Season 1 Episode 2 Lovecraft Country ‘Whitey’s on the Moon’ Recap and Review
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Having just arrived in Ardham Letitia and George are living the high life as they enjoy the relative decadence of Braithwhite manor. Smollett really feels perfect for this role. Letitia is enjoying the wardrobe while George is digging his access to all of the books. Atticus has his reservations most of them of the slimy variety.
The three meet up and are in turn lead around by the help. We learn that Samuel Braithwhite was one rich dude. We learn the Braithwhite fortune was earned through shipping and Leti reminds us that is code for the slave trade. The house is magnificent and was built by the Ardham founder, another Braithwhite. This house/lodge is not the original. The original burnt down along time ago during the vernal equinox. The three sit down for breakfast and the help remind them they can explore Ardham but they must be back for dinner. Leti calls for salt while the two men try to figure out exactly what is going on. They chastise her about her cavalier attitude regarding what happened the night before. George and Leti don’t remember any of the monsters. They only remember the racist cops. George stops the conversation by telling Atticus they are being watched.
Later the trio go looking for their car. Instead of the beat up mess of a car they left, the car is more in less in good shape. A brilliant version of Bad Moon Rising gives rise to the three roaming the streets of Ardham. George and Leti are concerned Atticus has PTSD. Atticus is pissed they would think that. They hear the whistle that called off the monsters. The three follow the whistle to a villager who is in the process of walking a group of dogs. She stands next to a giant stone building. She says some racist shit and shows them the inside of the building. It seems to be where they store the food. The racist villager tells them to get back to the lodge before they miss dinner.
On the way back threw a dusky forest, George remembers a story of his grandmother leaving her home because it burnt down. He is making some connections to the Braithwhites. Just then two creatures (mostly teeth) pop out and threaten the trio. Hannah Brathwhite shows up and blows a whistle and forces the monsters to leave. She then tells the same racist villager who appears next to her to get the group back to the lodge and to make sure no one else leaves.
Back at the lodge, Atticus bears witness to a man (It is Samuel Braithwhite) having his liver removed by a robed figure. George finds a copy of The Order of the Ancient Dawn. The robed figure finishes stitching up Samuel who discusses a painting with Atticus. It is a painting by Joseph Townhowsen. Genesis 2:19. Hannah is very familiar with the verse and Samuel asks them both to discuss the greater meaning of the verse. See my notes at the end for a greater discussion of the bible verse. Samuel wants to know specifically what Adam did. Attitcus replies that Adam put everything in its place. Samuel agrees and Hannah reminds him that Eve brought entropy and disease and lots of bad things. Samuel reminds him that its a useful parable. He also claims to be Adam. He worked a very long time to get to paradise. The discussion also focuses on Adam a ton. Adam put everything in its place and made sure every animal ended up in its final form. He is super unfriendly and tells Hannah to get rid of him. There is lots of talk about an elegant hierarchy before they part.
After the rather bizarre meeting with Samuel, Christina asks Atticus if he has any questions. We learn William is the name of Christina’s friend who has been showing the trio around. She tells Atticus to make some friends as the rest of the lodge should be arriving soon. Atticus knows there is a spell that has been cast to make everyone forget about the ghouls they have seen. She admits to it. She tells him that she has gotten him out of trouble before but she can’t bring him to his father. He enters his room and asks that she removes the spell. She says “done” and screams start. Runes glow on his door jam as an invisible force field prevents him from leaving. A boy arrives to tell her that it is time.
She rushes outside and helps a cow deliver what looks like a baby version of one of the monsters from earlier. Leti is locked in her room and she is using a knife to try and pry open the door. Atticus breaks into her room. She remembers everything now that the spell has been removed. There is a picture of Adam, Eve and the Serpent in her room. She mentions that the bible is full of scary things. Leti remembers her mother bringing back strange men. She has some pretty significant issues of abandonment. Atticus and Leti share a kiss.
A sweet ass transition leads us around the house as the REAL Atticus tries to get out of his room. He hears someone about to break in. He dives over the couch only to have someone dressed in army fatigues try and shoot him.
George is putting together what the runes are saying. Suddenly Dora is standing in a pool of light behind him. She tells him its impossible because she is dead. They dance.
Leti and fake Atticus are getting hot in heavy. The real Atticus fights the deranged female soldier. George dances with the dead Dora. More fighting. More sexy sexy time. More dancing. Dora and George discuss a series of what ifs. Including what if magic were real. Leti almost gets impaled by a snake coming out of fake Atticus’s pants. The real Atticus kills the intruder. George looks out a window. We see all of the lodge as they watch the three of them as if they were animals in a zoo.
Later the three meet up and briefly discuss what each of them saw. George reminds Atticus that he is a good man. “They want to make us crazy, don’t let them win”. Leti fucking Lewis doesn’t get scared. George tells them he might just have something that will get them out of there. William announces that dinner is ready and that it is black tie only and that no females are allowed.
Later at the dinner the secret society is addressed by Samuel. He discusses how Titus Braithwhite sacrificed himself for the order. Each person is given a bit of his liver. George stands up and addresses The Order of the New Dawn. He tells everyone he is a member of the Freemasons. He also articulates that he knows the rules of The Order of the New Dawn and if anyone is a direct decedent of Titus they can tell regular members what to do. He announces that Atticus is the last blood relative of Titus. Atticus orders all other members to leave and once they have he asks Samuel to return his father to him. Samuel tells him not to mistake usefulness with being indispensable.
Later George and Atticus break into the food reserve building where Leti also shows up in time to knock out the racist villager from earlier. They start to remove stones of a false wall. A tunnel lies on the other side. Montrose climbs his way to the surface just as the trio discovers him. He is not happy to see him and insists he doesn’t need their help. There is clear tension between him and Atticus.
While in the car on the way out of town Montrose discusses how the order that exists in the town are called the Sons of Adam. There are lots of different lodges all over the country. This group is obsessed with immortality. A failed attempt at that spell burned down the original lodge. Just as they cross the bridge an invisible force field demolishes their car. Samuel and his daughter arrive behind the totaled car. Christina and Samuel get out of the car and as our heroes get out of the car Samuel shoots Leti in the stomach. She dies. Samuel says because Atticus is a son of sons he gets to pick who else dies. He look at George and Samuel shoots him.
Later we see a now naked Atticus washed by a group of servants. Its a scene that is intentionally degrading and reminiscent of slave auctions. He puts on a robe covered in Runes. Christina is watching the entire process. There is portal open and Atticus can see his family suffering. Christina is pissed that Atticus is given so much power just because he is a man. She places a signet ring on his ring finger.
We see Leti is now in the bathroom and she has been healed. There is no bullet wound. She takes off her bloody shirt and cleans herself up. She is quite upset. George and Montrose are talking. George has a bullet wound in his stomach. They both discuss how their father beat them. George tells Montrose to be nicer to Atticus. George mentions that Atticus might not even be his son.
It is time for the creepy ceremony. We get a voice over discussing “Whiteys on the Moon”. There are three orbs that start to glow. Electricity shoots between the orbs and start to burn through Atticus. Samuel continues to chant as Atticus’s pain intensifies. The portal that Atticus is facing starts to glow gold as plants begin to grow out of it. The ritual is supposed to bring Eden back to earth and it appears to be working. We get all of this while listening to the brilliant Whitey on the Moon by Gil Scott Heron. The song is a master stroke in identifying privilege, perspective, and structural racism. It fits so perfectly into what the episode is about. A black shadow begins to creep over Atticus and through the portal he see’s his pregnant grandmother.
The ritual is beginning to break down. The house begins to break apart. The other members of the lodge begin to run away. Atticus screams and Samuel and the other members turn to stone. Atticus is headed out of the house and he is following the ghost of his grandmother. The house continues to implode and he makes it out just in time. Leti is outside waiting on Atticus. She has gotten George and Montrose out. They are waiting in the car. As they approach the car we realize that George has passed away.
Questions and Connections.
- There is a lot in this episode about Genesis 2:19. Specifically the verse is often used by creationists as evidence that God created everything. It is an oft cited critical passage for true believers. The internal contradiction presented in the reading I think is the most interesting part.
- Anybody can use Rune magic. Here is a primer for it by someone who seems like he might also be a member of The Sons of Adam.
- The Book of Names seems to be a regular old Grimoire like the Book of Shadows, the Necromonicon, or any other run of the mill book bound by human flesh.
- So our secret society is called the Sons of Adam. I brief reminder that the first two sons of Adam were Cain and Able. I think we know how that ended. I might also note God seemed just as angry about Cain killing Able as he was at Eve for eating the apple. Anyway if you are keeping track at home Seth was the youngest son of Adam.
- Could there be any more perfect song or piece of art for this moment than Whitey on the Moon? There isn’t.
Tyler has been the editor in chief of Signal Horizon since its conception. He is also the Director of Monsters 101 at Truman State University a class that pairs horror movie criticism with survival skills to help middle and high school students learn critical thinking. When he is not watching, teaching or thinking about horror he is the Director of Debate and Forensics at a high school in Kansas City, Missouri.