Black & White
The trouble with watching as much TV as I do is a lot of shows tend to feel very similar, making it incredibly difficult to find the next stand-out show in a given genre. This year alone in the TV superhero category we’ve had The Boys, Swamp Thing, Raising Dion, Doom Patrol and the exciting second season of Titans. Given the amount of hype behind Watchmen, one of the quintessential superhero comics back in the day, it was always going to be difficult for the show to scale its heights and reach the top of this crowded mountain.
Watchmen has been a pretty good show up until this point no doubt, even with the amount of confusion around the main plot line, but this week’s episode answers some crucial questions whilst delivering a stylish, visually stunning masterclass in scene composition and colour. This may just be enough to put this on the map in a show that’s polarised opinions until this point.
The episode itself begins with a segment involving the Minutemen. As the police blackmail their leader in an interview room, he’s forced to remove his mask and as he does, he beat the officers and leaves the room.
After last week, Angela is held up in a prison cell but begins to black out, following the effects of the memory pills she swallowed. As we dive back in time, we see Will’s time in the police force. It’s a surreal segment involving pockets of colour and highlights inequality and racism rampant in the force. During these segments, Angela replaces Will at random intervals and after being strung up with a noose, Will dons a hood and fights off some thugs in a back alley that may have connections to an elusive villain known as Cyclops.
After a brief pause, where Blake tries to wake Angela up from her dream to no avail, we return to Will’s past where he’s asked about Captain Metropolis – the name of the hero with the cape. Its here we see Will in a sexual relationship with Captain Blondie and as the episode progresses, they grow closer together whilst trying to capture Cyclops.
As the case progresses, a riot at the theatre brings Will there and with him, a series of stylish shots as he stumbles upon an operation in a warehouse nearby. With his mask on, Will shoots up the place, killing everyone before burning the place to the ground. Falling out with his family back home, this segments catches us up to Will during present day where he uses a mind-controlling flashlight to force the chief to hang himself from the tree.
With the episode drawing to a close, Angela wakes up at Lady Trieu’s place with more questions than answers.
Normally I’m not a massive fan of flashback episodes. They’re usually placed at inconvenient times to pad out dramatic tension or worse, dissipate that built up suspense with an episode that does little other than feel like filler. Thankfully Watchmen’s meandering pace means this latest slice of action can be enjoyed for the visual spectacle it is – and what a showcase it is.
I’m a sucker for a good artistic series, having recently watched Apple TV+’s Servant, but here Watchmen uses black and white, with interspersed bits of colour to great effect. The composition of these scenes is so good throughout the episode too and the segments where Angela and Will trade places are seamless and reinforce that all of this is occurring in Angela’s mind as she relives Will’s memories.
There are numerous examples dotted throughout the episode of scenes that stand out but for me, seeing the police car drive by while two noosed men leave a string of blood behind them is an incredibly powerful metaphor for the themes being explored in this series and up there with one of my favourite scenes in the entire series.
Now that we’re back in the present, who knows what’ll happen next week but as we reach the dramatic end of this mini-series, Watchmen looks set to end things in suitably memorable fashion. Let’s hope this one ends with a bang.