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You're tuning in to Lovecraft Country Radio. There's some strong language and spoilers ahead. Buckle up. I want you to show him more of the love I know within you before it's too late. How many times I got to tell you, I don't need your advice when it comes to raising my son. You might not be yours. We felt that a long time ago, you fucking mouth. I wouldn't speak to you might be able to girl, Ashleigh.
I, I, I. OK, so it's a lot.
It's a lot. Let's take a moment to acknowledge what we just listened to.
The thing is, it's a tale as old as time, isn't it? Papa was a roll. Please cut that. Don't let me down. I was. Yes. All this time Papa was a Rolling Stone or in this case, poppies were rolling stuff like, we don't know, plural.
I did not see that coming, Shannon. It happened. But I didn't know. I didn't even suspect. What did we just watch?
We got to get into this. Let's get right in. Breakdown episode to Whitey's on the Moon.
Welcome to Lovecraft Country Radio.
I'm Ashley C. Ford, podcast host, writer and horse enthusiast.
And I'm Shannon Houston, a writer for the HBO series Lovecraft Country and Mother to Three Free Black Children.
Hey, man, today we're talking about all the themes Episode two brought up for us, religion and power, legacy and lineage and surveillance.
And of course, we'll wrap things up with the references you may have missed.
All right. So we pick up where the first episode left off. Atticus, George and Leidy are in this huge ass mansion. Right.
Atticus has just been told welcome home with this huge ass mansion. I love it. Right. And we find out in this huge ass mansion that Atticus is by blood, a member of this family cult group of warlocks, the sons of Adam.
And these white folks were mad as hell. And they did the thing that white folks do where first they're like, oh, no, you're totally welcome here. We're going to show you that we're mad as hell in more subtle ways over time.
Yes. And we discussed this last week. Right. White folks are always mad. There's a lot for them to be mad about. Let's start with just breaking down who the fuck the sons of Adam are and also like how the power of religion is so crucial in this episode.
So what do we know about the sons of Adam and who are the key players? We are introduced to this creepy guy named William, who doesn't seem to be a son of Adam, but is like kind of the butler, but kind of not a close friend of Christina. And then he teaches us about the history of this weird family, which now we know Atticus as a part of.
So we have the the elder elder elder Titus Braithwaite, who is long gone, and then Samuel Braithwaite, played by Tony Goldwyn. And we'll get into that later. Is the papa the head of the house now, Samuel Braithwaite. What do they want? Why do they exist? So the short answer is kind of in that quote that Atticus gives us. The KKK isn't calling themselves grand wizards anymore. Right. Which, of course, they're not the KKK because the KKK are poor white people and these are rich, angry white people.
So there's a difference. It's really different guys. It's very different. But they want more power. And they also want this other strange thing, which is a return to Eden, not necessarily in the way that we might think, but in the way that they perceive Eden as this true paradise where man reigned supreme. And so they use especially the book of Genesis. But the whole Bible is kind of a tool and it influences many of their rituals and their ideas and a lot of creepy and exciting ways.
Yes, it is very creepy. The minute you put yourself, I think, in Atticus's shoes, whenever he's around the sounds of Adam, it's like I would just get out personally.
We also have this person who I also think should just get out and won't.
But Christina Christina is the daughter of Samuel, the ringleader of the sons of Adam. And Christina has these really interesting daddy issues.
It's this thing where she continues to serve a person who she very clearly does not believe in. I think that is very clear, wanting to impress, but not believing the same thing this person believes, which I think is a dynamic that a lot of people get into with their parents.
But it is on display here. We've seen her before. She showed up in the first episode. And she was driving that beautiful silver car that potentially saved the asses of Atticus, Letty and George as they drove closer to love cross-country, just like I love that you brought up the car because I'm obsessed with the car and I love that you mentioned that she saved them in Episode one, because I think that kind of speaks to the weirdness of Kristina.
Like, yes, she saved you in episode one. She kind of sort of seems maybe on your side in episode two, but then not but then is and every time this character comes up. I notice people have this reaction where they want to hate her and feel like they should probably hate her, but there's something really fucking cool about Christina and it feels blasphemous to do this. But I feel like we should take like a couple of minutes to just talk about why the fuck is Christina so cool?
What is this woman? What is the attraction? And also, like all of just unpacking our complicated relationship to this fucking crazy white woman.
I agree. I saw her save them in the first episode. And it's this thing, right, where it's like, I want to trust you.
I don't know yet. I don't know what's going on here yet. Something makes me want to trust you. And the part of me that wants to trust you, I don't necessarily trust. And it's messing with me, right?
Yeah. It's so interesting, too. Like when I was thinking about Christina and what my reaction to her a lot of time is like. She's stunning. You know, the outfits, the frickin dresses. I mean, she's no lady, but she carries herself in a way that is attractive. And I started really interrogating that, like, what is attractive about it. She's fucking wild.
And there's a reason.
It's not even just that she's wild. It's also that she looks good doing it.
She does. She looks good doing it. Like I'm like, you know what? Maybe I would help birth more animals if when I did, I was wearing such a stunning outfit.
You just need that shirt and those heels and you just run through a strange farm like town and you deliver the baby.
And you show up in times when people need you, when perhaps your baby pig vampire pets are about to hurt, then right on your white horse.
That is giving me strong Shadowfax vibes, by the way, leg as a Lord of the Rings fan, I was just like, is that Shadowfax?
And I also couldn't help but feel like there's something about a white woman running in on a white horse like as winter dies, that it's like this is beautiful in a sense, but also doesn't look like something that's going to necessarily be available or helpful to me personally.
And I feel like that feeling that you're talking about, do I trust her? Do I trust the part of myself that wants to trust her? It's like. Right. That's what's so interesting about her, too. And like those feelings that come about. And I think you just know instinctively this help, any help comes at a cost. Right? Right. And I feel like that's what we're feeling. But I think the other attraction to Christina in reality is like she is questioning the patriarchy and challenging it, and that patriarchy is baked into the sons of Adam.
And we see how obsessed they are with bloodline and the men in the family and the women aren't invited to dinner and all of these things. And what's Christina Braithwaite doing here? So all of that energy, I think, makes her more interesting. And then we have this awesome scene where she faces off with what you referred to, I believe, as Tony Goldwyn's white supremacist.
Dawn of time. Just for a moment. Everything is well as it should be. From God to man to woman, down to the loneliest wriggling creature.
It was an environment. Let's discuss Fitzgerald Grant in his new role of Samuel Braithwaite, white supremacist, warlock extraordinaire. Do you still want to sleep with him? Yes or no? Go. No, no. All right.
Not after seeing that face. I can't do it personally. He went all dead in the eyes.
He does a great job, I feel like in this of seeming soulless, like just soulless. And it shows like in his face almost that like true commitment to white supremacy is not about hat like adding good things to your life.
It's about the absence of things. It's about what's missing. It's about like something just blank and numb.
And one of the first things he says, you know, directly to Atticus is asking him to repeat the verse of the Bible Genesis to nine.
But I remember having this feeling like, of course, the first thing he brought up was the Bible. Oh, yeah.
Like, of course, it's let's start from the foundation of I am informed by an infallible word.
Right. And you are not right.
And we know that obviously Christians have a long history of this and not just Christians. It's true for other religions, but the specific relationship between black Americans and Christianity is deeply dark and troubling and also beautiful and powerful. You know, so many kinds of things. But what Samuel Braithwaite is doing is reading the Bible according to what he would like to see in the Bible. Right. And I think in a way, we're all guilty of that. When you go to church and when you are first reading and first learning about religion and Christ, you can't help but put your own influence in it.
So there's something very human about that. And then there's something very white supremacist about that.
I read this as saying white men could have been immortal and had all power and paradise if Eve hadn't fucked us over and if we hadn't ended up on Earth surrounded by black people that we brought over slave ships. So their ridiculous idea is that Eden, is this key to immortality? Not technically ridiculous, because you are taught that in church there was this and then the fall happened, there was a paradise and we lost it and we lost it because a woman sought out knowledge, which is why Christine has a problem, because she's not quite buying that Eve is the devil and therefore she can't come to the dinner table.
Right. And then there's also this idea about who is disposable, like when we think about the ritual. Yes.
And again, flesh and blood and the sharing of flesh and blood. And then the concept of this flesh and blood is actually useful for us to gain more power. And the idea is that Atticus can die at the end, right? Like we suck him dry. We we take out the blood that we need. We use his actual body for our own gain and then we get rid of it.
What I like about that scene and what it made me think of is not just like the strangeness that we're giving to you in Lovecraft country of like a strange ritual where a black body is disposable, but also how that speaks to, like, literally everything. So many images that we consume, so many horror films that we love have perpetuated this violent myth of the black body as disposable. I'm also getting that vibe from the scene, and I don't think we talked about that directly in the writers room.
But now that I'm seeing it, I'm like, Errol, that's right. Y'all will just suck us dry, take our fuckin music and do what you want. Like it feels bigger than just that ritual. Yep.
You got a hard degree in me, OK? Yeah, because you see this constantly and you not only see it perpetuated, you see it defended constantly.
I mean, if you think about the problem we're having in this country right now with police violence, it's really about the fact that there's some people in this country who think it's OK, that if some of us die in pursuit of safety for them and the people they know, it's not really about everyone being safe. It's about safety for me and the people I know.
Right. Which is what Samuel is saying. This isn't about everybody returning to Eden. This is me and my white friends getting back to where we belong. That's what makes black. People disposable because you don't give a fuck about us anyway, and it's not about everybody in America being safe, and that reminds me a little bit, too, of that Toni Morrison interview where she's talking about America and the myth of Eden and the idea of like, oh, well, it was this beautiful place that was totally unoccupied and it was just like waiting there for us.
And so Christopher Columbus and all his buddies, we just like came and we discovered this paradise. And yes, some people had to die. But the cost of freedom. Right. Like that cost somehow never includes white people having to pay that cost. And the same thing with this ritual, like the cost of the black family, the white people, they don't think that they have to pay for this freedom anymore than cutting out the liver, which is a cost.
But it's like in general, they're like, no, the people who are going to die right now are the black people. And I am proud of Lovecraft country because at the end, a lot of people die. That whole logic is gone. And we do lose a family member, but we lose more of them than us. So, hey, I'm into it.
You stand there looking at the ads, make it take a black flag. OK, we got we lost one, and that's messed up.
But at the end of the day, the end of.
How many did you lose?
And you don't have to feel bad because they were about to kill an innocent black man. They went. So that's what they get.
That's what it is. Play dumb games when dumb prizes.
Absolutely. I'm very proud of us. So this ritual scene is more than just the dialogue and the action. Underneath it all, we have Jill Scott Herron's Whity on the Moon playing. And we talked about this a lot in the writers room. This ritual is just an example of white people having these ambitions that are fucking out of this world.
We thought about this as kind of like what we were just talking about. This ritual is an example of white people having these ambitions that are out of this world. Right, because take away the white supremacy of it. Going back to Eden is kind of a cool idea. If somebody told me that they were working on a spell and at the end of that spell, there would be a return to eat. And I could totally understand why you would want to pursue that.
Going to the moon is a really interesting, exciting idea. I totally get why a person would want to pursue that. But for America, every time something wonderful and exciting is happening, every time we unpack what was really happening to get Whitey to the moon or to get quote unquote freedom or to win a war, we always start finding these stories of black people getting fucked over. To me, that's what Jill Scott Heron is talking about. Like, who the fuck cares if we're on the moon?
If I'm broke here, who the fuck cares about American progress if America is literally killing us in the streets over here?
There are a ton of unveilings in this episode, one of the biggest ones having to do with Atticus and his poor little baby lineage, because who the hell knows where that particular line splinters off and in which direction? We don't know now.
So Atticus finds information out from Uncle George about his mom and her mother. Right. I remember George saying, you know, I remember her telling me something and Atticus being lying. Huh?
Like she told you something. He's like, but my mom never talked to us about her people.
Yeah. She never talked to us about her family. So you automatically get Atticus sort of being like, you know, I know a lot is going on right now, but what was that?
Yeah, and these family secrets are a big part of the problem for our characters. Again, it's not just the monsters. It's not just the Samuel Braithwaite's of the world and the Christina's and the creepy Wil's. It's these secrets that they have kept from each other. Why is Dora being more open about her family and their history with Uncle George than Montreaux or Atticus? Why is Atticus learning this second hand when he's a grown man? And there in a moment of trauma and trouble, like why do we wait as family members to deliver this kind of information that could actually be useful?
Uncle George seems almost as interested and invested in the family history as everybody else, if not more. And his curiosity becomes hugely important because that's how they find out that Titus had used the book of names to make his body more powerful and that Atticus has a reservoir of that power. And then we have the white family being like obsessed with all of that, obsessed with the blood and and cherishing bloodlines more than any. Thing else, which actually like our heroes, you know, they do this cool thing where they use that information to their benefit, Atticus kicks all the white people out of the room, which is what you must do, people.
This is what you do when you enter a room full of white people. You take a seat and then you kick them all out. Right. This is a great lesson. Yes, but point one. But then we see we have our our black family talking about bloodlines and who's related to who and who's really bonded by this blood. So, of course, the theme that we listen to at the beginning of the episode, we learn of what like is it a potential love triangle between George Montreaux and Dora, who we saw in that fantasy scene with George?
We did. There's a question of who is the daddy? Who is the pappy? Who is Atticus's real father. And there is like I mean, you tell me how it plays to me. It's like it's Maury Povich, but it's so much stranger and darker than that.
And I love like that thing that's happening because bloodlines have always been corrupted.
OK, like you go back and I know a little bit my husband is such a history buff and especially like in Russia and stuff like that, I don't know.
But one thing that he talks to me about all the time is the fact that so many of these families like these babies, that where everything was about like the royal bloodline and this conversation, you know, happening between people, you realize that it's not really about the protection of the bloodline. It's the protection about the story of the bloodline. If you can control the story of the bloodline, you actually don't really have to worry about whether or not somebody is not of your bloodline.
And the only time you can really tell is when that royal blood mixes with some dominant brown or black blood.
And now you can no longer control the story of the bloodline. I have chills and I think it's so interesting the secrets that people decide to keep.
So while these characters aren't saying a whole lot to each other about these secrets and about these stories, we're learning so much about them because of their obsession with the bloodline. Yes, the obsession with the bloodline tells its own story. Yeah.
And I wish we had a separate podcast to just talk about what you just fucking said. Again, the obsession with the blood is more an obsession with the story. And the obsession with the story is about like controlling history through stories, which then made me think of like Atticus and his love for these pulp stories. And why does it matter that H.P. Lovecraft was a racist? Well, because the people who control the stories control our obsession with what a hero looks like.
And to tell that story the way we want to tell it, we have to have secrets. So in the writers room, we were thinking about, OK, how do we get some of these secrets out? Because our characters aren't going to tell each other shit. So we came up with the idea of a spell that would reveal things about them. And that spell is taking place also in a really fucked up way in this house where they're being surveilled.
Yes, surveillance, because if you will remember, our three heroes were in separate rooms in the mansion.
Letty has her room, Atticus has his room, George has his room. And as they are in those rooms and preparing for dinner or whatever is to come next, they all three simultaneously experience hallucinations under the spell that have been set up for them. George in his encounters. Dora And they dance. Yes.
And they talk. And it's actually this really beautiful, lovely moment that made me think and I'm going to tell you this right now, Shannon, actually, I'm going to tell you this.
It made me think in that moment George is going to do you I thought he's going to die in that moment because he the way he engaged with her, this like tacit acceptance in the moment of the delusion and then of the fact that it is not real.
And to me, that kind of acceptance in a moment like a hallucination or of, you know, I'm going to enjoy this while it's here, but I know it's not real.
It feels like people who are really close to the other side.
Yeah. To me. So there's that Letty is seeing Atticus. They're having a conversation. She's talking to him about the same prayer that she recited in the cabin and about her fear of abandonment, telling him about how she grew up. They are having a moment, promises to never abandon her said.
It went over that border to house every day. At first, like a prayer to come back. They want to remember disco. They start making out, it's good, but she's also like, it's a little fast and then he's got a snake. Yes, this speaks to a lot of themes, but one of the themes being that, you know, maybe Dick is evil, right? That's that's one way to read it.
That's one way to I'm not saying it's the correct way.
I'm saying that if you lay out the ways in which a person could read the scene, that one would be somewhere near the top five for sure.
Yes. And obviously inspired by religion and yes. Snake in the garden. And if Eve only hadn't listened to the snake, what could have been? So Letty's being influenced by the sons of Adam and all their crazy shit and that crazy painting with Eve and Adam and the snake. Right. And I also I remember being really uncomfortable when we broke the scene in the writers room because. I was very protective of our black characters in a way that made absolutely no sense, considering what I knew the show had to do.
I felt like anything mean happening to them. I would cross my arms and Michelle would be like, oh, God, Shannon, like, can you stop it? I remember being like, I don't like the white people watching. That's so gross. That's awful. That's traumatic. And she was like, yeah, that's that's the point. And I'm like, but Letty is unpacking and she's baring her soul and she's talking about her mommy issues and her God issues.
And it's not even real. And then this fake thing comes out. And I was like had that feeling. And this is a feeling that I had in the room every single day. And that's why this job will go down in history as one of the most like, powerful experiences of my life. But the feeling that I always had was just of great discomfort, but also interest. I couldn't figure out what to do with that feeling. Like when we started really breaking the scene down and the layers of spirituality, religion, the twenty third psalm, a budding romance, family secrets, is it real or not?
And then all of that's happening and fucking white people are watching because it's all a spell anyway, like the robbery of the intimate moment. The surveillance of that intimate moment made me so uncomfortable, even though I knew it was very real, even though I know it's true. And even though I know that part of our job on the show is to portray what really happened and, you know, let the audience sit with that. It was so uncomfortable and it made me so sad.
And it still does when I watch the scene and I'm like, I fucking hate you guys. I hate that we're watching this beautiful moment turn ugly. I hate that Dora isn't real, that it's this fantasy that's so beautiful and so powerful, but that they're being watched while it's happening. It's a violation. It's a violation among violations. And I still get mad about it. And it had to be done and we had to present it that way.
And when they come out of the room, you can see they have been through a trauma. And yes, I know how the story ends and I know all the great things that our heroes are going to get to do. But it's just like it fucking hurts to this day. It hurts in a way that is also interesting to me that I want to like, keep working on and keep studying and then and keep having all of these conversations.
And then we have Atticus's hallucinations and it's really violent.
But it's also the one I feel like, well, Atticus is oddly the only person who in the moment is interacting with the other person in the room as if he's somewhere else.
Like I feel like George is still very aware of where he is in terms of like the moment in time.
Right? Leidy The same way it's that it's this moment in time.
But Atticus, it feels like goes somewhere else. And it's not even necessarily that. I'm like, oh, it's like he's having like a PTSD flashback. Like, it's not that simple. It's definitely more so.
Seems like he just has a thinner line between reality and his memory than the other two.
Yes. I love that you said that because it's also like, again, haunting around this whole episode, which is haunting around the first episode is this question what is reality? And when you can't quite put your finger on it, it's so easy to be haunted by it, to be violated by it. And I think you're right that Atticus has a particular relationship to his trauma and his past and his ghosts that our other two characters don't have. They have their own relationships, but his does feel a little bit different.
Some of you may have caught this and some of you may have not. But in that gorgeous opening dream sequence of Episode one, there's a woman telling him to suffer, suffer. So and I do just quickly want to return to this concept of the white gays and how troubling it is and how upsetting it is when they come out of their rooms after having these hallucinations and they realize that they were being manipulated and that they were being surveilled and they were being watched.
There's something here about how the white gaze impacts, derails, misunderstands, influences, the black narrative. And, you know, when George pulls Lettie and Atticus together and he's like, basically, don't let them define you from happening.
Something bad. You know, you are. And you even a better man. Don't you ever let them make you question yourself? That's not who you are. Whatever was happening is not real. There's some truth to that. And then there's something real that happened in those hallucinations that I think our characters do want to unpack. But they also kind of can't because they can't separate their real feelings from the impact of this gaze. I love just getting the audience to think more about what our world, our art, our history looks like.
The more we distance ourselves from the white gaze, white surveillance and white influence if we can. It's a hard task, but I think there's something to working towards that.
I absolutely agree. I think everything is working towards that. That's kind of the issue with the white gays as it stands, because the white gays isn't just about the fact that when you look at me, you don't necessarily have, like, the cultural knowledge or, you know, maybe even the social knowledge to really know how to interact with me on the level of someone who I would have grown up with in the same neighborhood, who shares my background and shares my skin color like, yeah, you aren't going to interact with me that way, especially not initially, nor should you.
The problem like and this is for white folks, the problem is that because of your ingrained life and indoctrination or for the most part, the overwhelming majority consuming white media being in community with just white folks going to white schools, going to white colleges like living lives that are just incredibly homogenous in doing that.
And you're not a curiosity about black folks.
You are creating a situation where the minute you walk into a room, the minute you enter the conversation, I'm already thinking about what I'm going to have to change and what you're not going to understand and how that's going to affect the way I tell my story.
To be perfectly honest, I don't think it's necessarily true that black folks are, you know, like secretive about trauma and stuff more than anybody else. I do think the reasoning around it comes from the white gays and has been that traditionally it ends with feeling like my story has been exploited or it has been flattened to fit a narrative that makes sense with what they've already been taught. Like, it's really hard to want to tell the truth to people who don't actually want to learn anything new.
Oh, yes, I love it. And then the other thing that's happening is like our characters are trying to get away from the white gays, right. They finally find Montreaux. And that's a hilarious scene in and of itself because he doesn't really want to be found and doesn't need their fucking.
Yeah. What the hell are you doing in here to save you from damselfish from me. You wrote for me to come. We spoke to five damn years ago, fight me on everything. I think you were stupid because I wrote a letter under duress. You don't need to talk to him like that. Talk to my son. And hell, I want to. Can we get the fuck out of here, please?
But they find him and they're trying to flee and we think that they're going to escape and of course, the car crashes into this invisible force and we are reminded that white people are always watching. They cannot escape. And after our heroes have been captured again in the final moments of the episode, Atticus literally brings the house down during this epic ceremony. And we see one of my favorite characters in the history of television, Hannah, his ancestor, who is saving him.
I have a lot of thoughts to me about Hannah.
I always talk to me about her.
I mean, first of all, can we just can we just give it up for black women, black moms one time? Just love it. I love the idea of you're in a moment of distress and we've seen one character in a moment of distress call on the Lord, and there's nothing wrong with that. And then we see another character in this moment of distress. And Atticus isn't calling on his ancestor because he doesn't know that he even can do that.
But there she is. Hannah is there and she is the person who survived the first great fire in this lodge, which was during the time of Titus Braithwaite. And she ran into the forest pregnant, an enslaved woman, and she survived. This person seems really important. Why wasn't her memory kept alive in this family? Why don't we know more about her? We'll have to keep watching to find out. But maybe we can talk a little bit about, like this relationship between black families and memory and the stories that we passed down.
Absolutely. You know, I have talked a little bit online about the fact that when my grandmother passed away, she left me a journal where she had written out a lot of her story as a child, things that she had never mentioned to me before. And my grandma talked to me about everything, hunting like more than I wanted to be talked to about, I promise you.
But we had this moment before she died where she told me that she would leave me something like that. And I didn't really believe her because she doesn't talk about her life.
And that is not uncommon for a lot of my folks who have black grandparents that they don't talk a whole lot about their parents or their past, except for a few stories here, there that they repeat over and over and over.
This episode really made me think about, like the idea of having or not having memories and what that does to your story.
One of the things that happens early in the episode is like some weird memory loss. Yes.
Like not being able to remember the danger you were just in because now you're exceedingly comfortable with like, actually it's a spell.
But to me, it's this idea, right, that like if you get to a certain point and I think this is a dream for a lot of people and especially people who have dealt with racialized trauma.
Is that if you get to a certain level or point of comfort, you will forget the bad thing. Yes.
That it will actually be them. Yes, but there's something about tech that he does not forget.
Yes. And he looks crazy. Yes. To the other characters in this time period. It's like he's ruining their fun. George has a frickin library full of limited edition first edition literature that he's dying to get his hands on Letty's wardrobe, which I just feel like we should discuss in every podcast episode, because every episode her wardrobe is insane. But this one is on another level, like they're having fun in a weird way. You know, they know that it's not necessarily safe here, but there's this levity and then there's this, like you could say, angry black man who's like, no, we need to be on guard.
There are monsters around and they're like monsters. So there's definitely something interesting happening there. And I love this story that you shared about your grandmother, because I do think that that speaks directly to what the show is trying to say about how we raise our children, what we keep from them in the name of family secrets or protection and what isn't really protection at all. Again, only George knows about Hannah. Atticus doesn't know about the George Montreaux Dora entanglement.
What are we robbing our children of and future generations of when we don't pass down all the stories? Who knows who Atticus might have been if he had known about Hannah? Who knows if they would even be in this situation? And there's this other moment. This is what I wanted to talk about earlier about the hallucinations, because I think this also speaks to what you're talking about, about like suppressing certain trauma in the family for the good of the family.
And I love this scene where George pulls Lettie and Atticus in and he tells Atticus, just as Atticus is about to say something about his vision, something happened in the war. And George kind of cuts him off and he says, you were a good boy and you're an even better man. And I remember loving that scene so much when we talked about it in the writers room. And also, of course, we knew what was going to happen to George.
So we wanted to, like, get you all feeling great about what a great parental figure George is. How dare you? How dare you? Yes. So that was definitely intentional. But when I look at the scene now, I also am like, there's a danger here because Atticus is actually about to share a little bit about what happened in the war, maybe. And George is actively suppressing that traumatic experience. The intention being, I want you to get through this.
I don't want you to be basically so fucked up over what happened that we don't survive whatever is about to happen. So, again, it's about protecting this person. But I also think now that I have seen it again, that George is doing it because he doesn't want to answer any questions about the vision he just had. Yes, I. I love George, but I'm like, this is bad parenting because you're trying to hide things and you're teaching this person in your life that that's OK.
And that's what we do to each other in general. Yes. In general, the things that people most don't want to talk about are the things that they don't want to talk about their experience with.
It's really the fact that if you talk about it, then I should talk about it and I don't want to talk about it and don't actually want to put up the boundary to say I don't want to talk about it, which is a different way of making myself vulnerable. And it's also the thing that keeps us, I think, as a people most often from being able to fully trust ourselves, because so much of how we get affirmation of what we've seen and what we experience in a sick, racist society is by turning to people in the community and having to basically ask them like, this happens.
Right? Right. And you need people who can say, look, this happens. And it is a thing that has been happening for a long time.
And I think that, unfortunately, we have a lot of people who haven't had the opportunity to have that knowledge passed on to them and they struggle with not trusting themselves. You know, I read something the other day that said, you know, you live in a society when in order to become healthy, you have to unlearn everything they gave you.
Yes. And I think about that here, which is that if we don't have the infant.
Asian, which is an opportunity to unlearn what society is telling us and the story that they tell us about us, if we don't have the information from our ancestors and our elders about the truth and what really happened, it is really easy for us to be confused and caught up in this sick society trying to unlearn while also having to live here.
You need somebody who can remind you, somebody who can put their hand on your shoulder and say, when you look over there and you see that, I see it, too. Yes.
And I think the inclination can be to shut down, to protect and to keep those secrets. As a parent. I understand that. But the results of that shutting down can be more destructive than we think. And that's kind of what our characters are about to start grappling with. And we end on this like I don't even know this woman. It's a terrible moment, a terrible, terrible, beautiful, terrible, beautiful and terrible. That's a good that's about it, right?
Yes. That's how you would describe the feeling of this show.
And I can't wait to see what happens next episode. We're going to leave you guys with some references and recommendations. Ashleigh, I would like you to commit to starting to watch Buffy the Vampire.
Do you want that from me? I would like and you can make me commit to something, too. But I would like that for you, because part of the reason I said that is because this episode reminds me of Buffy and a lot of ways, like creepy rituals, white people and kind of sexy hoods, monsters and a lot of magic. I mean, again, Buffy is a lot of things and the show has a lot of things. But I'm like, there's a vibe here that I know you would appreciate.
So we can I won't put you on the spot now, but just think about making that commitment 100 percent.
One hundred percent.
I love it. So we have Buffy Vibes. There's the house on the borderland because it's the book that George realizes opens the secret library and he's talking about it with Dora. Obviously, the book of Genesis, the story of creation and man's fall. You might want to peruse that one again. Paradise Lost. I thought of because of this like twisty relationship to religion and the story of Eve I love. What else should we leave our audience with Whitey on the moon.
The video I just got here. And if you haven't already encountered it, check it out.
If you haven't cried yourself to sleep lately, go listen to River by Leon Bridges.
Everybody loves a little Leon Bridges Lucifer by Charles Bradley, which is a fantastic song. There's so much happening here with religion and the idea of like the serpent and the devil and stuff. And it's a really, really gorgeous, fun soul song.
Yes. I'll throw in a couple of websites that I love. I've mentioned some of the writers that I'm familiar with from one website, Race Baiter and also the Black Youth Project. Those are two websites that influenced my work as a writer and also really influenced my work on the show.
I actually really like race baiter. Yeah, so excited for people to check that out.
Shannon, that's our show for the week. Who we did it. I can't believe that we are just on episode two.
It's wild to me that we're just on episode two. There's so much more to talk about it. I'm so excited to keep talking.
Yeah. Thank you so much for listening. The show is hosted by us. I'm Shannon Houston. And I'm Ashley Sifford.
This podcast was produced by HBO in conjunction with Pineapple Street Studios are executive producers are Jenna Weiss Berman, Max Linsky and Barry Finckel. Again, initiatory is our managing producer. This episode's lead producer is Josh Jupiter and our associate producers are Alexis Moore and Natalie Brenin. Our editors are Maggie Sprong, Cayzer and Josh Gwinn. Noriko 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 will be back next week for Episode three, which premieres on HBO and streams on HBO Max on August 30th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. See you guys. See you guys next week.