Content warning: This article contains references to sexual assault.
I have watched my fair share of HBO shows, from “Westworld” to “Game of Thrones,” but no show has left me as baffled or confused after every episode than “Lovecraft Country.”
In essence, the show is about the Braithwhite family and their use of magic to become immortal, which is an interesting concept ruined by how little it’s fleshed out.
The two main conflicts that drive the series are Hannah’s status as the African American slave of Titus Braithwhite, which results in her rape and subsequent pregnancy, and the Book of Names, which is a spell book of life, transformation and genesis that was taken by Hannah when Titus’ lodge burned down.
Thus sets up the conflict between Christina Braithwhite and Atticus Freeman, Hannah’s child, and their quest to obtain the Book of Names.
Atticus’ purpose in finding the Book of Names is so that he can protect those around him, while Christina’s motivation is the completion of her immortality ritual — a cliché, tired motive.
This is merely a snippet of the vastly winding and confusing plot that often left me guessing the direction in which the series would go after each episode.
However, I must note that the acting in “Lovecraft Country” is excellent. In addition, a fair chunk of the cinematography was also well done, with vibrant colors and great lighting.
Despite that praise, the CGI is underwhelming at multiple points and often distracts from the focus of the scene.
“Lovecraft Country” does a great job portraying the racism that existed within the United States during this era, giving the viewer a look into the atrocities that resulted from racial segregation policies like Jim Crow laws.
The series is entrenched with racial undertones, offering much-needed historical commentary that I didn’t receive within the public educational system.
Alas, the show’s strengths are also why I found the pacing to be all over the place, as the plot often bounces back and forth between issues within 1950s American society and the issues facing the show’s central figures.
And while the start and end of the season are paced well and provide the viewer with great action, the middle slogs on. In particular, episodes five and six left me feeling confused at the end of each episode.
Although those two episodes were meant to provide backstory to the characters within “Lovecraft Country,” it still didn’t change my view of their execution — in fact, it made me question why certain segments were even included.
The show does contain scenes that are strong and poignant, and when the story is focused on its plot, it really shines. But the confusing nature of the storyline left me baffled at points and made me question whether to continue the show or leave it alone.
The question remains — do I think “Lovecraft Country” is a good show? I would say so, but it doesn’t enter the upper echelon of the HBO catalog, and I don't think I’ll stick around for another season.
Spencer Butler is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SpencerButler48