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Tons of spoilers below for anyone who isn't caught up with HBO's Watchmen.
Of all the things that Watchmen excels at, the HBO series perfectly reflects the original comic series' habit of dangling narrative threads (like tentacles) while saving key information held for later. From the opening minutes of the pilot, Damon Lindelof and the rest of Watchmen's creative team have given audiences an abundance of characters, plot points, comic references, key locations, and motivations. Seemingly everything that shows up on the screen is worthy of intricate speculation, and fans have been happy to oblige. (Including at least one of the film's stars.)
To be expected, Watchmen has inspired my own brain to contemplate an untold number of questions and theories about what's happening with Regina King's Sister Night, Jeremy Irons' Adrian Veidt, those squids and just about everything else. It would be easy to fall into a conspiracy-driven haze inside an underground bunker with walls covered in photographs connected by yarn, but we're sticking with the biggest questions that need answers before this socially poignant first season comes to a close. Let's kick things off a mystery set up in the premiere's final minutes.
Who Or What Is Will Reeves?
To be fair, even the name "Will Reeves" feels like it will be revealed to be false at this point, but for now, I'm talking about Lou Gossett Jr.'s (sometimes) wheelchair-bound man who may or may not have killed Judd Crawford. The reveal that he doesn't need the wheelchair was shocking, but that's far from the only head-scratching quirk that Will has displayed. (He snatched an egg out of boiling water and peeled it without letting it cool, for one.)
Will's relation to Angela Abar is presumably legitimate, but because her parents died when she was young, it's still unclear what that family dynamic looks like on the whole. If Will is actually the young boy from Watchmen's opening sequence, how is he still alive and agile? (And would that make his name William Williams?) And if he's not that boy, is he another major player such as Doctor Manhattan in disguise? Maybe I'm going to need some of those Nostalgia pills.
What's Up With Doctor Manhattan, For Real?
Arguably the most conversation-worthy character within Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen is the big, blue behemoth Doctor Manhattan, and not just for his big, blue genitalia. As the only true superhuman in the narrative, Doctor Manhattan served as humanity's savior until a point when he left Earth behind for Mars, where he has supposedly been for the past 30+ years. But has he actually been up there all this time?
Doctor Manhattan's continued influence on the world has been confirmed and examined in part, from his celebrated satellite appearances to Manhattan-influenced technologies to Laurie Blake's sex toys. I can't help but believe, though, that the character is having a far more direct effect on other characters. Every time someone brings up something that Doctor Manhattan can't do, I automatically start believing that he's entirely capable of it. So at this point, I wouldn't be too shocked to learn that every Watchmen live-action character is actually a Manhattan avatar.
How Many People Are In On The Squid Conspiracy?
Until Watchmen's fifth episode, I might have believed that only a handful of people in the world were truly aware that Adrian Veidt was behind the squid calamity on November 2, 1985. Senator Keene proved that wrong, however, by showing Looking Glass the videotaped confession that Veidt made for Robert Redford, in which he laid out his entire plan in the style of one of James Bond's most loquacious villains.
So, if a high-profile senator (who also happens to be leading a cult of presumed racists) is able to gain access to that confession in order to show a city cop, does that indicate that there are tons of other people who also know of Veidt's culpability? (It's a whole other line of questions concerning why Veidt would do something as ridiculous as confess on a recording.) Are the people behind Extradimensional Security in on the hoax and still bilking people like Wade Tillman out of their money? It says something about this universe that I would watch a limited series based solely on the court cases that would happen if Veidt's confession went public.
How Did Veidt End Up On Europa?
When Damon Lindelof revealed that Adrian Veidt's location in HBO's Watchmen was actually on Jupiter's moon Europa, it kicked off a new branch of inquiries that stretched further than those that supposed he was on Mars or another closer heavenly body. Because if it wasn't Doctor Manhattan that put him in the middle of the solar system, then how in the blue heavens did it happen?
One easy guess would be that Lady Trieu had something to do with it, since her Millennium Clock construction implies that she's got the resources to do whatever she wants. And it's no chance of whimsy that her resources used to be in Adrian Veidt's possession. But would she have had access to cloning machines, infant-filled lakes and moon-safe habitats? And, of course, the question of why he was sent there looms large, but that's probably even more complicated.
Is Lady Trieu A Villain?
In true Watchmen fashion, Damon Lindelof's HBO series has presented an ensemble of characters colored in various shades of virtuousness, to the point where it's rarely clear who the real "good guys" and "bad guys" are in this universe. This distinction goes for Will, Angela, Laurie and more – though Looking Glass seemingly got redeemed with his origin story episode – and it is arguably most obvious with Hong Chau's Lady Trieu.
As the successor to Adrian Veidt from a business perspective, Lady Trieu also seems more than capable of fulfilling his role as the overarching villain through a late-stage reveal, complete with the self-assurance that deadly actions are meant to help the greater good. She's helping Will Reeves, which is possibly a good thing, but she's also not very sympathetic to her (alleged) daughter, which rings villainous alarm bells. Also when has a truly moral protagonist ever been responsible for constructing the biggest building in a city? At least, outside of the Wayne family.
Is Angela's Family "Different" At All?
As Sister Night, Angela Abar is one of the most resourceful vigilantes we've seen in Tulsa, and one of her biggest goals is keeping her family safe. But it's still not quite clear how she and her husband Cal survived the White Night massacres that resulted in them adopting their children. And it's definitely not clear how or why their son Topher was constructing a lookalike of Adrian Veidt's Europa castle, which was the same building type that Doctor Manhattan was demolishing on Mars.
Though nothing out of the ordinary has happened with the two daughters that were adopted from Jim Beaver's previously seen deadbeat, I've become increasingly convinced that there is something pointedly unique about both Topher and Cal. The latter is almost too understanding and calm for a show like this, and Laurie's attraction to him raises questions about his potential connection with the similarly subdued Doctor Manhattan.
What's The Game Warden's Story?
Barely anything about Adrian Veidt's largely standalone narrative is easily accessible for viewers to understand in full, which is obviously a purposeful move on Damon Lindelof's part. Perhaps the most inscrutable part at this point is the Game Warden's existence within this lush so-called prison. The character is seemingly also portrayed by Tim Mison in a mustache, which makes him either another one of Veidt's clones, or possibly the original source for Mr. Phillips' DNA.
Whatever the case may be, it's a full mystery how his authoritarian role came to exist in the first place, especially if he really is just another clone. (The Game Warden does look slightly more aged than Mr. Phillips, for what that's worth.) Was he someone from Earth who was also transported to Europa by whoever it was that stationed Veidt there? Where does he live in this seemingly limited land? And if that IS the O.G. Phillips, where is the O.G. Crookshanks?
What Other O.G. Watchmen Comic Characters Will Show Up?
By all means, HBO's Watchmen has already presented so many elements of the original comic book, both on the series itself or through the various supplemental materials. However, viewers have only knowingly come face to face with the comic characters Laurie Blake, who went by the surname Jupiter in the source material, and Adrian Veidt, though the cloak of secrecy over Jeremy Irons' role, despite the obvious very hints of Veidt-ness, makes me wonder if a future twist will upend that identity. (Twist: He was really Alan Moore's anger personified this whole time!)
Beyond that and the dramatized American Hero Story: Minutemen history – which doesn't really count for true character appearances – Watchmen has only shown us satellite footage of Doctor Manhattan on Mars. A Peteypedia article revealed that Dan Dreiberg is currently in jail for later-in-life vigilantism, though he supposedly never confessed a word about Veidt's squid plot, but will the TV show actually give us more of the original comic characters in the flesh, such as a flashback to Rorschach and Nite-Owl on a caper? Perhaps a scene featuring The Comedian and Sally Jupiter in a moment of peace, instead of sexual torment?
While it's not so likely, HBO's Watchmen could very well make it to the end of Season 1 without answering any of these questions with 100% conviction. Damon Lindelof has claimed that the nine episodes will be able to standalone as a complete story if HBO decides not to move forward with Season 2 (which would be on par with the budget-bursting Carnivale getting cancelled after its second season). So here's hoping audiences are completely sated by the time all the tentacle-esque narrative threads are tied up.