TV Recaps | Lovecraft Country (A History of Violence | Episode 4)

by Joelle Monique

A History of Violence

On this week’s episode of Lovecraft Country, the haunted Winthrop House hides roots that lead all the way to Boston. Ruby gets her groove back but loses out on her dream job. The Amazons begin to solve a bigger mystery as the mother and daughter pair bond. Tic, Leti, and the newest member of the trio, Montrose, get their Indiana Jones museum adventure on as they explore “A History Of Violence.” And we get another look inside Titus’ secret vault and the horrible massacre that took place there.

The episode begins ominously, with a warning on the radio that a “barbaric Russia’’ will wipe America off the face of the planet if the country does not agree to destroy its nuclear stockpile, thus signaling the start of the Cold War. Montrose struggles with his internal war. Haggard with grief for his brother, George, Montrose sinks further into his alcoholism. Simultaneously he explores the history and rules of the Sons of Adam. As America reckons with its violent past against a foreign enemy, Montrose hears his father calls for a switch while his younger self pleads for forgiveness. He seems to bury that past in new knowledge as he reads a cryptic verse from the Sons of Adams’ book.

Adam Named.

Eve F-cked.

God brought forth Monsters.

Monsters Devoured.

God smites Eve.

Let the conspiracy theories begin! Okay, so in “Whitey’s On The Moon (an episode I stand by as being excellent as it establishes the rules of much of this series), Samuel Braithwaite gives his “Adam Names” speech to Tic and his daughter Christina (Abbey Lee). In his speech, Samuel explained that the white male was the next best thing to God Almighty. God let Adam order the world. Therefore, Adam must be in charge. But a lack of pigment could not save Samuel, whose superiority complex encouraged him to cast a spell to which he did not have all the words. Foolish. But, it means we understand this first line of the poem—Adams runs shit.

The hilarious second line indicates Eve fornicated on her own. Adam, saintly namer that he was, did not dirty himself by laying with a woman. Oh no, Eve lived in that garden by herself breaking God’s rules. “Whore.” All women must follow her example, and therefore are unworthy of the super-cool, superiority complex-riddled Sons of Adam.

“God brought forth monsters” leads the poem into a more cryptic territory. Who or what do the Sons of Adam consider monsters? Whom do those monsters devour, and how? So far, the only monsters showcased on the series are the ones that respond to the Braithwaite whistle and are allergic to light. Given that this is a restructuring of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories, and considering the story takes place in Jim Crow America, perhaps this line suggests the creation of other races? Are Black and brown people, as the “savages” and the museum tour guide explain, the monsters?

Finally, and you guys feel free to tell me different in the chat, but “God smites Eve” sounds like little Miss Christina or perhaps our beloved Leti may need to be sacrificed to solve the Sons of Adam’s final riddle. Though, I’m also wondering if the golden-haired alien woman from the opening of season one might be a neo-Eve. Or, was Hanna, Tic’s ancestor, a descendent of Eve herself? Perhaps creating a new bloodline of Braithwaite children made her an Eve of sorts—there’s lots to speculate.

Okay, back to the show. Montrose decides that the best thing to do is commit the book to memory and then destroy it. This way, no one can use the book against the family. This action proves short-sighted of Montrose, as we see later in the tombs beneath the museum. The scene ends with Montrose standing over the burning book and the line, “Smells like Tulsa.” Tulsa in 1921 smelled like burning flesh and wood. Metaphorically, it smelled like thousands of charred possibilities. History nearly erased a wealthy Black state from the face of America. Montrose sought and found retribution in this act of destruction. He found power.

Leti’s found power in her retribution house, too. The goat’s blood the Orisha put on the door keeps Christina from entering the home. The blood can’t stop Christina from revealing that she was the one who bought the house. She tried to use faux sisterhood—revealing Tic’s attempted murder—to bond with Leti. But Letitia F-ing Lewis wasn’t born last night, and she banishes that woman from her porch with a quickness.

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