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You're tuning in to Lovecraft Country Radio. There's some strong language and spoilers ahead. Buckle up. I need your help. My cousin's been coerced, I'm bound to book to see if. Huh? OK, he's going to save them all, he's going to save them all, Ashley. Oh, God, I. Shannon, I know, I know it's a busy time down a long road. Oh, yes, we have.
It's been a really, really long road. And I have to be honest, I'm not super ready for it to end here. So let's talk about it a lot so it doesn't have to.
I am prepared to ignore my children for the next two to 18 hours so that we can unpack this crazy, crazy finale. Let's do it. This is the season finale of Lovecraft Country Episode ten Full Circle.
Welcome to Lovecraft Country Radio.
I'm Ashleigh Siefert, podcast host, writer and war enthusiast.
And I'm Shannon Houston, a writer for the HBO series Lovecraft Country and mother of two three free black children and a turtle named John Evalyn.
We love John Ophélie. We do. So first, a quick recap, because there's a lot going on.
That's an understatement.
Maybe the understatement of the year, but that's where we're starting. And this episode, the final episode of the season, we get some resolution to some of this season's several storylines.
Christina's long term goal to use Atticus's blood to gain immortality almost works, but she has no idea what she's up against.
She's outnumbered and knowing what was on the horizon. Atticus mends things with Geia Leidy Recruit's Ruby to betray her lover. And the whole gang travels to Artim, where they meet the inevitable.
So, so fucking much is happening here. Yes. Oh my God.
Teq is racing against time and trying to find some sort of way forward. And he does this through communion with the ancestors. There's the culmination of the tensions between D and Hyppolite. I don't even fucking get me started with Leidy InTech. I can. Gosh, I can.
So it's the culmination of everything the series has been getting at this season. The healing of ancestral wounds, the trajectory of the movement, the power of the family. There's so much to discuss.
And who better to do that with than the creator and showrunner Meesha Green and one of its stars, Jurnee Smollett.
Yes, this episode like Episode nine and like so many other episodes, the season was so loaded. So I think the best way for us to go about it is to just digest it scene by scene like we did last week and talk about how all the through lines we've been working with this season find some sort of end here. Let's talk about magic. Yes.
As a longtime fan of magic, this show made me think about magic in a way that I've never really thought about it before, like with them being transported into different worlds, visiting ancestors.
And it's this magic that allows them to go on this journey and get answers to questions we've had all season.
Yes, we've been watching addicts struggle with deciphering the language of Adam. And here we have the successful completion of this incredible spell that sends him and Leidy into this ancestral plane. And we've been working up to this and I'm not going to lie. I knew it was coming, but I still fucking screamed when the book flipped open and we saw Text Birthmark and Seven Nation Army was playing. It was so exciting to see our heroes, like you said, kind of master the magic that they've been afraid of, excited about, terrified by, haunted by.
And in this moment, they're really taking control in a different way. It's so cool.
It's just, oh, my God, I'm stuttering, thinking about where to start, because it's a lot.
It's a lot. Right.
When we saw him do the spell that gave us the black shaggers, I flipped out. You know, that I was extremely, extremely excited about that. When we get into this place of the ancestral plane and the journey that he's been on, understanding magic and now sort of like being inside magic, I can't help but wonder how is your idea of it changed over the course of making this show?
Because I have to think that even somebody who would be as big a fan of, like the idea of magic as I am when making something like this, still wants to put their own mark on it and still wants to learn something from the process of digging deeper into magic as a concept.
Yeah, I mean, I think. One thing that we're seeing that I'm excited about is this reclamation of magic, right, like our heroes are literally taking this thing that they thought was the scary power that white people had. And they're learning how to use it for their own safety and protection and for their own lives.
And something about it also reminds me of, like, challenging the idea of what we call white people shit.
There is something fun and cool about being like, well, black people and religions that have existed long before Christianity.
Right. Like a lot of these things are ours.
I think what has changed about my idea of magic watching this show is how a rejection of it as a concept also leads to the rejection of one's history and one's ancestors.
And that, I think, is not something that I'd ever thought about before.
Was that the things that you may be drawn to, that people around you are like, that's not for you. Or, you know, you're not supposed to feel that, you're not supposed to do that or whatever.
And I think as a kid, even I definitely had certain things about me that were kind of intense and spooky.
And the adults around me did not react well to that, like there, you know, but sometimes it's like maybe I was just connected to something that was trying to guide me or inform me, you know, and it's so weird how often we're told that anything that is trying to guide you or inform you that is not for what a lot of people looks like.
An old white man is something evil trying to trick you.
And the thing is, is that because this bloodline or because this family continue to encounter and have to deal with certain kinds of magic, it also forced them to reflect on what the generation before them got wrong and how they can change it.
Now, like we finally got to hear Hannah speak.
Oh, finally, I love the for the entire season she's been around and all of a sudden we finally get to hear her speak. And essentially what she's saying is you have everything you need. Yes. Inside of you already. It already exists. And there's something so interesting, too, about literally not being able to hear your ancestor for nine episodes, not being able to understand and decipher and make out what she's saying. And then finally, after an epic journey of healing and danger and magic and trauma and love and bonding, you finally make it to Episode 10 and you finally have done the work so that you are open and you can hear it.
It's interesting because when Letty first lands in the ancestral plane, the first thing she says is, oh, God, why am I back here? Like she's thinking it's episode nine again and she's in that burning house, but it's different this time. So she's afraid at first. And then there's Hattie there to guide her. And I really like that. Hannah is giving one set of lessons to Atticus and Hattie is giving another set of lessons to Letty.
And she's recounting the mistakes that Hannah made, right, Hattie? Yes.
Telling Letty that Hannah was trying to protect people, but that she made certain mistakes and that it's now Letty's responsibility to fix that and resolve it.
And in a really simple way, I think one of the things that she's saying is we have to communicate sometimes out of fear. We hide information. We don't tell you about the book of names. We lock it away, we bind it. And it's because it is scary. But the idea is we're robbing our children of something. Use uses the word cripple. Do not cripple your son with doubts the way that Hannah was crippled by her doubts and her fears.
And of course, we've seen so many other characters throughout this season be troubled by the things that are haunting them and not want to face them head on. And I think Hattie is asking Letty to do something different and guide this family in a new direction.
Do not do what Hannah did when she found the book. You do not cripple your son with your doubts.
You need to be strong to fix roads, take. I agree, which is why it's so interesting to me where these souls have decided to reside in the ancestral plane or where they meet Atticus and lady in the ancestral, it is so interesting to me that Hannah is still in the doorway of this house as it burns. It's interesting to me that Dora would be in that apartment with Montreaux. Yes, it is interesting to me that Letty would find herself back in that room and the part of me wants to know why.
And I'll be perfectly I was like part of me does want to know, like, why those spaces like what does that mean?
I mean, I think in a lot of ways what we're talking about is how you have to return to the scene of the trauma.
So Hannah unknowingly built this place from her own attempts at magic, but also, as she's describing it, her own rage and what that fire is. And she was so afraid of that rage and afraid of that fire until she realized that there was something useful in that something that if she could figure out how to wield it and tame the fire, what can she do with it? And that's a really important message for our characters. And so it was really important for us, for the writers to have a moment where Atticus was in communion with his mother, partly because we knew that his mom had some really important things to tell him.
But also, I just think it was a little bit of a wish fulfillment for our hero, knowing the journey that he's gone on and knowing how grief operates. I mean, to me, so much of grief is wishing for one more day, one conversation, one more moment. But she has some really important things to tell him, too, about sacrifice and how he won't be able to avoid it.
She says, if my life has taught me one thing, it's that sometimes we tell ourselves we have a choice, but we don't. What did you think when you heard that? How did you feel? Do you agree with her? What did you think?
If my life taught me one thing is that we tell ourselves we have a choice, but we don't.
I feel like if you're thinking of it in terms of like we just don't have choices, what happens happens like I don't necessarily think that's true, but do we have choice the way we think we have choice?
Do the alternatives apply to us? Not in these systems. Not in this society. Not right now. Yeah, and I don't think we have any real idea of what that looks like.
Yeah. And I think you're right. It's really hard when it's like, yes, sometimes we do have choices, but all the choices are difficult choices. All the choices are troubling choices or strange choices we have to make. I also love how Dora uses that statement to explain her relationship with Mantra's and with George Wright. She says she felt like she had no other choice. And I think what she's saying in that scene to is like we were a family.
And I also I just love Jonathan Majoras so much a scene and in this episode, him laying on his mommy's lap. Oh, yeah. Just holding on to her and crying if you've lost your mom. That scene is going to hit different because you're just like, yes, no matter what would be going on in your life, no matter what demons you're fighting. Right. Like it's like, no, it's my mom. I want to cuddle up with her on the couch and cry.
And he says very simply and honestly, I don't want to die. And it's so heartbreaking and so beautiful. I just I love everything that he's giving us in this episode.
I really loved how he sort of became a little boy in that moment with his mother and in all of the interactions with his mother. When my grandmother passed away and she was really the second parent who helped raise me along with my mother, when I think about what I would do if I stepped in to ancestral plane or I had some sort of moment where I was actually able to communicate with her and be with her. The problem is I don't see myself as an adult in that situation.
I only see myself as a child in that situation. It is really hard to picture seeing my grandmother again and not feeling five.
In that moment, there are so much safety in it, right? It's like, yes. Oh, this is the person who I can be a little kid with and I can be vulnerable with and I can be emotional with and they'll never judge me. So I love that we gave that to Atticus. I think it was so important for him.
And this was also about having an intimate scene for Letty and Atticus. We wanted them to have this incredible, powerful, intimate experience that would bond them. And that also, I think works to increase their faith. Right. So Atticus and Letty leave the ancestral plane.
I think they're more bonded and more in love, more enlightened. And they've got some answers now. But, of course, there's still so much that has to go down. So Atticus, Letty and Montreaux repeat this spell from the book of names to resurrect Titus, Braithwaite and Hannah. And it's this crazy scene. There are something in here that's interesting, too, like Titus's anger at Hannah for actually having the audacity to try to do these spell.
Oh, yeah. Interesting.
Something about that I think speaks to the way that white people continue to underestimate us. Absolutely.
I mean, that was exactly what I thought.
I was like, that's why you're here now, homie. Exactly.
And that's why we brought Titus back, because we wanted to fuck him up for everything that he's done to our people and our heroes in this story.
I love it. I love the idea of like being able to conjure these motherfuckers in, like, beat them up in real time.
So beautiful. So magical. Right. Just magic.
So Magic played a big role in bonding these characters together, but something just as strong was all the drama bonding we saw happening in this episode.
And to be honest, all season, a lot of drama bonding this season when Atticus does his apology to Julia and tells her his plan.
The thing that I kept thinking, you know, he was saying like, we're family, we're connected now. So how many people have you heard of being in a traumatic experience together who, like for the rest of their lives, are just connected? It doesn't matter what they go through.
They're always yeah, it doesn't matter.
I'll always pick up the phone for that person and you have to make room for that because of what it means to the other person. Like, I think sometimes you can heal past that.
But these characters would not have known about those options.
Also, can we just talk about this moment really quick with Julia that I love, where the man who's clearly not getting the help that she wants to be left alone?
You look very exotic. Let me guess where you're from.
Japan knowing that sex to have a suitcase. Oh, so you don't speak any English. I said, would you be willing to die to fuck me, you know, like she speaks to him in Korean and he asked her, you know, what do you say? And she goes, I said, would you be willing to die to fuck me?
I mean, I think that's a valid question.
I think about using that line for every time you get catcalled. I just love it so much. I'm so happy to see Gia.
And she looks so amazing like we have to shout out Dana Pank, the costume designer for this show, the frickin red dress she's wearing with the little red. And she's so amazing.
I mean, all of the costumes have been so incredible. But that was a moment where I was just like, I'm so glad she is back. And she's a ruthless I love it.
I love how Gia moves through the world now.
I really love that she has embraced the fact that, like, she is a chameleon and there is only so much these people can do to her. There's only so much of a threat they pose.
You know, the other thing that we're saying with the Gia and Atticus storyline, and it's also true for Letty and Atticus, it's that you have to go on your own journey.
Yes. That is technically separate from the person that you love to even be able to come to an understanding with them. So on the one hand, I definitely see your point about the trauma bonding that is true for so many of our characters. But in that scene, I also was thinking about Dora and George and Montreaux and this idea that Dora has, which is that they're bound together. And yes, they are partly bound together because of these traumatic experiences that they had and Tulsa.
And at the same time, it feels like there's this strange idea about redefining family. And Dora saying, I know this isn't necessarily traditional or what you think family is supposed to be. But what I had with George and Montreaux is family. And when TEQ says to go, we're family to. I did love that because I did feel like he's also saying, like there's a reason that we're connected. And it is very strange. And I'm sure the people who love Leidy, including me, were like, oh, I don't like the scene, get away.
Why are you holding our hand for so long? Bakare Right.
But it's less about the romantic love and more about familial love and a familial bond and how you can use those bonds to basically do what we do at the end of the episode, which is bring everybody together for this epic fight.
There's another big scene that challenges how we understand family and commitment. And it's the baptism scene.
Yes, this moment is so beautiful to me.
And we talk to the writers room about how we were going to give Eddie an outcast like one more romantic moment before they go to do the ceremony and the spell. And they both know what's coming. They both know that Atticus is not supposed to make it out alive. We decided that there is a different way to show them making a commitment together and there's a different way to show them bonding and loving each other. So we ended up with this beautiful scene in the church.
And I love the conversation that Letty and Atticus have here and that Atticus is saying, you know, I don't even know if I believe the way that you believe.
All this time. I've been Jason Faith. When I should have been discovering myself. That's where he is. You got to believe in us. One lady has gone on this journey with her faith, and she believes that ultimately they're going to be OK and ultimately this family is going to be protected by God. And I think it's really sweet and powerful that even though Atticus isn't sure because he loves Letty, he's there. And so they do this incredible thing together.
And that same idea is expressed to a degree in the scene right before they get in the car. Right. Nina Simone's I Am Blessed is playing as Atticus is looking at everybody.
Hyppolite, she, Montreaux Leidy, everybody's gathered in the safe Negro travel guide, his whole family. And they're here to help.
Yes. And he, I think, realizes that he would do anything for them, which is something I think he suspected all along. But in this moment, it is solidified for him. I would do anything for these people and look at these people who would so clearly do anything. Yeah, for me, who would put their lives on the line, who would fight for me in this world.
And the next look at all the people who are already fighting for me in the next half. You know what I mean? Like, that is powerful.
That is something really, really, really beautiful to know.
And during this moment, this beautiful moment, we begin to recognize all of these infinite possibilities for our characters, for this family and for this epic show. And I think this is the perfect moment to bring on two very special guests.
Let's say hello to Marcia Green, creator and showrunner, and Jurnee Smollett, who absolutely kills as the one and only Miss Leticia fuckin Lewis.
Welcome, guys. Welcome to the show.
So we're nearing our discussion about the end of the episode, and we want to spend some time unpacking that with you guys specifically in the middle of the chaos in this episode, we have very clear and deliberate moment of black joy that I absolutely love.
The dramatic music swells. Ruby comes along to help. We are really feeling the gravity of this moment. And then we get to sort of smile when Shubham life could be a dream starts and the whole car is singing on the way to a really messed up situation.
Moesha, why was this scene important for you to include?
You know, I just wanted everybody to really feel like everybody was about to die. You did it. Well done. You know, now in the in the the the full circle of it to Boom was one of the songs that played during the first episode. And so it just felt like I wanted to see a moment of this family being back together and happy and whole before we went into the craziness of the end. This is the thing about Moesha.
I love the extended stars because we got to keep it real, OK?
Like she likes to play with our motherfucking emotions.
OK, so she took us on this long ass ride and she's like, I'm going to make these people feel joyous in this moment. They're going to feel their joy and joy so radical in this moment. But it's also very truthful because we are constantly in search of joy in spite of our oppression.
Right. But also me, she just likes to fuck with us.
So let's just keep it real, like I think that's great. That should be the headline of every single review that I said.
One Michelle likes to fuck with us. Episode three Meesha continues to fuck with.
We appreciate it. We're here for it.
I mean, in some circles, that would be called trauma. Oh, my God. That's what we're here for. Right.
So who to me, I love drama. I love making the situation worse. I love making it complicated. I love when there's no good decisions to be made and a decision has to be made. That's where it gets exciting for me. And so that was just kind of the mandate across the season was how do we make nothing easy, you know, and how do we show that to be a hero? It actually takes a lot of fucking work.
Mm. I love it. And speaking of scenes and moments where there are no easy answers or choices, let's talk about Ruby and Letty.
We've gotten to Artem. They're prepping. They're sprinkling salt and cymbals. Everybody's doing the blood as I love it.
And then we have.
Air quotes Ruby and Leidy, and it's all good until it isn't, Lettie realizes that Ruby is actually a fucking cristiana who ultimately seems to overtake her journey.
We've all been obsessed with Ruby and Leadeth and a whole lot of shaking.
Can you talk to us a little bit about what it was like working with one me and how you see the sisterhood as a part of the larger story about family and magic and Lovecraft country?
Yeah, I mean, I love working with Mommy so much.
She's such a force. And it is that thing where the situation is so fucked up, you know, and yet there's no time to really grieve.
There's such urgency written into the text. Leidy and all the characters really have gone through so much transformation throughout this season.
We think about where we began and where we are now, even in our sisterhood, the depths that we've been forced to go to, how we've been operating kind of in our own individual secrets. And I think it's such a well-written scene because it's like a chess game with them, because inherently we don't really know if we can trust each other.
To begin with. Letty's desperately wants to have that bond with her sister.
But it's like this Christine bitch keeps on and you keep trusted her. But yet you came along. And so I want to believe that this family that I've desperately been trying to put back together can actually be real. And so it was a challenging scene for so many reasons because, again, keeping that sense of urgency, it's like I don't really have the time to stop and grieve what could possibly have happened to my sister, because Mama Bear kicks in and I got to fight this bitch.
Right. But if you paid close attention, she's actually not Ruby. She took on more of a cloak of Kristy.
There was something different about her in this moment. It was a weird eagerness that I was like something, though you're right about. Yeah, but I didn't I didn't think it was Christine. I'm not going to stay here and lie and act like I was like, yeah, I knew.
But now knowing if you go back and watch it, you'll see the brilliance of Wunmi. Yes. Subtly changing her voice like she did very small things. It's almost like she became more sterile.
Yes, a little more dead to my sister. She made me promise. And it's your fault that she's dead. I also like the anger she pushed through to that. Christina is angry. She's angry. She had to do this to Ruby because of lettuce and lettuce, bad choices. And I think that was another layer that will be played that I love that you could see that where it was just like, yeah, I'm pissed. Yeah. To look at you again.
It's just such good, messy relationship stuff because it's like everybody's got a love passion, right. A target, you know, and you can't have it all. And that's the thing that's so heartbreaking is who gets sacrificed. Who do you have to sacrifice? Do you have to sacrifice a part of yourself in order to achieve this higher goal? Because we all have our own individual targets. Right, right. And that's what's just so good. It's so messy.
It's so messy. It's very messy.
There's one really messy part that actually was screaming about. Oh, yeah, it was when we stepped back and we got to Dee alone in the car reading her copy of Lovecraft country, I was immediately mad as hell at everybody I was mad at.
And I was like, why is the little girl in the car by herself, y'all? Why is she in the car by herself?
D Why do you have the flashlight all in the dark woods? Why are you telling people where you are? D Turn off the light and get low. Get low.
Like I just was so upset and that moment was like how could they leave her again.
And then it became clear that she had the black shell with her and I felt a little bit better.
Did you check out of the black shagger? You know, I think sometimes, like, we underestimate people.
I feel like we underestimated Diane in that moment because Diana got it. She got a robot arm now. She got a militant mindset and she got to show off like what she got to be afraid of. Let her shine the light around what's out there. I love it. Speaking of fear, when they get to Artim, it feels so batshit crazy and all the best with Letty and Christina are fighting. Our other heroes are fighting the crazy white people in RTM.
We have a frickin monster fight. All of this leads to the ritual scene. And a lot of these scenes are familiar to audiences who love horror and genre.
But of course, they're also presented in a really unique way for Lovecraft country. These are also examples of how you like to play with tropes throughout the show. So can you talk a little bit about some of the tropes or symbols that you have subverted with these characters? And how did you with all these things again, monsters, zombies, cyborgs. Is that one of the tools?
Is that a part of your toolkit of escaping the white gaze in telling this story?
I you know, I've been a horror fan of genre fan since I was a kid. It's my favorite genre. So it was super easy to slip into all of that stuff. It's like, I guess, to remix all of it. It's easy when it's all in my head already and tension. I love tension. And that's the horror genre being black in America. You live in a horror movie and it's that I felt that always. So it's not hard for me to take genre and those spaces and then from that ruffs book, what he was doing already in it.
And just to build on that, it was seamless for me to do that part. I think the part that was more difficult in the room and in the entire process was pulling back. That white gaze was saying, OK, this is how we tell stories. But most of the people who have been our storytellers in the public sphere are white men. So all the tools in which we use to tell a story, a hero has to look like this.
That was the hard part that was stepping into that stuff and doing things like, OK, what is Atticus really thinking in this moment? Not what we want it to be. I think we talked a lot about that in the room. I'm like, what do we want this sister relationship to be? We all want it to be beautiful and great because we want our relationships with our sister to be beautiful and great. But that's not really accurate, is it?
And until we name what is how do we get to what could be? And I think that was the bigger challenge. And also, one, it's like we kind of get a get out of jail free card because we're just being like, let's see black people do the stuff that genre has been doing for a very long time. And I was like, let's see if it works. And it works because I was like, I love it. I'm excited to watch the same cliche happen again with black people.
I love those. I love that.
We need to discuss this final scene of Lovecraft country season one in which Little D makes a strong choice.
We talked a lot about how it's always the young people, right? It's always the young. Your generation pushing us forward and saying the Senate it or in the case of this episode, they never learn it was I'll be honest, as I was watching, I was like, is she going to is she is she going to do it?
And then I was like, she did it. And I don't.
Huh? I don't feel bad. I don't feel like this was the wrong choice. As I might have suspected earlier in the season. I would have now I'm like, yeah, you I call this the double tap generation. They say, if you doubt, we're going to make sure you stay down. So talk to me about how that scene came to be and how you decided to include that moment specifically.
You know, I think from the beginning it was always going to in that way, in my mind, I think it's, again, about telling stories and how we tell stories and who has told those stories. And I think that who benefits from it not going that way at the end, you know, and I think that's part of the conversation. If they never learn, which is that D saw something different. She understands something different from reading Lovecraft Country from the Future and Lovecraft Country from the future, says, you know, the consortium of warlocks or something won't change unless we spill blood other than our own.
And I think that's a very scary statement to make. And I think that we talk a lot about revolution and how revolution happens and peaceful revolution. And it's like, yes, but every revolution that has actually changed something in history has not been peaceful. And that's an awkward thing to have to contend with when you really sit down to tell a story about revolutionaries. And so for me, it was just always leading to that moment. You know, I think that moment is a moment that's in history a lot.
And we don't talk about that. We don't talk about the choice to change things with violence. And it's a scary big conversation to have. But I go, why not have that in a scary big show, you know? Fair enough. Fair enough. You know, as you know, I'm a big fan of that ending. I'm a big fan of D choice. I'm a big fan of that robot arm doing what needs to be done.
I wanted to ask you Journey after this experience of working on this show and now watching it, what do you take away from the characters as far as these huge lessons and ideas that we're bringing up about what a family is and how a family operates and how it should operate?
For one, can I say when I saw the end scene of Atticus and Lenny? Right before he passes, when Larry runs up and Atticus and Larry Connect, I was bawling.
It's just so heartbreaking to at all the promise and grieving the dream. It shattered me and doing it. You know, we all became such a family on set. That's the thing. Like, we all really became a family on set. And so there was like this collective sense of grief of saying goodbye to Atticus. Yeah, that was a hard day. Oh, man. It was awful having to carry his body. Musha makes fun of me because initially they had, like, some sandbags or something on the gurney just because they thought we couldn't actually carry his weight.
And, you know, Michael kind of was like, can we just try one with him? And I was grateful because it completely changed it for us. It completely changed it. Having Jonathan literally laying on this gurney, having to lug the dead weight and take that walk was so difficult.
There have been so many moments in the show where I'm watching and I'm like, I don't think this is acting. I think this is real. You know, in episode three, The Exorcism, when we're watching you perform, it does not feel like acting at all. And it's terrifying and beautiful and everything and watching your grief in this episode. And the grief starts early, like that moment when you're in the elevator and the elevator is going down, I start crying there.
I mean, I'm a cancer, so I start crying in the beginning.
Well, there's such a sense of anticipatory grief, which honestly can be so much more weighty because you're just waiting for that moment. Right. Like you're anticipating it before it happens. And I can relate to that. Like when my father passed away, there was so much anticipatory grief, months leading up to him passing away because, you know, the inevitable is happening, right?
You pray and hope. You still leave that little bit of hope out. Right. That it won't happen. But the weight of it, man. And so, yeah, it's got to be real. And so this text, it was very sacred for all of us.
And in approaching it, you have to approach it with such respect and reverence. And you got to be willing to sacrifice that. You got to be willing to go to those places in your life that are dark, that are ugly, that are painful in order to access the truth. And what Leidy is feeling or what Montreaux is feeling, you know, I don't know. I've taken a lot from this show. It cost me a lot. I say, hmm, it's like you've got to bring a lot to the altar.
And this show demanded that you sacrifice a lot spiritually, mentally, physically.
I've become quite aware of the cultural amnesia that we suffer from, who as a society talk about it and how overlooked our history has been.
But just, yeah, having to walk through Leidy's Path, you know, it brought up a lot in my life. I'm not gonna lie.
I mean, I think this thing about what you're saying about anticipatory grief is a thing that. When I started conceiving the series and the show, like I couldn't name that, like until you just said it, I had it named it, but it's that what was really important and we talked a lot about this, Shannon in the writers room was this idea of knowing, knowingly sacrificing. So it's that Atticus has been running since episode one from death row and then to choose to walk into death at the end, that kind of like arc for him.
And to me, that was really important because in talking about legacy and talking about the ancestors and talking about all that stuff, it's like what did they knowingly sacrifice so that things could be a little bit better for us? And how were we not doing that today? How are we not walking to the altar for something meaningful? And so that was like, really? Something to grab on to, I thought, with this show and to really explore it was this idea of, you know.
The sacrifice is coming, and that's what's beautiful to me about watching the performances in 10 is knowing Atticus and letting you both know that whole time, right. Knowing that this isn't something Montreaux will never be able to swallow, knowing that has to be kept from him. And just all of that is, to me, really interesting and something that was worth exploring.
Yeah, it's so funny, too, because when I think about the show and how it feels, part of what makes people feel uncomfortable is that on the one hand, we're being presented with things that are so powerful and that feel so sacred. These questions about what our families and our ancestors have sacrificed have given up, have done for us and what is now required of us, what, you know, be getting that book of names, that's like, no, there's more work to do.
This is now your job. All of that is so powerful and it feels like there's just all these black gods floating around this show. And I love it.
The other side of that, though, is this feeling where nothing is sacred.
The presentation of these stories is also this. Nothing is sacred vibe like Journey said earlier. Misha's kind of here to fuck us up. I do want me to talk a little bit about why nothing is sacred to her when it comes to art making and how that informs her storytelling.
Oh, I want to hear this.
I guess when I say nothing is sacred, what I mean is the only thing is to find the truth and keep digging for the truth. I think that we all lie to ourselves constantly. And so that's why it's like when you say something sacred, when you say history is sacred, I go, no, the lie you're telling is what you're holding above everything. Like, it can't be complicated because if it's complicated, then, you know, there were people who were fighting back.
There were people who were doing bad things in service of the abuse that they've received from the world. So it's like I guess what I'm saying, nothing is sacred. I'm going find the truth. And what you think is the truth might not be the truth. So next time find more truth and that truth can change. So change with that truth. Keep going for the thing. Stop going forward telling a story you want to tell yourself when you say that about the story, you want to tell yourself.
That's one of the things that keeps coming up for me in the idea of the sacred and also in the idea of sacrifice, because sacrifice is giving away the sacred.
Do we really understand what we lose when we sacrifice, when we give away the sacred? How does that affect the people who we sacrifice for? So many times in this storyline, we hear Montreaux talk about how much he gave up for Tick and Tick is very much saying throughout the show like, yes, this is my father and I love him.
But at the same time, like, it wasn't that good. You did a lot of sacrificing, but I still paid a price for what you sacrificed.
So when you talk about, like, the sacred in us being able to sort of. I guess decide what the secret is and what it means, how do we then think about the consequences of our sacrifices?
Well, I think now we're getting into a whole conversation about faith and all of that. Is that right? You know, I'm not a big religious person to what you just said. I simply go, what else are you going to do?
Hmm. That's how I feel. I go, if you don't decide what's sacred and decide what is worth sacrificing, what else are you doing? Like if you're not walking up to an altar to sacrifice yourself for something, what is your purpose? I mean, that is truly how I feel. I go, you are on this earth and you have to do something. So why wouldn't you try to do the best thing you could possibly do? The most important thing you can possibly do?
I love it. It's the same as like a hope is a discipline and despair is a privilege. Someone said that I can't remember exactly who it is, but it sits with me. Every time I think about anything, I'm just like, how dare I be from this long lineage of fighters and lovers and people who have only wanted and hope for the world to be better? How dare I say I'm too afraid to do something to make the world better off?
Is that why it's so important that the magic in this show have clear intention?
Yeah, I think the intention I think the other thing you need is a body. I think the body is so important and I think all of these things are very important to everything that we do. And your intention is one of the most important things, but doesn't mean anything if it's not backed up with action. If you have the completion of the spell is not just the incantation, it's not just the words. It's also in the action. And I think that to me is, you know, when you set intention, I was like, intention is only part of it, because unless you're doing something with that intention, what is manifesting.
Yes, we did want to ask you guys. I mean, everybody knows I'm the resident scaredy cat, but I've gotten a lot better. I've been watching totally scary things, Journey and Moesha.
Are you guys afraid of anything in the horror world? Like, are there things that you have to look away from, Jurnee? Were you able to watch every single scene of the show? Was there anything scary? Misha's afraid of nothing, but we're going to find something.
I am I'm not afraid of things like snakes or spiders or more. I'm afraid of the supernatural. So the ghosts and things like that.
Yeah, that that that was like when those actors came out of the hair and makeup trailer for episode three and like cats are hanging out and I mean, she's holding a baby.
I was like this.
What is wrong with Mitchell's imagination right now, like what is wrong with her brain?
I also remember the amount of times you asked me double check to make sure that the science was not real, that our emphasis on because we have we had consulted experts and you were like, I want to make sure I'm not.
I forgot about that.
Doing anything that might be a real exorcism right now. I totally forgot about that. Yeah. Listen, when I tell you I was in deep prayer, I was on the phone with my pastor and she didn't like she did not like the fact that I was doing an exorcism scene. She I mean, we had like rituals to like protect me when I tell you it was deep. I was not what I thought a script. I was like, OK, we go in there, we're doing this, you know, OK, we're going to do it.
I mean, I get the book and everything, but this is what we're doing.
So, OK, you know, again, she's asking you to do the things that will force you to grow, but make you very uncomfortable.
Well, guys, we don't want to let you go, but we have to apparently before you leave, we like to give our audience some references and recommendations for things that have inspired us, things that seem to work in conversation with the show.
In this case, people might need some things to read or listen to or cry to or watch to fill the Lovecraft sized void that will be in their lives.
Do you guys have anything, Jurnee, anything that you read or watch that you felt like really helped you with coming to understand Leidy or just anything that you would want to share with everybody to experience?
I relied heavily on the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks. I kept going back to it for so many reasons.
Man, the first thing I think of is people are going to need a big box of Kleenex. So, I mean, it's just it's just going to be rough in the paint.
It's definitely go hit different. That's the thing we've talked a lot about. Like, it's sad that it's so relevant and always so relevant. But, you know, we've been making this show for three years now and it's just going to hit different than it would have. Yeah, for sure. Fact it did for me.
Yeah, I would say that the thing you should watch is love craft season one.
I think we agree. I agree.
We agree. I love that. You know what?
You guys are the best. We love you. Thank you, Michelle. Thank you. Journey. Thank you. Thank you so much.
And now Shannon and I have a bunch of our own recommendations for the final installment of our final segment, Oh, of Love of Country Radio.
So, Shannon, what are some of the things that you feel like people absolutely need to watch or reference?
I mean, I've said it before. I'll say it again, Buffy. Yeah. Strong Buffy vibe. Yeah.
And the finale, definitely strong Buffy. Season five finale. Death is your gift vibe's, which you will get too soon because you are watching Buffy. And I'm so proud of you and I'm so happy.
I am almost done with the first season shamen that warms my heart.
It warms my heart. And we also we talked in the room when we were breaking the final episode about some of our favorite season finales and television ever. So I brought up the Americans, which is one of my favorite series finale is it's perfect in my opinion, and also very similar to Lovecraft country in terms of like a huge story that's being told that involves politics and all of these other things, but also just an excellent family drama. I also brought up The Leftovers as a great example of powerful season finales that stay with you forever.
Afua Richardson is the artist who drew DC Comics. Hyppolite It gives her a shout out in this episode and she's incredible. And there is an article called The Nuclear Family was a Mistake. It's a really interesting essay by David Brooks. And I also thought about that when watching this episode again. And I just started reading Randall Keenan. His collection of short stories called Let the Dead Bury Their Dead is really incredible and beautiful and spooky and black.
What else what do you have, Ashleigh?
I want everybody to watch arrival.
I want absolutely everybody to watch arrival, because I think that there's something being said that's really important and interesting in this series about time and the way it works forward and backwards at the same time where we find ourselves in that never ending circle and what it means to be on a never ending circle, which is part of the reason why I also wanted to suggest autobiography in five chapters, which is a really, really wonderful poem about this circular motion of healing and living at the same time and what that means and how we move along that circle in our lives and how we can change our lives within that never ending circle.
I love that poem and I want to leave everyone with this Toni Morrison quote that I only recently read. And it reminded me so much of the work we did on the show and the hope that I have for a future black creative's watching. This is from her Nobel lecture and literature in 1993. Is there no context for our lives, no song, no literature, no poem full of vitamins, no history connected to experience that you can pass along to help us start strong?
You are an adult. The old one. The wise one. Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created.
Passion is never enough. Neither is skill. But try for our sake and yours. Forget your name in the street. Tell us what the world has been to you and the dark places and in the light. Don't tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us beliefs, wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fears call you old woman blessed with blindness can speak the language that tells us what only language can how to see without pictures.
Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.
So on that note, thank you all so much for listening. It has been truly incredible.
This show is hosted by us. I'm Shannon Houston. And I'm Ashley C Ford.
This podcast was produced by HBO in conjunction with Pineapple Street Studios. Our executive producers are Gena Weiss Berman, Max Linsky and Barry Finkel. I Got an Education is our managing producer. Our lead producer is Josh Jupiter and our associate producers are Alexis Moore and Natalie Brenin. Our editor is Sprong Qaiser. And Marico Aqab is our engineer, original music by composer Amanda Jones.
If you like the show and you have a minute, you can review and rate this podcast via Apple podcast Spotify or anywhere else you might get your podcast.
It really helps people find the show. You can also stream the podcast on HBO and HBO, Max Shannon.
It's been a pleasure.
It is my honor to be able to come here every week and talk with you and talk with the people who listen to this podcast and have this great adventure among like minded comrades. Feels really fantastic.
It feels amazing. And I'm a little bit sad, but I'm also not that sad because I know that this isn't the end. I know that you and I are bonded for life now for life.
And we will go on to do other great things and have other adventures. And I can't wait to see what you're up to as you move on to all these exciting things that are happening. So thank you so much for being my co-host and my horror doula.
It's been my pleasure. It's been my pleasure. And there is no version of this where you don't get to know me any more. You want to talk about horror films, try to get away from me.
Yeah, we'll see how that goes for you. I love it.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.