An Almost Religious Awe
After last week’s astonishing episode revealed more about Will Reeves and his transformation into Hooded Justice – the seventh episode proves once again that Watchmen can expertly flesh out the timeline and the ramifications of the original book with satisfying ease. While fans thought they knew Regina King’s Sister Night well enough by now, the stunning episode weaved in more of her backstory in a way that tugs on the heartstrings while providing a genuinely touching reason behind her costumed identity. Batman may have had a phobia of bats, but Angela Abar has a gun-toting nun from a ‘70s blaxploitation film. We’ll let you decide whose origin story sounds cooler…
A sly countdown that starts early in the episode teases the impending arrival of something both narratively and for something so dramatic for the audience it will leave Watchmen fans gobsmacked at the reveal. If you haven’t managed to catch the episode just yet, we’ll discuss the pivotal moment at the end of the review. But still, the countdown is a perfectly used trope, working as the updated version of the Doomsday Clock from the original book. Only for now, it’s not one hundred percent clear what Trieu’s Millennium Clock is counting towards, aside from “saving humanity” of course. But didn’t Adrian Veidt have that same motivation? And look where that got him, exiled to the icy moon orbiting Jupiter.
Speaking of Veidt, Ozymandias’ crimes are laid bare for all his clones to see, and there’s no hiding from his sheer disregard for morality. But as the trial descends into lunacy, it’s hard not to find the scene weirdly laughable – yet still gripping thanks to how bizarre things get. Jeremy Irons is clearly having plenty of fun with Ozymandias, although the farting sound effect sticks out like a sore thumb in what is otherwise a mysteriously odd collection of events. While Watchmen is clearly playing the long game in terms of its plot and the unique story-beats, it would be nice to get some answers about Ozymandias and how he ended up in his position sooner rather than later…
However, fear not! There are answers aplenty still to appear in the seventh episode. It’s explained that the (very recent) evolution of police officers into masked heroes are a way of hiding the white supremacists and their plans – in a moustache-twirlingly villainous confession to Jean Smart’s Laurie Blake. But it goes a step further, with the absence of Doctor Manhattan becoming the sole motivation for Senator Keene’s own nefarious plans. But in the simple reveal of his plans, Jean Smart is a truly sarcastic delight to watch as she grapples with the conspiracy quickly unfolding in front of her.
Just to return to Sister Night, keeping Angela tied into recovering from her Nostalgia overdose develops her character, but it’s hard not to want her to mask up sooner rather than later. Luckily that’s soon forgotten about thanks to a delightfully shocking twist – with some perfectly clever imagery scattered across the episode. The clues have been there all along…
Okay let’s talk about the Manhattan in the room, major spoilers ahead.
When Angela confronts Lady Trieu about what exactly she’s doing with her intimidating corporate empire, she reveals to Angela that Doctor Manhattan isn’t listening to all those people praying to him in her phonebooths. In fact, he isn’t on Mars at all – he’s on Earth, masquerading as a human. And as Angela’s silence quickly implies before the grand reveal, her husband Cal is really John Osterman A.K.A. Doctor Manhattan. It’s a jaw-dropping moment as Angela caves his skull in with a hammer, revealing Manhattan’s symbol underneath his skull before an eerily powerful blue glow illuminates the room. Clearly, nothing will be the same again. Safe to say, this definitely came out of the blue (pun intended). Our guess was the game-warden on Europa… Although, Doctor Manhattan can replicate himself, so who’s to say it isn’t? Regardless, the incredible twist means it’s going to be a long wait till the next episode.
Directed by: David Semel
Written by: Stacy Osei-Kuffour
Cast: Regina King, Jean Smart, Hong Chaul, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Sara Vickers