Watchmen: Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship   Books Included 
October 27, 2019 9:19 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

As Angela relives haunting memories of an attack on her family, she detains a mysterious man who claims responsibility for Tulsa's most recent murder; An original play is performed for an audience of one.
posted by MoonOrb (78 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
What the fuck, indeed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 PM on October 27 [5 favorites]


At this point, I think I'm still expecting something similar or in the same neighborhood as the comic and that's clearly not gonna happen. Moore was downright subtle with his politics compared to how in your face the show is. This isn't bad, but the shift in tone and expectations is odd.

I like that it's making the racism of the past a major issue, but still reserving judgment on where it's going, how it's going to get there and that the final destination will be.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 PM on October 27 [4 favorites]


Okay, I'm clearly not understanding very much of what's going on here but I'm certainly intrigued enough to want to sign up for another few episodes to see where things head.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:24 PM on October 27 [2 favorites]


I re-read the comic this weekend and re-watched the pilot before this episode. I've got my personal level of WTF down from what even is this to normal puzzle box show.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:47 PM on October 27 [4 favorites]




Haha, this fits the bill for me for high dollar mainstream prime time WTF, and with Regina King starring it’s like an echo of The Leftovers.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:50 PM on October 27 [2 favorites]


i truly no longer care whether or not this show serves a good follow up to the original series, it is one of the most batshit crazy things i have ever seen on television and even if it ends up sucking by the end the world is a better place with art this insane in it.

the "american hero story" scene felt like a direct comment on zack snyder's watchmen movie, from the gravely voiced narration right down to hooded justice breaking a dude's arm backwards at the elbow like nite owl does in the alley scene (i haven't seen that movie since the theatre and that bit is even worse than i remembered it, the arm literally splits open and blood shoots out of the wound).
posted by JimBennett at 12:06 AM on October 28 [18 favorites]


joe keene is definitely nite owl III, right?
posted by JimBennett at 12:36 AM on October 28


I didn't see anything in the pilot that really required any explication for viewers unfamiliar with the source material. But this one did.
The play Jeremy Irons is putting on for himself, The Watchmaker's Son, is a dramatization of the nuclear accident that created the first Super-person, Dr. Manhattan. That's not necessarily relevant to the story so far, and doesn't explain anything else. But for anyone totally flummoxed by the deadly box and the blue guy, check out 7:47 to 10:10 here.

(So as not to choose between comics and film, the link is to the Watchmen Motion Comic, which is the original comic panels, but with score, voiceover, and animated effects. For anyone looking for a way to both 'read' and 'watch' the original comics at once, or for away to re-experience the story in a new way, that's my recommedation.)
posted by bartleby at 1:37 AM on October 28 [3 favorites]


Moore was downright subtle with his politics compared to how in your face the show is.

That's... not how I remember the comic? I mean Rorschach's rants about whores and liberals and such isn't precisely something where you need to read between the lines?
posted by Justinian at 2:06 AM on October 28 [15 favorites]


So, uh, it was the real Nite Owlmobile at the end, right? And not the budget knockoff that crashed last episode?
posted by Justinian at 2:16 AM on October 28 [2 favorites]


Huh? Yes, that’s exactly what you are supposed to do: Rorshach is both a demented psychopath and whatever you want him to be, because he is an inkblot. It’s hard to get more read between the linesier, imho. In my reading, his lack of nurture has led him to a murderous Randian existentialism.
posted by mwhybark at 2:18 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


The 'Real' Owlmobile? Not necessarily. The flying apparatus the picture-takers were using looked suspiciously like something based on the old Moth Man's hero wings.
But also as something that enough people have access to, that instead of calling them paparazzi, the cops call them 'moths'.
I wonder if this far forward in time, maybe various bits of hero tech have filtered out to the regular world. It's conceivable an Owlmobile equivalent is something like a really fancy helicopter or a V22 Osprey in this world?
posted by bartleby at 2:37 AM on October 28 [4 favorites]


That last scene sent me down an unhelpful mental digression about the economics of whole situation. Is that car paid off? How is she going to file an insurance claim on this? How does she even get paid? What is the salary for being a secret police badass? How is she paying the rent in that bakery that will never open? Is it paid by the police department? Who is auditing their books?

I’m coming to the show with no watchmen history except a brief rundown of the comics plot from a friend. This show is edging into too violent for me, but I did like the fictional FCC warning on the show-in-a-show.
posted by jeoc at 4:45 AM on October 28 [11 favorites]


"Got any sugar?"
"No."
"Some bakery."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:11 AM on October 28 [14 favorites]


the "american hero story" scene felt like a direct comment on zack snyder's watchmen movie, from the gravely voiced narration right down to hooded justice breaking a dude's arm backwards at the elbow like nite owl does in the alley scene

I also noticed the gratuitous speed-ramping/slow-mo, which along with fetishistically depicted ultraviolence is basically Snyder's key visual signature.

In line with my theories from last episode, I have a sneaking suspicion that we will at some point see a more organic flashback to the "real" Hooded Justice, and he will be quite different than the version shown in the AHS clip. It does look like they are actively questioning the theory that HJ was Rolf Muller, but based on the supposed first-person HJ narration it sounds like AHS is really stuck on the "just an angry white dude" theory.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:46 AM on October 28 [9 favorites]


Based on what we've seen so far isn't it by far most likely that Lou Gossett's character is Hooded Justice? His clothes are even in the Hooded Justice color scheme!
posted by Justinian at 7:20 AM on October 28 [6 favorites]


Well, now I think that.

I wonder if they're going to keep the relationship between Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis.

There's a theory that the two faked their deaths and are shown in the scene from issue one at Rafael's. Interestingly, Gibbons said this wasn't his intention, but likes the theory so much, he seems nearly willing to agree after the fact.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:03 AM on October 28 [4 favorites]


Wow, a real Tulsa area code (539)! But a bummer -- at the moment nothing happens if you call Angela's number, unlike Jimmy McGill's answering machine in Better Call Saul (clip on Soundcloud).

More Easter eggs and explanations from Den of Geek.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:30 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


nothing happens if you call Angela's number

Nothing can happen with that number. The first digit after the area code was a "1."

The number "1" in the US is used to signify that you are going to dial outside of your area code, which is still a thing that matters as long as land lines using just the seven digit numbers without area code exist. (And they do, in places.) As such, no seven digit numbers within an area code were/are allowed to begin with "1."

I like it when they use numbers starting with "1" in films and tv though, as it's a less distracting way to give a fake number than one starting with "555."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:02 AM on October 28 [9 favorites]


Aha, thanks!

In addition to Veidt's reference to the Gordian Knot, which is associated with Alexander the Great, Veidt's hero, he also rides up to his tomato tree on Bucephalus, who I'm guessing is named for Alexander's horse (Wikipedia).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:39 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


So I guess we'll have to wait to find out who the second gunman was in Angela's house? And why he opted not to finish her off?

Any theories yet?
posted by jquinby at 11:11 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


In her recap, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw has an interesting art history-based theory about the significance of the painting referred to by the title.

Also, HBO has updated Peteypedia with another text file drop for episode 2.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:15 AM on October 28 [2 favorites]


So I guess we'll have to wait to find out who the second gunman was in Angela's house? And why he opted not to finish her off?

If we take it as fact that Judd was working with (possibly even in charge of) the 7K, then it's obviously him. The fact that he escaped the night with nothing but a winged shoulder is fishy enough. But I think he knew that he was going to have an opportunity to rebuild the Tulsa PD from the ground up with all sorts of extra secrecy, and he knew that he was going to need somebody that he could trust, but also manipulate as his #2.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:22 AM on October 28 [7 favorites]


I'm torn -- as noted in the Den of Geek recap of Easter eggs, like Judd’s dead body, “Rolf” is only wearing one boot when his body was found floating in the water. Rather, a body was found in the water. "I just need people to think it is [me] so they'll stop looking."

Was the chief's comment in the prior episode a transparent bit of foreshadowing, or to show that he was in on the plan?

Panda: Chief, you're making a mistake.
Chief: Yeah, well it's my funeral.

That said, Looking Glass's description of his injuries was pretty graphic, so his injuries were thoroughly inspected, and I imagine it'd be harder to hide a (dead) body double under that level of scrutiny. Seems like that level of detail means that either the Chief is dead, or Looking Glass was in on the plan.

I like this level of ambiguity and hints that could mean different things.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:40 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


Which is to say, I agree that it seems like Judd was the other masked man, and now I'm wondering if that was a long play, and he was now set up to take a fall, or if he faked his death AND his KKK ties? I dunno, I'm just spinning now.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:47 AM on October 28


In her recap, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw has an interesting art history-based theory about the significance of the painting referred to by the title.

I mean, it's pretty clearly saying that black police officers are the horses being ridden into battle and catching bullets errr arrows in the service of their masters, right? That the concept of the descendants of the Tulsa riot victims spending their lives in service of an institution born out of slave patrols is grotesquely tragic? That Judd's love of Angela is not of one person to another, but like a rider loving a horse he will nevertheless use as a shield and weapon as needed?

Also interesting that there appears to be some hints that Will is not just an ex-cape, but potentially an Actual Super - he seems to be immune to heat. First chugging piping hot coffee at a rate that leaves Angela momentarily perplexed, and then grabbing a hard boiled egg out of the pot of boiling water by hand. And it kiiiiinda seemed like he was momentarily making himself completely immobile when Angela was trying to wrestle him into the car - not actively resisting per se, but just becoming intractably fixed in space. Altho that might have just been him being a pain in the ass passive aggressive grump.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:41 PM on October 28 [5 favorites]


I got the sense he just wanted a hug from his granddaughter when she was putting him in the car, but the other things with the coffee and the eggs did seem odd.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:44 PM on October 28 [4 favorites]


There was a lot of supposition about Dr Manhattan being able to look like other people, so that might explain it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:52 PM on October 28


There was a lot of supposition about Dr Manhattan being able to look like other people, so that might explain it.

I can buy that Dr M may have developed the ability to *look* like other folks, but *acting* like other folk (or even like a thing that could ever be referred to as 'folk') was increasingly outside of his scope... hence why he buggered off to the moon/mars/etc. If Doc wanted to convince someone he actually was Doc, it would be very easy to do it - by getting blue and nude. Genetically replicating oneself as someone's grandfather to fuck with them seems very... unManhattan.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:21 PM on October 28 [4 favorites]


Fair point!

But could the doc change the shape of other people? Probably, but why would he be that involved? Probably thinking about it too much.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:39 PM on October 28


Well, there were several lines by several characters this episode confidently asserting that Dr. Manhattan couldn't impersonate others, so it's not an unsafe assumption to think the writers would flip that and have him impersonating folks. More hooks for next week, it's a serial cliff hanger Sunday show after all.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:28 PM on October 28


That last scene sent me down an unhelpful mental digression about the economics of whole situation. Is that car paid off? How is she going to file an insurance claim on this? How does she even get paid? What is the salary for being a secret police badass? How is she paying the rent in that bakery that will never open? Is it paid by the police department? Who is auditing their books?

I think in the logic of the story that's not a make or break issue for her because of Redforations which redistributed wealth. Like the kid's grandparent on the porch being bought off with a check. In this America there was a huge wealth redistribution, so she has more resources than just her badass cop job.

Yeah, the comic seemed to explore identity in a different binary, that of a secret identity or a true identity, but with the introduction of race, gender, even disability, this show creates a more relevant and multidimensional narrative. There's a lot of potential here. I'm pretty stoked about it. And Skip Gates showed up as phone tree. It's got everything!
posted by Stanczyk at 4:26 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


I thought Angela's search for Judd's skeletons was done very well. The white supremacy itself wasn't a surprising twist, but the way it was set up immediately invites you to wonder how many of those mourners downstairs are involved. The KKK is an organization, not a solo hobby. (They were also often depicted on horseback, for whatever that might be worth.) It was unnerving, too - a superhero-ish costume would have fit in this universe, after all.

The sugar-free bakery exchange was great, and I hope Will Reeves comes back soon. (Hypothetically, would being picked up like that cause permanent damage to a car?)
posted by mersen at 5:49 PM on October 28


I gotta say I am VERY ON BOARD WITH THIS SHOW at this point. I never even considered the rich vein they could mine just by unpacking the sociopolitical ramifications of mask-wearing in American history, but in retrospect it feels extremely ripe for a closer look.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:00 AM on October 29 [9 favorites]


I mean this as praise, though I recognize it as possibly the most shit-stirring thing a fan could say here, but... if someone could convince Alan Moore to watch this... I think he might like it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:33 AM on October 29 [17 favorites]


I'm old enough to have purchased individual floppy issues of the Watchmen comic and this show manages to have the same vexing density of a world with many of the aspects of the world we live in but behave in bizarre ways. I don't have a coherent theory about the show yet but it's fascinating television that fires my neurons as I see The New Frontiersman on newsstands as a newspaper, as I see the silhouetted hugging people graffiti, as I see Looking Glass framed in a way that reminds me of how Rorshach was framed in the comics: we are denied his eyes and are left only with his words.

The framing of Tulsa Massacre as our intro is excellent and fascinating. In the comic the killing of Kitty Genovese (where her neighbors listened and did nothing) plays an adjacent role, condemning "society" as unfeeling. The Genovese story has not held up to scrutiny these many years later but at the time of the comic I believe it was still current. I'm excited for the ambition of using Watchmen to interrogate white supremacy and history in new ways.

It's said "history is written by the victors" - though the original comic Rorschach writes it (along with his horrifying personal asides) - because he's the only one "taking down notes on a criminal conspiracy" - that he sends it to right wing nut jobs means has had a warping effect that's profound on this universe. I'm fascinated to see where that goes. Imagining, say, Breitbart having the only true narrative about some piece of news. Will the show attempt to "correct" this in some way? Will Veidt's conspiracy be revealed to be true in this Universe? Are the squids Veldt's continuing cover-up to give verisimilitude to the Squid he delivered decades ago? Or is the show doing something even weirder, perhaps Dr. Manhattan is playing God in some way? Weirdly, like people in the show saying "Manhattan would not do that" - I also think I know him - I think his interest in getting involved with earthly truth would be nil. His connection to humanity is severed. Does he even know the world watches video of him chilling on Mars?

I did love the takedown of the Watchmen movie, which I watch every few years to reconsider - and feel abject disappointment every time. There's so much it gets right, and yet, no. This show gives me the same feels the comic gave me. The world is weird and terrifying, and we all decide who we are in it and what we stand for by our actions.

Apologies for the free association. Perhaps a squall of tachyons is disrupting my brain.
posted by artlung at 4:15 PM on October 29 [8 favorites]


Man this show was fantastic. I am totally on board with what Lindelhof is doing here. I also really, really hope that Lindelhof knows what he is doing. Remember in Lost when the polar bear showed up early on in the first season and we were all "wtf this show is amazing I can't wait until we learn what the polar bear was about!". Joke was on us; the polar bear was literally about nothing, it never had any explanation. Lindelhof learned his lesson and was very well served by the excellent Leftovers setup because there never was any need to explain the central plot point, the disappearance.

With Watchment so far we're setting up mysteries within mysteries and they're already demanding explanations. Why is their a Klan robe in Judd's house? Why is Angela's grandfather so strange? What's with the Owl Ship? There damn well better be answers planned for that stuff, suitably doled out over this season. The trick with this kind of show is to keep spinning new plates, not to leave the old ones perpetually spinning, forgotten.

I'm impressed with the racial politics of the writing. I'd also really like to read some Black critic's take on it all. I'm a well meaning liberal white guy and I don't trust my read on how this plays. I'm thrilled to see things like the Tulsa Massacre brought in to popular culture and shaped in to a modern narrative, but I literally don't understand enough about Black history and current culture to know whether it's really as interesting as it looks.

My one moment of unease with that was Henry Louis Gates, Jr's appearance on the video screen at the Tulsa memorial. I mean I went squee! as much as any fanboy could enjoying his turn on pop TV, it was great. But it also felt.. sort of cheap? The whole idea of a Redford presidency, and Redfordations.. It felt a bit like a mockery of the very vital and current topic of slavery reparations, something that America is finally beginning to have a real conversation about. I can't tell if it's great that Watchmen is tapping in to that or if it's exploitative and cheapening. I guess we'll see where it goes.

Regina King is phenomenal in this. I love that they give her so much room to be angry, and violent, and full of appropriate rage. And then to control it, focus it, hide it so she can sneak in to Judd's bedroom or take care of her kids or whatever is needed.

Speaking of her kids; are we to understand Topher may be gender ambiguous or trans? The actor, Dylan Schombing, is male. I read the character as a girl in the first episode and very ambiguous in this episode. Maybe it's just the long hair that's throwing me, but I felt like more was going on. Having a non-conforming gender child in a major TV show would be a big deal. I'm here for it, as long as it's done right.

Also curious who the older man was who showed up on the porch claiming it was "his turn with the kids", even though really he was just looking for some money. I guess the setup here is Angela adopted some of her police colleague's children after the White Night. But then who is he? Some shitbag grandparent?
posted by Nelson at 8:33 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this is shaping up to be really good so far, and I really loved the show's digs at the Zack Snyder movie. How that guy could have been so faithful to the comic and yet have misunderstood it so completely is an enduring mystery to me.
posted by whir at 8:35 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


My assumption was that the guy on the porch was a grandparent of (some of?) Angela's adopted police kids, yeah.
posted by whir at 8:39 PM on October 29


I've had a crush on Regina King since I was ten years old and she was Brenda on 227. (Just ask and I will sing the word singsong as jingle for that show.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:08 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


Remember in Lost when the polar bear showed up early on in the first season and we were all "wtf this show is amazing I can't wait until we learn what the polar bear was about!". Joke was on us; the polar bear was literally about nothing, it never had any explanation.

i don't know why people always bring this up when the series actually went to great lengths to follow up on the polar bear thing. there were polar bears on the island because of research being done by the dharma initiative, kate and sawyer are kept in the dilapidated polar bear cages when they were being held captive by the others in season 3. they were also used to turn the frozen wheel at the orchid station which is why there's a polar bear skeleton in tunisa, since turning the wheel manipulates space time and outputs people into the desert there. the fact that this is like, the go-to thing people talk about when they talk about lost being unsatisfying tells me that it was less a problem the show had, and more of a tell that people just weren't picking up what the show was putting down.
posted by JimBennett at 11:53 PM on October 29 [15 favorites]


Goddamn, Jeremy Irons is perfect as an aging Adrian Veidt who no longer cares what other people think. The brilliance and charisma are still there, but he's not bothering to conceal his callousness or his disdain for conventional morality. I'm guessing that when his gambit to bring about lasting world peace failed, he decided the problem wasn't his plan, it was humanity, and now he's set himself up as the god of his own personal garden of Eden, with the goal of building a better kind of human being. I'm very curious to see how those segments ultimately connect back to the show's main plot.
posted by Kilter at 5:05 AM on October 30 [6 favorites]


Jeremy's Iron as old Ozy is pretty much the second most perfect piece of casting ever, behind only Stewart as Professor X. (SLJ as Nick Fury doesn't count since the resemblance goes the other way.)
posted by Justinian at 5:29 AM on October 30


So, regarding Veidt and his tomato tree and his somehow cognitively incomplete staff. The estate he is on features a tall square tower with four corner turrets. Topher was seen constructing some sort of floating metal building that also featured a tower with four turrets. When he expressed anger and frustration, he appeared to demolish the construction without touching it. In the first episode, we see, for a few frames, a shot of what we are informed is Dr. Manhattan on Mars, apparently sculpting and then demolishing a building similar to the two cited here previously.

We don’t really know enough about their tech to say if the toy castle has some sort of antigrav and magnet feature. We would appear to be intended to wonder if Topher may have access to some aspects of Dr. Manhattan’s abilities to manipulate the physical universe. The commonality of the castle image is also intended to ask us to relate Veidt’s one, now two-year plus, tenure on his strange estate to Dr. Manhattan. The performance of the play, with the horrifying death of one of the performers (to the shocking delight of Veidt) would appear to be intended to communicate to us a certain rage at Dr. Manhattan on the part of Veidt.

In addition to quite reasonably teasing at the likelihood that Adrian Veidt is, in addition to being a mass murderer, a psychopathic narcissist - which, you will recall, was one of the overall innovations in the depictions of superheroes that the original book popularized - I think at this point we are to understand that Veidt’s disappearance has been engineered by Dr. Manhattan and that he is in some sort of environment which has been created by Dr. Manhattan, glitchy trees and estate staff and all. This would allow some of Dr. Manhattan’s expressed goals at the end of the book to have been met - in the staff, he would appear to have indeed gone off and made some human life.

This still leaves the problem of the squidfall, which is very definitely not mentioned in the book. Peteypedia makes multiple mention of November 2, 1985, however, so I think we can take it as read that the initial Veidt-engineered squidcursion took place.

Another note. It is now Oct. 30. November 2 is this Saturday. In the show, it is late October, 2019. I believe in the next episode of the show we are likely to be shown how their world has memorialized the events of November 2, 1985. I strongly suspect that the show is intended to take place over the exact time frame we will be watching it in, and if there will be twelve episodes as I suspect - not having looked this up, but that was the original number of issues - the last episode should drop just after the New Year, on January 4th.

The original books came out once a month over the course of the year, and the events in each issue were intended to match the timeframe that the original reader was living in (although in 1986, while the story was set in 1985), or to nearly match it, such that one had the very memorable experience of reading the squiddening issue more or less on November 2, essentially on Halloween week. I must say, this is some attention to detail on the part of the show here.
posted by mwhybark at 6:10 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


Oh and a couple things on Will Reeves and Bass Reeves. The Peteypedia article (amusingly titled “Tales of the Black Marshal” in a nod to “Tales of the Black Freighter”) glancingly mentions that the career of Bass Reeves has been seen as a possible contributory element to the development of the character of the Lone Ranger, who debuted in 1933. While this speculative connection may not be upheld by scholarship in our world, who knows about theirs? Superman, by contrast, came on the scene in 1938. We don’t necessarily think of the Lone Ranger the same way we do Superman and Batman, but that might just be because Westerns have lost popularity over the past forty years.

I don’t think the show has actually made this explicit yet, but surely we are to take Will as Bass Reeves’ grandson. I am now also leaning quite heavily in the direction of taking Will to be the in-show actual HJ - consider especially the foreshadowing of the silent film the whole series starts with, in which Marshal Reeves ropes down a “crooked” sheriff, who is wearing a white hat. In Jud’s obit, we learn that he was a fourth generation Oklahoma lawman - which would tend to lead to the conclusion that his grandfather was at Greenwood.
posted by mwhybark at 6:34 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]


Also, how did Will call Angela if he was out in his chair under the tree? No cell phones, right? Hmmm. Was that Will? Didn’t it sound like him?
posted by mwhybark at 6:40 AM on October 30


we see the box for the toys topher is using, they're called "manhattan blocks" or something like that. there's also a pad on the floor underneath the structure so presumably it's giving off some sort of magnetic energy the blocks are tuned into.

there are only 9 episodes this season, not 12, the final episode will be airing december 15th.

there is some speculation that the first of trent and atticus' three watchmen records may be an in-universe record called "the book of rorschach" by "sons of pale horse," which are mentioned in the peteypedia. i sort of doubt trent reznor would do a whole concept album based off this show so maybe they'll just use the "book of rorschach" framing to create the artwork for the first volume of the soundtrack, or maybe we're secretly getting a brand new nine inch nails album this week.
posted by JimBennett at 6:56 AM on October 30 [2 favorites]


Hmmrmmm, JimBennett this is the first thing that makes me feel like there's...sloppy work. Pale Horse died at the DIE. Rorshach's journal isn't read until after that by the intern at the New Frontiersman, so why would the album be named "The Journal of Rorshach? And if it was, that would be all over the comic. Nothing terrible but some sloppy retconning.
posted by Brainy at 7:06 AM on October 30


pale horse was the name of the death metal band playing at MSG on the night of the squid attack. sons of pale horse were the "short-lived space rock band of the nineties" which recorded a concept album based on rorshach's journal.
posted by JimBennett at 7:19 AM on October 30 [5 favorites]


Well, that makes me feel so much better.
posted by Brainy at 7:41 AM on October 30 [2 favorites]


I caught the echoes of Topher's toy and Dr. Manhattan's Martian sand castles in Veidt's home / prison too. But like JimBennet says, Topher's toy is a manufactured thing like a box of legos: screengrab here. It's called "Magna-Hattan Blocks", I just read that as another example of a Dr. Manhattan-gifted tech that's in the world now, with super powerful magnets making it float somehow.

Those scenes with Veidt are super creepy. I guess I got it right in last week's discussion, the servants are artificial in some way. Certainly there are many copies. But the way he callously burns one who seems to feel very real pain is, well, it's awful. Not sure if the show is drafting off of Harvey Mudd or Westworld here, maybe neither, but it made me super uncomfortable. (Also since I'm 12 years old: shout out to Dr. Manhattan's Big Blue Schlong. I believe this is the first HBO show that's shown a naked man before showing a naked woman.)

Interesting that Hooded Justice in the "American Hero Story" film-within-a-film was played by a white actor (judging by the voice and glimpses through the mask). My money is on Will Reeves being the real, aged Hooded Justice. But he's not white. IIRC from the original story no one ever knew HJ's real identity, so maybe the American Hero Story just got it wrong or is the kind of racist TV show that wouldn't cast Black actors.

The new character Senator Keene seems like he'll be important. Speculation is he's the son of the Keene who passed the Keene Act in the comic books, a crucial plot point that made viligante superheroes illegal. There's more about TV-show Keene in this slightly spoilery article.

I apologize for bringing up the Lost polar bears and endeavor to make this the last thing I say on the topic of "is this show going anywhere?" I'm aware of the later seasons' explanation for the polar bears. I felt it was an unsatisfying retcon, as silly as the Klingon Augment Virus. If that writing worked for you, great, you're a happier fan than I am. More generally Lost left a lot of people feeling like the show wrote in a bunch of loose ends that were never tied up satisfactorily. To me that was a symptom of undisciplined writing. It's good to have threads you can pick up later, but you also need to really pick them up and weave them in to a complete story. It's too early to see if Watchmen is that well thought out or not. For me, Lost was not that kind of show. But The Leftovers mostly was. I will try to maintain my faith Watchmen is going somewhere, but there's a lot of plates already set spinning in this show. See also: George RR Martin and gardeners vs architects. The best serial writing is by infallible gardeners, which sadly do not exist.
posted by Nelson at 8:48 AM on October 30 [2 favorites]


IIRC from the original story no one ever knew HJ's real identity, so maybe the American Hero Story just got it wrong

In the comic, it is very strongly implied that HJ is in fact Rolf Mueller, who is found dead in the river exactly as depicted in the AHS sequence. In fact, the show goes to the rather elaborate length of including an illustration used in the comic book as the backpiece on the dead man’s costume. In the book as in the AHS sequence, the association between Mueller and HJ is described as assumptive.

HJ is also very strongly implied to be a) gay b) into BDSM, and c) the romantic partner of Nelson Gardner, aka Captain Metropolis, aka (no, really) “Nelly”, who is unflatteringly depicted as a somewhat fussy man. It’s one of the problematic depictions in the original series, relatively minor, but pretty unmistakably a deployment of negative stereotypes.

I have the impression that in the book we are to draw the conclusion that Hoover’s FBI has threatened to out HJ as gay, however this plot element is not foregrounded and it does not appear to have been a threat perceived by HJ’s theoretical gay parter, Captain Metropolis.
posted by mwhybark at 9:23 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


(N. B., that wikia link to Gardner includes story citations to the non-canon material and, additionally, appears to have been incoherently written by a child)
posted by mwhybark at 9:29 AM on October 30


Speaking of Joe Keene, I didn’t think it was speculative that the guy in this episode was the son of the man that the Keene act is named after. His name is Joe Keene, Jr. I guess I got that from Peteypedia? Keene Jr. is credited with DOPA, whatever that stands for, which reintroduced masking, but only as a feature of police work.

As I read the book last week, the character’s name leapt out at me: this is Alan Moore having a bit of fun. Joe Keene? Joking, get it? One wonders if Alan visualized the Joker as an elected official, abolishing Batman.
posted by mwhybark at 9:44 AM on October 30


Hunh, John in the book? I mean, if they say so. I really thought it was Joe.
posted by mwhybark at 9:46 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]


Ah, yes, here it is.

“Senator Joseph Keene Jr. (R- OK), who sponsored the DOPA legislation and is a longtime friend to the Crawford family, was unavailable for comment.”

(and DOPA stands for Defense of Police Act).

Hm, off to the book.
posted by mwhybark at 9:52 AM on October 30


well, a hurried flip through and I couldn’t find a first name citation in the book, so it’s possible I applied “Joe” as a result of the Peteypedia piece. I note that the media citations used to illustrate the elder Keene appear to be drawn from the film, but the written text does say the comic is the source.
posted by mwhybark at 10:08 AM on October 30


> Nelson: It's good to have threads you can pick up later, but you also need to really pick them up and weave them in to a complete story.

This has been a great discussion, and I really appreciate your contributions. Obviously you are entitled to your opinion, but this is not how life works, and it is not how I expect serial narratives to work. That's part of the reason that I like serial narratives, because sometimes in life you don't get explanations for how and why. To paraphrase a quote from Lost, everything that happens, happens. Sometimes that is all we know. If you are expecting a show that begins with the worst incidence of racial violence in the US to end with all the answers tied up in a neat little package, I think you might end up disappointed.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:24 AM on October 30 [4 favorites]


Hunh, John in the book? I mean, if they say so. I really thought it was Joe.

it’s definitely john keene in the comics, which would presumably make joe keene jr his grandson, i think the timelines match up a little better that way too. it’s also a pretty direct reference to the kennedys, which makes me think joe jr is probably gonna be an ineffectual fuck up with grand ideas, but i’m sure we’ll see more of him soon.

(Also since I'm 12 years old: shout out to Dr. Manhattan's Big Blue Schlong. I believe this is the first HBO show that's shown a naked man before showing a naked woman.)

definitely got beaten out by the righteous gemstones. between those two shows, euphoria, and westworld we are in a golden age of male nudity on HBO.
posted by JimBennett at 1:42 PM on October 30 [3 favorites]


I have been going through the Peteypedia articles, which are strongly recommended for nerdy back-story obsession purposes. One thing I enjoyed was this bit from "Veidt declared Dead":
White House press secretary Ezra Klein told reporters that the president offered private condolences to Mr. Veidt’s associates and might release a public statement in the coming days.
We don’t really know enough about their tech to say if the toy castle has some sort of antigrav and magnet feature

The "Computers and You" piece goes into some of the backstory around tech in this universe, which is basically that after Dr Manhattan fucked off to Mars there were fears that all technology derived from him were carcinogenic (in the books we know that this is a hoax engineered by Veidt to get him out of the way), and a good deal of technology was banned until the beginning of the Redford administration.
posted by whir at 3:23 PM on October 30 [3 favorites]


Haha, this fits the bill for me for high dollar mainstream prime time WTF, and with Regina King starring it’s like an echo of The Leftovers.

The thing people don't realize with Lindelof is that each show is just a dream sequence / flash-sideways inside the previous show. I'm pretty sure it's all just a coma hallucination Nash Bridges is having in 1999 after one too many knocks on the head.

...On a totally separate note, adding to the general sense of dissociation that good alternate histories produce is the real German flyer, which has such a bizarrely modern font that they clearly had to choose a different flyer for the visuals in the show otherwise it would have looked fake.
posted by chortly at 9:03 PM on October 30 [2 favorites]


mwhybark -- "The original books came out once a month over the course of the year" - yes, but subject to the realities of creation and distribution and small delays. The timing oc comics releases can be vexing.

Tonight I went down a rabbit hole of "how do we determine what date a comic showed up at retailers?" --

First was Comixology, which includes a "Print Release Date" with each issue.

(Aside: I no longer have my hoarded copies of Comics Buyer's Guide from that era which vexes me greatly).

However their dates seem to suffer from being all over the map, Sundays and Thursdays and Fridays and for retail sales that makes no sense.

Mikes Amazing World has dates as well but those suffer similarly inconsistencies.

I think GCD seems to have the best data: Watchmen, each includes a note as to how the "On Sale Date" was gathered. So here's what I think are the dates, all Tuesdays:

Watchmen 1 1986-05-13
Watchmen 2 1986-06-10
Watchmen 3 1986-07-08
Watchmen 4 1986-08-12
Watchmen 5 1986-09-09
Watchmen 6 1986-10-14
Watchmen 7 1986-11-11
Watchmen 8 1986-12-09
Watchmen 9 1987-01-13
Watchmen 10 1987-03-17
Watchmen 11 1987-05-19
Watchmen 12 1987-07-28

... that gap before #12 I remember, I graduated from High School in 1987. I wish my memory were good enough to remember these dates better. I was too lazy to keep a diary, then. I do remember a delay before #12.

So while the cover dates tick forward from September 1986 to October 1987 the actual releases were not so precise.

I guess one of the things this show has done is get me to a place where I'm thinking about it and researching Watchmen in a way that's obsessive.
posted by artlung at 9:54 PM on October 30 [3 favorites]


Thank you, artlung. Hm, so #6, 7, and 8 would have been respectively the Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Winter Solstice issues.

Isn’t 6 the Rorshach issue? Fuck, that is the darkest issue of the whole series. I mean, except for the opening of #12, which, I hasten to remind you, will fuck you up with weird 9/11 flashbacks, so, like, be ready.

#6 - The Abyss Gazes Also: Rorschach tells the prison shrink his story. It’s beyond fucked up.
#7 - A Brother to Dragons: Dan and Laurie get together and take Archie out for a spin. Sort of hopeful! Dan is kind of a dumbass.
#8 - Old Ghosts: It’s Halloween in Manhattan! What could possibly go wro - oh, I. Uh. Uhm. Yes. Maybe we should get out of this part of town.

You know, this show has actually opened with a direct analog to 9/11. Greenwood was also called Black Wall Street, for christ’s sake. These interplays are really fascinating.
posted by mwhybark at 11:21 PM on October 30 [1 favorite]


> The thing people don't realize with Lindelof is that each show is just a dream sequence / flash-sideways inside the previous show. I'm pretty sure it's all just a coma hallucination Nash Bridges is having in 1999 after one too many knocks on the head.

Carlton Cuse created Nash Bridges, not Damon Lindelof.
posted by guiseroom at 3:14 AM on October 31


Carlton Cuse created Nash Bridges, not Damon Lindelof

I think what you meant to say was, WELL ACTUALLY, Carlton Cuse created Nash Bridges, not Damon Lindelof
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:18 AM on October 31 [3 favorites]


Definitely enjoying this series so far. I'm really impressed at how well it adheres to the situations and themes of the comic while still going off in a direction of its own.
posted by octothorpe at 8:31 AM on November 1


The show is continuing to be interesting and play with things interestingly. I keep waiting for them to somehow turn ham-handed and annoying, but I think that's just the past trauma of watching Zack Snyder movies coming through.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:10 PM on November 3


I’m curious about how many Vigilantes/Masked Adventurers are in existence considering that there is a full complement of them in a city the size of Tulsa.

Also if anyone wants to put up a post for the next episode please do as I’m traveling and limited to posting on my phone for the next few weeks (not that I view myself as the only person to make the post but just clarifying I’m not going to be doing it for a few weeks, either).
posted by MoonOrb at 3:34 PM on November 3


I thought that uniformed police officers were just masked with the yellow masks, but the folks who would normally in this world be plainclothes detectives were instead masked cops who got to pick their own outfits and cool names.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:17 PM on November 3 [3 favorites]


fwiw Peteypedia 3 directly addresses the painting and alternate title in the link “Four Letters”. Which links to one letter. The letters in question immediately precede the signature.
posted by mwhybark at 7:43 AM on November 4


I don't have much to add, other than to say that this is excellent so far, and absolutely feels like the comic while also being its own thing.
posted by codacorolla at 9:42 AM on November 4


I believe this is the first HBO show that's shown a naked man before showing a naked woman
Nope. That would be, I think, Chernobyl. The miners, denied fans or other ventilation to lower the temp in the heat-exchanger excavation, work naked -- much to the chagrin of the bosses, though they can't and don't really do anything about it.
posted by uberchet at 7:53 AM on November 12


And that's how less than 10 seconds of Chernobyl gave us more visible dick than 7 seasons of Game of Thrones.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:00 PM on November 12


Also, nuance
posted by Cogito at 8:53 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


The Righteous Gemstones also showed dick first. Very tiny white dick.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 AM on November 13


Don Johnson disappeared from my mental map after Miami Vice. I watched Django Unchained over the weekend and then the 1st two episodes of Watchmen today so it was a bit strange to see him playing fairly similar looking characters in both of them. Not exactly sure what the universe is trying to tell me with this.

Also, maybe this has been revealed in the next 2 episodes but what is the timeline for the Veidt scenes? If he went missing and was then presumed dead after being missing for 7 years in "the present" then are the anniversaries we've seen his 1st and 2nd anniversaries since he was missing, ie 6 and 5 years in "the past"? I don't quite buy this because I think it would take him a lot less time to put his play together, he is the world's smartest man after all, but I'm not sure what else the anniversaries would be for.

Was the gap between the last few issues only 2 months? I remember reading about how there were big delays for the final issues so I was thinking 3-6 months between issues. If they were all just a month late that isn't so bad, although I guess standards may have been different back then.

I'm enjoying the soundtrack a lot. Vol 1 seems to cover up to this episode. Are we going to get a volume for each pair of episodes? I wouldn't mind that at all. It sounds very much like 90's Nine Inch Nails to me, the Ticktock chanting sounds so similar to the beginning of Mr. Self Destruct.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:01 PM on November 14


Very tiny white dick.

Is there another kind?
white dude
posted by kirkaracha at 9:27 PM on December 14


« Older Book: What's the Matter with K...   |  Saturday Night Live: Chance th... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments