Things heat up and secrets are revealed in the latest episodes of HBO’s Watchmen series, which is baffling and fascinating in equal parts.
Creators: Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons (graphic novel), Damon Lindelof (TV series)
Cast: Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson
Seasons: 1 (2019)
Streaming on: Hotstar
Episode 7: Shocking revelations
This astonishing installment of Watchmen is titled “An Almost Religious Awe”. The episode is filled with twists and turns, coupled with the surreal imagery that has been Damon Lindelof’s signature style from the time of his days as the showrunner for Lost. For example, Angela wakes up at Trieu Industries, detoxing from the Nostalgia. She follows the tube that’s somehow connected to her nervous system, only to discover that it’s connected to an elephant.
Things with Ozymandias are still delightfully weird as he stands trial for his crimes against the clone humans of whatever planet he’s on. When called upon to defend himself all he does is let out a loud fart. How does the clone judge respond to this contempt of court? He releases a herd of pigs into the courtroom to represent a true jury of the defendant’s peers.
The episode also reveals that all the calls placed to Dr. Manhattan don’t reach him at all. They all go to Lady Trieu, who knows he’s not really on Mars like the general public is led to believe, but hiding in Tulsa. She reveals to Angela that Will approached her because he needed her resources to fight the Seventh Kavalry, who are planning to kill Dr. Manhattan and take his powers. Angela leaves Trieu Industries and heads home in a hurry.
However, this reveal is just an appetiser for the real twist in the episode. Cal, Angela’s doting husband, is actually Doctor Manhattan. Angela wakes Cal when she gets home and from their exchange it’s clear that she has had a major realisation. She says to him, “You’re a great husband, an amazing father. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. I love you,” before she smashes in his head with a hammer. She then calls him “Jon,” letting the audience know the truth.
Episode 8: Angela talks to god
The penultimate episode of this season of Watchmen is entitled “A God Walks Into A Bar,” a fantastic pun. The real meat of this episode is in a conversation between Angela and Dr. Manhattan. It feels like a first date, except in this scenario, one of the pair is omniscient. This makes for a very interesting dynamic between the two characters. Angela humors him, she’s bored, lonely and somewhat intrigued by the man claiming to be the most powerful being in the known universe. She rolls her eyes and makes quips while Dr. Manhattan details their future, hinting at events that bring them together and eventually tear them apart.
Jon tells Angela about an incident in his childhood that inspired him to create life. In 1936, Jon and his father stay at the country manor of a generous couple who offered people shelter. While exploring the house, Jon sees the couple having sex. “This is the first time I knew love,” he says to Angela. The couple, explaining to the child what he saw, gave him a bible, telling him to promise them he would one day make something beautiful. He keeps that promise after becoming Dr. Manhattan, creating life on Europa (one of Jupiter’s moons) in the couples’ image. The audience finally gets an explanation for where Ozymandias is and the clones he uses in his Wile E. Coyote-like attempts at escape.
After a fight with Angela, Dr. Manhattan wonders how to become human and stop his abilities from impacting their relationship. In order to find some answers, he visits Ozymandias. The solution he receives: a metal device to be placed in his brain, blocking his memories and the knowledge that he is Dr. Manhattan. He can’t use abilities that he doesn’t know he has. However, Ozy wants something in return. The world hasn’t become the utopia he envisioned when he killed millions by teleporting a squid monster onto New York City. Jon offers him the paradise he created on Europa, full of people designed to care for others instead of themselves.
Years later, Ozymandias doesn’t want this heaven because heaven doesn’t need him, as he says in the post-credits sequence to the Game Warden, who reveals himself to be the first man Dr. Manhattan created on Europa.
In present-day Tulsa, Dr. Manhattan is confused as he wakes up after Angela takes the device out of his head. She’s telling him they need to fight the Seventh Kavalry, but Jon would rather make waffles. Angela is still trying to save him; he sees this futile. She kills Seventh Kavalry members surrounding the house, until she’s finds herself pinned down. Dr Manhattan saves her. He glows as he casually stops bullets and blows up the heads of Kavalry members. However, the act of saving her fulfills his prediction of a future tragedy when he’s sucked into a portal device and Angela is left fruitlessly screaming his name.
For a recap of all the episodes, see here.