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'Lovecraft Country' Finale Review: Endings are hard

It's alright!

Atticus (Jonathan Majors) is baptized.
(Image: © HBO)

Our Verdict

A middling ending to an otherwise interesting series.

For

  • 📖Leti becoming the protector of the Book.
  • 📖The family's end goal with Christina is a solid end result.
  • 📖Highlighting Christina's passivity one final time is a smart move.
  • 📖It's nice to have Ji-Ah here, even if she deserves better.

Against

  • 📖Empty character deaths.
  • 📖Flimsy narrative.
  • 📖What feels like needless pain.
  • 📖Several characters deserved better narratives than what they were given.

This post contains spoilers for Lovecraft Country.
Check out our last review here

Lovecraft Country’s finale is appropriately complex. The series left itself with a lot of moving parts to handle before coming to a close. While it ended up being a bit of a mixed bag before it was all said and done, they still managed to deliver what ends up being an ultimately passable finale.

Before they can deal with Christina (Abbey Lee) the family has to go about saving Diana (Jada Harris). The moment they open the book, Atticus (Jonathan Majors) and Leti (Jurnee Smollett) faint and find themselves in the ancestral place that Hanna (Joaquina Kalukango) created for their family when she first locked away the Book of Names. What started as a place of fear and torment for Hanna eventually became her own salvation. It taught her everything she had wrong about magic, and what it could do for her people. She, and the rest of Tic’s ancestors, pass that knowledge on to Leti and Tic. That knowledge is then used to both save Di’s life, and ensure they have a solid plan to thwart Christina as best they can on the Autumnal Equinox.

“Full Circle” is an episode about family. Not the kind you’re born with – you can’t control that. This is about the family that you choose. The real kind of family. It’s with this new understanding of such bonds that Leti turns to her sister, Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) for help. For their plan to work, Tic, Titus Braithwhite (Michael Rose) and Christina must all be bound together in one body. They’re able to get what they need from Titus – more on that later – but they still need a piece of Christina. Ruby is their only hope, as the only person capable of getting close enough to the white witch, but she declines on the grounds that Leti only comes to her when she wants something. That’s not family. Ruby’s statement is a harsh one, but factual all the same.

It isn’t until they’re loading up the family – one that includes Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung) after a flimsy apology from Tic – into Woody that Ruby has a change of heart. She arrives right on time holding a vial of Christina’s blood. There’s a sisterly hug, some heartwarming road trip sing-alongs, and that unwavering feeling that everything’s about to go wrong. The stakes are raised while Leti finds herself without her invulnerability (Christina took it back after they refused to give her the Book), and the series has made it incredibly clear that Atticus is about to die. 

When they arrive at Ardham, each member of the family starts working on their part of the plan. Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) and Ji-Ah work on symbols on the bridge, Leti and Ruby add theirs in the tower, Di remains safely in the car, and Montrose (Michael Kenneth Williams) and Tic work on the salt circle. By the time Tic splits off to go meet with Christina, everyone still thinks everything’s going according to plan. That is, until Ruby let’s something slip. 

Except it’s not Ruby. Ruby Baptiste was murdered without fanfare after Christina caught her trying to steal her blood. Leti quickly follows in her sister’s place after Christina pushes her out of the window of the tower to her death. Montrose, Hippolyta and Ji-Ah are apprehended on the bridge just in time for them to watch Tic’s wrists be slit in the ceremony for their captor’s immortality. Tic spends his last moments knowing Leti and his son were murdered.

Their last plot twist is Ruby’s dying act. She learned enough about magic to be able to return Leti’s invulnerability to her with her last breaths, giving her sister time to come back to life and watch the man she loves die. With Montrose incapacitated, it’s up to Leti, Ji-Ah and Hippolyta to finish up the plan. Ji-Ah gets her moment in the sun as the last thing that manages to connect Tic and Christina, completing the spell that doesn’t just remove the white witch’s invulnerability but removes magic from all white people. Christina Braithwhite is left under a pile of rubble while the Freeman family carts the martyred Atticus off in the moonlight.

There are plenty of worthwhile conversations in “Full Circle.” Driving home that Christina not only wishes no ill will against Tic (he’s merely a means to an end) but actively fears that killing her last relative will be for nothing and is truly concerned when she believes Ruby might be hurt in their car crash is clever. White passivity is a constant danger to Black communities, and it’s highlighted well here. The idea of magic belonging to Black people after its creation did nothing but bring them pain is also a strong move, as is the idea that Leti is now the protector of the book.

But with those strong moves comes plenty of frustrating ones. The concept of Titus physically manifesting in front of them is a stretch, even in something as rooted in the fantastic as Lovecraft Country. The removal of Leti’s invulnerability solely to make Ruby’s nonchalant death mean something is flimsy at best. Christina pulled back on her promise to them over her safety, so what obligation does Tic have at all to show up on the Equinox? And let’s talk about building up Ruby Baptiste only to kill her off screen. There are plenty of ways to have celebrated her final moments without spoiling the surprise, and the character was done a great disservice. Montrose and Ji-Ah weren’t treated much better. But at least Di has a killer robot hand now.

“Full Circle” is a middling end to a strong series. Tic’s martyrdom will undoubtedly work for some folks but while the end result was worthwhile, I felt furthering the character pain in Lovecraft Country was unnecessarily rough. There’s no word on if they intend to continue the limited series just yet, but here’s hoping they do if only to have the opportunity for a stronger finish than this one. If that seems a little harsh, it's only because the series itself was so strong. "Passable" just doesn't feel like the right way to end what was otherwise so compelling.