Episode 4 is about the main characters, Tic, Leti, and Montrose on a hunt for the Book of Names, Indian Jones style. It also gives us a deeper glimpse into the lives of characters we have yet to learn more about – Montrose, Hippolyta, and Ruby.
The episode beings with Montrose burning the book given to him by his brother George. We hear the many thoughts running through the drunken mind of Montrose. We hear a father beating his son. We hear George reminding Montrose to give Tic the book the Bylaws of the Order of the Ancient Ones. We also hear the words from the news stating “the only way to destroy the Reds is to destroy their stockpile.” Montrose ignores his brother’s final wish and burns the book. As the book burns, Montrose says “smells like Tulsa.” This was a nod to the burning of Tulsa, Oklahoma, something that Montrose may have lived through.
During the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, White people rioted a prosperous Black neighborhood killing hundreds of people and burning and looting houses and businesses, over 35 blocks in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Another excellent HBO tv series, Watchmen highlights the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921 within its story arch. I highly recommend checking out that tv series if you haven’t yet.
I love the soundtrack in this series. I love how it interwines old and new music into a series that is set in 1955. We next see Christina driving her Silver Ford as Rihanna’s hit song “Bitch Better Have My Money” plays in the background.
Christina meets Leti at her doorstep informing her that it was she who bought Leti this house . She also informs her that Tic figured this out and just tried to shoot her. This was news to Leti who still believed that her mother left her the money. Christina then tells Leti that she is looking for an orrery made by Hiram, the previous owner of the house. An orrery is a mechanical model of a solar sytem. As usual, Leti does not have time for Christina and reminds her that she has no desire to help her and that it is Leti’s name on the deed so Christina needs to get off her property.
I love me some Leti y’all!
The orrery Christina is searching for is in the hands of Hippolyta. Hippolyta has moved it from Leti’s house into the bookshop. She calls her father seeking advice on how to make the model work. He doesn’t offer much help but a friend in the shop reminds her that “every locked thing has its key.”
Leti confronts Tic about Christina’s revelations at their local Black library. Leti sees Tic reading many books related to the Braithwhites and the Sons of the Adam.
Tic believes if the can learn the language of Adam he can begin making his own spells including one that can allow him to kill Christina. Tic explains to Leti that he was unable to kill Christina because of an invinsibility spell she has. He also states that he believes Christina used him as her pawn to kill her father. Tic stated he will not go back to Florida until he knows his family and Leti are safe.
Leti wonders why Tic is wasting his time doing this when he knows he can get the answers from his father, Montrose. Tic refuses to listen to Leti’s advice and Leti leaves annoyed. As Leti leaves, Tic realizes that every book he has on the table has previously been checked out by his father. Leti was right.
Tic then goes to Sammy’s bar once again to look for his father. Tree is there and let’s Tic know that they are in the back of the bar. They are Leti and Montrose sitting at a table. Leti has not taken Tic’s advice and instead has sought out Montrose to see what if anything does he know about the Order of the Ancient Ones. Montrose is frustrated and annoyed that his son will not leave this magic nonsense alone so he decides to join them on their journey.
The Freeman family (Hippolyta, Diane, Montrose, Tic) and Leti and their neighborhood friend Tree take a road trip to the National Museum of Science in NY in search for the Book of Names.The only people that knows the true purpose of the trip was Leti, Tic and Montrose.
While at the museum, Hippolyta and Diane take tour separate from the others. During their tour together, they go to an observation deck where they look at the stars. Diane learns the her mom had named a star through a contest when she was a little girl. A star that she never received credit for because she was a black girl and black girls did not receive such honors instead a white girl received the credit for the naming of the star.
Tree hangs around with Leti, Tic and Montrose as they are in search of the special vault they believed Titus built. Montrose find a black male security guard who gives them an extra 2 hours to stay at the museum after closing time. Tree makes it a point to apologize to Tic for sending him to the back of the bar earlier (Episode 1) to witness Sammy and another man engaging in a sex act. Tic responds that there is nothing to be sorry for because it is of no relevance to him. Tree pushes back and says that it is relevant because Montrose has been spending a lot of time with Sammy. Tic is thrown off guard by this information and questions Montrose as to how he knows the security guard. Montrose responds that he knows him from the bar which again causes Tic to wonder what is going on with his father. They do not address this insinuation that Montrose is gay.
We later learn in the episode that Christina is searching for the Orrery and its key because it is a time machine! Christina and Police Captain Lancaster have a tense meeting in his office. They are both seeking to join the Order of the Ancient Ones. Lancaster is not yet a member and Christina cannot ever become a member because she is a woman. After Christina meets with the Captain she is followed by some other officers until she gets to her house. Once she arrives to her house, William comes out and knocks out those following her and says he is on his way to a date. A date no one was anticipating – a date with Ruby.
Ruby is a hustler. When we see Ruby we see her working. This time we see her at the bar playing her guitar and serenading the crowd. Although Ruby’s voice is magical, her dream job is to work at the local department store. Earlier Ruby learned that the local department store has hired its first Black salesperson. A slim dark-skinned woman was able to get the job after applying on a whim. This frustrated Ruby because Ruby has been diligently applying for that job with no such positive results.
William approaches Ruby and offers her a free drink and an opportunity to help make her dreams come true. Ruby laughs and knows that this is but a dream, a dream that many white men before him have attempted to sell her. Ruby is willing to listen though as long as the free drinks continue to flow.
Williams presses Ruby on why not apply again for the department store job even if there is another black woman working there.
Ruby then tells William ‘it aint happening white boy as Williams stares lustfully at Ruby. This statement is far from the truth because we next see Ruby and William making love on the staircase in William’s house as Marilyn Manson’s song “I Put a Spell on You” plays in the background.”
Episode 4 continues to take us on a wild ride watching Tic, Leti, and Montrose argue amongst themselves regarding which paths to take while searching for the vault. They use their collective brain power to pick the right path out of three tunnel options. They then walk across a beam while avoiding the giant moving ax and disappearing beam, and finally use Tic’s blood from his arm to unlock the final door.
Leti is scared about walking across this beam. As Tic ties a rope around Leti’s waist, Montrose tells her that the knot is a special knot. It is a knot that has passed on from their ancestors who were slaves. This dampens Leti’s fears and she begins to walk across the beam. Tic reminds his father that the Freeman were never enslaved. Montrose responded that it worked because Leti is on the beam. As Leti walks across the beam she disappears into darkness. She screams as a huge moving ax almost knocks her off the beam. Tic runs to her rescue and into the darkness. Montrose is unable to see both Tic and Leti.
As Montrose awaits for a word from Tic and Leti, the beam begins to disappear. Montrose screams in fear. Tic encourages his Dad to make the leap.
“You better catch me boy!!!” Yells Montrose.
“I got you!” Screams Tic.
Montrose jumps into Tics arms and they scurry across the beam. Together the three of them race together as the beam disappears. They reach a wall with a code. They must enter in a code that only Montrose knows. It was a verse written in the bylaws of the book that Montrose read before during the book. He tells them the code, they enter it in and escape to safety.
Tic, Leti and Montrose are now walking in caves underground with water slowly rising around them. They have roughly an hour left in the caves before the high tide is in full effect and before they drown. As they trudge through the water in search of the vault, there is tension in the air amongst them. Montrose is annoyed with Tic. Tic walks quickly through the water seemingly forgetting about Leti and Montrose. Tic, frustrated with the burden of his two traveling companions, reminds his father that he would never leave a solider because he can trust his soldiers in the trenches unlike his Father. Tic then calls out his father and asks him how does he know so much about the Sons of Adam. It is then that Montrose tells Tic that George gave him the Ancient Order Bylaws. He said he read it and burned it fulfilling his brother’s final wish. Montrose then shares that his reasoning for burning the book was that he wanted to close pandora’s box. Tic’s response was to ask why are you here then to which Montrose replied “cuz you’re stupid ass won’t stop!” Montrose with all his flaws still wanted to watch over his son even if he didn’t agree with it.
As they argue Leti is scared by the floating bodies of her missing white next door neighbors. They then realize that the very creepy elevator from Hiram Epstein/Leti’s house is also in the cave. Tic tries to tell Montrose and Leti to get on the elevator. An annoyed Leti scolds Tic and reminds him that he is not the center of the universe and that Montrose and Leti both have a stake in this quest. Montrose was kidnapped and Leti was murdered by the Order. They all deserve to be there.
I don’t know how many times Leti has to remind the men in her world not to coddle her or mess with her. She has a right to be where she wants to be. As Tic watches her swim away, Montrose gives Tic some advice- to apologize to her. Montrose gave Tic the same advise his grandfather gave to him about loving Tic’s mother.
They find a door with a dead hand floating in the water still locked in the door of the vault. The hand looks to be that of Hiram Epstein. This is how he died. He used to elevator to come down into the caves and tried to open the vault himself. Tic has what Hiram didn’t have – Braithwhite blood. The door took Tic’s blood and it opened an entryway into the ceiling. They walked into a dark room filled with cobwebs and the skeletons of Native American people including women holding their babies. Sitting at a desk is a skeleton at the table with their hand on a wrapped piece of parchment paper.
As Tic touches the hand of the skeleton to grab the papers, the Skelton begins to transform from a bones to muscle and finally into person, a naked and beautiful Native American with dark long hair and symbols written all over their body. The viewer sees the person has breasts and a penis.
The person begins to speak in Arawak, a language only Tic is able to understand. They ask for Titus and Tic says that Titus has been dead for over a century. Tic explains that he is of Titus blood but not his family.
Montrose insensitively yells “What are you?”
Tic responds and gently asks “Who are you?”
They say their name is Yahima Maraokoti. Tic translates.
“Woman. Man, Two Spirts. I come from a land with many waters.”
Titus came on his ship searching their land for someone who could read his book.
“I knew the symbols from the cave of Alomun Kundi. I had no reason to distrust him. I’d never encounters people with so much hunger. Always hungry. When I saw Titus for who he was I refused to decipher another word. He promised to reunite me with my people. And he kept that promise. By killing them and impriosoning me here.
This moment reminds the viewer that Yahima’s story is the story of the genocide of Native Americans by European colonizers. Their lust for greed superseded their humanity. The Europeans callously caused the death of millions of trusting Native Americans in order to establish their own civilization on Native land.
More specifically the Arawak people are the Native indigenous people from the Caribbean and South America. They had a rich and deep culture that was decimated by disease and war brought by European conquerors.
Tic replies that Titus was a monster and that he is sorry and he needs to stop others like Titus from hurting his people. Yahima does not trust him even though they know Tic is not the cause of their suffering. He is not guilty of his forefathers sins but they do not know his spirit so they will not help.
Monstrose says “lets get the damn papers and get out of here.”
He grabs the papers and the windows break and the room is engulfed in water. As they all swim into the elevator, the papers get lost in the water. Leti notices this and fearlessly swims away to grab the papers as its floats away. Tic and Montrose hold the evaluator doors open for Leti. Leti swims back just in time and the evaluator goes up and the water levels subside. Once they are safe, Tic grabs Leti’s face and passionately kisses her.
As Montrose asks Yamima if they are OK, Yamaha lets out a siren like scream. Tic knocks them out.
Hippolyta and Diane are driving back to Chicago because Tic, Leti, and Monstros are now back in Chicago. Hippoltya notices Diana drawing in her atlas and she says we are driving to get some answers. They are headed to Ardham.
Tic realizes that Titus has put a spell on Yahima and turned them into a siren. They are unable to speak once out of the vault. They do not believe they can break the spell. Tic tells Montrose he hopes to teach Yahima English and together they can translate the parchment.
Montrose tells his son you grew up to be a good man despite him being his father and that Tic’s mother would be proud. Tic is happy and emotional to hear these words from his father.
I am happy too that is until Montrose walks into the room and closes the door behind him.
The episode ends in the most horrific way imaginable with Montrose apologizing to Yahima before slicing their throat.
The episode ends.
I personally felt the senseless murder of Yahima was not necessary. I would be remised to not mention the fact that although Yahima’s character did not explicity identify as a trans person, the death of Yahima reminded me that today so many trans people in our society are murdered at an alarming rate. Even if Montrose had a reason for this killing, there is no just reason for such an unjust murder.
What an episode!I can’t even imagine at this point what ride Episode 5 will take us on! Stay tuned for my next recap & review.