‘Lovecraft Country’ Episode 4 Review: The Museum Confirms You Must Know Where You’ve Been To Know Where You’re Headed

In episode 4 of HBO’s Lovecraft Country, the crew takes a family trip to Boston in search of some extremely valuable pages from the “Book of Names.” They leave behind Chicago and the once-haunted house that Leti takes possession of in episode 3, and instead must navigate an historic museum to find something that everyone on the show seems to need. 

Leti’s sister Rubi finds herself struggling to progress professionally in the oppressive society that is Jim Crow America and makes a connection with a shady character from earlier in the season. Tic, Leti, and Montrose band together and partake in a wild journey to retrieve the pages and make a disturbing discovery in the process.

The family takes a trip to Boston that teaches everyone something new

Episode 4 opens with Tic’s father, Montrose, struggling to cope with the pain of his path. Christina is still lurking around Chicago and has a tense encounter with Leti, during which she reveals she’s looking for “Hiram’s Orrery,” a metal model of the solar system. Tic’s aunt Hippolyta is actually the one who possesses it, although she doesn’t know what it is or how to open the locked object. 

Leti then confronts Tic at the library about Christina, and the two realize that they need to learn some spells of their ow. They talk to his father about finding the missing pages, but his father initially refuses. He eventually gives in, and the family takes a trip to Boston, where Montrose is sure the pages can be found. 

At the museum, Hippolyta reveals to her daughter Dee that she once won a competition to name a galaxy, but didn’t receive credit for it due to her color. Meanwhile, Tic, Leti, and Montrose scope out the museum to find a secret passageway that will lead to the pages. They’re successful and begin their search. 

While the crew risks their lives, Rubi has to handle her own problems

Back in Chicago, Rubi struggles with finding work. Her hopes of applying at a department store are foiled by another Black woman who already works there. She gets a lukewarm response while singing at a bar, and finds herself being courted by William from Adrham Lodge. She reveals a ton of information about the crew to William, and they hook up shortly after.

In Boston, the crew has ventured into the depths of the museum and faces supernatural security such as disappearing bridges, password-protected doors, and boobytrapped gates. Tic’s blood is the key to entering a secret chamber, and inside of it, they find a corpse that jumps to life upon their entry. The corpse reveals that Titus initially brought her and her people to America with promises of helping them, but betrayed her and left them for dead.

She refuses to help the crew on their search, but Montrose decides to take the lost pages from her grasp anyway. The chamber floods and the crew barely escapes, bringing Yahima, the undead spirit with them. In a shocking turn of events, Montrose slits her throat in the final seconds of the episode, leaving viewers to wonder what’s next.

Rubi’s struggle is one that all Black Americans face, even today

Rubi’s dilemma with finding opportunities is not new. All Black Americans face the same struggle of the “rat race,” in which we must all compete with each other for limited opportunities. In most spaces, whether they be corporate, social, or otherwise, there’s only room for one Black face, and it must be exceptional. 

She knows that because she’s darker-skinned she has a tougher battle, and she also knows that there’s a “winner takes all” mentality in the Black community that is still relevant today. Most Black Americans feel that their toughest competition is amongst their own people and that we’re all scrambling in a lopsided game of musical chairs for an opportunity at a good life. 

The Lovecraft crew’s journey to the hidden pages is symbolic of Black people’s tortuous journey to their truth

As with most of their experiences thus far, the Lovecraft crew’s journey to the coveted pages is not easy. It’s marred with codes, traps, and obstacles that require significant strategy and resourceful thinking, not unlike the journeys Black Americans face every day. 

In America, Black people are very rarely afforded an easy trip to success or to uncovering the truth about who they are. We’re born into a system designed with countless boobytraps meant to keep us from reaching our full potential. Even the simplest of goals, from owning a home to raising a family, can be kept out of reach by complex structures created to marginalize us. To make it in America as Black person, you must be smart, savvy, and have magic in your blood. 

Episode 4 of ‘Lovecraft Country’ shows that there’s room for uneasy optimism amongst the crew 

Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollet, and Michael K WIlliams
Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollet, and Michael K WIlliams

Despite the whirlwind of events that occur in episode 4, the crew still manages to achieve their goal. They successfully retrieve the pages from the “Book of Names,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re out of the water.

They still have to figure out how to decipher the pages, how to use the spells, and how to keep them away from Christina. Not to mention, Rubi is now in the thick of a romantic affair with William, who surely has ulterior motives. Montrose’s inexplicable murder of Yahima also leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Although the crew has checked a major goal off of their list, there are still a ton of things up in the air about what’s to happen next.