A History of Violence is the fourth episode of the first season of Lovecraft Country, and the fourth episode overall. This episode was available to stream early on Friday, September 4, 2020 on HBO Max and aired on Sunday, September 6, 2020 on HBO.
After Christina mysteriously shows up at her doorstep, Leti confronts Atticus about his plan to surreptitiously return to Florida. Later, in search of missing pages to a crucial text, Leti, Tic, and Montrose head to Boston, with Hippolyta and Diana along for the ride. Back in Chicago, a handsome stranger nurses Ruby’s disappointment over a squandered job opportunity.
Montrose mourns the loss of his brother. His attempt to drink his sorrows away are futile. He sobs uncontrollably while looking through old family photos. He then grabs the Order of the Ancient Dawn bylaws. It reads “Adam named. Eve fucked. God brought forth Monsters. Monsters devoured. God smites Eve.” He proceeds to throw the book into a trashcan, douse it with liquor, and set the book on fire.
Christina arrives unexpectedly at Leti’s house. An invisible barrier blocks her entry into the home. The seal of protection from the priestess holds true. Leti realizes that the money wasn’t an inheritance from her mother after all but rather Christina. She informs Leti how Tic showed up at the realtor’s office and tried to shoot her. If he continues on this path of destruction, he will get them killed. Christina has come to claim Hiram’s orrery — a gold model of the solar system. However, Leti tells Christina to leave.
Hippolyta took Hiram’s orrery during Leti’s housewarming party and brought it home with her. She calls her father in hopes that he can tell her what galaxy can sustain two suns, such as that presented in the orrery. After Diana leaves with Bobo to read some comics, Hippolyta continues her inquiry about the orrery.
Leti goes to the Southside Colored Library in search of Tic. She confronts him after learning the truth about her house and that he tried to kill Christina. Tic explains that she can’t be killed. She’s protected by the invulnerability spell. Tic believes that Christina used him as a Trojan horse to kill her father. Tic is now searching for the two sets of deciphered pages from the Book of Names that Hiram Epstein stole. Christina also told him about the Book of Names that Titus Braithwhite kept hidden in a booby-trapped vault. Tic shares his blood, so perhaps he could access the vault, but he doesn’t know where to begin to look. Leti suggests that he talk to Montrose, who would be well-versed in the matter. Tic is reluctant to turn to his father but has no choice after finding his name in the checkout logs of books relating to Titus Braithwhite.
Tic meets with Leti and Montrose at Sammy’s bar. Montrose warned him to stay away from the wizardry. They’re outnumbered and outgunned. He unintentionally mentions that there are 34 other lodges besides the Sons of Adam. Montrose initially tells Tic and Leti that he won’t help, but then reveals that Titus’ vault is in a museum in Boston.
Christina plays tag with the local children. She is then placed in the back of a patrol car by two officers and taken to Captain Lancaster. Christina claims that she went to the Winthrop house to have a chat with Hiram to convince him to give her the orrery in order to unlock his time machine. She claims that she was surprised to find that Negroes had moved in. Lancaster accuses her of trying to take his lodges rightful property, but Christina retorts that he’s not even an official member, though neither is she as the Order doesn’t allow women.
Tic and Leti pack up Woody as they prepare to leave for Boston. Montrose informs them that Hippolyta and Diana are joining them. As they're leaving, Tree jumps out in front of the car and asks for a ride to Boston.
Ruby arrives at Marshall Field, a notoriously white department store, to apply for a job. There, she finds another black woman working as a retail associate. Ruby asks Tamara when she started working. She replies that she just started yesterday. Ruby realizes that Marshall Field would never hire two colored girls and leaves.
Tic, Leti, Montrose, Hippolyta, Diana, and Tree arrive at the Museum of Science. Hippolyta and Diana part ways to see the Light of the Universe exhibit. Montrose goes to meet with the security guard who agreed to help them sneak in after hours. Before going to the Titus Braithwhite wing of the museum, Leti confronts Tree for lying to Tic and telling him that they had sex in high school despite the fact that they didn’t.
Hippolyta and Diana enjoy the Light of the Universe exhibit. Hippolyta points to a comet she named Hera’s Chariot. Officially, that credit goes to Nancy Studebaker. The niece of an astronomer in Sweden. Hippolyta won the astronomical society’s naming contest, but they didn’t want a colored girl to be the face of their competition. Diana tells her that she should’ve fought for the credit and then exclaims to the entire room that her mother named the comet.
Tree confronts Tic for telling Leti that he claimed they hooked up in high school. Tree suspects this is payback because of when he sent Tic out back when Sammy was with another man. Tic replies that what happened that day was Sammy’s business and that he isn’t gay. Tree then explains how much closer Montrose and Sammy have become, alluding to the fact that Montrose may be.
Montrose informs Tic and Leti that the security guard will let them in through the back at night. Tic questions how his father knows the guard. Montrose claims that he’s a friend from the bar. More importantly, they only have a two hour window to get to the vault and get back out. In the center of the Titus Braithwhite wing, they see his statue. They suspect that the vault is located somewhere underneath.
Christina arrives home in her silver sedan. Immediately after she enters the house, William exits. He walks across the street to the two officers staking out the house and attacks them both before warning them to leave.
Tic, Leti, and Montrose sneak into the museum after night. They search for a way to open the door underneath the statue. Montrose tells them to turn off their flashlights. The light from the moon shines down on the statue, revealing the means to unlock the door. Tic climbs down a rope to investigate. He sees three tunnels and a warning: “Beware, all ye who tread the path. Ever the tides shall rise.” With the map of Titus’ voyages, Leti and Montrose join Tic. The three tunnels relate to Titus’ expeditions. His voyage to the Caribbean was supposedly his last. According to the brochure, the first renovations were done to the museum after he returned from the Caribbean in 1810, three years before he founded the Sons of Adam. With that, they travel down the north tunnel.
Ruby performs at Sammy’s. He informs her that William has offered to cover her tab. She questions his motives — wondering why a white boy has come over to the “dark side.” He offers to change her life forever, but she isn’t convinced. He assures her it’s a promise he can keep.
Tic, Leti, and Montrose reach the end of the tunnel. Below them is a black, seemingly bottomless pit. The only way to make it across to the other side is a single wooden plank. Tic ties a rope around Leti and assures her that it will hold as Montrose ties a rope around him. Leti walks the plank slowly and steadily. She is nearly knocked to her death by one of Titus’ booby-traps — a large, swinging anchor. Tic joins her on the plank. As the anchor swings back and forth, Leti times it perfectly and makes it safely onto the other side. Montrose then alerts Tic that the plank is disappearing. Montrose jumps onto the plank with Tic, and they race to the other side with Leti. On the other end, they reach a locked door with panels that must be pushed in the correct order to open. Montrose recalls the quote from the bylaws and recites them to Tic and Leti, who manage to get the door open.
Tic, Leti, and Montrose travel through the tunnel. They have less than an hour to find the vault and escape before the water rises and they drown.
Ruby expresses her disappointment with another colored woman getting the retail associates job at Marshall Field. She explains to William that for colored people, it’s a race to the finish line. But if she had William's skin, she wouldn’t even have to run. They go back to Ruby’s place, where they have sex on the steps.
The water is now above their waist. Tic questions how his father knows so much about the Sons of Adam. Montrose admits that George gave him the Order of the Ancient Dawn bylaws the night he died. He read it and he burnt it because George made him promise that he would protect their family. Leti screams upon finding a body floating in the water. It’s one of her missing neighbors. They discover that they’re just below Leti’s house as they come across her elevator. Given that Hiram Epstein was part of the Order, it stands to reason that he was chasing Titus’ pages as well. Tic wants Leti and Montrose to go home, but Leti refuses to leave, reminding Tic that they’re all involved in this.
The water has reached their shoulders as they near Titus’ vault. Tic puts on his Sons of Adam ring and sticks his hand into a hole, where his blood is drawn and used to grant him access to the vault. Inside, they find at least half a dozen corpses. On the table, in the hand of a corpse, they find Titus’ pages to the Book of Names. Tic reaches for the pages and the corpse of an Arawak woman comes alive. She has the genitalia of a man but the breast of a woman. She explain in Arawak, a language that only Tic can understand, that Titus has been dead for over a century. She reveals that her name is Yahima Maraokoti. Both woman and man. Two spirits. She comes from the land of many waters. Titus came on his ships searching for those who could read his book. She knew the symbols from the cave of Alomun Kundi. When she saw Titus for what he was, she refused to decipher another word, but he promised to reunite her with her people. And he kept that promise by killing them and imprisoning her in his vault. Tic asks for her help, but she doesn’t trust him. So Montrose grabs the pages from her hand, which causes the windows to crack and the vault to flood.
Tic, Leti, Montrose, and Yahima swim to the elevator. The water is now above their heads. Leti goes back to get the pages that George dropped and then returns to the elevator. As it rises up, they are able to lift their heads above water to breathe and Tic passionately kisses Leti. Yahima then lets out a high-pitched scream, forcing Tic to knock her out.
Hippolyta and Diana drive back to Chicago without the others. Diana remarks that everything has been weird since her father died. Hippolyta notices Diana with George’s atlas, which she found in the glove compartment. Hippolyta notices that Devon County is marked as a no travel zone on the atlas and turns the car around, determined to get answers.
Montrose has come to understand the cause of Yahima’s scream. He suspects that Titus turned her into a siren so she couldn’t speak if she ever escaped the vault. Tic wants to teach her English so that she can write down the words of Adam. Montrose tells Tic that he was brave and grew to be a good man. His mother would’ve been proud. Tic gets teary-eyed and tells Montrose good night. Once he is alone with Yahima, Montrose sneaks up behind her and slits her throat.
Notes and Trivia
- This episode is an Indiana Jones-style adventure that starts inside a museum and ends up with the trio mysteriously back in Chicago.
Behind the Scenes
|"Sundown" • "Whitey's on the Moon" • "Holy Ghost" • "A History of Violence" • "Strange Case" • "Meet Me in Daegu" • "I Am." • "Jig-A-Bobo" • "Rewind 1921" • "Full Circle"|