‘Lovecraft Country’: When a man loves a demon

Oh dear lord. This show.

Just when you think you know what to expect from HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” it takes a swerve into another time, another country, another lead character.

And it makes you fall in love with a monster. Truly. Watch the new episode of Sunday at 9 p.m. and tell me you don’t feel the same way.

Warning! Minor spoilers follow! And maybe some love for Judy Garland!

We already know that Atticus (Jonathan Majors) suffers from PTSD from his time in the Korean War. He’s also been talking on the telephone with a woman over there who somehow terrifies him. Yet he can’t let her go.

What we didn’t know – until this episode – is that Atticus’ first encounter with the supernatural was not here in the States.

Jonathan Majors, "Lovecraft Country" (Photo: HBO)
Jonathan Majors, “Lovecraft Country” (Photo: HBO)

In “Meet Me in Daegu,” written by Misha Green and Kevin Lau and directed by Helen Shaver, nursing student Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung, “The Gifted”) in the fall of 1949 in South Korea is a lover of MGM musicals and all things Judy Garland. The local cinema is her refuge from the pain of her life. She can imagine herself singing up on the big screen.

The real world is dreary and brutish. Men don’t seem interested in her. Her mother is demanding and expects her to bring a man home.

That … seems like an odd request from a woman who seems so proper.

Ji-Ah’s mother made a bargain with a shaman to stop an all-too human monster. But all magic carries a price, and this bill is especially bloody.

Both women struggle with the consequences.

Ji-Ah and Atticus’ paths first cross in a horrific manner.

Atticus has alluded to doing unspeakable things as a soldier.

He was not exaggerating. You may reassess your image of this muscled bookworm. Ji-Ah has every right to carry a grudge.

What they both get is something far more complicated.

Jamie Chung, Jonathan Majors, "Lovecraft Country" (Photo: HBO)
Jamie Chung, Jonathan Majors, “Lovecraft Country” (Photo: HBO)

Chung is sublime. She pulls you in and tears at your heart. (In a good way, not a demon-y way, and it’s a tribute to “Lovecraft Country” that that distinction must be made.)

This is an hour that will stay with you for a long time.

“Lovecraft Country”: Can we dwell here forever?

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