Watchmen: She Was Killed by Space Junk   Books Included 
November 3, 2019 10:42 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Following a late-night visit from the Senator who authored Masked Policing Legislation in Oklahoma, FBI agent Laurie Blake heads to Tulsa to take over the recent murder investigation. Far away, the Lord of the Estate draws unwelcome attention.
posted by JimBennett (117 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:40 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


That was superb, full stop.

It was also the most Watchmen thing I've ever seen and what I've seen includes the movie named "Watchmen".

Given that one of the primary criticisms of the totally-not-racists who just happen to rabidly dislike this series for totally-not-racist-how-dare-you reasons is that it's "just not Watchmen enough" and the name was tacked on to a totally unrelated TV show, I assume they will move on to their next totally-not-racist reason.
posted by Justinian at 3:44 AM on November 4 [10 favorites]


Totally loving this but wondering how anyone who doesn't remember all the details of the book can make heads or tails of what's going on.

Also: extra points for dropping the needle on Desmond Decker and the Aces.
posted by octothorpe at 3:56 AM on November 4 [7 favorites]


was the Space Dildo made of anodized aluminum? That sounds, I dunno, painful?

Although given the size of the space junk on display I suppose comfort isn't the intended goal.
posted by Justinian at 4:00 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I can’t get over how much work the makers of this put into the cinematography alone. There’sa palpable sense of attention given to the original comic’s use of cross cuts and really striking framing.

Also, I really love the way the show “echoes” the original without copying it. The use of a voiceover joke as thematic framing device so perfectly parallels Pagliacci the clown.

You guys, I really like this show.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:02 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


oh god I hadn’t considered the implications of “space junk”
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:03 AM on November 4 [37 favorites]


Given those echoes, the natural implication of this episode would seem to be that the funeral attack was a set up with Keene and he's actually connected to 7th Kavalary, as with Veidt setting up the attack on himself in the comic.
posted by Justinian at 4:04 AM on November 4 [7 favorites]


So because I'm really slow, it's just occurred to me how well the history of the KKK fits into a superhero story. I mean, the members of the Klan definitely thought of themselves as heroes and were administering "justice" that the local police couldn't.
posted by octothorpe at 4:10 AM on November 4 [13 favorites]


Oh and I had no idea how great Jean Smart was. I guess that I haven't thought of her since Designing Women but looking through her wikipedia page, it looks like she's been on TV pretty constantly since then. She just dominates every scene she's in; it's a heck of a performance.
posted by octothorpe at 4:27 AM on November 4 [12 favorites]


She's also one of the secret weapons of Legion.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:56 AM on November 4 [26 favorites]


The cemetery where they put Judd was called "Tartarus Yards."

From Wikipedia:
In Greek mythology, Tartarus is the deep abyss that is used as a dungeon of torment and suffering for the wicked and as the prison for the Titans. Tartarus is the place where, according to Plato's Gorgias (c. 400 BC), souls are judged after death and where the wicked received divine punishment.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:02 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


So Veidt is like... imprisoned somewhere? By whom? It doesn't exactly look like Mars.

I was excited to see Petey of Peteypedia actually become a character in the show, as the ancillary materials from him were written in a pretty distinctive voice.

Speaking of those, three more articles have popped up, covering Petey's review of American Horror Story: Minutemen, an editorial in the New Frontiersman decrying the apparent appointment of John Grisham to the US Supreme Court, and a 1955 letter to Sheriff Crawford from the original Senator Keene, covering the painting from the last episode's title and containing intriguing hints about "the responsibility you inherited last night."
posted by whir at 5:04 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


Hard to give it the reference it deserves in text, but Angela's mock-scared "Ooh!" was laugh out loud funny.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:09 AM on November 4 [16 favorites]


"So, it's a racist detector!"

"I guess I better change into something darker."

"Do you know how you can tell the difference between a masked cop and a vigilante"
"No"
"Me neither!"

"So, can I get your autograph now, or...?"

"When my dad was murdered, they found a secret compartment in *his* closet, so, you know, I always check. Once in a while, it pans out."

"But here's the thing about me, Sister Night: I hate good guys for breakfast."

"I'm the little girl who threw the brick up in the air."

"Good joke!"

"What the f...?"

(Talk about brick jokes!)
posted by kandinski at 5:51 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


"God snaps His fingers... ...and the hero goes to hell."
posted by kandinski at 5:56 AM on November 4


Totally loving this but wondering how anyone who doesn't remember all the details of the book can make heads or tails of what's going on.

Yeah, my wife has been having this problem and sort of only half watches now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 AM on November 4


Judd Crawford was hanged, Dr. Manhattan was hung.
posted by guiseroom at 6:39 AM on November 4 [10 favorites]


Vulture points out that the previous song on the Devo CD that she plays is entitled "Space Junk".
posted by octothorpe at 6:49 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


This show is so delicious and great. I am very enthusiastic about it in a way I haven't been for a TV show (much less a comic book show) in quite a long time. Jean Smart is indeed fantastic. I liked her quite a bit in Legion (the show, less so) and she's great here. Grim and awful and wry and yet still somehow the same old Laurie.

I love how she's still there trying to humanize Jon somehow. What a hilarious device, the public blue telephones, as if Dr. Manhattan would need a machine to be aware of what someone was saying. The problem isn't he can't hear you, it's that he doesn't care. But that joke they set up, the rock thrown in the air, the three heroes, the rock coming back.. Absolutely brilliant and hilarious.

A little troubled by the Veidt scenes, playing it off like a comedy caper feels strange to me. Also I guess they were hoping that the reveal of his character would be a bigger deal. But it leaked before the show ever aired, and anyway Jeremy Irons is very Veidt from the beginning. He sure looks dumb in that costume though. Always kind of did, TBH.

Would you stay at a dumpy motel in Tulsa named "The Black Freighter Inn"? I sure as hell wouldn't. Poor Petey, he just got eaten alive. He didn't seem to be complaining though.
posted by Nelson at 6:57 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


It turns out when a graphic novel is so amazingly dense and layered that an annotated version of it becomes a best seller, following the sequel without having read the original is tricky.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:13 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


It seems to me like Veidt's captivity with the whole game warden thing is self imposed. I wouldn't be surprised if the masked game warden is another of those clones. Maybe he's forcing himself to do whatever he's trying to do with the constraints of no modern technology and forcing himself to stay within a certain area to somehow keep off Manhattan's radar?
posted by jason_steakums at 7:22 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


I want backstory about Laurie and Dan, who were married and living, ahem, under false identities, at the end of the book. Clearly she’s committed to her dad’s, er, bit, taking his last name and his act, more or less.

We also have in-universe evidence for Dr. Manhattan never having gone walkabout in the universe, but rather having stayed on Mars, which as I noted earlier I sorta do not buy.

I *suspect*, at this point, given the various slight divergences seen in the show from the book, that the show may indeed be set in a slightly different timeline.

The letter does not appear to be from the original Senator Keene, who in the series does appear to be named Joseph Keene, according to this wikia link. I am pleased to learn that I did not hallucinate the independence of the name John David Keene from the book. The letter is signed “J. David Keene” and the link to the letter is titled “Four Letters.” I would hazard that those four letters would be the four immediately above the signature.
posted by mwhybark at 7:55 AM on November 4


slightly different timeline

In a Damon Lindelof show? Seems implausible.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:28 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


One possibility is that Trieu blackmailed Veidt into retirement and letting her assume control of his companies by threatening to reveal the truth about the Dimensional Intrusion Event.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:31 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


DoctorFedora: I can’t get over how much work the makers of this put into the cinematography alone. There’sa palpable sense of attention given to the original comic’s use of cross cuts and really striking framing.

Also, I really love the way the show “echoes” the original without copying it. The use of a voiceover joke as thematic framing device so perfectly parallels Pagliacci the clown.


Yes, this is the best "comic book show" that doesn't use comic book styling tropes (turning the characters into literal pointilized comic images of themselves for scene transitions, then literally breaking out of those frames, etc.). Those were cute effects when first applied, but seemed like lazy short-hand at this point. The closet we get is the application of episode title text as elements in a scene, but I'll take that. (FKA as) The Commedianne's head over the four-square cartoon shots of Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandius, The Owl (I think), and her younger self was another subtle nod, but it was just that -- a nod, fairly subtle. Other times they joke on the source material:

Deputy Director: What the hell is this?
Petey: Oh, it's, uh an excerpt from Rorschach's journal. The Kavalry wears his mask, sir. I just thought, for, uh, psychological context ... you might want to ...
Deputy Director: Is it the 1980s, Petey?
Petey: Uh, mm-mm, no sir.
Deputy Director: Then who gives a shit about Rorschach? Next slide.


kandinski: "But here's the thing about me, Sister Night: I hate good guys for breakfast."

Correction: I eat good guys for breakfast.
[Angela: Ooh! (in mock surprise or horror, dumps out her coffee down the tunnel)]


whir: I was excited to see Petey of Peteypedia actually become a character in the show

Hah! Thanks for making that connection. I'm dense. So why did Laurie Blake pick Petey? Because he's clearly the least senior person in the room, and the most likely to go along with what she wants to do (including him?)? Did she know he's a nerd for policing/ hero history?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:40 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


Was the Space Dildo made of anodized aluminum? That sounds, I dunno, painful?

According to one of the writers it's a vibrator.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:42 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


That link from Omon Ra is a delight. An entire interview about Dr. Manhattan's big blue schlong, and the fan enjoyment thereof, and the simulated version and the prop department and.. oh my, it's hilarious.

So why did Laurie Blake pick Petey?

Because he's adorable and harmless! I love how he stands up for himself in the airplane. "I have a PhD in History!". Meanwhile she's measuring him up against her god-boyfriend.
posted by Nelson at 8:53 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I uploaded a couple of blink-and-you-miss-it images. I love this show.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:57 AM on November 4 [10 favorites]


Well, it occurred to me that Doctor Manhattan can be several people, so part of him could be on walkabout in the universe while part of him keeps an eye on Earth while safely out of range of human annoyances on Mars.

Meanwhile, based on the condition of the failed test pilot(?), Adrian is testing for escape through what appears to be cold and questionably oxygenated environment, and part of the helmet he made is from some kind of terrarium which I expect is a BIT on point.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:01 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Also: extra points for dropping the needle on Desmond Decker and the Aces.

It's also a callback to the interview with Veidt in the book, where he mentions that he's been listening to a lot of Caribbean music, calling out dub music specifically. I guess Dekker's more of a precursor to dub, but it's still close enough to feel like a reference as well as a clue for folks who might not have been sure that it was really Veidt.

Was the Space Dildo made of anodized aluminum? That sounds, I dunno, painful?

It reminded me of one of Jeff Koons' balloon dog sculptures, which makes me wonder if that was intentional.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:01 AM on November 4


She's also one of the secret weapons of Legion.

Where she also played the discarded love interest of an immensely powerful super-person who didn't pay attention to her!
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:06 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


Strange Interlude: It reminded me of one of Jeff Koons' balloon dog sculptures, which makes me wonder if that was intentional.

From the Slate interview that Omon Ra linked to earlier:
We were very meticulous about giving the prop designer instructions. So we knew that we wanted it to be large. We knew that we wanted it to have detachable testicles. And we knew that we wanted it to be sort of luminous in the way that Dr. Manhattan is luminous. We wanted it to have a kind of glowing quality. We talked about the resemblance to a Jeff Koons sculpture. When you see it up close, it really kind of looks like a Jeff Koons.
Also, I clearly need to re-read Watchmen, because I called Laurie Blake The Commedianne, but she was the second Silk Spectre (Watchmen fandom/wikia), per the Slate.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:11 AM on November 4 [3 favorites]


So why did Laurie Blake pick Petey?
My reading was that it was because he actually demonstrated an interest in Rorschach, which the boss (and by extension everyone else in the room) was dismissing, and she thought that the Rorschach connection was indeed relevant.
posted by dfan at 9:35 AM on November 4 [10 favorites]


I'm finally catching up on Peteypedia. Absolutely worth the time. Really adds some layers to the show. If you're putting in the effort to try and decide this thing, may as well get some hints from the decoder ring that is Peteypedia.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:34 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


One small thing that struck me in this episode was the handwriting in the Game Warden's letter, which looked familiar. A quick scan through the book didn't turn up what I thought I remembered, though. There's a note from Veidt on the page with pictures of design for Watchmen toys, but it doesn't look the same. I could be remembering incorrectly, though, so I guess I just have to read the entire book again to make sure. (I would be doing this anyway in the near future, but it's nice to have a specific excuse, I guess.)

It really hit me in this episode just how clearly I could imagine panels from a comic book version of this story. It's amazing how well Lindelof and the creative team have matched the approaches of the book in a different medium, and very clearly underlines how the film got the letter of the book right but entirely missed the spirit of the thing.
posted by tomorrowromance at 10:44 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


So Veidt has had three cakes so far, and I believe he was missing-in-action for seven years. I think each flashback is set one year apart, and that Veidt is most likely actually dead. The show is 9 episodes long, so having the climax hit in the eighth episode (thus present day) and the fallout in the ninth makes a lot of sense.

Much like his "Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago," line in the books, I think we're seeing him orchestrating a plan that has gone into effect in the present tense of the show, which has already been successfully launched, and that we'll see come to fruition in a way that's impossible to stop.

It really hit me in this episode just how clearly I could imagine panels from a comic book version of this story. It's amazing how well Lindelof and the creative team have matched the approaches of the book in a different medium, and very clearly underlines how the film got the letter of the book right but entirely missed the spirit of the thing.

More than anything that's what makes it feel like a faithful adaptation.
posted by codacorolla at 11:05 AM on November 4 [12 favorites]


One other thing from the episode: I loved Laurie's "joke", since it gets to one of the main dilemmas of the book. Dreiberg is a pacifist and accomplishes almost nothing, Veidt is a genocidal monster who's accomplishments come at an unimaginable cost and are temporary at best, Manhattan is inhuman and ultimately a useful (sad, blue) idiot. Laurie's own place in the joke is that she kills God, and breaks the system.

That's seems similar to Ozymandius' plan. Veidt, despite playing God, wasn't really trying to break anything - he was using utilitarian logic to maintain the status quo, and the great lie he has to tell in order to do so was always threatened to be revealed and blow up in everyone's face. He's also less smart than he thought, and in terms of guiding humanity to a new millennium, he failed hilariously. The main feeling from the end of the comic (even absent the WikiPetey info) was that Veidt had pushed the hands of the clock back a bit, but that it was still ticking towards the apocalypse. The show posits that he was successful to a certain extent, and that America is slightly liberalized and reformed, but that the dirty, crawling madness that pushed the country to the brink under Nixon never really went away, and that in a lot of ways it's been internalized and mirrored in the current way that policing is handled and the current political mood of the populace. In fact, Veidt's gambit has legitimized those forces by giving them a real conspiracy to dig into, effectively becoming the liberal super-villain that existed in Rorschach's fevered imagination.
posted by codacorolla at 11:34 AM on November 4 [8 favorites]


The new Peteypedia drop is something!

The first memo addresses the thoughts I had in earlier threads about the reliability of Hollis Mason's theories about Hooded Justice, specifically the charges that HJ was a Nazi sympathizer and/or in a relationship with Capt. Metropolis.

There's also a new Hector Godfrey editorial from the New Frontiersman, which ends on a pretty wild note that I hope gets followed up on in the show.

The biggest bombshell is a letter to Judd Crawford from Joe Keene, that explains the significance of last week's episode title. Pay special attention to the four letters that Keene uses in closing.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:24 PM on November 4


The official podcast is out, no spoilers beyond episode 3.
posted by Frayed Knot at 1:26 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


The letter in the latest Peteypedia drop is to Judd's father, not Judd himself. It's dated 1955, and its contents help explain the lingering shot on Judd and his father in Judd's house and the robe in the closet's secret compartment. If I'm reading correctly, the implication is that Judd's father was made head of the local klan chapter and was given the painting. (Which he then passed on to Judd, apparently, possibly along with the mantle of leading the klan in Tulsa.)
posted by tomorrowromance at 1:51 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


charges that HJ was a Nazi sympathizer

However, if we buy the theory that HJ was actually Angela's grandfather, Will Reeves, then he may in fact have been influenced by the German WWI propaganda that his father wrote the note on on the night of the Tulsa Riots.

Pay special attention to the four letters that Keene uses in closing.

"Akia" - what does it mean?
posted by whir at 2:30 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I hadn't run into it until just now, but it's a code for "A Klansman I Am".
posted by codacorolla at 2:54 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


"Akia" - what does it mean?

According to the ADL:

"AKIA is Ku Klux Klan shorthand for "A Klansman I Am." It is related to another Klan acronym, AYAK ("Are You A Klansman?"). These are among the many acronyms developed by the Second Ku Klux Klan that emerged in 1915. Although the Second Ku Klux Klan did not survive, much of its terminology and many of its rituals did, and later Klan groups freely used them."
posted by Omon Ra at 2:54 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


So Dan is in prison, possibly because he couldn't resist being a vigilante?

(I'm deducing that from the conversation with Keene - where he says the president could even "get your owl out of that cage".)

Did Laurie put him there?
posted by Grangousier at 4:09 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


Note that John Grisham’s appointment to the Supreme Court apparently is only a matter of days old before he decides to retire - the New Frontiersman clipping attacking his nomination is dated September 9, 2019; Judd Crawford is killed on September 16; the fake bank robbery sting operation Agent Laurie Blake leads (and where we see one of her FBI colleagues reading the newspaper announcing Grisham’s decision to retire) takes place about 7-10 days later (in the FBI briefing the next day after the fake robbery, Crawford’s murder is described as having happened the previous week. September 16th, 2019 is a Monday).

Presumably the implication is that Grisham is rattled and pushed out by threats from extremist opponents of President Redford.
posted by Bwithh at 5:00 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Given those echoes, the natural implication of this episode would seem to be that the funeral attack was a set up with Keene and he's actually connected to 7th Kavalary, as with Veidt setting up the attack on himself in the comic.
posted by Justinian at 4:04 AM on November 4 [4 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


That the bomb wasn’t set up to go off immediately after the bomber was killed but allowed time for nearby people (presumably including Keene) to run away I think backs up this theory.
posted by Bwithh at 5:08 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


where he says the president could even "get your owl out of that cage"

She also has a literal owl in a literal cage, which Keene saw. She's also shown with symbolic owl eyes in this episode. Sometimes I think some of this stuff is in there just because it looks cool and doesn't all tie up to a Big Meaning.
posted by Nelson at 6:49 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Yeah it’s still Lindelof.

A Mefite showed me this Film Crit Hulk essay on dramatic clarity and the emptiness of the Mystery Box convoluted plot approach, and it cannot be unread. It was all could think about last week when the old guy was like, “there’s a great conspiracy, but it’s SO GREAT that if I told you about it, your head would explode! I will leave you complicated clues instead.” Like unless that dude turns out to be the Riddler, that is just... yeah. Cannot be unread.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:20 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


History The big blue dong repeats itself, first as tragedy*, second as farce**.

*The tragedy of a short play with another Mr Phillips getting roasted.
** A farcically oversized sex toy.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:22 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Vulture points out that the previous song on the Devo CD that she plays is entitled "Space Junk".

To clarify, “She was killed by space junk” is a repeated line from the song. I’m so excited to see a DEVO reference in the wild that’s not just “Whip It” or flowerpot hats (aka Energy Domes).

One small thing that struck me in this episode was the handwriting in the Game Warden's letter, which looked familiar. A quick scan through the book didn't turn up what I thought I remembered, though.

Bear in mind the handwriting from Rorschach’s journal shown in the slide does not match his handwriting in the book (and why it doesn’t, I have no idea—they’re so exacting in the references otherwise).

Put me down as a vote for “The Game Warden is Dr. Manhattan or at least a proxy created by him, and the Estate is on Mars, and the clones of Ms. Crookshanks and Mr. Phillips were provided by Doc for Veidt’s use.” I agree with the previous statement that Dr. M wouldn’t be doing this for reasons of justice, but he may be doing it for other reasons instead.

Oh wait! I just remembered the line about the Russians building their own intrinsic field generator. Veidt had one in Shangri-La in issue 12; maybe he’s in Russian captivity until he can build them one...?
posted by ejs at 7:24 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


I'm choosing to believe that the story in Peteypedia describing Elvis revealing he's not dead by singing all of his songs with "blue" in the title at karaoke is actually Dr. Manhattan showing hitherto unknown style.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:26 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


I also just remembered that DEVO actually got a shout-out in the Watchmen books, In a bonding moment between Laurie and Dan that led to Laurie cheating on Jon. And here Laurie is playing DEVO before metaphorically cheating on her inaccessible Dan with Jon’s proxy cock. Props to the makers of this show for bringing in so many layers of meaning from the source material.

(Not pictured: After a failed attempt at making love to Laurie, Dan winds up wandering his secret lair naked but for a pair of night vision goggles similar to the ones Sister Night has been using. Laurie finds him and he says, self-effacingly, “I guess I must look pretty DEVO, huh?”)
posted by ejs at 9:28 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


For real though, in the subset of works which are sequels trying to pass themselves off as tonally/spiritually from the same cloth as the original work, this series has to be considered 10/10, A+, paradigm for how to do it right, though, doesn't it?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:55 PM on November 4 [6 favorites]


The Devo thing goes deeper in that the lyrics to Mongoloid (that song which plays) are a gift for re-interpreting in the show's context. The chorus alone:
And he wore a hat [read: mask]
And he had a job,
And he brought home the bacon,
So that no one knew!
Is Laurie still a costumed vigilante?
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 10:08 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


It’s hard to be sure of anything at this point, but Laurie’s contempt for costumed vigilantes seems real enough: In her first episode she shot two of them to death.*

*The show acts like she didn’t necessarily know Mister Shadow’s body armor would protect him. But in Tulsa she knows everything about everybody before she even talks to them. Presumably she knew she wasn’t going to kill Mister Shadow but didn’t give a fuck either way.
posted by ejs at 10:20 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


With her having taken her father's name and followed him into being a government operative, I'm assuming Laurie has contempt for virtually everything.

That's "the joke," as The Comedian understood it, essentially: nihilism.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:26 AM on November 5 [9 favorites]


Thanks ejs for explicating the Devo reference from the books. Hearing Devo made me think of that line right away.

And I got a reading copy from the library to look up stuff after the show. San Diego PL puts Watchmen in the YA (young adult) section which is... okay.

I think the question of whether Laurie Blake is still a costumed vigilante (or costumed cop) is an interesting one. Note that the Silk Spectre II (sorry there’s no “the”) didn’t wear a mask as part of her costume. Neither did her mother. Also when we first Laurie in the comic she’s given up costumed adventuring and while she’s not happy, it’s not a thing she craves. I would say that in her capacity as a FBI agent she’s getting the use of all her bricklaying and marksmanship skills she would be using if she was in a diaphanous yellow and black skimpy outfit. Note that she’s not ashamed of her past life though, the (presumably Warhol) painting says that much. She likes and is good at her job. And is in a kind of weird codependent relationship with the Blue God, why indeed go to the blue phone booths otherwise. She may be the only person who understands the psyche of the man who could vaporize all of humanity in an afternoon, and she feels the need to do the emotional labor of keeping him... human?

On that: it strikes me how we are getting implications that Jon is still involved with humanity. Recall at the end of the book Jon, despite his inhumanity, is “caring” enough about humanity to kill Rorshach so that his word doesn’t get out. Despite us thinking of him as unfeeling, what if Jon is actually not. To mix fandoms: I suspect it’s so hard to write an indifferent inhuman character writers HAVE to consider such ambivalence for emotions (Spock!) that there’s a layer of deep feeling underneath. Is that what’s going on? Is Jon trying to manage the planet? (And thus, also Veidt?). I mean, what is the falling minivan but a perfect button to Laurie’s girl who throws a brick joke?

Love Petey— and yes, he’s smart, cares about context, is cute, and can be controlled (the way he doesn’t really stand up for himself manning the slides shows that).

As a person with the last name “CRAWFORD” seeing it on a gravestone in a tv show I love is a bit ooky but there you go.

Oh, and Laurie being ready for some shit with multiple guns, is so very very Comedian. And that trenchant humor and complete smarts feels very much like she’s the daughter of two vivid interesting characters.

Yes, I loved it.
posted by artlung at 8:50 AM on November 5 [5 favorites]


"Fucking Oklahoma"
posted by artlung at 9:17 AM on November 5


Oh, one thing which I had missed was that masked cops are a thing in some places. Not all places. This puts the "cops wear masks in this Universe" thing in better context.

Also holy shit Johnnie Cochran: "Suit filed for riot survivors" Tulsa World (25 Feb 2003). So in this universe, Cochrane won which is just -- awesome.
posted by artlung at 9:24 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]


To clarify, “She was killed by space junk” is a repeated line from the song.

Just for context, here's the official lyrics of "Space Junk" (song on YouTube), taken from Genius.com. Make of it what you will -- all I know is that I'm keeping an ear out for some reference to any of the locations mentioned in the second verse.
She was walking, all alone
Down the street, in the alley
Her name was Sally, I never touched her
She never saw it
When she was hit by, space junk
She was smashed by, space junk
She was killed by, space junk
In New York, Miami Beach
Heavy metal fell, in Cuba
Angola, Saudi Arabia
On Christmas Eve, said NORAD
A Soviet sputnik, hit Africa
India, in Venezuela
In Texas, Kansas
It's falling fast, Peru too
It keeps coming, it keeps coming, it keeps coming
And now I'm mad about, space junk
I'm all burned out about, space junk
Oooh walk and talk about, space junk
It smashed my baby's head, space junk
And now my Sally's dead, space junk
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:36 PM on November 5 [5 favorites]


This universe has a significant Sally who is dead: Sally Jupiter. Her nom du guerre is space-y.
posted by artlung at 12:44 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


Seems clear that BigBlue dropped the car on (ok near) Laurie at the end, but it seems equally clear he didn't take it in the first place given that BigBlue doesn't need to use giant magnets hanging from cables in the sky (see also: "what does God need with a starship?". So we're still left to wonder who stole the car, and NiteOwl is in prison.
posted by Justinian at 3:07 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


I'm thinking that if the Tulsa Police Department somehow got hold of Night Owl's ship and glasses when Dan Dreiberg went to prison, maybe Laurie Blake's "Fucking Oklahoma" is not just about shared-across-universes Oklahoma, but about the narrative world's particular back-history. Were The Comedienne and Night Owl's 1995 arrest was during a caper in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Tulsa PD impounded their gear during the arrest?
posted by kandinski at 4:12 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Also:

"It's not a hero, it's just a woman..."


God I'm loving this.
posted by kandinski at 4:22 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking that if the Tulsa Police Department somehow got hold of Night Owl's ship and glasses when Dan Dreiberg went to prison, maybe Laurie Blake's "Fucking Oklahoma" is not just about shared-across-universes Oklahoma, but about the narrative world's particular back-history. Were The Comedienne and Night Owl's 1995 arrest was during a caper in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Tulsa PD impounded their gear during the arrest?

My read on it is that Dreiberg's technology was marketed at some point, and that the crashed Owl Ship and the goggles were just based on his prototypes - much like the moth backpacks the stringers at the hanging site were using, or the magnetic blocks based of Doc's discoveries (or for that matter, any number of Veidt techs that filtered out to the general public, like spark hydrants and electric cars).
posted by codacorolla at 4:40 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


like spark hydrants and electric cars

When I started watching this show, my big internal nerd question was “what happened to all the electric cars and spark hydrants?”

I later heard that in this world (according to Peteypedia, which I haven’t yet read) the squid drop and Dr. M engendered a distrust in technology, which is why you see so much low tech (and no electric cars). That reasoning sounded (and sounds) specious to me, but didn’t explain the retcon.

Then Laurie pulled her dinosaur-juice-burning van into a parking lot lined with spark hydrants, and I realized: I may not agree with everything this show is doing, but they know what they’re doing.

Now I just need to see someone smoke a ball of tobacco in a two part glass pipe and I’m good.
posted by ejs at 9:28 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


any number of Veidt techs that filtered out to the general public, like spark hydrants and electric cars)

IIRC from the book, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but electric cars became viable because Dr. Manhattan could easily create the elements required for their batteries. You’d imagine Veidt or Alternate Universe Elon Musk could take it from there, but maybe once Doc fucked off to Mars no company found it worthwhile to pursue the electric car sector.
posted by ejs at 9:33 PM on November 5


Justinian: "was the Space Dildo made of anodized aluminum? That sounds, I dunno, painful?"

Maybe it's Steely Dan?

(I am very happy to be watching Watchmen episodically, and having to wait a week between each new chapter.)
posted by chavenet at 3:59 AM on November 6 [3 favorites]


I misread ejs’ comment re electric cars upthread as ejs thinking there were no electric cars in the show. I think every car seen in the show so far has been electric, notably including the 7K guy’s truck in the first episode.

Still would like to know why the 7K people were collecting watch batteries.
posted by mwhybark at 4:46 AM on November 6


The police cars looked like they had some electric battery status on the dashboard and I though that I heard an electric motor whine from her Grand National.
posted by octothorpe at 5:00 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


> Justinian: Seems clear that BigBlue dropped the car on (ok near) Laurie at the end

I disagree. I assume it was dropped by whoever took it away in (again, assuming) an owlship, and that the red gleam in the sky was the ship's exhaust.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:02 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


I though that I heard an electric motor whine from her Grand National.

Me too. And there's no reason to think it would have been retrofitted but rather just built as electric in the 80s. But then why did they build it with the turbo-6 logo? WHO WAS PHONE?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:15 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


why did they build it with the turbo-6 logo?

Lindelhof! Your slapdash neglect of detail has been noted, you slacker! We’ve got our eye on you now, bub
posted by mwhybark at 6:31 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]


"Sir, I'm a federal agent. Are youe constitutionally protected rights being violated?"
"Well uh, yeah, I..."
"I'm sorry. I'm just kidding. I don't actually care."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:50 AM on November 6 [8 favorites]


And yeah, I loved the ambiguity about the space junk at the end. Was it Dr. M messing with her? Was it the owlship unloading its cargo? Tune in next week to find out!
posted by Kyol at 7:53 AM on November 6


Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have just released the first volume (of three!) of the series soundtrack on streaming. The track listing seems to confirm a few thematic references people caught in earlier threads -- including the resonance between Will's escape from the Tulsa massacre and Kal-El's rocket from Krypton. I've got the vinyl on order, but I'm excited to have this as the soundtrack for my daily lunchtime stroll today.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:17 AM on November 6 [3 favorites]


(Content warning on that soundtrack; the third track is a minute of monologue from the show, someone reading the racist awful Seventh Kalvary manifesto. I was fine with that in the context of a TV show but please don't put it in my background music.)
posted by Nelson at 9:18 AM on November 6 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the tip Nelson -- I just had a sudden flashback to working at Borders, and having to leap across the sales floor to stop one of our music sellers from putting the Pulp Fiction soundtrack on overhead play, purely because of the dialogue bits.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:17 AM on November 6 [3 favorites]


Ugh, I really can't stand when soundtracks do that.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:03 AM on November 6


Might be nothing, but I do like that Veidt's servants both have pop culture witches' familiars names.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:23 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Seems unlikely to be nothing.
posted by Justinian at 11:29 AM on November 6


This video goes over some easter eggs and other details of ep 3.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:02 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


I think that Manhattan dropping the car would fit in some ways, but it doesn't seem right to me. I wouldn't be disappointed if that was what happened, but I think it makes a lot more sense narratively for whoever is behind the larger conspiracy to have done it instead of our sad, blue idiot.
posted by codacorolla at 9:58 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


The dropping of the car is the best example of dramatic irony I've seen in a long time. We (the audience) have seen the car go up, and Laurie hasn't. Then Laurie comes in, steals the show, tells an amazing narrative device of a brick joke, and... down comes the car that went up in the cliffhanger from the previous episode.

Laurie is there when the car comes down, looks up, sees a flash of red and thinks that's her punchline, but the joke's on her, because the punchline is for us. Sister Night was the little girl who was there when the brick went up, and we were there to witness it. But Laurie still thinks it's all about her.

Good joke.
posted by kandinski at 12:28 AM on November 7 [18 favorites]


codacorolla: My read on it is that Dreiberg's technology was marketed at some point, and that the crashed Owl Ship and the goggles were just based on his prototypes

Fair enough, but the ship was not just "based on", it's the exact Archie design, including the flamethrower. And we've only seen Sister Night use the goggles, it's not like we see the CSI team put theirs on when they examine a crime scene. One would think that this kind of equipment would be standard issue... unless the specs are one-offs, impounded from a billionaire costumed vigilante.

On that note, how crap is the crime scene team at the Tulsa Police Department if no-one else has yet mentioned the wheelchair tracks? You'd think Looking Glass would be all over this detail.
posted by kandinski at 1:21 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


"But Laurie still thinks it's all about her."

That's an interesting interpretation. Lindelof being Lindelof, I suspect multiple, contrary readings are intended and encouraged. I'm okay with that.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:08 AM on November 7 [2 favorites]


You'd think Looking Glass would be all over this detail.

I still want to know how he had near-autopsy-level diagnostic injury descriptions of Judd’s body while it was still hanging. He also provided a litany of biometric data based on his pod interview with the 7K guy. Is that mirror mask actually Geordi’s visor? If so, yes, why hasn’t he mentioned the wheelchair tracks and so forth?
posted by mwhybark at 7:24 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I skimmed through the three episodes so far and verified that we've never seen the outdoors of Veidt's castle or a window where it wasn't daylight, which adds to my belief he's in some kind of terrarium-type environment.

Also, Laurie's response to the car dropping is really the only time we see her in public when her responses aren't filtered through a world-weary irony. Yes, the world can still surprise you, Special Agent Blake.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:41 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Listened to the official podcast with Lindelof; worth a listen. He seems aware of the criticisms of his work in the past and promises not to leave a lot of plot points dangling after the 9th episode.
posted by octothorpe at 7:46 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Even better deep dive than the one I linked above into the easter eggs of ep. 3
posted by Burhanistan at 12:48 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Watching again. 1) the line about "get your owl of the cage" is definitely a reference to Dan; 2) The combination on her briefcase appears to be 667, the neighbour of the beast. I think that's definitely intentional; 3) In Sufism, Hu "was used in a special way to refer to the Nameless God, the One Whose Real Name is unpronounceable, truly beyond all earthly languages.". That's probably not intentional.
posted by Grangousier at 1:23 PM on November 8


"May I have the control back, please?"
posted by Grangousier at 1:28 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


Also (sorry, me again), since that Maxell commercial in the 80s, I can only hear the lyrics to The Israelites as:
Get up in the morning, sleeping for bread sir,
Sold out to every monk and beefhead,
Woh-oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh! Me ears are alight!
Why find me kids? They buck up and a-leave me
Darling cheese-head I was yards too greas-y-y
Woh-oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh! Me ears are alight!
I suspect this is also not part of Lindelhof's Plan.
posted by Grangousier at 1:42 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


So Dan is in prison, possibly because he couldn't resist being a vigilante?

Yes, since 1995 per Peteypedia.
“Rorschach’s Journal” might have faded into obscurity if not for two events, the “Blue Wave” of 1992 and the arrest of Dreiberg and Laurie Blake in 1995 for violating the Keene Act.
IIRC from the book, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but electric cars became viable because Dr. Manhattan could easily create the elements required for their batteries. You’d imagine Veidt or Alternate Universe Elon Musk could take it from there, but maybe once Doc fucked off to Mars no company found it worthwhile to pursue the electric car sector.

Also explained in Peteypedia!
One source of Veidt’s personal wealth, a patent for spark hydrants, became worthless after the auto industry ceased production of electric cars powered by M-class lithium amid concerns that all things Manhattan might be carcinogenic. (Leading Manhattanologists now believe that there is no merit to those concerns.)
I have just started reading Peteypedia (hence both of the above links coming from entries for E01) but I am loving it so much. It’s very in keeping with the original book.

In fact, we should really have two FanFare pages for each episode of the show... “with vs without Peteypedia”, instead of “with vs without the comic” (without which the show is presumably borderline unintelligible anyway).
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:15 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


I still want to know how he had near-autopsy-level diagnostic injury descriptions of Judd’s body while it was still hanging.

Agreed. The racist detector scenes do indicate a level of feedback Looking Glass might be getting. I believe he spoke about pupillary response immediately after the test?

In one earlier FF post I alluded to liking how they frame LG the way the comic framed RORSHACH. When Walter Kovacs was revealed it was a big scene in the comic. LG getting revealed to Laurie felt similarly large. LG is a cop, a good detective, but just a person. I liked that scene with LG and Blake because it ended with a begrudging respect between both cops.
posted by artlung at 3:09 PM on November 8


I like Looking Glass, and his relationship with Sister Night. Despite the "are you interrogating me now?" line, they seem to trust each other, and this has cemented an explanation I gave to a friend the other day:
s or Watchmen in particular, should I watch the TV series?"
Me: "You're going to get a wholly differe
Her: "I don't know anything about comicnt series from the one I'm watching, and I'd be interested in hearing what you make of it. Maybe you'd enjoy it if you can live in a world that's much bigger than the slice you watch on the screen, and that's ok for you, but othewise there is way too much subtext."
Her: "Am I going to be very confused?"
Me: "This is a TV series where the people who'd say "Black Lives Matter" and the people who'd say "Blue Lives Matter" are the same people, and this is one of the few things that actually get explained, kind of."
Her: "Hmm..."
Me: "And I'll have someone to talk about the series with and explain the comic to, so win/win?"
Her: "Maybe"

Yeah, BLM == BLM. Think about that.

I'm not comfortable with the way the series is twisting the "cops bending the rules but it's ok because it's for a good cause" knife in me with this anti-racist cops vs white-supremacists narrative, and I hope that later episodes address this in some way.

Or maybe this is the point, already on the screen and already made for us. Laurie Blake asks Angela Abar "you know the difference between a masked cop and a vigilante", and when Abar says "no" she answers "me neither". But then she has that joke where she asks a suspect "are your rights being violated" and when he answers she interrupts with "I was kidding. I don't actually care".

This is a world were the thin blue line is drawn separating different issues than it is in ours, and that makes people's personal red lines also different, and possibly difficult to read. I guess that's what we'll find out by the end of the nine episodes: where everybody draws their read line, and whether they are pushed to cross it anyway, and what consequences they'll suffer for doing it. Or, like Rorschach in the book, for refusing to cross it.

It's breaking my mind, this thing. I had the lowest possible expectations going in, this is wholly unexpected. And, for the first time in ages, the wait between episodes is killing me. Two days to go now. Then, five more weeks to go.
posted by kandinski at 4:38 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


What if Veidt is launching the squid? Keeping his dream alive, from exile?
posted by rocketman at 5:17 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I think the first thing to remember is that Veidt is in a slightly different timeline (the cake candles mark anniversaries from his his imprisonment, yes?) so at the current series point he's at year three, which is series minus... what?
posted by Grangousier at 5:53 PM on November 8


the cake candles mark anniversaries from his his imprisonment, yes?

That's interesting, I hadn't really considered it but I don't see what else they could be marking. According to Peteypedia, Veidt was declared missing in 2012 and his last public appearance was in 2007, so by the time he gets... I think three candles in this episode? his timeline is happening something like 4-9 years before the events of the main action.
posted by whir at 6:01 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


The combination on her briefcase appears to be 667

That's a Pulp Fiction reference. That was the combination to the suitcase in that movie, which also emitted a glowing light.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:12 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


That's a Pulp Fiction reference.

/Lindelof on the dancefloor with Travolta, doing Uma finger-eye-vee moves
posted by mwhybark at 7:25 PM on November 8


Did nobody else catch the X-Files reference, where Blake is eating sunflower seeds in the car like Mulder?
posted by Jon_Evil at 3:35 PM on November 9 [4 favorites]


Desmond Dekker's Israelites topped the UK charts in 1969, when I was 11. In our (and I suspect every other) British School playground, we sang it as: "Oooh, oooh, me ears are alight!".

Does that help at all?
posted by Paul Slade at 3:56 PM on November 9


It was a hit here in the US too but only got to #9 on the charts. I was only 5 in 1969 but I remember my older sisters playing it.
posted by octothorpe at 4:03 PM on November 9


I'm thinking Veidt is on Mars or somewhere else equally inhospitable, and that he launched that poor dude with a catapult through the low ceiling/wall. That was clearly supposed to be some sort of pressure suit, and the guy came back frozen solid.

We're all in on this show over here.
posted by jquinby at 5:13 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Man, I thought I was going to be the only person who loved this show! This is another one of those wow I love Metafilter moments.
posted by xammerboy at 6:35 PM on November 9


The combination on her briefcase appears to be 667

That's a Pulp Fiction reference. That was the combination to the suitcase in that movie, which also emitted a glowing light.


Or they're both references to Kiss Me Deadly.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:15 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Not impossible, but at this point, the Pulp Fiction reference is pretty ubiquitous.

I mean, a filmmaker can make a reference to The Man Who Laughs in 2019, but they would have to know it would just read as The Joker.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:56 AM on November 10


Anyway, if I ever need to break into the briefcase of anyone even remotely into popular culture, I'll be sure to try 667 first.
posted by Grangousier at 8:21 AM on November 10


The Pulp Fiction combination that opens the case is 666
posted by artlung at 1:45 PM on November 10


Next episode post is up, for some reason it didn’t get hooked up to this one.
posted by mwhybark at 12:02 AM on November 11


> Jon_Evil: Did nobody else catch the X-Files reference, where Blake is eating sunflower seeds in the car like Mulder?

Dale Petey's office is listed as "Anti-Vigilante Task Force/Research Unit, Sub-Basement 1, Room X, Desk 2 [emphasis mine]" of FBI Headquarters. Who's at Desk 1?
posted by Rock Steady at 5:10 AM on November 11 [2 favorites]


Agent Dale Cooper?

If we grant the hypothesis that Lindelof has scattered references over everything much as the originating team has, X-Files reference, check. Twin Peaks, check.

Sooo... What is Petey’s last name a reference to?
posted by mwhybark at 12:26 PM on November 11


I took the sunflower seed eating as Blake looking forward to making that joke about Looking Glass’s mask being a mirror. The Comedienne setting up a little joke.

Totally open to it also being a Mulder reference too.
posted by artlung at 4:12 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


I loved this episode, in no small part because it adds considerably to Laurie Blake's characterization; she was probably the most thinly-fleshed-out character in the original GN--most of it is her relationships with her mom, her real dad, Jon, and Dan--and although her series-within-a-series in Before Watchmen had the best creative team (Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner writing, Conner drawing), the story was pretty lightweight--teen Laurie runs away to San Francisco and fights a little crime, has a bad trip because it's the sixties, and ends up getting saved by the Comedian because BW in general seemed to be about rehabilitating his reputation because someone at DC was a fan, I guess.

This is a lot richer and sharper. Even Blake's taking her dad's name and (to some unknown extent--I'd really like to see what the "Comedienne" looked like) costumed persona is in no small extent a refutation of everything her dad stood for; as an unmasked, badge-carrying FBI agent, she's the opposite of her dirty-tricks black-ops dad. And, something else, too: Edward Blake was never really that funny--he mostly used "everything's a joke" as a cynical excuse for being an all-around asshole, whereas Laurie is really funny; the "abandoned" brick joke being the punchline for the God one is genuinely clever. Also, when someone asks her how she knew that the Batman-wannabe's costume was bulletproof, we're expecting her to reply with some wisecrack about how she didn't... but she just walks away, and that becomes the joke, and it's great. Even the Big Blue Buzztoy sets up an even better joke: no matter how powerful it is, she still decides to put it aside for the probably-not-as-impressive-but-still-more-real guy in the room next door, just as she once did with Dan. And I 100% agree that Jean Smart really nails the role; she's a good reason for continuing to watch this.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:10 PM on November 15 [5 favorites]


Count me in as someone else loving the show but not loving how hard they lean on the “police are the good guys doing a hard job and need special powers” thing. I hope they do address that later.
posted by corb at 6:41 AM on November 16


I am loving this show but i am having a bad feeling of Lost-like number if balls being thrown up in the air and I’m wondering if they have a plan to catch them all.
posted by shothotbot at 7:29 PM on December 1


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