Watchmen: S01E07

For those keeping track, here are my quick notes on S01E07:

  • Episode opens with old newsreel footage of Dr. Manhattan’s origins. Against inspirational footage of the Statue of Liberty, etc., it is implied that he is the child of Jewish immigrants. “From humble beginnings, fraught with persecution in Nazi Germany, to the shores of New York, one small boy in a huddled mass, yearning to breathe free, Jon Osterman transcended pain, suffering, and even death itself to create a life the likes of which history has never seen. To some, the immigrant son of a poor clockmaker was the fulfillment of the American dream.”
  • Agent Blake tells Mrs. Crawford (widow of Don Johnson’s character) that Reeves (the now wheelchair-bound character played by Louis Gossett Jr) is her husband’s killer, and that he was the first masked vigilante: Hooded Justice. “He had to hide who he was,” she tells Mrs Crawford, because “white men in masks are heroes, but black men in masks… are scary.” In a big reveal, Agent Blake is surprised to learn that, behind her simple, humble persona, Mrs. Crawford is, in reality, a committed member of Cyclops. This is more fuel to the show’s central theme that all white people, no matter how nice and civil on the outside, are ‘white supremacists’ on the inside.
  • During Angela Abar’s (Sister Night) treatment for overdosing on her grandfather’s (Reeves) Nostalgia memory pills, which seem to be almost entirely consisting of ‘traumatic’ memories, the small Asian student with the big glasses (who works for Lady Trieu, the trillionaire owner of Trieu Industries) is giving Angela some visual cue card tests. The tests, however, have nothing to do with Angela’s treatment; rather, she says it is research for her dissertation. “It’s on the adaptive function of empathy and the role of rage suppression in social cohesion.”
  • The Evil White Southern GOP Senator Joe Keene Jr., who in an earlier episode we learned is heading Cyclops/7K, says to a captured Agent Blake: “You’re wrong about Cyclops. We’re not racist. We’re about restoring balance in those times when our country forgets the principles upon which it was founded. Because the scales have tipped way too far… and it is extremely difficult to be a white man in America right now.”
  • Lady Trieu speaks (holographically) to what appears to be an investor audience, but we are shown reaction shots from Angela, implying that Treiu’s message is oriented towards people like Angela (and her grandfather). After describing Trieu Industries’ successes, Trieu expresses what sounds like conventional Asian attitudes toward blacks (which resembles white conservative attitudes toward blacks): “But there were failures too… My gravest was Nostalgia. I gave people the means to visit the past so they could learn from it, so they could evolve, and transform, and better themselves. Instead, they became fixated on their most painful memories, choosing to experience the worst moments of their lives over and over again. And why? Because they were afraid… afraid that once unburdened by the trauma of the past, they would have no excuse not to move gloriously into the future.”
  • Lady Trieu tells Angela that Dr. Manhattan is not on Mars, but is here on Earth disguised as a human, and that he is here to try to stop the 7th Kavalry. “In less than an hour, they’re going to capture Dr. Manhattan, and they’re going to destroy him. And then, they’re going to become him. Can you imagine that kind of power in the hands of white supremacists? I’m sorry, Angela. I know you asked me not to say it, but I am saving f*cking humanity.”
  • In the middle of the night, Angela escapes from the Trieu Industries complex, drives home, and searches for a hammer, when her husband Calvin “Cal” Abar (nee Jelani… apparently, among woke non-white couples, husbands take their wives’ names) enters the kitchen, having heard the ruckus. “Cal,” she orders him, “I need you to stop talking and listen to me, okay? You’re a great husband, an amazing father, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had… Time to come out of the tunnel. Don’t be scared. We talked about this. We always knew that this day would come.” She calls Cal “Jon”, which confuses Cal. “My name is not Jon,” he says to her. (NOTE: Dr. Manhattan’s real name is Jonathan “Jon” Osterman). Angela then smashes him in the head with the hammer, killing him, and then opens his forehead to retrieve a blue, luminous, circular device. The implication here is that Dr. Manhattan (the spirit of the Enlightened Jew) has been occupying a black body. (After the episode’s credits, an “on the next episode” teaser shows flashbacks to when a Dr. Manhattan, is his total blue splendor, fell in love with a younger Angela.)
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