Lovecraft Country Episode 2: Easter Eggs and References In "Whitey's On The Moon"
The second episode of Lovecraft Country fleshes out the backstory and doubles down on the bizarre.
The first episode of Lovecraft Country built steadily to its climax, as Tic, Leti, and Uncle George searched for Tic's missing father Montrose, while battling the institutional racism of sundown counties and the cops who enforced their curfews. The last ten minutes of the first episode exploded into an orgy of blood and violence, as many-eyed shoggoths ate and mangled the policemen who were about to kill our heroes.
The second episode, which aired on August 23, was nowhere near as disciplined or focused as its predecessor. It moved at breakneck pace to resolve all of the series' questions in record time. And by the end of Episode 2, we'd found Montrose, learned about Tic's secret lineage, discovered the purpose of the cult that's imprisoned them, and experienced the death of a main character. In this world, magic and wizardry are real things, capable of doing everything from creating hallucinations and erasing memories to erecting invisible barriers.
Where do the writers go from here? They've burned a season's worth of plot points in less time than it took to set it up. Regardless, this episode was packed with Easter eggs, references, and other hidden nuggets to unearth. Here's everything we spotted in Episode 2 of Lovecraft Country, "Whitey's On The Moon."
You can read all of our episode reference guides below:
1. Jeffersons Theme
The song playing during the episode's opening sequence--when Uncle George and Leti are gushing over their new rooms--is "Movin' On Up." Co-written and performed by J'Anet Dubois, "Movin' On Up" was the opening theme for the Norman Lear sitcom The Jeffersons, and it subsequently became an anthem for upward black mobility in America. Its use in Lovecraft Country is ironic; the characters are overjoyed by their idealized, wealthy surroundings, but they are an illusion, designed to lull them into complacency.
2. Intersectional Concerns
The episode makes the issue of American equality more complicated than black vs. white; it also brings up issues of class. Christina comments that her father would never associate with the Klan, because the Klan was poor. In a similar manner, the white people outside of the mansion live in poverty, but the Brathwaites make no apparent effort to reach out or help them improve their station.
There's also the issue of gender. The Sons of Adam do not permit women to become members, which an embittered Christina points out to Tic when he is preparing for the ritual. It echoes an argument in American history between abolitionist Frederick Douglass and 1st wave feminist Susan B. Anthony; Anthony believed that white women's suffrage should be prioritized over black men's right to vote.
3. Dance Around The Maypole
When our heroes are walking through the village, you can see a group of children dancing around a Maypole in the background. The Maypole has its roots in pagan tradition, and it frequently makes appearances in horror films about cults and secret societies--most famously in The Wicker Man (1973). A Maypole was also part of a key scene in the 2019 horror film Midsommar.
4. The Pale Emperor
The song playing over the scene where Samuel shoots Leti is "Killing Strangers" by Marilyn Manson. Manson wrote the song about his father, who suffered PTSD as a result of his participation in the Vietnam War. During the episode, Leti and Uncle George speculate that Tic is suffering from PTSD, which causes him to remember events that they do not. The song was also famously used in the first John Wick film.
5. Tunnel Digging
When our heroes figure out that Montrose is digging an escape tunnel, Uncle George mentions that Montrose loved The Count Of Monte Cristo. In the novel, one of the key plot points involves one character, Abbé Faria, digging a tunnel to escape prison, but accidentally ending up in the cell of another character, Edmond Dantès. The author of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas, was a black French man of Haitian descent. It makes sense that Montrose, who openly detested Lovecraft for his racism (and tried to impress this upon his son), would gravitate to Dumas as an aspirational figure.
Meanwhile, the tunnel reveal shot is framed almost identically to the tunnel reveal shot in The Shawshank Redemption.
6. Trouser Snake
During Leti's hallucination, Tic undoes his pants and reveals he has a snake for a penis. This is a biblical allusion to the fall of Eve and Adam, in which they ate from the Tree of Knowledge and defied God. The snake, which tempted Eve, has been interpreted as a phallic symbol by many scholars.
7. And Whitey's On The Moon
"Whitey's On The Moon" is a spoken word poem by Gil Scott-Heron. The author juxtaposes the technological advancements and breakthroughs in America with the more mundane, ground-level concerns of black Americans who are scraping by. It plays during the ritual scene at the end of the episode, and it underlines the symbolic theme of whites making advancements and finding success at the cost of black labor and black bodies.
Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company