Hippolyta Freeman discovers who she is during multi-dimensional travel.
In Lovecraft Country Season One Episode Seven, ” I am” directed by Charlotte Sieling, Hippolyta figures out she is a discoverer. In ” I am,” the show returns to 1950’s Chicago. During this review, I will focus on Hippolyta’s transformation into an empowered Black woman by falling into a portal created by Hiram Epstein’s machine.
Hippolyta falls through a purple wormhole, which reminds me of Alice in Wonderland and Doctor Who. She crashes into a planet with a UFO right in front of her. Two giant robots stalk towards Hippolyta, then there is a big white flash. Hippolyta lies naked on a floating black slab in a white room with all these tiny lights. She’s lying in the UFO. This location reminds of typical alien abduction stories where people find themselves nude in spaceships lying on medical slabs. These stories are usually about White people. Lovecraft Country is writing Black people into the UFO abduction fiction. Hippolyta panics when she sees both her wrists are cut open with weird purply cosmic looking stuff happening inside the opening.
She quickly dresses into a one-piece work suite. Hippolyta figures out there is a force field surrounding her. Then the doors open, revealing a tall Black woman with an afro wearing a Tron suit. Hippolyta questions the tall Black alien. The alien only replies,” I am,” and ” You’re not a prisoner.” She leaves Hippolyta trapped in the room for weeks. The Afro woman alien returns. She tells Hippolyta that she is not trapped. If Hippolyta voices a place she wants to go, she will leave the room. As a joke, she shouts that she wants to be dancing on stage with Josephine Baker. In a snap, Hippolyta finds herself in the 1920’s Paris on stage with Josephine Baker.
During the whole performance, Hippolyta stares starstruck at Baker. She can’t dance. At the end of the performance, Hippolyta refuses to take her top off when the other dancers do. All the French performers are mad at her since she messed up the choreography. Baker sweetly tells Hippolyta to “come correct tomorrow” and “loosen up” since she is no longer in the USA. Throughout the next couple of weeks or months, Hippolyta embraces the more sexually free France and the nightlife of a Josephine Baker dancer, including the bisexual bar scene. One night, Josephine talks to her about how she feels like a cosmic star that has already died. She confides to Hippolyta that the other dancers don’t notice when she feels depressed. Hippolyta admits to Josephine that being in Paris, the city of lights, makes her feel free. Before, she felt dead inside. Hippolyta realizes that she was acting like a Black woman that White people wanted her to be. Hippolyta has been metaphorically lynched by a society that drains her of all of her creativity and power. During the “Josephine Baker” trip, Hippolyta figures out that she has been living somebody else’s life. The first step to true empowerment.
The next two trips reveal even more about the real Hippolyta. When she screams that she is Hippolyta, she is thrown into a Black Amazon warrior training camp somewhere in Africa. In training, Hippolyta feeds into her anger at White people for controlling her life. She excels so much that she becomes a general. Hippolyta leads women warriors into battle to fight Confederate soldiers. The Black women warriors destroy the White men. Hippolyta loses all of her anger and wants to see her husband.
She wakes up in bed with her George whose dead, but in this reality lives. Hippolyta tells George how she used to be adventurous and confident, but slowly shrunk herself to fit into her societal role. She married George because she thought he would support her bravery, but instead, he forced her to shrink further. He wanted her to be the typical housewife waiting at home while he risks his life. George apologizes for his selfish behavior. He tells Hippolyta to be as big as she can be. Hippolyta declares that she is a “discoverer.” Both George and Hippolyta travel to yet another dimension. They land a spaceship that looks a lot like Diana’s drawings onto this bright planet. The two are now dressed in spacesuits that look like the ones from 1950’s science fiction shows. The couple spends their time studying the planet and meeting adorable aliens. Hippolyta has finally broken free of the submissive role that White men want all women and Black people to fit into.
Suddenly Hippolyta floats in purple outer space with the Black woman alien with an Afro. Now that Hippolyta has become her true self, she can join this alien society. The Afroed alien can permanently change Hippolyta to live as an empowered Black woman in a culture that embraces her. She asks if she can go back to Earth if they don’t change her, the alien confirms she can go home. The discoverer feels like Earth is not home because the United States could never fit a Black woman with a “big” mind. She becomes pure light. Hippolyta travels through space as different star constellations that form the flapper and then the warrior. She turns solid again when she realizes that her daughter Diana needs her. But we never know if Hippolyta is sent back home because the camera travels through the wormhole but closes back in the room where the portal opening machine is located. Atticus falls on the ground, but we never see Hippolyta reappear.
Hopefully, next week we will see if Hippolyta returns home for her daughter Diana or stays in that alternate dimension.