5 big moments from Lovecraft Country episode 5
Here are five of the biggest moments from “Strange Case,” the fifth episode of the HBO horror-fantasy series Lovecraft Country.
Lovecraft Country’s latest twist-filled thrill ride sees Ruby in the driver seat for most of the episode with the usual trio off having their own romantic escapades. After surviving so many harrowing events it’s nice to see the major players in positive situations as opposed to having their lives on the line in a terrifying ordeal.
“Strange Case” takes William and Ruby’s relationship to a fascinating level and unveils all sorts of crazy surprises along the way resulting in yet another exceptional episode of the hit HBO series. Out of all the outstanding things that went down, here are the five that stand out above the rest and significantly set the tone for the rest of the first season.
1. Ruby’s got a brand new look
Ruby wakes up from her night with William to realize that she has become a white woman. She looks just like Dell, the surly Ardham groundskeeper we saw back in episode 2 who gets knocked out by Leti during their daring escape. But it turns out that unlike most fairytales transforming into a new appearance is rather messy where the skin, in an extremely gory fashion, peels right off of the person.
After her first run as a white person comes to a cringeworthy end, William is forced to cut Ruby out of her caucasian shell like a caterpillar out of a cocoon, and eventually, she gets the hang of it on her own. The time she is able to do this is limited, and she must drink a potion to initiate the process.
Ruby takes on the persona of one Hillary Davenport and gets a job as assistant manager at the department store she wanted to work at so badly. But the one thing she truly enjoys about her new look is how people treat her like a human being, something she never experienced from white people before.
2. The Police Captain has skeletons in his closet
Capt. Seamus Lancaster is apparently making a play for power within the order, and at the behest of William, Ruby, in her natural skin, poses as a server for a party he is holding to gain favor amongst his nefarious colleagues. Her task is to place a strange item in his office, and when she does, she discovers more than she bargained for as she stumbles upon a man half-dead with his tongue cut out and his throat slashed in the closet. She is then forced to hide in there with the man who, after being in there for several days, smells horrendous given the fact Ruby holds her nose most of the time while he is trying to cover the man’s mouth as to not allow him to alert the others of her presence.
The man is apparently named Zenone, and he stole some loot that Lancaster would like to know the whereabouts of. Despite the torturous treatment and lackluster living arrangement, the poor fool won’t give up the information and continues to just hang around the corrupt Captain’s closet. Back when Christine visited in the last episode, we heard someone suffering in Lancaster’s closet, and it’s probably safe to assume that his less than ideal ordeal will most likely lend itself to the overall narrative in some significant manner somewhere down the line.
3. Ruby becomes dangerously comfortable in her own skin.
Ruby has been a pretty passive individual that doesn’t show much evidence of being violent that often, if ever. She even showed signs of being done with the potion allowing it to smash as the change wore off. But that all started to change when she saw Tamara get violated by her boss. Combine that with some rage-inspiring magic motivation from Christina, Ruby decides to teach her boss a lesson he will never forget.
She goes into his office as Hilary and begins to seduce him. She gets him tied up and pantsless and then begins to stab him in the bum with the heel of her shoe. Then, to add insult to injury, she allows him to see the caucasian skin peel off her so he would know that a black woman did this to the filthy pig. Ruby is slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with, and Christina would be wise not to underestimate her moving forward.
4. Christina is actually William
After Ruby puts the rune in Lancaster’s desk, she encounters William only to witness the flesh peel off of his body, revealing that he is, in fact, Christina. This had been a popular theory with fans that the two were one and the same, considering they never shared any time on screen together. But before this, Christina revealed that Lancaster shot William in the back and left him for dead because he is the heir to the head of the table when it comes to the Sons of Adam. She did this to motivate ruby, but it might be a clue as to what is in the basement.
Willaim could, in fact, be in the basement plotting out revenge with Christina with some spell or side effects keeping him from carrying out his endeavors forcing Christina to don a William suit to complete the mission. Or William could be dead, and Christina is out for blood for what they did to her friend. Either way, this game-changing reveal is a top-notch shocker, and it will be interesting to see how this whole thing plays out with only a few episodes left of Lovecraft Country’s firsts season.
5. Ji-ah’s warning was right
Atticus deciphered some of the pages from Leti’s pictures to reveal the word DIE. This means that there is apparently a page in the Book of Names that foretells the death of Tic, presenting more questions than answers in this mind-bending reveal. Looking like this isn’t the first time he has received this information, Atticus calls Korea once again, but instead of hanging up right away, he asks the female voice on the other end how she knew and before the episode ends, asks whats she is? All signs point to this being Ji-ah, as she was talked about earlier in the episode.
Lovecraft Country has been carefully crafting the stirring Ji-yah side story since the start with the actress playing her Jamie Chung descending from a UFO as a red space princess, unveiling the fact that her presence will be nothing short of out of this world right from the get-go. Next, we saw her attack Atticus in a soldier’s uniform in Ardham, and now it turns out that she may have told him something he didn’t believe that is coming true. Fans should get more insight on this matter as the preview for episode 6 of the HBO series will have Ji-ah front and center, revealing she may be yet another horrifying creature to add to the already impressive list of Lovecraftian concoctions the show has put out so far.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: Season Two Production for NBC Series Begins Today
From ‘Canada’s Drag Race’ to ‘Ratched,’ Bad Ascots Are Having a Moment
I care about clothes. I even sometimes care about clothes professionally, like when I’m raving about my style icons (Bob Newhart, Martin Freeman, Jonathan Hart, or Ralphie from A Christmas Story), ranking all of Antoni’s t-shirts on Queer Eye, or comparing every single fashion design show on TV. I care too much about the clothes that I see on TV and, before the pandemic, I even cared about the clothes that I myself wore.
But now that we’re in a pandemic-induced Groundhog Day scenario, I find it borderline impossible to muster up the gumption to put on anything more complicated than jeans and a polo to putter around my apartment in day in and day out. And it may be because I am so numb inside that I can no longer find the motivation to practice dressing up as a form self-care, something I once so strongly believed in, that I’ve turned an even sharper eye towards the shows I watch. And there is one trend that I have been eagerly waiting to see take off for decades—and now that I’ve gotten my wish, I keep muttering to myself, “Not like this…”
The trend, readers, is ascots—a trend that I have, quite possibly singlehandedly, been trying to resurrect for years. Now they’re popping up on my TV all the time—and not just because I can’t stop rewatching I Dream of Jeannie, Hart to Hart, and Batman ’66. I’m talking about new shows! They’re getting into ascots—and, lord howdy are they messy!
First, ascots popped up on Canada’s Drag Race, frequently worn around the neck of judge Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. Now, I want it to be clear: I am not coming for Jeffrey right now, not after the way toxic Drag Race enemies ran him off Twitter. I am, however, coming for whatever is going on around his neck!
That ascot (or, more likely, a scarf worn like an ascot—there’s a difference, which I am pointing out because I have clearly lost my mind) is too big for the vibe. JBC’s jacket is tightly tailored, as is his shirt, and then there’s an eruption of chiffon-esque puffiness around his head. It looks like it’s going to unravel at any minute!
For comparison, I need to show the platonic ideals of ultimate, orderly, refined, cool ascot vibery: Adam West as Batman.
It’s firmly—but casually!—tucked, framed by a structured collar. It’s unquestionably there, and not going anywhere until Mr. Wayne slides down the Batpole.
Then there’s Paul F. Tompkins, my ultimate IRL ascot hero. The man knows what he’s doing at all times when it comes to neckwear (and he’s also funny, but right now we’re talking about ascots).
But one man (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) wearing one oversized ascot (okay, multiple across a whole season) does not a trend make. Enter a pair of period piece dramas: first, Lovecraft Country, one of the best shows of the year. I can’t think of a single problem with it… other than what creepy adversary William keeps wrapping around his neck!
The scariest thing in that episode wasn’t the murder—it was the state of William’s collar. Not only is the ascot just kinda droopy, the collar has completely given up. William needs to practice the magic of starch and ironing. He doesn’t look like a 1950s aristocrat so much as the sassy gay manager of an Express for men.
A few episodes later, we see him get ready in the morning, a process that involves wrapping what appears to be four feet of silk around his neck and calling it a day.
For comparison, here’s what the dashing Cary Grant looked like in To Catch a Thief, which was released around the time Lovecraft Country is set.
That’s how you do it, although it’s probably unfair to compare anyone to Cary Grant when it comes to wearing clothes. The man wore the hell out of some clothes.
Still, it wasn’t until Netflix dropped Ratched that I felt like I’d been admitted to a menswear asylum. The show kept chucking loosey goosey ascots at me, causing me to question my reality. Were ascots always as bunched up and overflowing as seen on Geoffrey from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?
Were they as bulbous as the ones slung around the neck of Sharon Stone’s evil son?
They were not, and those pics of Cary Grant from 1955’s To Catch a Thief prove it! And honestly, it proves I’m not losing my mind—because everything about this year has made my grip on reality tenuous at best, and I’m not here to have my unshakable faith in cool neckwear rattled. And that’s why this trend, a trend that literally only I have noticed, gets to me: as one of the very few people under the age of 40 wearing ascots in 2020, I can’t look at these can’t-call-them-knots without feeling the fashion nightmare of an ascot falling apart around my neck, too. It’s a bad feeling! Is this a metaphor for how I constantly feel like the secure knot we’ve all tied around our lives is unraveling, threatening to throw everything deeper into chaos? I don’t want to think about it, so I’m moving on.
I get why ascots are having a moment. We’re in a period piece place right now (and thankfully so, because I’d rather be anywhere than 2020). Both Ratched and Lovecraft country harken back to yesteryear. There was a time when ascots, a simple piece of fabric shaped kinda like a kayak paddle, were what you wore when you were just chilling. TV, particularly retro sitcoms like Bewitched, always depicted a man coming home from work and trading in his suit jacket and necktie for a cardigan and an ascot. I call this move The Larry Tate.
I’m 100% sure this exactly what happened in literally every household in the ’60s.
To be clear: while I’m ragging on Ratched and Lovecraft Country for this one teeny styling choice, I am here for the shows of today bringing the styles of yesterday to life, to hopefully inspire others—I just want the ascots to be as put together as Mad Men!
But don’t let all these retro shows fool you into thinking that the ascot is just a style statement of yesterday. It can be for today, too, should any of us ever regularly interact with other humans face-to-face again. Just look at how Martin Freeman makes the look work.
A show doesn’t have to be a period piece to make ascots a thing, either. Ascots can be a thing of the here and now, and some shows prove that. While I am the actual only TV critic who does not watch Succession, I do know that Whoever Brian Cox Plays wears ascots and he wears them well.
Okay, yes, Brian Cox is in his 70s and he’s playing a filthy rich tycoon type, but still—that’s what a correct ascot looks like in 2020!
And for my fellow gays, there’s a real gay history to the ascot that I enjoy embracing—and it’s honestly why I can’t be totally irked by Bowyer-Chapman’s neckwear! He was firmly in our territory, and I appreciated the wink to gay style history. But, like, we just gotta make Paul Lynde proud.
What conclusions can I make at the end of a post containing over 1200 words and an obsessive amount of pictures all about ascots? Well, I can conclude that my managing editor really gives me too much freedom. I can conclude that I’m coming down hard on all these bad ascots because I have next to no power to come down hard on anything that actually matters. I can conclude that I’m a bit punchy because I haven’t been able to do my favorite activity in the world—putting together an outfit that makes me feel like a debonair ’60s sitcom star—in seven months.
But all those conclusions, while 100% valid, are beside the main point—the main point being: ascots are cool, they’ve always been cool, more people should wear them today, and the sloppy TV ascots of 2020 should dissuade no one from doing so.
Do it for Paul, Bruce, Cary, Paul, Larry, and Martin.
Stream Lovecraft Country on HBO Max
Stream Ratched on Netflix
Stream Canada’s Drag Race on WOW Presents Plus
America’s Got Talent judge teases Simon Cowell’s TV return
Less than two months after he broke his back in a motorbike accident, Simon Cowell may make his triumphant return to America’s Got Talent for the grand final.
This promising update comes via fellow judge Heidi Klum, who revealed (via The Mirror): “He is going to come to the finale, but do not tell anyone.”
It’s currently unknown whether or not this will be over video call or in person, but fans will find out next week when the episode airs.
Related: America’s Got Talent judge Heidi Klum slams contestant who called her “tramp” during his act
At the time of Cowell’s accident, an America’s Got Talent spokesperson told Digital Spy: “Simon has broken his back in a number of places in a fall from his bike whilst testing a new electric bike in the courtyard of his home in Malibu with his family.
“He was taken to hospital where they operated overnight, he’s under observation and is doing fine.”
Pop star Kelly Clarkson was immediately brought in as his replacement on the judging panel, with Kenan Thompson also taking on his duties for an episode.
Related: Kelly Clarkson marks 18 years since her American Idol win
Announcing her appointment on social media, the ‘Since U Been Gone’ singer wrote: “My friend, Simon Cowell, is doing better now but was in an accident and won’t be able to make Tuesday and Wednesday’s live shows for AGT.
“But no worries America, someone far wiser, cooler, and hotter is taking his seat! The unbelievably amazing Kelly Clarkson [winking emoji]. You’re welcome in advance!”
America’s Got Talent airs on NBC in the US and on Netflix in the UK.
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