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Lovecraft Country is a 2020 HBO American Drama/Horror series, based on the novel of the same name by Matt Ruff. Developed for TV by Misha Green, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Television, Monkeypaw Productions and Bad Robot Productions. It stars Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Aunjanue Ellis, Courtney B. Vance, and Michael K. Williams.

The story follows Atticus "Tic" Freeman (Majors), a Korean War vet who helps his uncle George (Vance) with the Safe Negro Travel Guide. As Jim Crow laws are still prevalent in the South and much of America's police force is dominated by Caucasian people who are unsympathetic to the plight of African-Americans at best, the guide is a literal lifesaver for African Americans who want to travel around the country.

After completing a trip, his uncle gives Tic a letter from his father Montrose (Williams) asking him to come to a town in Massachusetts in order to look into his family history. As they embark on a road trip through the horrors of the 1950s Jim Crow America, joined by Tic's childhood friend Letitia "Leti" Lewis (Smollett), the group soon discovers that racists who can murder African Americans with impunity are not the only horrific monsters roving around America. Soon Tic and the rest of his family become entangled with eldritch creatures, ghosts, white supremacist sorcerers, and other horrors that are connected to his heritage, and want him for their schemes.

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Has a characters page that is under construction. In June 2021, it was announced the series would not receive a second season.


Tropes in this series include:

  • Abusive Parents: Montrose to Atticus. Apparently, Montrose’s father was just as bad, if not worse.
  • Action Girl: Leti. In the first episode alone she outraces armed racists, then outruns monsters through the forest before running one down with the car.
    My name is Letitia fucking Lewis!
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: Upon being taken to Samuel's lab, Tic sees a man on a table groaning in a pain as a man in fancy robes removes his liver. However, the man in robes walks out when the operation is done—Samuel was the one being operated on, and he proceeds to talk casually to Tic as though nothing just happened. The operation is so he can ceremonially feed his liver to the cult.
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  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: Discussed In-Universe. When Atticus asks Ji-Ah to read the final chapters of The Count of Monte Cristo she tells him how it ends... only for him to tell her that what she just said was the ending of the 1934 film adaptation, not the novel. He then says he understand why they thought it would make for a better ending of a film.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Changing a single novel into a full length television series will do this.
    • There are several original characters, such as Yahima the Native American.
    • We spend a bit more time with the racist cops encountered on the way to Ardham and the way they're killed is a bit different as well.
    • Letitia's conflict with her new racist neighbors is the subject of an entire episode. We see them use a much wider array of intimidation tactics, and both the nature of the house's haunting and how it's resolved are very different.
    • Montrose gets a dose of Adaptational Villainy. In the book he was just an abusive father. In the show he's that and a full blown murderer. On the other hand, he also is made more sympathetic when we find out that he's a self loathing homosexual whose father beat him brutally for it when he was a child, and he saw his first love's brains get blown out right in front of him during the Tulsa Massacre shortly after Montrose rejected him for being gay. And even the above murder was out of love for his son rather than cruelty (he wanted to keep Atticus out of anything involving magic.)
    • Atticus' time in Korea during the war is only ever mentioned in passing in the novel, and nothing supernatural happens while he is there. In the show it gets a whole episode dedicated to it, and Atticus becomes romantically involved with a kumiho.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In the novel, the money to buy the Winthorpe House supposedly came from Leti's late father, who as a professional gambler occasionally experienced unexpected windfalls, so his estate suddenly receiving a lot of money from an old debt raised no suspicions. In the show, Leti is told this money comes from her late mother, an irresponsible con-woman, but no explanation is given as to why Leti wasn't suspicious of where she got it.
  • Adult Fear: Inverted. The usual dynamic of a parent searching for their missing child is flipped, with Atticus searching for his father Montrose instead.
  • Afrofuturism: The episode "I Am." is one long love letter to this, as Hippolyta travels through space and time, meets benevolent aliens who resemble black people, dances with Josephine Baker in an alternate reality, fights Confederates along with other black woman warriors in an Alternate History parallel world, and discovers new worlds and new life. It's even wrapped up with the ending monologue for Space Is The Place, arguably the codifier of the trope.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Contrary to most modern people's preconceptions, the show accurately portrays the fact that the North of the United States could be just as virulently racist and dangerous for African Americans as the Jim Crow South, as the protagonists make their way from Chicago to Massachusetts and at one point get chased out of a 'sundown town'.
  • Amazon Brigade: In "I Am." Hippolyta joins a group of black woman warriors (based on the real-life Mino) fighting Confederate analogues on another world.
  • Animalistic Abomination: The Shoggoths vaguely resemble gorillas, and have super speed, jump through the trees, somehow remain hidden until they attack, are weak to light, and can turn people into Shoggoths with their bite.
    • Kumiho are fox spirits.
  • Anyone Can Die: In typical HBO fashion, both the main protagonist and antagonist are dead by the first season finale.
  • An Arm and a Leg: One of the Bideford deputies gets his arm torn off by a Shoggoth.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The tunnel beneath the Winthrop House. An aquifer with sufficient flow to carry human corpses from Chicago to Boston and close enough to the foundation for the elevator to reach it should have eroded the earth and created a sinkhole underneath large enough to swallow the entire house. Though given the glyphs surrounding the elevator shaft, it's extremely likely that Hiram did it. However, judging by the glyphs activating as the elevator descends the shaft, it's more likely that the shaft is enchanted to allow its occupants to travel from Chicago to Boston.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Atticus loves pulp fiction, and somewhat enjoys H. P. Lovecraft’s stories, though it is tempered by his knowledge of Lovecraft’s racism. When he finds himself fighting against monsters straight out of a Lovecraft story, he understandably isn’t very happy.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The two racists who try to murder Atticus, Leti, and George for eating at a restaurant in their town and are implied to have previously killed a woman over this get into a car crash after the silver Bentley cuts them off as they're chasing Atticus, Leti, and George.
    • Sheriff Hunt and his deputies are all a bunch of racist jackasses who assault and try to execute Atticus, Leti, and George, so it’s hard to feel bad when most of them get torn apart by shoggoths, and when Sheriff Hunt turns into a shoggoth himself.
    • The racist young white guys who tried to drive black people out of their house in episode three by blaring horns at all hours, burning a cross and then going with bats. All are killed by the ghost in the house.
  • Ass Shove:
    • Ruby delivers an absolutely brutal one to her racist and misogynistic supervisor. With a four-inch high heel.
    • One of Ji-Ah's tails is clearly seen going up Byung Ho's anus, if only via silhouette.
  • Back from the Dead: Leti is killed by Samuel Braithwaite, then resurrected with his magic.
  • Badass Family: Every single member of the Freeman family is smart, tough as nails and very Genre Savvy with their shared interest in science fiction, supernatural horror fiction and mythology. By the end of the first season several of them have what could be considered straight up superpowers, with Leti being made magically immortal, Hippolyta having gained immense knowledge beyond time and space, and Diana having a futuristic prosthetic arm build by Hippolyta.
  • Baleful Polymorph: William/Christina used a potion to turn Ruby into a white woman, and didn't ask first. Naturally, she's freaked out to wake up that way, but soon likes the idea since it gives her more privilege, so that her next transformations are knowing and wanted.
  • Batter Up!:
    • Leti smashes up the white guys' cars with a bat when they're rigged for blaring their horns at all hours in hopes of driving her and other black residents away. After this, the guys come into the house with their own bats for revenge. They get killed by a ghost before doing anything.
    • This seems to be Leti's go to weapon. She was also prepared to give Tic a tap or two during his Unstoppable Rage.
    • Atticus later uses a baseball bat to defend a group of black teens from white racists intent on murdering them.
  • Bed Trick: Ruby has sex with William, and then learns he was actually Christina from the beginning, by means of a magical potion, to her dismay.
  • Black Widow: Byung Ho (and all the men like him) was killed by Ji-Ah right after he had sex with her.
  • Blood Magic: Christina uses Atticus' blood to fuel a spell, which would be fatal. Thankfully, she gets stopped.
  • Body Horror:
    • Sheriff Hunt turning into a shoggoth was quite horrific, with his body being torn apart as he changes into this.
    • Ruby and William/Christina's later transformations is quite horrific, where their original forms slowly burst out from inside of their assumed ones, with the latter's skin being shed bloodily.
    • [[Ji-Ah's tails invade every orifice of her victims.]]
  • Brick Joke: Bobo asks the Ouijia board if he'll have a good time on his vacation. Come Jig-A-Bobo, it's clear Bobo is the nickname of Emmett Till, and he gets tortured and murdered on his vacation.
  • Bury Your Gays: It's mixed in the series.
    • One character, Sammy, is shown to be overtly gay (fellatio in a back alley), and while sidelined and shunned is not explicitly harmed.
    • Another, Yahima, is shown to be "Two Spirited" and have dual genitalia. While at first accepted, the character quickly comes to a rather gruesome end with a surprise cut throat.
    • Thomas, Montrose's gay friend when both of them were teenagers, was killed during the Tulsa Massacre in 1921 (and the slurs the white people shout at the two of them before killing him make it clear it was about more than just the anti-black pogrom occurring). Montrose however survives.
    • Christina, who is bi, lesbian or maybe transgender, gets killed by Diana.
  • Car Fu: Leti rams into Sheriff Hunt after he's turned into a Shoggoth with her car.
  • Chummy Commies: Young-Ja, Ji-Ah's best friend, is a Communist spy and portrayed sympathetically. Her being shot for spying (without trial) is clearly shown as wrong, along with a supposed Communist man's lynching. The point is likely not sympathy for Communists per se, but to show up Anti-Communist hysteria, and that such acts were very similar to racist murders in the US (ironically, given Atticus shot her).
  • Cool Car: Christina’s silver Bentley S1 is a mighty impressive and distinctive car.
  • Corrupt Hick: Sheriff Hunt and his deputies. Sheriff Hunt takes it so far that he’s accumulated a long list of violations of the law with his racist enforcement, though he conveniently keeps his position due to the general racism.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Atticus was verbally and physically abused by his father Montrose, and later served in the Korean War. It turns out he killed and tortured civilians during his service, plus his lover almost killed him. He dreams about a hand to hand knife fight with an Asian woman, and it isn't clear if it was fantasy or memory.
    • George and Montrose were abused by their father.
    • Ji-Ah was sexually abused by her mother's husband, and then possessed by a fox spirit her mother summoned to kill him.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Though Atticus is clearly the protagonist, many of the episodes focus on various other characters, from Leti's attempt to get a house in a white neighborhood, to Ruby's struggles with getting a job as a black woman, to Ji-Ah, a Korean woman cursed with a demon who was Atticus's first love during his time in the Korean War.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Atticus is quite snarky.
  • Death by Adaptation: Uncle George survives the entirety of the book. In the TV series, he's killed off at the end of Episode 2.
    • Both Atticus and Christina. Atticus survives in the book but in the show is sacrificed so Christina can achieve immortality, and while Christina’s book counterpart Caleb simply has his magic bound and is dropped off in Indiana where he can’t hurt anyone, Christina has her magic bound by Leti immediately after sacrificing Atticus and gets her throat ripped out by Dee shortly after.
  • Death by Racism:
    • Even as Sheriff Hunt is transforming into a shoggoth right before his eyes, a Bideford deputy will still keep his shotgun pointed at the black people in the room. He gets eaten before the Sheriff’s transformation is even over.
    • The three racist punks who break into Leti's boarding house to attack her are quickly dispatched by the vengeful spirits inside.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The series pulls no punches about depicting the massive institutional racism and sexism prevalent in the US at the time.
    • The creators spend an entire episode focusing on the Korean War and don't hold back on the war crimes America committed.
    • It also shows that different social issues were viewed differently. Just because black people were dealing with racism didn't mean they were too sympathetic to homosexuals who were also facing prejudice of their own. When Atticus witnesses his closeted father trying to stop his boyfriend from leaving after a fight, Atticus sadly says his father is "a faggot".
    • Working at a department store is shown to be a well respected middle class profession rather than a job that pays minimum wage.
  • Demonic Possession: Ji-Ah was possessed by a kumiho, a fox spirit from Korean folklore due to her mother's deal with a shaman. She has to kill one hundred men and take their souls before she'll become human again.
  • Dirty Cop: Sheriff Eustace Hunt and his deputies. Sheriff Hunt demands Atticus, Leti, and George leave his county before sundown, knowing they only have a few minutes, and then starts pursuing them and ramming their car before the time limit is up. After they leave, he and his deputies ambush them and hold them at gunpoint in the woods, accusing them of burglary and trying to force them to confess. Fortunately, shoggoths attack them and stop them from executing Atticus, Leti, and George in the spot.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A pair of racists try to kill the protagonists because they tried to order a meal in a restaurant in their town.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Ji-Ah never actually says anything, but she leads Byung Ho into a candlelit room inside of her house, strips off and lies down, looking invitingly at him. He gets the message at once, and accepts. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Do Wrong, Right: According to Leti, her mother may have been a fraud who only pretended to communicate with the dead to get money out of people, but she was a con-woman who believed in doing her homework, to the point of having the contact information of an actual Voudoun priestess.
  • Entitled Bastard: Sheriff Hunt and his sole surviving deputy demand to be let into the cabin Atticus and Leti are hiding from the Shoggoths in, after harassing, bullying, holding them at gunpoint, and trying to frame them for crimes they didn’t commit out of sheer racism. Immediately after they do get in, they start holding them at gunpoint and nearly get George and Leti killed with their cowardice.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The Order of Ancient Dawn has 34 lodges, and if the interactions between Christina and Captain Lancaster are any indication, they are at each other's throats.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: "Uncle George, remind me why the White House is white?" Answer: because after it got set on fire, white paint was the only way to cover up the burn marks. George realizes the reason why the diner has a new name and white instead of red brick—the old one was burned down by racists who were angry it served black people—in the middle of telling Tic this.
  • Extreme Doormat: George, while a pretty brave guy, is a pushover whenever it comes to his family. He was unable to stand up to his abusive father, which he feels led to Montrose’s behavior as an adult, and he was in turn unable to stand up to Montrose’s abuse of Atticus.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The first episode opens on a scene of trench warfare, which quickly devolves into a sci-fi battle with Martian Tripods, flying saucers, scantly clad, red-skinned princesses and a miniature Cthulhu. By the point where Jackie Robinson shows up to punch out Cthulhu it becomes clear that the audience is being treated to a Dream Intro.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Ji-Ah is a gorgeous looking woman who has multiple sex scenes in her introductory episode, but kills men when she climaxes by forcing her fox tails into their orifices.
    • While having sex with William in her white form, Ruby begins gorily transforming, with her original body bursting out from the inside. Neither of them seems to find it unappealing (presumably they're used to this by now), since they don't stop.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • While looking for a bridge, something in the woods runs through the bushes, spooking Leti. Atticus jokingly says that it’s a Shoggoth. It turns out he’s probably right, since the woods are infested with Shoggoths.
    • The first ghost seen in "Holy Ghost" pulls at Leti's bedsheets and hangs ominously over the bed, but she brushes it off when she sees that her neighbors have sabotaged the boiler. As it turns out, most of the ghosts are benevolent victims of a serial killer, and it was probably trying to warn her about the boiler.
  • Friendly Ghost: Despite being on the gruesome side, the ghosts in the Winthrope House are non-threatening and protective of the occupants. The same cannot be said in regards to racists, given that the ghosts are African-American and Hiram's murder victims.
  • Funny Afro: The black female alien in "I Am." who whisks Hippolyta away for interdimensional adventure has a massive afro, so large that it's wider than her body.
  • Geometric Magic: Magic symbols are drawn as part of casting spells.
  • Gender Flip: The series employs a couple of significant ones compared to the source material. George and Hippolyta's son Horace becomes their daughter Diana "Dee", while Caleb Braithwhite is re-imagined as Christina Braithwhite (with some Decomposite Character elements being given to her right-hand man William).
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Atticus and George are avid readers of pulp fiction, Atticus more so, so the two have a firm grasp on horror tropes, which is pretty helpful considering they’re in a horror story. In the very first episode George uses these tropes to figure out a way to deal with the Shoggoths.
    • While looking for Titus' Braithwhite's vault, Atticus applies the tropes of adventure novels to their current situation.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Played with. The corrupt cops of Bideford are reduced to weeping, gibbering terror by the Shoggoth attack, but for the black characters, the simple fact is that Bideford isn't substantially more dangerous with Shoggoths than without them. As a result, while they panic, they quickly regain enough of their composure to start planning an escape and leave shaken, but sane.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: The flame is still burning for George and Hippolyta Freeman after many years of marriage (though their daughter Dee would probably prefer not to overhear them).
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Atticus's dream includes Ji-Ah as a very scantly clad Red Martian princess.
  • Hidden Depths: Hippolyta, George's wife, is actually a mathematical genius. But due to how society treated both black people and women, she had to settle for just being a house wife. She loves George, but she is resentful of what she could have been able to do.
  • Honey Trap: Ji-Ah, being a gorgeous young woman, easily leads men to their doom by simply offering them sex, which they quickly accept and then are not just murdered but have their souls devoured too.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: At least in the first episode. The majority of the problems the protagonists face are the racist people trying to kill them, before the Lovecraftian monsters come into the mix. Hell, at least the Shoggoths don't discriminate in their victims.
  • Immortality Seeker:
    • Samuel Braithwaite wanted to gain immortality by opening a portal to the Garden of Eden, which he did awful things for. He ended up dying in the ritual.
    • Christina, his daughter, also wants immortality.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: After the transformation potion wears off, whoever's using it can't stop themselves from changing back into their original form, and must get out of sight to hide the fact (though they don't always manage it).
  • Jawbreaker: After turning into a Shoggoth, Sheriff Hunt tears out the sole remaining Bideford deputy’s jaw with his teeth.
  • Jerkass:
    • Sheriff Hunt, on top of being a racist asshole, also enjoys toying with the protagonists, chasing them over the county line knowing full well that they are running straight into a roadblock.
    • Montrose, who was extremely controlling over Atticus’s life, forced him to read some of H.P. Lovecraft’s racist essays because he wanted Atticus to stop reading pulp fiction, and physically and verbally abused him.
    • Letitia's new neighbors in episode three try to scare her and her tenants off by tying bricks to their cars so that their horns would go off endlessly and parking them in front of her house, setting up a burning cross in her front yard, and breaking in with the intention of killing her.
  • Karmic Death: In "Sundown" and "Jiga-a-Bobo" racist cops attempting to murder black people are soon slaughtered by monsters themselves. The same goes for the civilian white vigilantes and most Order members in their ritual (killed by ghosts or it backfiring respectively).
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: At the end of the series, Diana kills Christina, who at this point is pinned under a boulder and stripped of her magic.
  • Lady Land: The black country Hippolyta goes to on another world in "I Am." seems like it has only women-not a man is seen there. One woman appears to be their ruler.
  • Language of Magic: The Language of Adam in which the people chant their spells, which is (naturally) said to be the original human language which Adam spoke, and presumably has magical power given this (perhaps by coming directly from God).
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • In episode one the group of murderous gunmen who'd attempted to kill Tic and his family for simply asking to be served in a whites-only restaurant that did not advertise itself as one, wind up in a car accident and presumably die. Sheriff Hunt and his gang of racist cops are all either mauled to death by Sheogoths or turned into them before the episode ends.
    • Most of the Order die when the ritual goes awry in episode 2.
    • In episode three the men who presumably lead the campaign to intimidate Letitia and her tenants into leaving are all killed by the spirits haunting the house.
  • Leitmotif: Topsey and Bobsey from "Jig-a-bobo" are followed by a distorted arrangement of "Stop Dat Knocking", a minstrel song that features a trio of heavy drum beats after each chorus.
  • Lovecraft Country: The namesake of the series and original book. The first episodes take place in the fictional county of Devon, in rural Massachusetts.
  • Lovecraft Lite: This show explicitly establishes that there are supernatural and extradimensional entities that are not inherently evil or cruel.
    • Ji-Ah the fox spirit only kills men at the behest of her mother, who wants her to become human and truly be her daughter again. She only had a shaman summon a fox spirit into her daughter's body as a means to get rid of her abusive husband who was sexually abusing Ji-Ah.
    • Hippolyta has an encounter with Beyond C'est an alien who resembles a tall African American woman, who sends her in a journey across time and space the creators likened to a form of therapy. This journey allows her to live out many of her power fantasies and have a heartfelt last conversation with her deceased husband.
  • Ludicrous Gibs:
    • One of the neighborhood racists invading Leti's house in episode 3 gets most of his head sliced off by the haunted elevator. His body falls back towards the camera, and the viewer gets a long, LONG look at the gorn inside what's left of his skull.
    • Ji-Ah's tails entering Byung Ho cause him to burst apart in a shower of blood.
    • Though it's non-lethal, when the transformation potion wears off, the user basically bursts out of the skin that they are wearing, with blood and flesh going everywhere. It isn't pretty.
  • Magical Incantation: Spells require incantations using the Language of Adam, i.e. the original human language.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: It turns out that Atticus might be George's son biologically, since he had an affair with his mother. His father admits he's not sure. Since this is the 1950s, there's no medical means to resolve it.
  • Mixed Ancestry:
    • Atticus it turns out is partly descended from a white slave owner. This lets him into the otherwise all-white "Sons of Adam" secret society (which ordinarily doesn't allow men of color in).
    • Though unstated, it's implied that Leti has some white ancestry (like her actress) as she's significantly lighter than her half-siblings.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Leti is quite beautiful, and the series shows her figure off frequently in revealing clothing, particularly her long legs. She also has a couple sex scenes.
    • Ji-Ah is gorgeous, and has multiple sex scenes the first episode where she's introduced, in which she shows her breasts along with shots from the back and side.
  • Mythology Gag: Atticus obtains a book titled Lovecraft Country by his son, in which it's explicitly noted that the book's account of events are pretty different from what's happened in the show at certain parts. On a meta level, this is a wink at adaptational changes the show made with characters like Caleb and Horace being genderflipped as Christina and Diana, and George's death.
  • Naughty Tentacles: Ji-ah's tails look and act much like (furry) tentacles. The men she seduces have every bodily orifice violated by them after they have sex, then burst apart.
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: The road trip of the first episode was already bad enough at day, but the county that our heroes traverse runs on "sundown town" rules and the Sheriff and his deputies are looking for a reason to lynch them if they find them within county limits at night. They manage to outrun the sundown and get out, only to run into a roadblock the Sheriff had set just past the limits and they try to lynch them anyway. And then the Shoggoths (who only come out at night) attack...
  • Nice Guy: George is a kind man and loving father and uncle, and makes his living making a travel guide to ensure black people find safe places to stay and travel through.
  • No Periods, Period: Leti says her "monthly" came early when she's bleeding slightly after having sex with Atticus. However, it was actually because she'd lost her virginity to him.
  • No-Sell: In "Jiga-a-Bobo", the cops' bullets have zero effect on the monster charging them.
  • No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: While talking to Christina, Leti says she became religious after being resurrected. After Christina points out that was magic, Leti asks what the difference is, listing Biblical miracles like walking on water etc., while the idea that Jesus was actually a magician doesn't come up.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: During an episode set in 1950, during the Korean War, a unit of American soldiers take a whole shift of Korean nurses to a field and start executing them one by one until one of them confesses to leaking information to the communists. Atticus is part of this unit and personally executes one of the innocent women. He later participates in the interrogation/torture of the spy.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Atticus and George realize that the supposed diner that George was assured would be friendly turns out to have been torched and was replaced by a far less welcoming place over it; followed by Letitia who yell that they need to get the fuck out of there after overhearing the diner employee call for racists to kill them.
    • One cop in "Jiga-a-Bobo" stares in horror as the monster starts for him and the others.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: George compares the Shoggoths to vampires, since they are severely weakened and harmed by the light, and anyone bitten by them turns into another Shoggoth.
  • Painful Transformation: The transformation potion wearing off is far from pleasant, with the person's original body blooding emerging from their assumed one, which causes a lot of discomfort.
  • Perception Filter: The Braithwhites have a spell in place that makes anyone who survives an encounter with the Shoggoth forget all about the incident.
  • Phony Psychic: Leti's mom worked as a fake spirit medium, and according to her was very skilled, even doing research with actual Voduon practitioners so her act seemed more convincing.
  • Police Brutality:
    • Sheriff Hunt and his deputies. They march Atticus, Leti and George off into the woods with clear intent to kill them even after they followed their orders to leave Devon County.
    • Later, Leti is the victim of a "rough ride" by the Chicago cops in the prison wagon after she's arrested.
    • "Jiga-a-Bobo" has a bunch of cops opening fire on Leti's house, which literally gets riddled with bullets.
  • Rape as Backstory: Soon-Hee summoned the kumiho to kill her husband because he'd been sexually abusing Ji-Ah.
  • Red Scare: "Meet Me In Jaegu" focuses on this in South Korea during the Korean War. American soldiers torture supposed Communist agents or shoot them without trial and South Korean civilians hang Communists or shut down their businesses. Granted, this is after they were invaded by Communist North Korea. Still, it shows the height of war time anti-communist hysteria.
  • Religion Is Magic: The Language of Adam is used for magic spells, and Leti cites the fact that she had been resurrected by magic as the reason she's become religious.
  • Ritual Magic: All spells shown thus far in the series require at minimum magical incantations and drawing arcane symbols. Some also require sacrifices and possibly ritual garments as well.
  • Road Trip Plot: The first episode follows Atticus, George, and Leti on a road trip through 50's era rural America. Due to the prevalent racism still being in full force, just surviving the trip becomes a harrowing experience.
  • Shout-Out: While the nods to the works of H. P. Lovecraft are obvious, the series also makes reference to other pieces of genre fiction.
    • The first episode's dream sequence includes the Tripods from War of the Worlds and the red-skinned alien is most likely Dejah Thoris from John Carter of Mars.
    • Atticus reads A Princess of Mars and The Count of Monte Cristo on his trips, the latter of which is Montrose's favrorite book.
    • George's favorite book is mentioned to be Dracula.
    • The third episode references several haunted house films such as The Shining with the cards marking the days of occupancy, Poltergeist with its vengeful ghosts being victims of white people's cruelty, and both The Devil's Backbone and Crimson Peak with having the ghosts appear as they were when they were killed.
    • "I Am." as a name is a not so oblique reference to godhood taken from Exodus 3:14, in which the Lord literally states this as his name.
    • Diana and Hippolyta are named for Wonder Woman and her mother, respectively.
  • Shown Their Work: A lot of research was done to make sure the non-supernatural aspects of the show were as period-accurate as possible. Some of the tactics used by racists in this series were actual tactics used by racists threatening African Americans during the Jim Crow era. Some of them are obvious, such as placing a burning cross in the yard of an African American-owned home in a majority Caucasian neighborhood. Other things are less known but very real, such as parking their cars in front of African American homes and tying bricks to the steering wheels so that the horns would blare endlessly.
  • Soul Eating: Ji-Ah devours men's souls after having sex with them through inserting her tails into all of their orifices. Due to this, she also absorbs their memories. She must devour one hundred to become human again.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The series scores scenes with various songs from all time periods, both before and long after the story takes place. Sometimes it's not even music, but Black beat poetry or clips from famous speeches. While these are intended to highlight the themes of the scene without restriction, it can lead to some spots where things explicitly don't match up.
    • "Whitey's On the Moon" ends with the poem by Gil Scott-Heron that the episode is named for. It's a tongue-in-cheek comic piece, and plays while Tic accidentally sabotages a magical ritual and kills everyone present, and then he and his family have to escape the burning mansion.
    • "Strange Case" sees Ruby's first scene enjoying life in public as a White women set to "Dark Phrases" by Janet League, a poem all about loving yourself as a Black woman.
  • Stable Time Loop: Atticus doesn't want to intervene in the past, for fear of messing up his future. However, it's then learned he already did, by saving his father (a teen then) from being killed by white racists. If he hadn't done so, he (probably, since Montrose might not be his birth father) wouldn't exist, and their trip wouldn't have occurred.
  • Stylistic Suck: Atticus's dream at the very beginning of the series applies deliberately cheesy special effects for the science fiction elements therein.
  • Taken for Granite: Samuel Braithwaite turns to stone when his magical ritual goes awry. Then he gets crushed by falling debris.
  • Their First Time:
    • Leti lost her virginity to Atticus while at a party with him.
    • It turns out that Atticus' first time was with Ji-Ah, a woman he met in South Korea.
  • Time Travel: In "Rewind 1921" Montrose, Leti and Atticus travel back to Tulsa in 1921, when the Tulsa massacre occurred (which Montrose survived, while most of his loved ones didn't).
  • Transgender:Christina may be a lesbian or bi woman, though a straight trans man is another possibility, given the frequent transformations into a male form she or he does to be with Ruby.
  • Twofer Token Minority:
    • Yahima was Native American (Arawak specifically), and Two-Spirit.
    • Montrose, who's black, was revealed to also be gay.
    • Christina may be a lesbian or bi woman, though a straight trans man is also a possibility.
  • Villainous Rescue: Christina Braithwhite saves the protagonists twice in the first two episodes: she uses a combination of magic and her Bentley to cause a car-full of racist to crash spectacularly, and then she calls off the Shoggoths that attack them on the first escape attempt off the Ardham lodge.
  • Viral Transformation:
    • The Shoggoth's bite can turn a still-living victim into one of them, as Sherriff Hunt finds out the hard way.
    • Topsey and Bobsey also seem to have this. After attacking Diana, the next episode shows her being almost completely changed into a bow-wearing, wide-smiling creature like themselves until Christina intervenes.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Ruby's transformations are willing after the first one, as she comes to enjoy having greated privilege in a white form. Christina has also been turning into William all this time.
  • Wall Bang Her: Atticus and Leti had sex up against the wall with her sitting on a dresser.
  • Was Once a Man: The Shoggoths can turn people into other Shoggoths with their bite, so a good portion of them could have been people.
  • Wham Line: "Her best friend just died." This reveals that a minor character, the titular Bobo from this episode and from two previous ones, is Emmitt Till, the real world child whose murder was a major catalyst in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Atticus in the past, is shown shooting a female Korean Communist spy with no hesitation.
    • The magician cops show zero problem with harassing, terrorizing and cursing a young girl, Diana, nor brutally beating then shooting Christina (albeit she asked them to).
  • Zombie Infectee: Sheriff Hunt slowly starts to turn into a Shoggoth after being bitten by one. Lampshaded by George.
    George: What happens if you're bitten by a vampire?

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