REVIEW: ‘Lovecraft Country,’ Episode 3 – “Holy Ghost”

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Lovecraft Country Episode 3

Lovecraft Country Episode 3 deals with ghosts both figurative and literal with “Holy Ghost”. Picking up a month after the events of “Whitey On The Moon“, Leti (Jurnee Smollett) buys an old house with the intent to transform it into a haven for Black artists. Over the next ten days, she slowly learns that her house is haunted by the spirit of a malevolent racist scientist. Atticus (Jonathan Majors) and Montrose (Michael K. Williams) struggle with the aftermath of what happened at Braitewhite Manor, and in the process, Atticus and Leti grow closer together.

Lovecraft Country Episode 3 belongs to Jurnee Smollett and showrunner Misha Green and director Daniel Sackheim make sure the audience understands that. Leti is dealing with the aftermath of being shot to death and resurrected; the haunting of a house she intended to be a safe haven, combined with pushback from her racist white neighbors, pushes her to take action. One of my favorite scenes in the episode features Leti grabbing a bat and smashing in the windows of cars parked outside her home after a cross is set ablaze on her front lawn. She draws a line in the sand and is willing to fight for her home.

But the best scene comes when Leti and her sister Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) have an argument concerning their late mother. Smollett runs through the gamut of emotions in this episode, but my heart cracked in half while Ruby tore into Leti verbally. The distraught look on her face, followed by a resigned stare of defeat, speaks more volumes than words ever could. Green makes sure that for all the ghosts and wizards and vampires roaming Lovecraft Country, it’s the people–the flawed, human people–that drive this story.

We finally get to see the sparks between Leti and Atticus erupt into a roaring flame. There’s been romantic tension between the two, and I’m glad they acted on their feelings sooner rather than later. But they are also haunted by what happened during the last two episodes. Atticus is struggling with keeping the secret from his Aunt Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) and dealing with Montrose’s volatile behavior. Leti seems to be the one person he can be wholly honest with. He even listens to her when she explains how her house is haunted and joins her in the exorcism.

Lovecraft Country Episode 3

Said exorcism is the height of Lovecraft Country Episode 3, and Sackheim revels in making it creepy as all get out. The ghosts haunting the mansion are truly horrifying, and a dark reminder of the violence perpetrated against Black bodies. Limbs and even heads are missing; these people did not die peacefully. I also appreciate that an Orisha priestess was present during the exorcism, as it further roots the show in African/African-American culture.

The episode ends with a surprising connection to the first two episodes and the return of another character. I love that both the novel and the series weave separate threads together; even better, the information is being doled out at a pace that is neither too fast nor too slow. It also makes me eager for the next episode.

“Holy Ghost” is Lovecraft Country’s emotionally stirring take on the classic haunted house story, driven by Jurnee Smollett’s powerhouse performance. Given how Lovecraft Country Episode 3 ends, Atticus and his family will be fighting more horrors down the line.

Lovecraft Country airs Sundays on HBO and is available to stream on HBO Max.


Rating
10/10

TL;DR

“Holy Ghost” is Lovecraft Country’s emotionally stirring take on the classic haunted house story, driven by Jurnee Smollett’s powerhouse performance. Given how Lovecraft Country Episode 3 ends, Atticus and his family will be fighting more horrors down the line.