Director – Frederick E.O. Toye
Writer – Damon Lindelof & Nick Cuse
Cast – Regina King, Yayha Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, Louis Gossett Jr, Hong Chau, Jeremy Irons
It would simply be too much to attempt to recap the events of the final episode of Watchmen. I think everybody would be better served to watch the episode for themselves and get their own takeaway from it. Rather than rehashing the events of “See How They Fly”, below is my take on the series as a whole.
The final (ever?) episode of Watchmen has been and gone, leaving us to reflect on a 9 episode season that has been, in my opinion, the televisual highlight of 2019. When the announcement was first made that HBO were going to make this show, picking up with the world of the source material in real time, 34 years after the events of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons wonderful 12 issue classic, I had somewhat mixed feelings about it. Whilst I am not of the opinion that certain things are sacred and should not be touched post-release, I did wonder if it was a good idea. Very much a self contained story, was there even the need to jump forward in time? Having now watched the entire season, the answer is very much yes!
What Damon Lindelof and his creative time have produced here is a wonderful slice of event television that will certainly stand the test of time. Everything about it was a home run. The casting, the writing, the direction, the tone, the score and the overall flavour are all top drawer stuff. Forging its own path whilst filling the show with countless Easter eggs and references to the past, the show rewards long time devotees and new fans alike with an immersive and engrossing viewing experience.
With so many story threads to tie up in this finale, there was the risk that there would not be sufficient time to bring it all together. There were so many different pieces on the board that it was a Herculean task to coordinate them all. Somehow though, every strand was gathered up for a suitably fulfilling ending, albeit with just a crumb of a cliffhanger ending that does leave the option there for further instalments should the showrunners see fit. Indicative of the series as a whole, this finale had no wasted screen time, no filler. With only 9 episodes available to tell a complete story, the narrative had next to no fat on the bone, only prime cuts.
With more outstanding performances than the law should allow, it is hard to pick out anybody from the ensemble. But, a special mention must go to Regina King and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, as their characters served as the anchors for the show, the basis for everything else to revolve around. Regina King’s Angela Abar was the character with the most screen time as the show was effectively her story, her journey from A to B. A character with more layers than an onion, Abar ran the gamut from moments of real vulnerability to badass moments aplenty. Mateen was also a revelation, with the true identity reveal of his character seeing him switch gears effortlessly, as well as providing the catalyst for so much to start make sense with the context of the show.
So, will there be more? Show creator Lindelof has stated that he hasn’t ruled it out completely, but as of now, all his ideas went into this season. Personally, I am conflicted on it. I think the series stands alone as a perfect story that requires no further instalments, I would be more than happy to see it preserved in time as a perfect 9 episode arc. That said, if more episodes did appear further down the line and they were of the same quality as what has come before, then it would be something that I would couldn’t resist. Time will tell if anything happens, but either way we should all be happy with what has been put out. But just remember, “Nothing end, Adrian. Nothing ever ends……”