Updated: Jan 21, 2020
Every story must end; HBO’s Watchmen wrapped a story that was an amazing visual journey. Watchmen’s last episode was the final fold in a work of origami: a beautiful blend of technique and storytelling. Everything ever said and ever done in this universe connected to create urgency. After all is said and done the show dared to challenge the canon of the graphic novel, and rewrote the history and exploited the loopholes of the prequels and made a masterpiece.
The sheer number of easter eggs in this episode was exhausting to look for! Lady Trieu’s mask, while she searched for Adrian, looked like an elephant tusk; later she wears all-white garment like her namesake; the Dreamland theatre where the first episode begins with Tulsa massacre survives the chaos of the climax but loses its letters from the signboard and projects “DR M”; the eggs keep coming back and the newspapers are filled with reports about Saigon still resisting American Annexation!
We also learn the supervillain origin story of Lady Trieu, by far the most intriguing woman in the show. She surpasses every set notion of a standard supervillain story; she is an Asian Female Psychopathic Trillionaire! She is the big feminine f--- you to Adrian’s creepy obsession with his masculinity that he believed couldn't be rivalled. She is gloriously narcissistic, immensely intelligent, and a better visionary and much better Adversary. Her birth is an act of revenge, and she lived it till the end. And I was not happy with the way her story ended.
Angela didn’t participate much in violent actions in the episode but she definitely proved she was always one of the smartest ones in the room, right after Laurie and Lady Trieu, of course. The story of Will and Angela also came full circle. Like comic panels, that setting of the final episode coincided with the setting of the first episode. All of history came down tumbling one after another like deck of cards. Though the bootstrap paradox was in play all the time, I loved the way Will remained the man he was; angry and calling out the people who had vast power but chose to do nothing.
Adrian Vedit, the smartest man on the planet proved his genius and presence of mind again, yet it cost him his most precious possession: his pride. Did it get trampled? No, it got pulverized and it was so satisfying to watch him turn into a statue of gold! He got conned by his own vanity not once but twice: nothing besides remained except but for his decay!
Laurie and Looking Glass were such a good team! I wish there was more screen time with these two. They are polar opposites when it comes to their usage of words and actions but they were cynically synced and had a twisted sense of justice which is born out of caring too little for far too long. Laurie's sarcastic self will be dearly missed, but what I loved was, despite the personal issues she looked out for Angela till the end. I missed Pete! I wanted the Lubeman theory to be proven true on-screen and not read about it on Petepedia! The creators could’ve snuck him in somewhere.
Cal Abar aka Dr Manhattan captured to be extracted dominated the screen. His stoic face suffering through the collapse of the sense of reality and jump-cutting through memories simultaneously was painful to watch. Like a deer caught in headlights, the strongest being in existence was put on display for the white supremacist.
For a series that is based on a comic book that is brutal and cynical, the ending was relatively positive! Things fell into places and justice, though delayed, was served. Did I love the ending? No, but I didn’t dislike it either, I just low-key wanted the bad person to win because that aligns with the Watchmen universe, the nihilism of Watchmen sets it apart. Yet in a world that is filled with so much hurt, anger, and disillusionment this is the ending we needed. I have been reading a lot about how the price of realism in art is the viewers’ mental well-being. HBO’s Watchmen craftily breaks the abusive impact of realistic TV.
What has made me happy is that there won’t be a season two! The ending was open for most of its part, the scene cutting off right at the moment when Angela is about to step into the pool. But if we connect the hints and clues and the things that were said over course of nine episodes, then Angela most probably got at least a fraction of the Blue God’s power. And if she gets them, we know she will work for a better world because she doesn’t have a god complex. Season two would also stretch into the realm of ruin, and decay the experience of something refreshing that the book fans and the series fans have enjoyed because of this show. A standalone work can attain greatness, but two seasons can kill it's beauty.