After losing her best friend Emmett Till, Diana Freeman battles a curse alone.
Lovecraft Country Season One Episode Eight” Jig-a-Bobo,” directed by the show’s creator Misha Green deals with the real-life lynching of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till. For those who do not know, Till was originally from Chicago but visited his relatives in the Mississippi Delate region. While shopping at a local grocery store, he spoke to a young White woman named Carolyn Bryant. Till was accused of merely whistling at Bryant. Her husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milman abducted the fourteen-year-old Black boy. The men mutilated and beat him up. They shot Till in the head, then sunk his body in the Tallahatchie River. His body was found three days later. Till’s mother, Mamie Till Bradley, held a public open-casket funeral in Chicago to bring attention to the monstrous nature of lynching. “Jig-a-Bobo” starts with Diana, Atticus, Leti, Montrose, and Ruby in a long line in front of Roberts Temple Church in Christ, waiting to view young Emmett Till’s body.
Diana Freeman is left to fend for herself in “Jig-a-Bobo” even though she’s facing enormous trauma. Black women and girls are often forgotten in these narratives of lynching and police shootings. Overwhelmed, Diana runs away from Till’s funeral. At first, the adults all go out to find the teenage girl but soon become wrapped up in their drama.
Meanwhile, one of the Sons of Adam’s leaders, Captain Seamus Lancaster, and a fellow police officer harass Diana for information about her mother, Hippolyta. They found one of her comic books near the multi- dimensional traveling machine. Captain Lancaster curses Diana by spitting on her face. The teenage girl runs to Montrose’s apartment but has a meltdown when her uncle refuses to tell her what happened to her Mom. Diana locks herself in the bathroom. She switches to tennis shoes and puts on a baseball cap. The baseball cap reminds of me of Jackie Robinson, who protected Atticus in his dreams. Diana notices that a copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin cover shifted from a nice picture of a black and white girl playing together to one with a monstrous, racist Black girl caricature smashing the White girl’s head into a mirror. The book flies off the shelf. Diana climbs out of the bathroom window. Montrose comes into the bathroom, but it’s too late. His niece has escaped.
Diana’s monsters are invisible to everybody else. Two Black girl caricature demons with nails like claws chase her around Chicago. Only Diana can see the demons. During a day when the Emmett Till’s lynching is visible to the whole world, young girls like Diana’s pain is invisible. Captain Seamus Lancaster’s curse is meant to kill the youngest Freeman. The police slowly lynch Diana, so not even her family notices the horror attacking her. She is left to protect herself.
The teenager runs to the Winthrop house, but nobody can help her there. Leti can’t see the monstrous, racist caricatures that are stalking Diana. When Diana starts choking, unable to breathe like George Lloyd, Leti tells her to drink a glass of water. The reporter is so wrapped up in trying to keep Atticus and her unborn baby son safe; she discounts the fact that White racist society is dangerous for Black girls. When Montrose walks in on Diana, whacking around a metal pipe to fend off the racist demons, he holds her down. Even her uncle, a gay man in danger from his community and White society, can’t see the caricature demons. Montrose asks what’s wrong as Diana’s arm is bleeding from the demon girl’s nails scratching her. Diana demonstrates how vital the “Say her name” campaign is in the Black Lives Matter movement.
The multi-eyed monsters called shoggoths from the first few episodes of Lovecraft Country come back in “Jig-a-Bobo.” At the end of the episode, Captain Lancaster and other Chicago police officers shoot up the Winthrop home because they want to find Hippolyta’s orrery. One of the police officers turns his gun on Atticus. A shoggoth burst out of the ground killing all the police present. The monster roars at Atticus and Leti, but it rubs against him when he places his hand on the creature. Does the shoggoth now favor Atticus because he is related to Christine? Or because of the protection spell, his cousin taught him? Perhaps the shoggoth likes Atticus because he is finally using the magic in his blood.
Christine has some bizarre storylines in this episode. First off, Christine continues to have sex with Ruby while wearing William’s skin. Is she transgender? I don’t think Christine is trans because she is always in her natural form whenever she is practicing magic or going against the patriarchy. Maybe she only wears the skin because Ruby is straight? But then why are the two still in a sexual relationship?
Christine uses her father Samuel’s invulnerability spell on Leti and herself. The witch hires two men to kill her. She requires they copy how the two brothers murdered Till. Christine comes back to life because of the spell. Men’s violence against all women is a serious issue, but since she paid them to murder her, it’s not part of this conversation. Why did Christine want to be murdered like a Black boy? Since merely speaking to a White woman got Till killed, this scene seems perverse, especially when Christine plans to kill her Black cousin Atticus to become immortal. I’m unsure what Misha Green is trying to express in this scene.
I hope we learn more about Christine’s intention is next episode.