[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 5, “Strange Case.”]
Lovecraft Country has already gone above and beyond in many respects, but still, I wasn’t ready for the events of Episode 5, “Stranger Case.” This installment finally puts the spotlight on Wunmi Mosaku as Ruby, challenging both Mosaku and Jamie Neumann to see the character through a mighty painful scenario. Via magic, Ruby is given the choice to transform into Neumann’s character, Dell, and get a first hand look at the opportunities she’s denied due to the color of her skin.
It’s crushing to say the least and Mosaku essentially said as much during the spoiler portion of her recent Collider Ladies Night interview. Mosaku recalled first finding out about this episode of the show during her second audition and wondering how they’d manage to pull it all off. But then, the thought shifted to the politics of it all. Here’s how Mosaku put it:
“It was such a shock. And just the politics of it. ‘Oh. But why? Why does she do that? Why would you do … of course.’ Of course it makes sense in one respect, but it feels like a total betrayal of everything that I am, everything that my people are. I’m like, ‘I don’t get it. I don’t get it.’ And then I had to get to a point where I got it and that was really painful. That was really, really painful to kind of explore those feelings and questions … It was painful for me, it was painful for Jamie Neumann. It was painful. That specific scene at the end, we were both shaking. I haven’t personally explored that rage within myself. Never done that before. Never done that. Having to find that is dark.”
While it’s very clear that Ruby is well aware of the racism poisoning the world at the start of the show, where does an experience like this leave her and does it carve a new path forward for her? Is there a finality that comes with killing her boss at Marshall Fields or is that rage something that lives on?
“I definitely think it sticks with her. I mean, she still is a Black woman from the Southside of Chicago living in a world that’s not welcoming, a world that’s not built for her. How can the rage ever cease? I feel rage and this is 2020. I feel a connection to her and so much time has passed and not enough has changed.”
Mosaku also took a moment to applaud Lovecraft Country showrunner Misha Green for never holding back, something that inspired Mosaku to reflect on how she operates herself:
“Misha doesn’t pull any punches. She’s really unapologetic of all the highs and lows of the emotions that our characters go through as women, as Black women, as men, as Black men, as white women. You know, there’s the patriarchy, there’s so much that she has explored the depths of and the heights of. It’s so unbelievably necessary because I feel like she’s done it in a way that hasn’t got the censorship. She hasn’t censored herself. I censor myself all the time. I’ve realized I am very rarely honest. Outside of my family, I am very rarely honest when I step outside of the door. I feel like I present the way I need to present in order to survive and feel like I can navigate. But it’s an energy that I put into navigating the world that I’m not putting into myself, I’m not putting into my artistry, I’m not putting into my family, my friends, my dreams and my hopes – I’m spending this energy paying attention, figuring out how to be in this world that doesn’t feel like it’s for me. And Misha has just said, ‘No, this is it. We’re not pulling any punches. We’re not gonna ask for forgiveness. I’m just gonna say it how I see it. Say it how I feel it.’”
If you’d like to hear more about Mosaku’s experience working on Lovecraft Country, click here to check out her full Collider Ladies Night interview. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for another phenomenal project featuring Mosaku, His House, which is due to hit Netflix on October 30th.