Lovecraft Country continues to find new ways to weave more into its still-developing story, sometimes at an overwhelming pace as we’ve seen over the past two episodes. However, the sixth episode of the hit HBO show slows down and narrowly focuses on the mysterious Ji-Ah, the woman Tic contacted at the end of the fifth episode.
Titled “Meet Me in Daegu,” the episode largely features Ji-Ah, played by Jamie Chung, and was the voice of the woman Tic called after deciphering a dire warning from the tatters of the book of spells. Viewers first see Ji-Ah as a shy, curious woman who loves Hollywood films, especially those featuring Judy Garland. Ji-Ah’s daydreams of living the life of Garland and breaks out in a song and dance but snaps out of it as her reality is far harsher.
Spoilers abound from this point on so back away now if you haven’t seen the episode.
Ji-Ah lives with her mother, a poor woman shown engaging in the practice of preparing kimchi for the cold winter months ahead. Through most of “Meet Me in Daegu,” the actors deliver their lines in Korean with English subtitles, that is until American soldiers make an appearance. But before that, it is revealed that Ji-Ah is a “kumiho,” a so-called “nine-tailed fox spirit” from Korean mythology lore.
In essence, Ji-Ah is something of a succubus, drawing men into her bedroom lair and literally snatching the souls out of them after a life-changing romp in the sack. As she devours souls, Ji-Ah then takes on the memory of the person and can see a portion of their future. That becomes an important plot point later on. Over time, we learn that Ji-Ah’s Umma isn’t running some slasher horror brothel but actually trying to revive the spirit of her daughter, who she believes lives inside the kumiho.
The Korean War is in full swing and American soldiers litter the streets with propaganda, and Ji-Ah obtains a job with friends as a nurse caring for wounded American soldiers. With an inability to feel emotions like a human being, Ji-Ah is tasked by her mother to ensnare 100 souls and release the real Ji-Ah into the kumiho’s body, but there is some resistance in the form of Atticus Freeman.
But let’s slow it down a bit here. Umma is a piece of work as she actually transformed Ji-Ah into the fox spirit, with the kumiho claiming its first victim in the form of her stepfather, who physically abused the real Ji-Ah. However, there is a price to pay and that too comes later.
Tic and his American soldiers are in a position of power, and that has corrupted them to the point of taking out Communist spies who work at the soldiers’ hospital. Simply following orders, Tic coldly executes Ji-Ah’s co-workers and her friend but finds himself in Ji-Ah’s care after a bomb attack. Seething with rage and wanting revenge, Ji-Ah seems to find her 100th soul in Tic but she realizes he’s not the evil gunslinging soldier from before and that the violence of the war is taking its toll on him.
Tic and Ji-Ah seal the deal but she doesn’t hit him with the soul-snatch finishing move and the pair begins to develop feelings for each other, denying Umma and thus not completing the spell. Yet as the romance blossoms, Tic’s time in Korea is shortly coming to an end. Tic and Ji-Ah get it in once more but the kumiho spirit takes over and briefly before harming him. Ji-Ah sees Tic’s future death and tells him to not return to the states but he’s completely freaked out about those nine tails, for good reason.
The episode ends with Umma and Ji-Ah pleading to break the kumiho spirit bond and inquiring if Tic’s return to America will turn fatal. It ends on a vague note and is foreboding enough to highlight it’s about to get worse before it gets better.
We’ve scoured Twitter for some reactions to Lovecraft Country’s sixth episode and we’ve got them listed out below.