Director – Stephen Williams
Writer – Damon Lindelof & Lila Byock
Cast – Jeremy Irons, James Wolf, Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Yayha Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, Tom Mison.
For long devotees of the source material, episode 3 of Watchmen delivered some familiar faces, but in a fresh coat of paint. As the saying goes, “What’s old is new”. In an episode that was easily the most entertaining and energetic to date, the mythology of Moore/Gibbons magnum opus was liberally dipped into, and to great effect.
The highlight of the episode was in the introduction of FBI Agent Laurie Blake, played with gleeful aplomb by Jean Smart. Non other than the former Silk Spectre herself, albeit long since retired from her costumed vigilante days, this older iteration of the character is now part of a task force that enforces the anti-vigilante laws. Talk about an about face! Tellingly, she is now using Blake as her surname, the same as her father Eddie, aka The Comedian. There is even a reference to his death during an exchange with Sister Night. Does this mean that she has embraced her heritage? There are so many questions. Was there also a mention of her former boyfriend Daniel Dreiberg, when Senator Joe Keen. Jr offers to get “her owl out of his cage”. As the former Nite Owl, are we to assume he is incarcerated now? Every little tidbit is a tease of the highest degree!
The introduction of such a beloved character has invigorated the series for sure, as her barbed exchanges with all and sundry elevate the pace of the show. There is definitely some of her father in her! The pending reappearance of Dr Manhattan draws ever closer too, with Laurie’s attempts to contact him seemingly bearing fruit. It’s an interesting state of affairs in the world, with pseudo phone boxes set up for the general public to “contact” Dr Manhattan on Mars. Treated as a deity in a world that still needs saving, there is almost a confessional booth vibe to these stations. Hope springs eternal that he will come back to Earth, if not this season next maybe in the next. As another of Laurie’s ex-boyfriends, her possession in the briefcase that is clearly a memento of him has to be seen to be believed. It’s enough to make one’s eyes water…
The conspiracy in play in Tulsa is still a mystery, with little or no further information offered up this week. The late Judd Crawford’s true nature is yet to be revealed following the KKK outift in his secret closet. As each episode comes and goes, things should start to become a lot more clear. I am a fan of this kind of writing, where the audience isn’t spoonfed and events are not telegraphed to the point that they are almost sent recorded delivery! Being made to work for your answers makes getting them all the more rewarding.
One last mention must go to the fantastic Jeremy Irons and his portrayal of the aging Adrian Veidt. Once again, his existence is shrouded in mystery. The world believes him to be dead, yet he is alive and well living in splendid opulence at a country mansion, yet as some kind of prisoner. Who exactly is holding him there, it remains to be seen. What is he working on? His genius level intellect would suggest it is something big, could it be geared towards his escape? Jeremy Irons has always been a charismatic screen presence and his Veidt is no exception. Very believable as the former Ozymandias, his limited screen time is always a treat. The final shot of him in full costume, incredibly comic book accurate, is a fanboy highlight.
A very enjoyable and engrossing third episode, the series is gathering pace now. With only 6 episodes left, there is no time for filler. With writing, acting and direction as strong as it has been to date, it feels as though we are in incredibly safe hands. Challenging without being impenetrable, the show is the highest quality. Hats off to Damon Lindelof and the creative team for their top drawer work. Roll on next week and the intriguingly titled “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own”.