Lovecraft Country Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Holy Ghost

Jurnee Smollett in Lovecraft Country Season 1, Episode 3 - Courtesy of Steve Dietl/Eli Joshua Ade/HBO
Jurnee Smollett in Lovecraft Country Season 1, Episode 3 - Courtesy of Steve Dietl/Eli Joshua Ade/HBO /

Lovecraft Country Episode 3 recap: Leti buys Winthrope house.

Leti, Tic, and Montrose are all coping with everything that happened in Ardham in their own distinctive way in Lovecraft Country Episode 3. Tic has been staying with Hippolyta and Dee for weeks, trying to help out around the house without George there, while his father has turned to alcohol.

Leti had more ambitious plans, as she suddenly comes into a windfall of fortune, allegedly from winning the lottery. She buys the old Winthrope house and convinces her sister Ruby to help her turn it into a thriving boarding house for other Black folks in the South Side of Chicago.

The gothic manor winds up being the sole focus of the episode as Leti takes center stage and some of the other plot threads we’ve been following are temporarily shuffled to the side.

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While she and her incoming tenants might be over the moon about the boarding house development, Winthrope manor happens to be sequestered in a predominantly white neighborhood, as shown by several shots in the episode that are filmed from white people peering out their windows at the newcomers.

Needless to say, they aren’t happy with their new neighbors and immediately make it known that Black people are not welcome.

It starts by tying bricks to their steering wheels, ensuring they’re tormented endlessly by the blaring sound of horns. Then they erect signs saying the neighborhood is whites-only.

At one point, Tic begins wondering if Leti’s volatile neighbors are behind the leaks in the space heaters of the house, as he uncomfortably implies that loud noises and excess heat were things they used to torture prisoners in the war.

It doesn’t take long for Leti to realize that her neighbors are far from the only threat she’s facing in her new home. There is an ominous presence in the house, and she officially declares it haunted to Tic later in the episode.

Everything comes to head the night of their big housewarming party, which mostly goes off without a hitch, beyond a few things. For starters, Dee and her friends mess with a Ouija board down in the basement and get an unsettling visit from a ghost who torments Dee over her dead father. Tic and Leti also have quick and rather brutal sex in the bathroom after the tension brewing between them reaches a tipping point. It’s not entirely romantic, especially once we learn it was Let’s first time.

The dancing and frivolity come to a screeching halt when the whites take things a  step farther, burning a cross in their front yard, which is essentially the calling card for the KKK.

Frustrated, Leti grabs a baseball bat and busts in all the windows of the cars lining the street. She knows she’ll get arrested for it, but she can’t stop herself from taking action. Ever since literally returning from the dead, Leti has been striving to find a way to leave her mark on the world and to find her place. She mentions to Tic that she feels like a piece of her is missing, hollowed out, ever since their magical, horrific, journey.

Releasing some of that pent-up frustration and trauma on some racists’ cars seems like the right choice. Of course, it also means tolerating yet another cop who gleefully lets her get tossed around the back of the police van while demanding she tells him how she afforded the Winthrope house.

Lovecraft Country Episode 3
Wunmi Mosaku and Jurnee Smollett in Lovecraft Country Episode 3 – Courtesy of Eli Joshua Ade/HBO /

The cop quickly realizes that Leti has no clue what kind of history her new home has. He’s only too happy to inform her that eight Black people were killed in that house, their bodies found buried in the basement.

Once aware of the manor’s sinister history, Leti becomes obsessed with learning more about it. Her one-track mind leads to her inadvertently letting it slip to Ruby that the money she came across was not actually from the lottery, but left to her from a surprise inheritance from their mother.

The admission wrecks an already tremulous relationship as Ruby calls Leti out for being selfish enough to keep all that money to herself and then lying about it to her sister and brother Marvin. It’s even worse when you consider everything that Ruby has done for Leti over the years, and it’s hard to disagree with her when she calls her sister out for being selfish.

Lovecraft Country Season 1, Episode 2 recap. light. Related Story

Leti is distraught after Ruby leaves, but she also knows she needs to fix her house, maybe because it feels like the only thing she has left in her life. With Tic’s help, they piece together the truth of Winthrope manor. It was previously owned by a man named Herman Epstein who was conducting hideous experiments on missing Black people from the South Side. He worked alongside a Detective Lancaster, who helped supply him with human guinea pigs to conduct his medical experiments on.

The house is haunted by the eight restless souls and they’re trapped inside the home with their killer, it’s no wonder the place is haunted. Once realizing this, Tic and Leti invite a priestess to the house to help them exorcise the ghosts. The scene,  which is an excellent horror moment, culminates with Tic getting possessed by Herman’s ghost. Leti calls upon all the other spirits to help her get him out of the house and ultimately achieves her goal.

With the spirits free and at rest, Leti’s house is no longer haunted and she continues her good deeds of building up a place for Black creatives and artists. Her home is even profiled by a local newspaper, and the reporter can’t help but ask Leti if she knows anything about three missing white men.

See, during the exorcism in the basement, three of Leti’s racist neighbors broke into her house with bats, each one met a brutal demise and we see all of their bodies now reside in a long, cavern already strewn with skeletons, hidden away in the bowels of the house.

Lovecraft Country Episode 3
Naomi Mack, Jurnee Smollett, Wunmi Mosaku, Keon Mitchell, and Jonathan Majors in Lovecraft Country Episode 3 – Courtesy of Eli Joshua Ade/HBO /

Lovecraft Country Episode 3 recap: Tic confronts Christina after connecting her to Winthrope.

Tic has his own task to finish once the house is cleansed. He pieces together something important when Leti told him the house was named “Winthrope.” In town, Tic confronts Christina, who is alive and well. He tells her he figured out that it was her that left Leti all that money, not her mother.

See, there is a connection between the name Winthrope, Herman Epstein, and the Sons of Adam, one that Christina explains to Tic even after he tries to pull a gun on her. For starters, she’s inherited her father’s spell of invulnerability, meaning she cannot be harmed or killed. While Tic is paralyzed, Christina gives him a history lesson.

Horatio Winthrope was actually one of the Sons of Adams founders, but he grew incensed by the fact Titus Braithwaite was the only member with a cipher for the language of Adams. He stole pages from the fabled Book of Names to try and create his own cipher and was banished from the group. Epstein was a follower of Winthrope’s.

However, no one knows where those pages are hidden, as Winthrope likely tucked them away somewhere ultra-secret. That said, Christina wants to find the pages because if she does, they can finally unlock the true power of the language of Adam and use it to do… something.

Once finished, Christina leaves Tic with a business card to get in touch when he wants to learn more and warns him in a cool yet sinister cadence, that he “can’t go around killing white women.”

Lovecraft Country Episode 3
Michael K. Williams in Lovecraft Country Episode 3 – Courtesy of Eli Joshua Ade/HBO /

Lovecraft Country Episode 3 recap: Hippolyta struggles to come to terms with George’s death.

As briefly mentioned above, Hippolyta has an arc of her own in Lovecraft Country Episode 3. Despite attending George’s funeral and seeing his body, she does not entirely believe the story from Tic, Leti, and Montrose that George was killed by the sheriff and nothing more. She admits as much to Montrose, telling him that something is not sitting right with her about her husband’s death and the “truth” they told her.

She’s dealing with her grief in her own way, trying to continue George’s green book and yet, it seems, also resenting the storytelling part of him as she rips pages out of his favorite novel — Dracula. Yet she purchases another copy later, feeling guilty for defiling the earlier one. It’s clear Hippolyta is struggling with all she’s not been told.

At one point during the housewarming party, she also walks into a creepy room of the house while it’s still haunted, she stumbles upon a strange model that appears to be a golden solar system. She reaches out to touch it and then we don’t see it the aftermath, it’s not clear what the scene meant, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the model returns in another episode.

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New episodes of Lovecraft Country air Sunday nights on HBO.