WATCHMEN Season Finale: Spoilers, Fanservice, Echoes

1. Wow, HBO’s Watchmen turned out to be a superhero story after all: evil plan, big finish, ultimately optimistic angle on human nature. Like a proper comic book, the season finale sidesteps making sense at key moments, for the sake of good television. Wouldn’t Angela maybe try knocking Lady Trieu and Bian the heck out to save Dr. Manhattan? Granted, there’s a lot going on.

2. From Watchmen the original text: Veidt catches a bullet. His old-ass desktop computer and its self-important, guessable password are just like they are in the graphic novel. Doc Manhattan, unstuck in time, recites various familiar lines as he’s experiencing them, e.g., “All we ever see of stars are their old photographs.”

3. Also a fanservice/echo from Watchmen‘s 12th issue: Jane Crawford, imploring Lady Trieu to “just do it,” as in, just kill all of us Cyclopean white supremacists, references Rorschach’s last words, before Doc incinerates him. That pretty much wraps up the Rorschach/white power analogy with a neat bow.

4. On that note, Lady Trieu Vs. Cyclops, as a climactic confrontation with the shitty forces of white supremacy, is a very gratifying scene.

5. It’s a love story, and it’s a bad romance. As Episode 8 revealed, Angela and Doc’s entanglement is as self-serving and futile as love stories are. One does wonder, if he’d returned to Earth, why Doc wouldn’t fix a whole lot of problems? Trieu’s list of To-Dos If She Were Blue, eradicating nuclear weapons and whatnot, all that sounded like really good ideas. At least Will makes mention of it, towards the end: “He could’ve done more.”

6. Lady Trieu’s last words towards the, um, frozen squid cannon, is my favorite Vietnamese curse word (phrase?) because it’s sort of like my name. Speaking of raging narcissists.

7. In Watchmen the graphic novel, Ozymandias completes his plan, gets away with three million murders, and is kind of smug about it. For those of us frustrated with this (sobering and realistic) aspect of Veidt’s villainy, it was so rewarding to see Silk Spectre finally get the guy, in a minor win for conventional justice.

8. But seriously, who is Lube Man, did I totally miss that? The dude in the slippery bodysuit from Episode 4? Barring a better explanation, I swear he’s an interdimensional incursion by the obscure Spider-Man villain Slyde.

9. The most significant Easter Egg in Watchmen episode 9 is probably undebatable. (Eggwoman Begins, anyone?) And oh, what a beautiful ending. From its outset, the show observed gruesomeness and cruelty and did not seem to be setting up the audience for a pleasant ending. But in its closing minutes, to resolve to a moment of sweetness, family, and an idyllic dose of racial harmony? That was, for lack of a better word, πŸ™‚.

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