Warning: Spoilers for Lovecraft Country ahead.
The mysteries in HBO’s Lovecraft Country begin at the, well, beginning. The series, which was adapted from a 2016 novel of the same name, focuses on Atticus (Jonathan Majors), a Black veteran of the Korean War who embarks on a road trip to find his missing father with his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) and friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) through 1950s Jim Crow America, where they experience the horrors of racism along with monsters and the supernatural.
In episode 1, Atticus, George, and Letitia are being chased out of town by racists, and just when it seems they won’t be able to get away, a silver car comes out of nowhere and decks the racists’ car. A blonde woman steps out, but viewers have no clue who she is. Who is she — and what can the Lovecraft Country book tell us about her and the silver car?
In Matt Ruff’s novel, the silver car plays a prominent role early on, but its origins are shrouded in mystery. Once Atticus receives a letter from his missing father, Montrose, he begins asking people around town about his father’s last appearances. Mrs. Frazier, the landlady, recalls seeing Montrose get in a silver car before leaving. The silver car — and its driver — also appeared at the local bar. A guy in his early 20s with brown hair, blue eyes, and a cop-like attitude approached Montrose in the bar and said they had been talking on the phone. Atticus sees the silver car parked on his street shortly after, but when he goes outside to check it out, it’s gone.
The car then reappears in the book in a scene similar to that in the HBO show. Atticus, George, and Letitia have stopped at a dinette for a quick bite but the nervous employee calls, claiming the trio is trying to “take over” the restaurant. A fire truck arrives with men carrying axes and bats, but the trio run to their car and drive off. As the fire truck full of racists follows them the silver car joins the chase, first speeding up so it’s neck-in-neck with the trio’s Packard. At this point, Atticus seems unsure whose side the silver car is really on. The silver car eventually swerves behind their Packard as one of the racists is aiming his shotgun at them, saving their lives and forcing the racists to crash into a fence. The series and book diverge here, as no one exits the car, least of all a blonde woman.
Once the trio hit their destination in the book, the silver car appears again, parked in front of the manor. Clearly this car is connected to Montrose and his disappearance, but who does it belong to? They soon learn that the manor is Samuel Braithwhite’s home, and the silver car is his. He wasn’t the one driving it, however — during a meal Atticus talks to Caleb Braithwhite, Samuel’s son, and asks him if he was the one behind the wheel. Caleb explains that he drove Montrose and saved them because he needed Atticus to come to the manor of his own free will, and they can’t refuse their fathers. In the HBO series, however, the woman is credited as Christina Braithwhite — a character that doesn’t appear in the book.
Christina is clearly a new character, and Lovecraft Country's showrunner, Misha Green, all but confirmed we can expect this sort of thing in the HBO series. "We essentially used the book as a beautiful jumping-off point," she said in a Q&A ahead of the premiere. "My strategy was to take all of its dope, cool stuff and write new dope, cool stuff."
Who is Christina Braithwhite, then? The most likely answer seems to be a gender-swapped version of Caleb Braithwhite, which would make her Samuel's sole child and heir to the order. Does she side with Atticus, George, and Letitia, or is she out for just herself? Was she just trying to lure Atticus to the manor of his own volition, like Caleb in the book? Guess we’ll have to keep watching to find out.