Watchmen – S1 Ep2 – Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship

Director – Nicole Kassell
Writer – Damon Lindelof & Nick Cuse
Cast – Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Yayha Abdul-Mateen II, Frances Fisher, Louis Gossett Jr.

After an extremely strong start last week with its pilot episode, Watchmen set about the task this week of further establishing its in-show universe. Once again preceding the episode with real world events, this time dating back to World War I, before picking up the main narrative involving last week’s cliffhanger. I must say that this method is extremely effective, as it helps to anchor the show in reality, showing that despite its alt-reality setting, this is very much a real and viable timeline.

In fitting with the cadence and tone of the show, the information and answers given to the audience are very much that of a breadcrumb fashion, refusing to spoon feed viewers and allowing us to question what we are seeing and form our own interpretations. Despite the jaw dropping final moments of last week, which saw Judd Crawford swinging from a noose by close of play, the subsequent arrest of Will, the 105 year old with knowledge of the insidious conspiracy at play was done in an underhand, quiet fashion. The subsequent revelation of his familial connection to Angela demands some explanation, but true to form, we will to work for our answers.

The reason behind Will’s subsequent magnet skyride is also something I await with baited breath. The fact that he seemed never surprised nor frightened would imply that something big is afoot and the payoff should be very interesting indeed.

The magnificent Jeremy Irons was back with a vengeance, with increased screen time from last week. Whilst there still is no explicit confirmation that he is Adrian Veidt, one would assume it is the case. His seeming obsession with Dr Manhattan was given full form this week by way of his “servants” performing his play, the origin tale of Jon Osterman’s transformation into the blue-skinned omnipotent being. Complete with the obligatory blue genitalia that always comes with a Dr Manhattan appearance, Veidt’s motivations here are unclear. With the world thinking him dead, is he a wanted man? Does the world know what he did, courtesy of Rorschach’s journal?

Speaking of Rorschach, the atrocities being carried out in his name are really wide of the mark in terms of the original character’s beliefs. Yes, he was a sociopath, right wing, brutal, uncompromising vigilante, but his calling was to punish the evil and wicked, not to partake in borderline ethnic cleansing. Walter Kovac had no time for the world and all its perceived ills, but a bad person he was not. Seeing how his ideology has been warped into something even more extreme is disturbing, as he has become a poster boy for America’s right wing hate groups.

Another very solid episode this week that continues the high quality work of the show. With a promised debut for Laurie Blake coming soon and the every looming return of Dr Manhattan from Mars, the mythology of Moore/Gibbons’ original work is permeating the show gradually. The quite wonderful glimpse of the former Minuteman Hooded Justice by way of a TV documentary was a great love letter to the source material, which had this old fan smiling in enjoyment. With only seven episodes to go, the remaining weeks should be filler free and high quality stuff.

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