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I Am. is the seventh episode of the first season of Lovecraft Country, and the seventh episode overall. This episode aired on Sunday, September 27, 2020 on HBO.

Synopsis[]

Hippolyta's relentless search for answers takes her on a multidimensional journey of self-discovery and Atticus heads to St. Louis to consult an old family friend.

Plot[]

Three days ago, Hippolyta and Dee arrived at the Sons of Adam Lodge. Or at least where it once stood. All that was left of it was a pile of rubble. Dee called out to her from the car and told her that they should leave. Hippolyta looked over and spotted the burned remains of Dee’s travel comic mixed in with the charred remains of the lodge.

Present day, Hippolyta struggles with getting the orrery operational. She throws it onto the ground in a fit of rage and suddenly comes to a realization that the planets need to tilt based on how they rotate on their axis. In this realization, she manages to turn on the orrery. The lights flicker on and the top opens up, revealing a key inside and coordinates engraved on the machine.

Christina tells Ruby the truth

Christina takes Ruby into the basement, where both William’s and Hillary’s real bodies are attached to machines as their blood is drawn, which Christina used to create the metamorphosis potion. Christina explains that what Ruby knows of William is true. Captain Lancaster succeeded in killing him. Not only does Christina want vengeance, she also wants power. She goes on to explain how the Order of the Ancient Dawn doesn’t accept women, so she sought William out and seduced him into being her teacher. The more she learned, the more power she wanted to. William’s spell, which she completed, was the beginning of bigger ambitions. Christina tells Ruby that she never lied to her. The words may have come from William’s mouth, but they were her words. Ruby then demands the truth in its entirety, and Christina reveals that it involves lost pages from the Book of Names and Ruby’s family.

Leti finds herself chasing Hanna down the halls of the Sons of Adam Lodge while the building burns around them. Leti notices that she’s pregnant moments before going up in flames. Leti awakens from her sleep and goes searching for Tic, who managed to translate half the pages. The ceremony of Ardham was as complicated. There was a symbol that repeatedly showed up. It was written in chalk throughout the lab, though he couldn't make it out. Leti then makes mention of Hanna and her dream. Tic realizes that they’ve had the same dream, during which time Leti points out the Book of Names that Hanna had in hand while escaping the house.

Montrose finds Sammy cooking in the kitchen

Montrose awakens to find Sammy preparing breakfast in the kitchen. Sammy ran into Montrose’s neighbor at the bus stop, but he assures Montrose that she didn’t see him enter his apartment. Montrose suddenly starts to pick a fight with Sammy, nitpicking at anything he can find until Sammy decides to leave. Montrose follows Sammy into the hallway, where Tic and Leti stumble upon their encounter. Sammy leaves, and Tic refers to his father as a “f*ggot.” Montrose rips off his shirt and demands that Tic respect him. Before leaving, Tic asks if his mother knew, which she did. Leti stays behind to ask Montrose about Dora's family.

Tic rushes out back, where he struggles to cope with this latest revelation. Leti joins him after asking Montrose how he found out about Dora’s family. He revealed that she had a cousin that survived the riots too. Montrose tracked a friend of hers down to St. Louis. Leti proposes they take Woody to St. Louis. Tic recalls how his father would used to say that he’d beat him so that he wouldn’t be soft, and the worst part is that Tic told himself that his father did it because he cared about him, but in actuality, it was Montrose struggling with his own demons.

Hippolyta leaves for a trip

Ruby has agreed to watch Dee as Hippolyta heads out for a trip. Hippolyta asks Dee if she wants to go over the checklist, but she is uninterested and leaves, a tradition that she no longer wishes to continue now that her father is gone. Ruby hopes that she can cheer Dee up by inviting her friends over. Tic and Leti arrive just as Hippolyta is heading out on what she claims is a guide trip. They were hoping to borrow Woody, but she tells him that her trip is more important and leaves. So they are forced to take the bus to St. Louis. Tic decides to make the trip on his own so that Leti can stay behind to talk with her sister.

Ruby accepts Leti's apology

Leti tries to make amends with Ruby. She first asks where she has been staying, though Ruby doesn’t answer. Leti admits that they’re last fight was her fault. All this time she spent thinking about the things she hated about their mother, it never occurred to Leti that she could end up being like their mother. She apologizes for not being truthful and hopes that Ruby will forgive her. Ruby remarks that she’s never heard their mother apologize in all her life, suggesting that maybe Leti isn’t like their mother.

Hippolyta is on the road to Kansas, following the coordinates from the orrery. On the road, she crosses paths with a young black woman on a bike and waves to her. Inside her lunch box, she finds Dee’s travel comic, Orithyia Blue.

Tic arrives in St. Louis on the Greyhound and meets with Ms. Osberta, a friend of his cousin Ethel. Ms. Osberta’s husband served alongside Ethel’s on the deacon board at First Baptist Church. She and her husband were married for 30 years. Not long after he died, Ethel’s husband passed too. It was hard and they didn’t want to be too lonely widows anymore. Ms. Osberta then reveals that Ethel often talked about Dora and how close they were growing up. Ms. Osberta recalls Ethel having a family book, which Tic believes could be the Book of Names, but it supposedly got burned up in the Tulsa massacre.

Leti plays cards with Dee and her friends. She then heads into the kitchen, where Ruby is preparing dinner. When Ruby reveals that she’s staying on the North Side, Leti suspects that she has a white boyfriend, though she turns the conversation around on Leti and her relationship with Tic. Leti suddenly becomes queasy at the smell of garlic. Ruby jokes that she may be pregnant with Tic’s child. Leti flees into Hippolyta’s room and opens the window for fresh air. There, she finds the orrery.

While looking through Ms. Osberta’s photo album, Tic notices a photo of Ethel, who has the same birthmark on her right arm that Tic has on his upper back. Ms. Osberta then tells Tic that he has a phone call. It’s Leti. She informs him that Hippolyta had Hiram’s orrery the entire time and that it has a set of coordinates engraved in the top. She suspects that Hippolyta followed the coordinates. Unbeknownst to Leti, Ruby eavesdrops from the hallway.

Hippolyta turns on the machine

Hippolyta arrives in Mayfield at the Winthrop Observatory. She enters and inserts the key into the machine. It lights up, and she spins the center wheel. She takes cover at the sound of someone approaching. Two officers enter the observatory and find her hiding. They question how she turned the machine on. Tic arrives and a scuffle ensues, during which time, one of the officers shoots the machine. This causes a portal to open, which Tic uses to get rid of one of the officers while Hippolyta shoots and kills the other. The two of them are then sucked into the portal as well.

Hippolyta is trapped on a ship

Hippolyta finds herself on an otherworldly planet. She calls out to Tic but gets no response. She is then approached by two armored aliens, who take her to a futurist white room, where she awakens to find two purple glowing devices implanted in each wrist. She tries to leave but is barricaded inside by an invisible barrier. A towering black alien who refers to herself as “I Am” enters the room. She tells Hippolyta that she’s not in a prison but locks the door behind her. Hippolyta struggles to find a way out. She wonders what her dad would say and recalls Gustav Mie, who warned of gravity ships in the future. She manages to get the doors to open after finding the access panel but is stopped by I Am. She asks Hippolyta who she wants to be and tells her to name herself. Hippolyta says that she wants to dance on stage with Josephine Baker and is given the opportunity.

Hippolyta performs with Josephine Baker

Hippolyta suddenly finds herself teleported to Paris, where she stumbles through the first set as one of Ms. Baker's backup dancers. After their show, Josephine cuts Hippolyta a break after her poor performance on stage and shows her the routine. She reminds Hippolyta that she’s not in America anymore and tells her to loosen up. And so the following night, Hippolyta performed on stage alongside Josephine, with whom she became very acquainted with. Josephine remarks that nights like this she burns so bright that she feels like a star in the black of space. Being with Josephine has shined a light on Hippolyta as well. Now she’s tasting freedom like she’s never known before. She sees what she’s been robbed of. She realizes that all she's ever been was the type of colored woman white folks wanted her to be. She feels as if they found a smart way to lynch her without the noose. Sometimes, she wants to kill white folks. She also hates herself for allowing them to make her feel small. Josephine asks what she’s going to do with all that anger. Hippolyta exclaims “I am Hippolyta.”

Nawi and Hippolyta train for battle

Hippolyta now finds herself in an African village, where she is being trained in the way of the warrior. She charges at Nawi with a blade, but she is downed fairly quickly. Nawi explains that they’ve come together to fight for their freedom. They were promised freedom, but they were simply given the privileges that a well-kept slave could ever ask for. Nawi intends to strip away their fear and lead them into battle against their oppressors. Nawi orders Hippolyta to her feet and trains her in combat. After defeating Nawi, Hippolyta leads the village’s warriors into battle against Boer Soldiers. She beheads a man and explains to the women that they have every right to fight for their freedom. She then drops her blade, removes her helmet, and says “I am Hippolyta. George’s wife.”

Hippolyta is transported to George. She finds herself in bed with her late husband discussing her travels through the many worlds. George asks if he’s real. Hippolyta doesn’t fully understand her travels but knows that it feels real. She then comes to the realization that she’s been shrinking for so much of her life. When she was a kid, she thought she was big enough to name something out of this world, but then she had just started shrinking herself. And by the time she met George, she was already so small. She thought that George would see her, but he just stood by and allowed her to shrink. He admits that he helped her shrink so that they could have a family and he could travel knowing that she was safe at home. He now sees her for who she truly is. She replies “I am Hippolyta. Discoverer.” She then takes George’s hand and the two of them are teleported to an alien planet, reminiscent of that from Dee’s travel comic, Orithyia Blue. Before long, Hippolyta reconvenes with I Am, who tells Hippolyta that she is ready to be fully integrated into their society. She no longer needs the devices on her wrist but the change will be permanent. However, should Hippolyta choose not to change, she’ll be sent back to her Earth. Hippolyta would like to stay as she is no longer the same person, but Dee needs her.

Tic is expelled from the portal and sent back into the observatory. As sirens approach, he calls out to Hippolyta, but she doesn’t answer. He is forced to turn off the machine and flee with the key. Also in his hand, he holds a Lovecraft Country book named after his uncle George. In his haste, Tic leaves behind Dee’s travel comic, which lies in a pool of blood next to the dead officer.

Cast[]

Starring[]

Special Guest Star[]

Guest Starring[]

Co-Starring[]

  • Jonathon Pawlowski as Burke
  • Aspen Simone Mitchell as Lucy
  • Maceo Smedley as Gil
  • Carol Sutton as Ms. Osberta
  • AJ Jones as Cop
  • Jalen Harris as Moroccan Bartender
  • Kalyn Hardman as Featured Baker Dancer
  • Sharron Lynn Williams as Featured Baker Dancer
  • Ilia Jessica Castro as Featured Baker Dancer

Notes and Trivia[]

  • The episode title, I Am, not only refers to the armor alien that appeared to Hippolyta, it also referred to her journey to find herself.
  • When Hippolyta is an 'explorer' and she takes George to an unknown planet a speech by American jazz musician Sun Ra about the alienating experience of being a black in the United states is heard.

Gallery[]

Promotional[]

Behind the Scenes[]

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References[]


Navigational[]

Season 1
"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"
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