often than not.

On this week’s episode of the Low Key podcast, Tim, Keith, and I discuss all things Lovecraft Country, including the very mixed legacy of H.P. Lovecraft, whether contemporary music works for shows set in the past, and how unfinished character arcs kept this season from being an all-timer. You can listen on Apple or Spotify or above.

The tale begins with Korean War veteran Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) returning to hometown Chicago following the disappearance of his father (Michael K. Williams). Atticus finds clues proving his father’s last-known whereabouts in an unmarked area of Massachusetts and sets out on a road trip with an uncle (Courtney B. Vance) and childhood friend (Jurnee Smollett) seeking answers. The horror begins on their adventure traveling East: broad-daylight racism and moonlit monsters are just the beginnings of their misfortune and, ultimately, their growth.

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Lovecraft Country isn’t perfect. But it’s worth exalting the show for its audacious vision and bold, intentional choices to showcase Black imagination and experience in ways never seen in mainstream media.

One moment worth highlighting comes in Episode 8. Teenager Diana Freeman (Jada Harris) is mourning the death of her best friend due to racist violence (the name of the real life victim is omitted here to avoid spoilers). Some people seem oblivious and unbothered. They can’t see the racism or choose to ignore it, the same way people can’t see or recognize the magic and demons around them. Suddenly, Diana is attacked and cursed with magic, now able to see the magic and the secrets everyone hid from her. The moment is subtle and understated but expertly crafted.

If you enjoy this episode of Low Key, you can check out all our episodes here.