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REVIEW: Watchmen – Season 1: Episode 3

She Was Killed by Space Junk 

While the initial two episodes of HBO’s Watchmen solely focused on introducing this new world alongside an eclectic group of characters, the third instalment really bridges the gap between the comics and the series in a truly satisfying way. Enter, Laurie Blake. The original Silk Spectre makes a fierce debut in the most recent episode – and does so with sarcastic flair, Jean Smart is a constant delight to watch as she takes no prisoners in the FBI’s investigation into Judd Crawfords death. And although fans might be disappointed that there aren’t any immediate answers to last week’s tantalising cliff-hanger, Laurie’s introduction is just as satisfying as the episode slyly uses her to explore the history of this world even further.

It’s interesting that Laurie (once known as Silk Spectre and later The Comedienne) now spends her days in the FBI hunting down vigilantes, dishing out her own unshackled brand of justice on those who pursue their own selfishly costumed pursuit of purpose in this absurd society. She’s surprisingly intolerant of masked heroes, given that she was once one herself. Was it Doctor Manhattan’s absence that turned her sour, or was it something closer to the events of the series? Either way, Jean Smart is a truly brilliant addition to the series – her cut-throat sarcasm and dark humour only becomes more entertaining the more controversial her comments become.

The way she and Regina King’s Angela/Sister Night grapple over how to handle the investigation and Blake’s clear disdain for masked officers is a fantastic argument, which wastes no time in going back-and-forth before one of them win. What happens when an immovable Spectre meets an unstoppable Sister…

Laurie’s introduction expertly helps navigate the show along the numerous interlocking mysteries without losing sight of its exploration into vigilantes, superheroes and the existentialism of the human condition. After all, are we really alive if we’re not terrified at the thought of an omniscient blue being who could wipe us out with the click of his fingers? His awe-inspiring power clearly still has some hold over Laurie with one hilarious choice shows her accepting her present or embracing nostalgia – yes, we’re being intentionally vague, it’s a purposefully hilarious moment.

But it’s not just throwbacks to the comics that the third episode dishes out; the social commentary still remains a prominent part of Watchmen. While kidnapping and the violation of civil rights have become commonplace for the Tulsa PD, it’s clear that by flipping this into the usual tactics of the officers – Lindelof continues his examination of police brutality in the US. Since the masks justify the state-sponsored violence, it allows would-be corrupt police officers to flex their muscles without justification. It’s an extreme translation of the US police force. The episode (not-so-subtly) points out that there’s no difference between vigilantes and masked officers – except that with a badge, officers escape persecution.

The cinematography is once again stunning – with Laurie in particular constantly framed underneath a microscope or a mask imposed through an iron gate. The messages Lindelof and his team are trying to convey are constantly fascinating. Not only that, but the editing here is impeccable – switching scenes with a swift cut of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score next to the click of Laurie Blake’s fingers was an excellent example of that.

Veidt’s plans only become even more confusing – with his patience wearing thin in his truly bizarre surroundings. There are some clues thanks to the unfortunate demise of yet another clone – but nothing has been revealed, so get theorizing on what he has up his sleeve. Even though the situation is mystifying – the episode satiates fans with a truly crowd-pleasing moment that is straight from the pages of the original comics series. But it also makes audience ask whether Doctor Manhattan is his opponent? Where is Veidt? What’s his end goal? Hopefully we don’t have to wait too much longer to find out.

Speaking of something else we’re all waiting a long time for, there’s more owl imagery (quite literally locked just out of reach) that still forces us to wonder where the original Nite Owls are.  Since he’s been absent for three episodes straight, we’re really starting to suspect that Dan Dreiberg has more to do with the insidiously vast conspiracy than we’re led to believe.

And with one surprisingly suspicious scene, we’ve come to form a major prediction about the Seventh Kavalry: the senator is tied to the white -supremacist group, funding them to further his bid for the police to wear masks nationwide. Not only is he defending the police force and raising them up but he’s become their new target. Is this all a ploy so he can push for more masks in the force?

Once again, HBO’s Watchmen proves to be one of the most fascinatingly gripping shows currently on television which masterfully manages tension, the original source material and transforms it into something wildly entertaining. It’s safe to say, fans of the original series need to see this episode.

Tick tock.


Created by: Damon Lindelof
Directed by: Stephen Williams
Written by: Lila Byock, Damon Lindelof
Cast: Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Andrew Howards, Tom Mison, Louis Gossett Jr, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson

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