Spoiler warning: the following story contains spoilers for the entire first season, and particularly the finale, of Lovecraft Country.
Throughout its first season, Lovecraft Country has done a nice job of balancing showrunner Misha Green’s expansive and ambitious vision with the tentpole moments and story from Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name. The merging of the story in the first season of HBO’s series came to an explosive end with the episode “Full Circle,” and while the show is primarily a product of Green’s vision (with an assist to Ruff’s book), it’s also still produced by a pair of titans in J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele—so you knew this ending was going to go places and make you feel things.
So let’s get into a bit, shall we? Much of the finale doesn’t need much explanation; our gang of heroes, which includes Atticus, Leti, Montrose, along with a newly-returned and blue-haired Hippolyta, a recovering Dee, and Ji-Ah, the Kumiho from Korea who is now once again on good footing with Atticus, have a plan to combat Christina Braithwhite’s plan to sacrifice Atticus to become immortal. But they need Ruby’s help—as the person closest to Christina—to get a potion from her to stop her.
What happened with Ruby and Christina?
By the time the plan is set in motion, and our heroes hit the road, it seems like Ruby—who appears to have entered a true romantic relationship with Christina at this point, no surrogate bodies needed—has also gotten the potion needed.
Layers are added here; at first, we think Ruby and Christina may be actually falling for one another. Then, we realize Ruby was playing Christina, embracing the family values that she’s found so important throughout the series to help her sister and friends. And closer to the end of the episode, we realize that Christina realized that Ruby was playing her—and as a result, killed Ruby and took her body as a suit/surrogate, just like William, and just like Dell.
It’s an incredibly upsetting and tragic end for a character who’s had quite an interesting journey throughout the course of the season; she opened up to Christina/William a few episodes ago about the pain she felt at Emmett Til’s death, a pain that Christina, the sadist and masochist that she is, tried to experience herself. She misinterpreted every point that Ruby made in their time together, and when it came down to it, had no hesitation to dispose of her when she needed to benefit herself.
Leti realized what was happening, and took Christina on in a fight; but Christina managed to throw Leti out the window, shedding Ruby’s skin (off-screen) and continuing with her spell and quest for immortality.
Is Atticus really dead?
The episode’s climax comes with the realization that Atticus is indeed going to be a part of Christina’s spell and quest for immortality, just as Ji-Ah saw in her vision; the group thinks they have a plan to counter her plan, but it doesn’t work so easily.
Christina, after briefly disposing of Leti, has Atticus tied up and begins spilling his blood, casting her spell, taking his life and essence and on the fast track to becoming immortal. It’s only when Leti shows up, and Ji-Ah realizes that they need to be linked, that they’re able to truly counteract Christina’s magic. Ji-Ah uses her Kimiho tentacles, and connects them, undoing Christina’s spell, and allowing Leti to recast the spell so that not only can Christina never use it again, but no white people can at all. The book of names, which has been a part of Atticus’ family for generations and generations—as various visions and flashbacks have shown throughout the season—will no longer be appropriated by others to use for ambitious evil. Leti has reclaimed the powers and the magic to its rightful owners, its rightful use, and its rightful home.
Unfortunately, though, it seems like Atticus was the collateral damage—and in his note to Montrose, knew it was coming. He trusts in the growth he’s seen from his father to help raise his unborn son—one who despite his death, he knows he can be proud of. A Sci-Fi writer! What more could Atticus want from his future son. He just needs things to stay on their tracks. And given Ji-Ah’s vision, while Atticus’ death may have seemed preventable, what last week’s Back to the Future-esque mission seems to have proven is that whatever is meant to happen, will happen—and in this case, that was Atticus’ death.
Could Atticus return in Season 2?
That’s a good question. In the book, just like Uncle George, Atticus survived the entire story—his death is an artistic choice made by Misha Green. He was such a key, leading presence in Season 1 that his death is, in some ways, Ned Stark-esque. But in a show with so much magic and trickery, it’s hard to rule out a Jon Snow-esque return should Season 2 come; but at the same time, Atticus’ death scene had serious levity and meaning that would be lost if he was simply (and, arguably, cheaply) revived.
Another factor to consider—and this works both ways—is that Jonathan Majors is a major rising star in the film/television industry. He’s filming a major Western project for Netflix produced by Jay Z, and was also recently announced to be taking a key role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These things make him someone who HBO would almost certainly want to continue leading their show—and also someone who will have less and less free time in the future. There’s a decent chance that Jurnee Smollett may have to take on the lead role all on her own in future seasons.
Um, and what was happening with Dee?
So, this was pretty badass. Poor Dee did not have a fun go of it this season—her father died, she played in a haunted ouijia game, her best friend was brutally murdered, and then she got cursed by a disgusting police captain who spit on her face, haunted by some demented twins, and eventually possessed and losing the use of her arm. So the fact that her mother, Hippolyta, who we’ve seen has basically discovered the key to our universe and just about every other one, helped her make the best of things is pretty great.
Hippolyta promised Dee that she’d be able to draw again, and, uh, that bionic robot arm will certainly do. Dee is also done taking any nonsense; Rather than give in to any of Christina’s crap, Dee strolled in with Atticus’ Shoggoth, and blew her throat up.
Dee and her Terminator arm—and burgeoning friendship with a Shoggoth—should certainly be a part of any major Lovecraft Country storyline going forward. How’s that for a happy ending?
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