Director – Stephen Williams
Writer – Damon Lindelof & Cord Jefferson
Cast – Regina King, Yayha Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, Louis Gossett Jr, Hong Chau, Jovan Adepo
The mysterious back story of Will Reeves was finally explored this week, to great effect. To date, the character’s past has been a closed book, with just little hints dropped via his interactions with Angela. But here, via a massive overdose of Nostalgia medication, Angela gets to relive her Grandfather’s past intimately, warts and all.
Shot with a highly effective black and white palette, the monochrome colour choice really helps to highlight the sense that this is a time long since passed.Enhanced by an off-kilter score that adds to the sense of unease and helps to remind us that these are memories that can often be slightly warped, it does feel as though we are in a dreamlike state. What follows is an odyssey through time, taking a huge swathe through the mythology of this fictional world. To be more specific, through the history of The Minuteman, the group that served as the de facto JSA in this world. Taking us back to the 1930’s, the narrative throws the viewer in the racially charged New York City that Will Reeves was calling home, embarking on a fledgling career in the police force. Faced with numerous obstacles merely because of the colour of his skin, the frustration and anger Reeves feels at the injustice all around him is palpable. Huge credit must go to Jovan Adepo, his performance as the young Reeves is fantastic. A charismatic screen presence with believable emotional range, the fact that the bulk of the episode is devoted to him is certainly no bad thing.
Without delving into full on spoiler territory, the odyssey that Reeves goes through is incredibly effective, equal parts terrifying and moving. Moments of real tenderness juxtaposed with sheer brutality, the plot never allows the viewer to sat comfortably. Where things truly intersect with the original source material comes with the revelation that a certain member of The Minutemen, Hooded Justice, is Reeves. Yes, they are one and the same. In a bold move that may make long time devotees annoyed, the way Reeves goes down the vigilante path is extremely well done indeed. Throwing Captain Metropolis into the mix only helps to add to the complexity of the character. Based on the events covered in the Before Watchmen series of books, this is quite a break from canon, or is it? Either way, it works and Lindelof and his creative team should be applauded for throwing a new twist into well worn events.
With an ending that answers all the questions regarding Judd Crawford’s demise, events are brought full circle back to the present day. In a manner typical of this show, many questions have been answered but so many more have now been posed. Now Angela knows the truth about her family lineage, what path awaits her? What is Reeves’ endgame? With so many disparate threads all moving at their own pace and only three episodes left, the remaining weeks are going to cover a lot of ground. Bringing together the Reeves family, augmented whatever Lady Trieu is up to, Veidt’s inevitable escape, the 7th Kavalry exposing the truth and the impending return of Dr Manhattan is a gargantuan task, and hopefully the creative team should have it in hand. This show has grown each and every week, the next 3 are going to be a lot of fun and games.