In the latest episode of “Lovecraft Country,” Tic’s history during the Korean War was explained as well as his encounter with a creature from Korean mythology…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
There have been no shortage of creatures and mythology decorating “Lovecraft Country” throughout the first season and the latest episode was no exception.
Part of the premise of the series surrounds Atticus Freeman returning home from The Korean War as he reunites with his family in Chicago before finding out his own ties to an ancient, mystical order.
Ever since the series started, Atticus has seen visions and flashbacks to his time during the war — particularly encounters with a woman we’ve come to know as Ji-Ah (played by Jamie Chung). Earlier in the season, Atticus even made a call to speak to Ji-Ah in Korea but his ties to that character weren’t explained until the latest episode.
It turns out Ji-Ah was a nurse working with American troops during the Korean War but she was hiding a sinister secret even after her first encounter with Atticus when he was ordered to kill her best friend, who was a spy for the communists.
In one very brutal moment, Ji-Ah lures a man home with her and the two of them have sex but in the middle of everything, a series of tentacles eject from her body and attach themselves to her unsuspecting partner. Ji-Ah sees the man’s entire memory — everything he’s ever done or experienced — and eventually her tentacles rip him apart into a million bloody pieces.
So what exactly what Ji-Ah?
Well it seems Ji-Ah is currently being possessed by a creature from Korean mythology called a “kumiho” and while there are several variations, we’ll stick to the key parts that pertain to this episode.
A kumiho is described as a nine-tailed fox spirit — the literal translation is ‘nine-tail’ — that’s able to shapeshift into the form of a beautiful woman, who then seduces unsuspecting men, has sex with them and then drains the very life from them like some sort of vampiric creature. In Korean lore, the kumiho rarely engages in spirit possession but instead typically opts to just transform into a seductress, who then murders and sometimes even eats her prey.
For the purposes of “Lovecraft Country,” it seems Ji-Ah’s mother teamed up with a shaman to invoke the spirit of the kumiho, who would then inhabit her daughter in order to protect her from a stepfather that raped her. In exchange for invoking the spirit of the kumiho, her daughter would then have to kill 100 men as sacrifice before she could finally transform back into a purely human being.
During the course of the episode, Ji-Ah carries out almost the last couple of victims to reach 100 men but she stops short after meeting Atticus and realizing that she was capable of love — an emotion that she was told she would never experience.
But during a particularly excitable moment while having sex, Ji-Ah’s tentacles emerge and attach themselves to Atticus for a brief moment and this time she doesn’t only see his past but she actually sees him in his future as well. In a most disturbing moment, Ji-Ah even sees when Atticus will die.
She does her best to warn him but Atticus is obviously terrified of the creature that just attacked him like something out of the H.P. Lovecraft novels that he loved to read. Atticus flees and runs away from Ji-Ah even though she’s fallen madly in love with him.
It remains to be seen if Ji-Ah will reappear at some point during a future episode of “Lovecraft Country” but considering the time spent on this origin story and her ties to Atticus, it would seem she could pop back up at a later time.
After the events from his encounter with Ji-Ah in the show, Atticus uses points earned to request a trip back home to the United States and a discharge from the military. That explains why he left Ji-Ah behind but also the reason behind her still occupying a valuable space inside his head.
“Lovecraft Country” currently airs on HBO on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET.