"Watchmen" S1E3: "When the Mighty Despair"
Updated: Jan 22
What happens when the mighty despair? What happens when you abandon the mask? Episode 3 begins with a joke to answer these questions, spoken by Laurie Blake, formerly Laurie Jupiter, aka the Silk Spectre. Now a FBI agent and member of the Anti-Vigilante Task Force.
This joke about God and three men overarched the entire episode. It's interesting how Watchmen is stretching each joke into a morbid lesson. Last episode it was the knock-knock joke. We get to see more of this world; there are blue interstellar phone booths that offer a direct line to Dr. Manhattan on Mars. These booths are owned by the Trieu Industry, headed by the mysterious trillionaire Lady Trieu. All we know about her so far is that she reads all the newspapers Bian buys. Trieu also happens to have bought Veidt's company as well in 2012. Her company has also built the mushroom-like Millennium Clock building whose purpose we know not...yet.
Laurie was the lead of this episode, and she singlehandedly drove the story. From cracking jokes to investigating the murder of Judd Crawford, she is detached and cynical and skeptical. She discovers the wheelchair markings on the crime scene and unnerves both Looking Glass and Angela. Rather, she tries to unnerve Angela. Both the ladies are made of similar metal, Angela though is still on the side that believes in the lawfully good while Laurie is carrying a sense of disillusionment which echoes the way The Comedian (her biological father) had of looking at humanity.
Angela's story takes a back seat though. We see her emotions showing up at the funeral, but what is intriguing is to see her reflexes; she is quick to protect and fight crime and this is doing a terrible job at keeping her wannabe bakery owner identity intact. The face-off between the ladies felt like that was happening between a patient Kung Fu master who has lost it all, and a hot-headed teenager.
We also learn through various sources in the series that Adrian Veidt, who has been missing for a while, has been "confirmed dead." But Adrian, who most probably is alive and captured on Mars, is having the time of his life juggling and experimenting on the clones/robots/prototype humans. Or he could be imprisoned by Trieu. From cutting fish bowl to using a helmet from a knight's armour, to make a diving gear or spacesuit is pretty smart. Whatever it is, Adrian Veidt is still the smart one, but maybe not the smartest one on earth, yet.
There was no news of Will the old man with connection in high places, but his car did show up. I have absolutely no trust on Joe Keene Jr; he is trying too hard to look like the nice guy. What was interesting was the face jump cut from Adrian to Joe, was it an indication that another man is going to use people to further their ideology?
The Rorschach journal is the Mein Kampf of this world; apparently it is being read by the white supremacist terrorists. Though the world denies it existence, the FBI knows it's true. This makes me question, who is showering squids at the people? We know Adrian was behind the squid attack, but are all the governments of the world using the concept of alien threats to keep peace at home? Is Dr. Manhattan still on Mars or are the interstellar phone booths a scam to keep the population in check... a mass marketed chain of hope.
This episode was a piece of beauty filled with easter eggs; I had to rewatch it to catch them all. Angela and Laurie meeting each other in the dark, and Angela is wearing the Nite Owl goggles was nice touch to book. Later, Laurie captured through the goggle lenses was wow, so simple and impactful. The little spoof with the masked vigilante who did the Dark Knight voice! The Andy Warhol painting of Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias, and Nite Owl, juxtaposed with the live Silk Spectre (Laurie Blake). My favourite scene and most probably of other viewers as well, is Laurie standing behind the door carving which creates the illusion of a mask on her face.
This was a good episode that became memorable because you could see Jean Smart and Jeremy Irons living their characters.