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What Jamie Chung's Character Truly Represents In Lovecraft Country - Exclusive

In its sixth episode, "Meet Me in Daegu," Lovecraft Country introduces a new major player — the enigmatic Ji-Ah, a seemingly demure South Korean nursing student who was dispatched to a military ER unit during the summer of 1950, the early stages of the Korean War. Regular viewers of the show know that Lovecraft Country's leading man, Atticus Freeman, is a Korean War vet who's been haunted by visions of a woman named Ji-Ah — and yes, she's also the mystery girl Atticus has been calling throughout the season. Early on in the story, she warned that he shouldn't have left Korea, but why? Finally, the veil has been lifted, and questions have been answered.

Like Atticus, Ji-Ah is also a full-fledged lover of old Hollywood movies and American literature. They also both have parents who are trying to shape them into something they're not. They soon form a bond and come to understand each other, and it's no surprise that fiery, romantic sparks ignite between the two. It all leads up to a hair-raising sexual encounter that Atticus won't be forgetting anytime soon, abruptly ending their hot-minute romance.

Anyone who's been following Lovecraft Country could probably guess that Ji-Ah isn't exactly the docile human she seems to be — something otherworldly lurks beneath her flesh. So, what exactly is she? Looper had a chance to ask actress Jamie Chung (you might also recognize her as Mulan from Once Upon a Time or Valerie Vale from Gotham) about bringing Ji-Ah to life.

Ji-Ah is a Kumiho, a nine-tailed fox spirit

In "Meet Me in Daegu," we see Ji-Ah pick up a man from a bar and bring him home. As they have sex, Ji-Ah goes into full-on succubus mode, and what appear to be furry tentacles start emerging from every orifice on her body. Pierced and penetrated by her numerous appendages, the poor guy screams in agony just moments before his body spontaneously combusts and blood sprays all over the room. It turns out that this gruesome mating ritual also gives her the ability to absorb her victim's memories. And those aren't actually tentacles, they're tails — nine of them. Ji-Ah 's human form is inhabited by what's known as a Kumiho, a mythical nine-tailed fox spirit. 

It seems Chung was very pleased with Lovecraft Country's interpretation of the beast. "It's very animalistic, right?" she says enthusiastically. "What I like about what [producer] Misha Green's interpretation of a nine-tailed fox spirit is it's very literal. You have nine tails, two from the eyes, two from the nose, two from the ears, and two from down there. And you have those tails that penetrate their victims and, quite frankly, sucks out their souls and their memory. And then once it's done, it just rips them apart."

Chung goes on to add, "It's animalistic and it's horrific, but then it also plays on the true horrors of the Korean war. How there was civil unrest, how there was Koreans that pitted against each other and killed each other for communism or anti-communism. And then you have the horrors of what war's really like and how civilians are killed. I mean, I love that our episode didn't shy away from any of those horrors."

It's certainly one of the most bizarre sex scenes in television history, and now we know why Atticus was so scarred by the experience. We also learn that Ji-Ah saw a glimpse into his future, paving the way for her to play a crucial role over the season's remaining episodes. As for shooting, it sounds like it really was a mess for the cast and crew — those furry tentacles may have been all CGI, but the buckets of blood were all real. "It was a very practical gag. We had balloons filled with blood. They were hoisted above me," explains Chung. "They used chicken wire... it was rigged and wired so that when you press the button, it would all have split at the same time, so it gives that pop effect, which is what they wanted. But it was all very practical. We did it just in one take, thank God."