REVIEW: ‘Lovecraft Country,’ Episode 8 – “Jig-A-Bobo”

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Lovecraft Country Episode 8, titled “Jig-A-Bobo”, finally starts to weave together several plot threads as the series races toward its finale. After the murder of Emmett Till, Diana Freeman (Jada Harris) is assaulted by the police and then haunted by horrifying specters only she can see. Meanwhile, after the events of last episode Atticus (Jonathan Majors) seeks Christina’s (Abbey Lee’s) help with spellcasting as Ji-yah (Jamie Chung) meets Leti (Jurnee Smollett) and Ruby (Wumni Mosaku) seeks a space in a world that keeps rejecting her.

Showrunner Misha Green steps behind the camera for this episode and knocks it out of the park. Green keeps the perfect blend of horror/supernatural elements and social commentary running throughout the episode. This is especially important given that the episode deals with a real-life event, the murder of Emmett Till.

Historical fiction is a tricky thing to write. A creator has to make sure they aren’t trivializing events that happen in real life while creating a compelling story. Green and co-writer Ihuoma Ofordire thread that needle with the grace it deserves, by acknowledging it in the opening sequence and showing the effect it’s had on our heroes, particularly Diana. In “Holy Ghost“, she and Emmett were shown to be friends-so this acts as a tipping point for her rage and sadness, especially with her father dead and her mother nowhere to be found. Harris delivers a righteous fury in nearly every one of her scenes, venting Diana’s fury onto the police who torment her and the adults who don’t understand her. It also has an effect on Ruby, as she delivers a fiery monologue about how she’s tired of this happening to her people. This hit home for me, especially with what happened to Emmett Till and what’s still happening to this day with Breonna Taylor and others.

Diana’s fury comes in handy when dealing with the inhuman spirits known as Topsey and Bobsey. The spirits are absolutely horrifying. They jerk and twist around, their lips are smeared with blood, and they have the pallor of the dead. Producer Jordan Peele’s fingerprints are all over these creatures as they bear a disturbing resemblance to the Tethered from his sophomore debut, Us. Viewers will jump in their seats every time the duo appears and cheer when Diana finally faces them.

In addition to Harris, Majors and Smollett have perhaps their finest performances in this episode. Atticus is shaken by what he saw in the future, as well as the reappearance of Ji-yah and his father’s sexuality. Meanwhile, Leti is dealing with the fact that she’s pregnant and that her lover’s ex told her he’s going to die. It all comes down to a shouting match, with both actors bearing their souls to each other. Majors and Smollett have been the axis on which the series turns, and I like that Green has thrown a wrench into their relationship without it being contrived in any way.

The episodes also begins to set up the stage for its finale, mainly through Christina. Atticus needs her help. Leti needs her help. She and Ruby still haven’t figured out what their relationship is. And we finally learn what she is planning to do with the Book of Names. This is probably the most time we’ve spent with the character, and Lee showcases via widening eyes or subtle shifts in expression that maybe this character isn’t so bad after all. Then again, she’s a manipulative magician so it could be a trick.

Lovecraft Country Episode 8 is the best episode since the pilot, utilizing real-life events to fuel the horror elements of the story. With only two episodes left until the final, I’m eager to see how Green, alongside the cast and crew, wrap up this story.

Lovecraft Country Episode 8 is currently available to stream on HBO Max.

Lovecraft Country, Episode 8 - "Jig-A-Bobo"
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    Rating - 10/10
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TL;DR

Lovecraft Country Episode 8 is the best episode since the pilot, utilizing real-life events to fuel the horror elements of the story. With only two episodes left until the final, I’m eager to see how Green, alongside the cast and crew, wrap up this story.