The Chicken Or The Egg
Watchmen has been one of the more rewarding viewing experiences this year. While the majority of people have been pretty split in opinion over Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen series, these past few weeks have really shown that there is a master plan at work here and everything is coming together nicely as we fast approach next week’s finale. After 7 weeks of build up and teasing, we finally get a glimpse of Dr Manhattan and it turns out he’s the glue that’s holding everything together. With his perception of time different to ours, what follows is another stylish, well-written episode that sheds more light over what’s happening.
We begin in the past, Vietnam to be precise, as a man in a blue mask, hiding his identity as the real Dr Manhattan approaches Angela and shares a drink with her in a bar. He talks to her about time and goes on to explain how he created life on one of Jupiter’s moons, while also preparing to blow up an English manor in a different time period. As it turns out, he was the one responsible for creating Ozymandias’ estate on Europa too and his “Adam and Eve” were actually the clones we’ve seen Adrian command throughout the season. Before we can look further into this though, we cut back to Angela who convinces the God to take off his mask. After telling him how much she dislikes him, he’s convinced she’ll go on a date with him regardless.
Jumping forward, we see them both at the local morgue, picking out bodies for him to morph into. This is how he became Calvin, Angela’s husband. This though, happens to be a vision Dr Manhattan is experiencing in real-time; the first of many jumps back and forth through time we see.
Still disguised as Calvin, he approaches Ozymandias in 2009 and the two discuss the past. 44 years ago Adrian attempted to kill Dr Manhattan but this time things are different. The course of their conversation changes across to Angela and together they discuss love and relationships. It’s here Ozymandias comes up with an idea – to implant him with a metallic device to make him forget his abilities. Plan A, as he so aptly names it. With everything ready to slot into place, John teleports Ozymandias to his paradise estate on Europa.
Plan A comes to fruition soon after, which brings us right back to present day where the glowing blue light brings with it Dr Manhattan. With the outline of Calvin’s face still intact, we finally get to see this blue god in the flesh and he paces outside on the water as tries to piece together what’s happening. After teleporting their three kids to the theatre with Will Reeves in the past, he sets up an inter-time link between Angela and Will where she asks him about the Chief’s clan outfit. Only, he doesn’t know what she’s talking about and it soon becomes apparent that this whole chain of events may well have been part of a paradox. Especially given the theatre has ties with the Minute Men.
Unfortunately it turns out the cavalry are already outside Angela’s house and as John explains to her, there’s nothing she can do to stop his demise. Determined to prove him wrong, she grabs her weapons and prepares to fight. Despite fighting off the cavalry, it all ends in tragedy as a solitary member blasts John with a weapon that seemingly appears to vaporize him. As the episode closes out, Angela shrugs her shoulders in the Vietnamese bar and decides to have dinner with John after all.
With an episode clocking in at a little under an hour, Watchmen pulls out all the stops to start answering some of the questions raised across the season. It makes for a thoroughly satisfying watch too and is certainly rewarding to see given the slow burn build up until this point. The past three or four episodes have almost felt like a completely different show, such is the quality of the cinematography and storytelling. Given how long its taken for the foundations to be laid, it just makes this coming together all the more satisfying.
In a way, not showing Dr Manhattan completely until late on in the episode only reinforces this too and the patient build-up makes these reveals all the more satisfying. That’s to say nothing of the editing and cuts, which this week show a great balance of timelines as we see things from Dr Manhattan’s point of view. Can Watchmen end with a proverbial bang? I’m certainly confident it’ll do just that given what we’ve seen so far but whether this will rise and become known as one of the better shows of 2019 however, remains to be seen.