Director – David Semel
Writer – Stacy Osei-Kuffour & Claire Kiechel
Cast – Regina King, Yayha Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, Louis Gossett Jr, Hong Chau, Jeremy Irons
After the hugely enlightening events of episode 6, this week’s glorious instalment of Watchmen brought us back up to the present day, albeit with a liberal dose of flashbacks to the youth of Angela Abar. The game is most certainly now afoot, following a jaw dropping revelation at the end of the episode that has changed the whole game….
The MVP of the episode was unquestionably Regina King, as the running time was ostensibly dedicated to her and her emergence from her trip down Grandad’s memory lane, courtesy of an overdose of Nostalgia. In a very effective piece of storytelling, her own childhood memories start to embed themselves over the top of Will’s, providing clues to her back story as a child in the 51 State, Vietnam. The tantalising glimpse of Dr Manhattan in full flight on the battlefields of the Vietnam War was a fantastic money shot, tracking out across the carnage as the omnipotent being strides across. This shot was very reminiscent of the same scene in Zack Snyder’s 2009 film, only with less bells and whistles.
King was superb during the film, conveying confusion, anger and fear in equal measure. Abar is such a complex character, full of mystery, and King has done a great job of making the character accessible but keeping the audience at arm’s length. There has always been a sense that there is more than meets the eye with the character, with so much we as viewers are not being told. As I have already said in previous reviews, I personally love that method of storytelling as it demands thought and interpretation. Has she always known the truth behind her marital situation or was it the treatment at the hands of Lady Trieu that has unlocked her knowledge? Either way, she was fully lucid at the end of the episode and knew exactly what was going on with the location of Dr Manhattan and just who he has been masquerading as….
So the truth behind Dr Manhattan’s whereabouts has now been revealed. No longer in exile on Mars, he has in fact been on Earth posing as a regular person. Who? Angela’s husband, Cal. The reveal at the end of the episode is quite a shocking situation as Angela reveals the truth. Did she know all along or not? Either way, the shock of seeing her refer to him as Jon (Manhattan’s real name) and proceed to bludgeon his head with a hammer was pretty jarring stuff. Removing a disc from inside his head, shaped like Manhattan’s symbol, proved the catalyst for him to start emitting a blue glow, albeit off camera. This raises a whole host of questions. Why is Dr Manhattan posing as human? What is his connection to Angela Abar? Does Lady Trieu know the truth and is she somehow involved in it? Was Manhattan posing as Cal against his will somehow? The final 2 episodes should be extremely interesting, with the promise of revelations galore in the ether.
With events all coming to a head over the final stretch of this debut season, tying up not only this story arc but hopefully giving us the whole truth regarding Veidt’s imprisonment and the culmination of the Seventh Kavalry’s schemes. For a show that has the slowest of slow burners, this week really has seen the pace pick up exponentially and the next two weeks could end up being THE televisual highlight of 2019.