Synopsis: Atticus Freeman meets up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father.
Having just left the Army Atticus Freeman travels home to Chicago to recruit some help to embark on a journey through Jim Crow America to find his missing father. His first stop is to see Uncle George who owns a book store and publishes a regular travel guide that gives his people all the safe places they can go without having to face to much hassle from racist locals.
Atticus, who is known as Tic to his friends and family brings a letter from his father, which has a few clues to where he may have gone. Armed with this information Atticus along with his Uncle George and their friend Letitia set off on a perilous journey to a place called Ardham in Massachusetts, which is also known as Lovecraft Country.
Jonathan Majors makes an immediate strong impression as Atticus who gets one of the best character introductions I have seen on a series in quite some time. In his opening sequence, he is dreaming and in the dream, he is on Mars being chased by a monster while trying to protect the Princess of Mars. We immediately learn that this character is a fan of science fiction and pulp stories in a big way and gets totally invested in whatever he reads. The bus he is on breaks down and he helps the only other black person on the bus with her luggage and shares a conversation with her, which pretty much gives us an idea of who Atticus is and what his views are.
As we arrive in Chicago we get introduced to Unclue George who is played by Courtney B. Vance. In his opening scene, George is sharing some alone time with his wife, but their intimacy is soon interrupted by the arrival of Atticus and their young daughter’s excitement at the arrival of her cousin. George is the local bookstore owner as well as a publisher and shares a common interest with Atticus when it comes to stories and fiction. He also writes a very important travel guide, which is designed to help his people navigate the Southern Jim Crow parts of America.
Introduced next is Letitia who is played flamboyantly by Jurnee Smollett her opening scene sees her singing some blues with Georges’s wife at an outdoor concert. We learn later that Letitia was the only girl in Atticus’s science fiction reading group when they were kids. Letitia is both feminine, gutsy and strong woman and she proves those credentials pretty damn fast.
As pilot episodes go ‘Sundown’ is pretty strong and wastes very little time in introducing us to the core group of characters and the world in which they live. This opening story sees the group set off for Ardham, which Atticus initially thinks is announced as Arkham, which is a cute reference to the Batman comics. As they set out their journey. It isn’t too long before the group encounters the viciousness of racism. There’s a thrilling scene in which they encounter a Police Officer who is looking to drive them literally out of his time. In the scene, they submit themselves to having to drive northward to the county limit or be subject to whatever nasty thing the copper has in mind. With just six minutes to get to the county limits Atticus floors, the pedal they succeed in escaping only to find themselves running into a roadblock of coppers from the neighboring county. It is at this point in the opening episode where things take on a frightening twist as some Lovecraft styled monsters enter the fray.
This opening episode sets its stall out brilliantly and leaves us wanting more as the twist ending sees Atticus and his group greeted by some decidedly very Aryan blue-eyed guy who says he has been expecting them. We also see a car that we spotted in an earlier incident in the episode, which was driven by a very attractive blue-eyed blond lady. I have little doubt that we’ll learn more about these blue-eyed characters in next week’s episode.
Overall. This is a solid opening with some fantastic CGI effects as well as some fantastic incidental music as well as a great musical performance in the early part of the episode where Letitia sings the blues.
- CGI & Stunts10
- Incidental Music10