If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own
For the fourth week running, Watchmen keeps adding new dimensions to our questions while dropping clues and providing minor answers that only transform into new mysteries like a never-ending paradox. Remembering that this comes from one of the men behind Lost, perhaps that’s the point. So, what’s new? Well, enter Ladi Trieu (played by the formidable Hong Chau) who makes an instantly impressionable debut at the beginning of the episode. She aggressively offers a couple who can’t have children the chance of a lifetime in exchange for their house in the middle of nowhere. Moments later, a glowing object crash-lands not far from Trieu’s new property… Coincidence? No chance.
Lady Trieu’s introduction during the fourth episode shows just how interconnected the series is, executive producer Damon Lindelof has been seeding references to her for the past three episodes. From mentioning her purchase of Veidt Industries and the staggeringly large Millennium Clock tower she’s building, to her daughter (?) picking up all those magazines from the newsstand – Trieu’s already deeply embedded within the world of Watchmen.
And with her debut comes a heavy discussion of family and the legacies we leave behind littered across the episode. Babies, clones, parents and children. While Angela slyly learns more about her family tree, audiences not familiar with the comics get a crash course on Laurie Blake’s history. That explanation only gives us even more sarcastically brilliant conversations between Angela and Laurie. Even when Watchmen slows the pace down, the flawless dialogue between these endlessly complex individuals is constantly gripping. It manages to slide world building, storytelling and character development within a fantastic exchange between Laurie, Angela and Petey – without feeling overstuffed.
Although the episode largely focuses on swirling the audience through another round of mysterious machinations and confusing contraptions, it still manages to inject some further absurd vigilante shenanigans around the midpoint. Even if it just cements how weird this world is, watching Angela chase down “Lube Man” was a sure way of throwing the audience for a loop in the best way possible.
Just to turn back around to Lady Trie, surely there’s no way that her role in the series is anything but heroic. Her aggressive introduction combined with her “trillionaire” status alongside the intimidating Millennium Clock (“It’s not just a clock”) are clear signs that she’s up to no good. Her idolising of Veidt might even suggest they’re working together somehow – or that she’s finishing off the work he started back before he brought in a giant squid from another dimension, of course. And after a surprisingly cold interaction with her daughter, it seems starkly obvious that Bian is probably a clone of Trieu – but what for end? Again, clones, children and legacies are so obviously vital to the story of Watchmen as this wide array of characters are all trying to pass the baton over to a ‘new guard’ in one way or another.
And of course, we have to talk about Jeremy Irons’ fascinating performance as Adrian Veidt. His bizarre method of growing baby clones in a lake is a little disturbing (and feels thematically well timed, considering Death Stranding came out on PS4 this week). Is this the life Doctor Manhattan said he wanted to make at the end of the watchmen comics? Are they clones of Manhattan himself Interestingly, Veidt doesn’t accept any responsibility as their ‘maker’, only referring to himself as their Master. Throw in a bizarre scene of carnage at his manor, and we only have more questions… At least he has a unique way of getting rid of the bodies by testing his boundaries.
When Veidt talks about being trapped in a prison, it seems likely that he’s on Mars (with Manhattan as his prison guard) or on the Moon. Perhaps the mysterious object falling to the farm at the beginning of the episode was one of the bodies he flung off into the unknown… Mind you, that would have to be one hell of a catapult. It’s not clear when that scene on the farm actually takes place, for all we know it could be in the future – so we’ll have to wait and see what crash-landed. Doctor Manhattan? Adrian Veidt? Another butchered clone of Mr. Phillips? Only time will tell.
While it might not be as action packed as previous episodes, Watchmen proves that it’s sharp tongue and stylish vision doesn’t need to bait the audience’s attention with constant superhero fights and tales of good versus evil. While fans of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ original work may disagree, the Watchmen series is striving to deconstruct what the superhero genre can do and where its place is on television. Is it next week yet?
Directed by: Andrij Parekh
Written by: Christal Henry, Damon Lindelof
Cast: Regina King, Jean Smart, Jeremy IronsTime Blake Nelson, Hong Chau, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Andrew Howard, Jacob Ming-Trent