Lovecraft Country Episode 9, titled “Rewind 1921”, once again crosses into another genre with time travel. After the events of “Jig-A-Bobo,” Diana (Jada Harris) is tiptoeing near the edge of death. Hippolyta (Aunjane Ellis) returns and comes up with a plan to fix the multiversal machine seen in “I Am.” Atticus (Jonathan Majors), Leti (Jurnee Smollett), and Montrose (Michael K. Williams) travel back in the past to the day of the Tulsa Massacre in order to retrieve the Book of Names so that they can save Diana.
Time travel is a tricky genre to write for; writers often get bogged down in the mechanics or end up creating convoluted plots. The genre is best when it’s used for emotional weight and “Rewind 1921” proves this by shining a light on Montrose’s childhood years. Showrunner Misha Green, alongside co-writers Jonathan I. Kidd & Sonya Winton-Odamtten, peel back layers of trauma and repression to reveal how Montrose became the man he is.
These revelations are brought to life by Williams and Majors’ performances. Montrose has hidden his sexuality for years, and inflicted the pain from his father on his own son. On top of that, the revelation that Uncle George is actually Atticus’ father drives a wedge between the two, after “Jig-A-Bobo” saw them try to reconcile. Williams delivers a stirring monologue that lays all of Montrose’s pain before the audience, and Majors infuses a simmering anger into Atticus this week. The younger Freeman is dealing with a LOT-a pregnant girlfriend and the fact that he may die, coupled with a total upheaval of everything he knew. It’s a lot to deal with, and Majors makes sure the audience knows that, whether it’s through pointed remarks or clenched fists.
The setting is also a big part of the episode. HBO had previously relived the Tulsa Massacre in Watchmen‘s “This Extraordinary Being“; “Rewind 1921” takes a similar approach to the event, albeit in a different genre. While “This Extraordinary Being” served as the origin story for Hooded Justice, “Rewind 1921” is a chance for the Freemans to literally reconcile with their pasts. A key example features Leti coming face to face with Atticus’ grandmother, ultimately telling her about the future. Atticus’ grandmother accepts her fate, saying her great-grandson will be “her faith made flesh.” While characters accepting their fate in time-travel stories is old hat, this instance comes with immense gravity and the emotional buildup helps it land.
DirectorJeffrey Nachmanoff delivers several visually stunning sequences, including the ending. As bombs strike Tulsa, Leti strides through the street. Fire wraps around her, but she still presses on. The determination on Smollett’s face, mixed with the oddly hypnotic effect of raging flames, is a standout in a series packed full of visual marvels.
Lovecraft Country sets the stage for its finale by telling an emotionally stirring time travel story that addresses generations of trauma. Even though Atticus’ final fate remains in the air, I can’t wait to see how the cast and crew bring this amazing series to an end.
Lovecraft Country Episode 9 is currently available to stream on HBO Max.
- Rating - 9/109/10
Lovecraft Country sets the stage for its finale by telling an emotionally stirring time travel story that addresses generations of trauma. Even though Atticus’ final fate remains in the air, I can’t wait to see how the cast and crew bring this amazing series to an end
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.