The season finale of Lovecraft Country, “Full Circle,” was full of layers, narratives, and of course, sadness. Thankfully, Shadow And Act was able to talk with one of the show’s writers, Ihuoma Ofordire, about everything that went down. Below is commentary from Ofordire, who co-wrote episode 8 with showrunner Misha Green and composed the finale’s story with Green as well, on some of the episode’s most poignant scenes.
You said prior to recording this interview that working on this show was your “wildest dream.” May you elaborate?
What this season meant to me was being able to express Blackness in a real and authentic way. To show our strength and our courage and our joy through our lens, not through a white showrunner or creator, but through someone who is Black but also understands the history and the struggle of Black Americans in this country. And being able to show it in such way [through] horror, it makes you question what is real horror, you know what I mean? It was just a great way for us to really show and express to the world, this is our history, this our voice, this is our story, and we can’t be pushed down. It was just a joy to really tell our story, honestly.
What have you been making of the response so far to the season, particularly the finale?
It’s overwhelming because when you’re creating something, you’re just trying to get this message out. You’re trying to tell a story, you hope that it resonates. So to have a response from people who say that they feel seen, heard–Black women felt appreciated and showcased, Black men felt as though trauma that they’ve had to endure on a daily basis in this country is being revealed and…expressed. So, it’s just a fantastic feeling to have your own people resonate with your art.
We see Atticus get killed in a Christ-like fashion. While I know you can’t spoil anything regarding what could happen in a second season, where do you think Atticus’ story could go, if anywhere?
[laughs] I can’t answer that! I don’t know. I think if we get a renewal for Season 2, that’s probably something we’ll have to think about. I don’t know–everything’s just up in the air right now. I think we’re just trying to enjoy the moment of finishing a second season, and I think we’ll get to that in the future, if we are renewed. I just want to say that his journey now, I just love the reaction that a lot of men had to Atticus and generational trauma and generational abuse being passed down because of our parents’ generational abuse and trauma they had not dealt with and the idea of breaking generational curses. That, to me, is what Atticus’ story represents, especially with how he wants something different for his unborn son.
The finale explores the concept of family, including found family and what it means to be family. One question I have regarding that is with Ruby and Leti. Ruby claims Leti doesn’t understand family, yet her “chosen” family is the one that eventually kills her (or so we think). What do you think the commentary on chosen family is at that moment?
It’s very interesting because you can’t choose your family at all, so you’re stuck with them. I think a lot of times, we do a lot of things out of obligation because you’re family. But when you’re not taught what a real family is–Leti and Ruby were not taught what a real family is, and it’s the same as when you don’t have a good example [of] what love is or what a good marriage is, you replicate that in your life as an adult. So the commentary to me speaks to so many levels of unresolved feelings, repressed feelings, repressed resentment for one another. They’re unhealed…and they keep going through the same cycle…expecting things to be different. Neither one of them is really taking a hard look at what it really means to be family at a core level. But in the end, Ruby still felt obligated to her family and in the end, that got her killed. It’s so interesting.
I guess on Leti’s end, she seems to think that family means putting up with a lot of junk, because she’s put up with Atticus’ junk and Montrose’ junk to where he doesn’t have time to focus on herself or her other priorities, such as taking care of Dee. She might not be in an abusive relationship, but she’s used to taking abuse from her family, like her brother, so she’s just become accustomed to taking junk from family. Her concept of family is also skewed as well.
Yeah, absolutely, because it’s like I said, if you have no concept of family, you’re growing up in a traumatic abusive household, you’re going to replicate that. It’s going to be normal. Being genuine and supportive and love is going to seem odd when didn’t have that. Seeing Leti continuously making the same choices and same patterns is not surprising me, it’s normal…it’s a level of conditioning, and I think we all have conditioning in certain areas. We normalize it.
Christina is the manifestation of White Feminism to me. With that said, why was it important that her character went out the way she did, at the hand of Dee?
For me, I love this because it’s the younger generation that will lead us to the promised land. It’s the younger generation that sees the mistakes of the prior generation and correct course. Just in the simple fact that Leti was going to let Christina live, [believing that] she doesn’t have magic, so she’s harmless, and I think that’s something Black people and minorities tend to think that things could be different instead of taking a look at what’s actually been the pattern of history. I think sometimes it takes the younger generation to evoke change and to course correct. That to me, that scene, is what it represented to me, when Dee said “They never learn.” I love it.
Montrose now gets the chance to be the father he wasn’t to Atticus with his grandson. Hypothetically, do you think Montrose will live up to the task? Or do you think he has the capability to fall back into old patterns?
Well, hypothetically [laughs] no. I think Montrose has the capacity to be changed and redeemed, only because he has confronted his past…and he’s accepted his sexuality and all of his secrets that he’s been burying for the past 20 to 30 years have all come to the surface and he’s had to confront them in order to heal himself. So, to me,I think when you confront buried issues and resentments secrets and traumas, that’s the only way we can heal and transform. His character, to me, is the most transformed out of everybody because he’s had to face things he thought he’d never face or wouldn’t allow himself to face. And that’s a heavy burden to carry for so long, and [now he can] finally be like, “This is my past, this is my trauma, this is who I am, I’m ready to move forward.”
The end of the season finds us with white people bound out of magic, and magic solely belonging to African Americans. The idea of reclaiming and reparations has been one increasing in strength in recent years, including in other HBO programming like Watchmen. What do you think Lovecraft Country adds to that conversation?
I think in particular, I’ll talk about the Tulsa episode [Episode 9, “Rewind 1921”], I think a lot of people might have been aware of Tulsa…but didn’t have the landscape of what it really was or how it really looked or how much it was thriving. For us to show how Tulsa was, how well Black folks were doing in their own town, circling their own money among Black businesses and how rich and upper-community Tulsa was, and then you show the destruction of it, I think that opened a lot of people’s eyes to what Black people have endured, what they’ve overcome, and what they are owed. Tulsa survivors…got nothing. They lost everything they had–family members, their businesses, their wealth and nothing was ever done about it. I think how we did our Tusla episode, showcasing the beauty of Tulsa, really adds to that conversation about reparations and what is owed to Black America.
I think it’s really powerful that we’re now in this space in entertainment talking about it because I haven’t seen Tusla talked about on TV until last year with Watchmen. I knew about it from research, but I’d never seen anyone talk about it, and I’d never learned about it in school history books. So I’m glad to see Tulsa and stories like Tulsa now in circulation and hopefully, this series can help push that needle forward with talk about what Black people are owed.
Absolutely. Even when I was working on this show, I learned so much. I things I never knew had happened. So it was definitely eye-opening for me to sit and research this history. It made me mad for a bit–it’s just mind-boggling, the things we have endured and how we’re still surviving and pushing forward. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.
You can watch the entire first season of Lovecraft Country on HBO on demand and HBO Max.