Episode 3 of The Watch begins with a brutal murder as a young Lady Sybil is forced to watch this take place. As the camera pans across in first person view, we see her panicked and hurrying away from the scene of the crime.
Back in the present, Lady Sybil shows up at the watch and awakens Vimes from his slumber. She hands over a report as that earlier scene we saw is given more context through voice-over exposition. It turns out her parents being murdered was perfectly legally thanks to the way the Assassin’s Guild operates. This explains why Sybil doesn’t want to wear the police badge and gives her a tragic, dark back-story.
The rest of the group then gather and decide to infiltrate the “as” guild (get it, as in ass? Which is short for assassin?) and bring back the artifact which they believe is in the basement there somewhere. Sybil obviously volunteers to go, using the assassin’s mask left behind in her past to break in and out before anyone sees her.
Sybil busts in through the front door, while the rest of the group busy themselves with a rock concert to join the Musician’s Guild. Thanks to their antics, they do just this and become official members. Thanks to the earlier magical antics of Carcer, Carcer himself is seeing all of these torturous chores take place through Vimes’ eyes.
Sybil meanwhile, makes it to the basement but as bells chime, all the guild members gather in the main atrium. Among them is a man missing a finger. Only…that’s the same missing finger from the guy who killed her parents
A moody and tortured Sybil decides to go after this man, plotting to kill him with a crossbow to the face. With shaky hands she prepares to fire… until Death distracts her by appearing next to the woman. She immediately asks about her parents as Death tells her there are only two certainties here – death…and taxes.
Death eventually leaves, allowing Sybil to follow this assassin and corner him in a room backstage. It turns out this guy is called Inigo Skimmer and bears no semblance to the book character.
Anyway, Sybil works out that Death’s cheeky jibe about taxes is actually more just than just humorous retort. It actually correlates with how to deal with this guild member. It turns out Skimmer’s been taking side jobs and committing tax evasion. This, of course, is one of the crimes a guild member can be legally arrested for.
With this knowledge, Sybil catches up with Vimes and the others as they contemplate whether to arrest Inigo Skimmer or not. Vimes decides against it and instead has him help find the artifact. Only, things take a turn for the worst when Carcer suddenly bleeds through Vimes’ mind and reveals himself. At least momentarily anyway, the magic soon fades away.
With everything settled, the group eventually leave the Guild and head through the basement and back out to the watch where they momentarily celebrate their first arrest. Well, that is until the entirety of the Assassin’s Guild show up and confront them. Despite being undercover, someone (Carrot) left their badge behind which is how they were lead back here.
When the two sides square off, the watch members claim they were there on a tax inspection. After some back and forth jibes about the Thieves Guild (There’s absolutely no love lost between the two groups here), The Assassins look set to kill them all… until they show off the badges for the Musician’s Guild, granting them safety for now.
The Episode Review
The Watch returns this week and continues to deviate from the book material, managing to sprinkle a few nicely timed jokes around a very moody, lacklustre and bland world. The tone here is completely out of sync with the series it’s based on, made worse by the title splash showing the series is “inspired by characters created by Sir Terry Pratchett.” This is particularly irritating given the text that actually reads “inspired by characters created by” is a lot smaller than Pratchett’s name.
Ultimately though, this is a show that’s riding the tail of Pratchett’s success and attempting to use that to create a brand new world of its own. I’m not quite sure why The Watch didn’t just deliver a brand new fantasy IP altogether but I can’t imagine it’ll be gaining many favours from Discworld fans. In fact, judging by the comments after the opening 2 episodes, BBC America have massively misfired on this one.
Still, we march on and there’s definitely time for this one to turn it around. As every episode ticks by though, The Watch is slipping ever-closer to the unfavorable accolade of worst TV show of 2021.