Watchmen S1E7: The nostalgic elephant in the room
The cinematic beauty of Watchmen lies in its overlaying of images and scattered Easter eggs. Everything that we saw and connected the dots with led us to this very satisfying episode. This was finally Angela’s Origin Story, where we learn what made her the person she is today.
Angela who had overdosed on Nostalgia in the previous two episodes is under the care of Lady Trieu now. As we know, Nostalgia has been banned after people started abusing it; Trieu is the only person who has the antidote and instruments to nurse Angela back to health. It is also interesting that Laurie Blake is the one who brought Angela to the Millennium Clock facility. The three leading ladies of the series are on the same side of moral compass despite not being fond of each other.
Will Reeves is still missing from the screen but we know that Lady Trieu is his partner in crime for whatever they have planned for humanity. Though Trieu insists she will save humanity, we do know in the Watchmen Universe that "Saving Humanity" doesn't necessarily mean a good thing. There will be sacrifices, like the Black Freighter was built of dead bodies, and Adrian’s hopeful path for a Utopia was constructed by murdering millions.
Little Angela’s life was tragic and it explains why she is so awkward at the parenting job. Though we know Angela is an orphan, thanks to Laurie trying to decode her trauma a few episodes back. But the gravity of her trauma is so hurtful to watch. She has been alone since the age of ten in a country where it is hard to find people who look like her, and where she will always be treated as an outsider who is a product of American Imperialism. She picks up an action flick to watch on her VCR because the actress looks like her. No wonder she had trust issues and works best alone. It hurts less when you are alone, but here she is married with three children, hence she is very desperate and hyper-aware to protect her family.
Despite Lady Trieu zeroing in on her secret and suggesting that they work together, Angela is going to fight on her own. Laurie Blake too is a victim of this I am sufficient alone syndrome; now she is captured by a trapdoor. And thanks to Pete we know Wade aka Looking Glass has survived the Seventh Kavalry attack, but he too is on the run. And finally, we learn the great plan of the series villain Joe Keene Jr, and it looks like a very-very-very bad idea for the rest of the world.
Speculations about Bian, Lady Trieu’s daughter too have come to be proven correct...every puzzle to the narrative fits. Just because we predicted a lot of things doesn’t take away the excitement of it. I really want Joe Keene to suffer a humiliating defeat. Yet the revelation of the Big Bad Plan was shocking nonetheless. But the biggest reveal ended in a cliffhanger, which itself is criminal!
And Adrian Veidt had one of the most embarrassing trials, where he was judged by pigs.
Now to the sets! The conquered Vietnam is yellow and tints of Dr Manhattan blue! It’s colourful and thriving and Dr Manhattan has become this god that people either revere or love. He is painted everywhere, and he also has become the poster boy of American Dream Propaganda: a refugee boy of humble origin who made it big. Everything about him has been by heightened by the success story or mocked by the victims of the Vietnam War. The Mural of Dr Manhattan has been vandalized with horns and a tail. And people around the world call this god through the interstellar phone booths hoping for him to help them. Yet this god is better off dead because he has not answered a single phone call.
The saddest part of the episode was Angela recovering from her overdose and recalling her own memories. Her own memories parallel her grandfather’s and this mix and match of images show how the cycle of despair never ends. Their fates are connected by the same racial violence which has refused to get uprooted and now has become much more radical and imaginative with dumber followers because they can’t spell bloody Cavalry properly.