Watchmen: An Almost Religious Awe   Books Included 
December 1, 2019 7:59 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Under Lady Trieu's care, Angela undergoes an unconventional treatment while Agent Blake chases down a lead; the Smartest Man in the World delivers a stunning defense of his past actions.
posted by dogheart (153 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I did not see the end of that coming, but I actually applauded at my television. And what a great music choice!
posted by dogheart at 8:03 PM on December 1 [10 favorites]


Elephant? Elephant.
posted by Pyry at 8:07 PM on December 1 [2 favorites]


So is anyone else getting a strong Fisher Proposal vibe from having to dig John's ring out of Cal with a claw hammer?
posted by FatherDagon at 8:08 PM on December 1 [4 favorites]


Elephant!

I’m even more convinced that Lady Trieu is the Comedian’s kid after her evasive commentary about her father.
posted by corb at 8:10 PM on December 1 [13 favorites]


Whoa.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:10 PM on December 1


All the egg imagery just became a whole lot more understandable.
posted by FallibleHuman at 8:11 PM on December 1


Elephant? Elephant

They never forget?

(Also the Lady Trieu of Vietnamese legend rode elephants into battle, and the present-day logo of the Trieu Corporation as seen in this episode and earlier appears to be a stylized elephant head.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:12 PM on December 1 [2 favorites]


So I had been thinking about how Dr. Manhattan was the elephant in the room that the show wasn't addressing and then we get both Dr. Manhattan and an actual fucking elephant in a room.
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 PM on December 1 [38 favorites]


I think it’s because nostalgia is made from cerebral spinal fluid and presumably an elephant will have far more than a human.
posted by corb at 8:16 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


Now I'm going to rack my brain trying to fit the lyric "Take a look at the lawman beating up the wrong guy" into the show somehow. And I've been wondering if Lady Trieu and Laurie are half-sisters; it wouldn't have been impossible for someone to have done an emergency C-section on Eddie Blake's murdered pregnant lover.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:28 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


Jeeeeeez, this episode was a rollercoaster. That opening sequence tying Vietnam and the Tulsa massacre was mind-blowing, and then I felt like it sort of drove into a ditch in the second half of the episode. I've been 100% willing to let the show play out as it's gone along, because those first six episodes were phenomenal. But now I'm wondering if they're finally teetering off that tightrope they've been navigating so confidently thus far. We'll see where it goes from here, but at least for now the Big Blue Twist seems like a catastrophic misstep.

That said, very glad Wade is apparently OK! Fingers crossed.
posted by tomorrowromance at 8:43 PM on December 1


@strangeharbors: "Dan Dreiberg named his big blue dildo creation Excalibur. Dr. Manhattan is Laurie’s ex, who is now revealed to be Cal Abar. Ex. Cal. Abar."
posted by JDHarper at 9:00 PM on December 1 [24 favorites]


Thou Shalt Not Leave

(Everyone who had Ozymandias in Carbonite take a shot)
posted by Nelson at 10:18 PM on December 1 [3 favorites]


Rosenkranz and Guilderstern aren't dead, they are living in Tulsa, in a small apartment above an amusement arcade.

I mean, this is not a sequel, nor a prequel. It's a very well conceived interquel, where a new story using a mix of new and old characters fits perfectly in the negative space left behind by the old one.
posted by kandinski at 10:32 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


Whoa.

Much as I'll miss Cal, I enjoyed that a lot. Regina King is so goddamn good. I figured we'd get back around to Cal's mysterious accident eventually, but I was starting to think the whole idea of Manhattan looking like a person was maybe a red herring. Though I wondered when Will first brought it up, and still wonder now, why a reasonably informed person would assume "look like a regular, though admittedly extremely handsome guy" was outside the scope of Manhattan's powers, or find it at all hard to believe that he could do it. (I'm still not at all sure Will Reeves' whole deal is going to totally come together, but I can hope.)

(I'm gonna rewatch this series someday, but man, how must it have been for Angela to suddenly work for the woman her hidden god of a husband dated for twenty years, starting when he was in his late thirties and she was like fourteen. Her poker face is cast iron.)

I think I've officially lost where this Veidt stuff is going, but that trial was enjoyably bonkers.

I initially just assumed the fifth dead guy Petey found had no mask because Wade took it with him, but I went back and checked episode 5, and I only counted four 7K guys showing up at Wade's house, so maybe something else went on there. (I didn't have Wade pegged as a guy you keep around because he can take out five armed men on his own, but sure, why not.)

Of all people in the world you could insult with a trap door into the supervillain lair, I feel like Laurie Blake is extra EXTRA insulted by the trap door into the supervillain lair.
posted by jameaterblues at 10:48 PM on December 1 [8 favorites]


I did not see that coming! What an ending. I’m practically gleeful. I need to remember to always suspect the harmless nice guy! Something always turns out to be up.

But also that trial was hilarious.

I also appreciated Laurie and Angela both unwilling to play their captor’s games of theatrics and drawn out questions and just. Being. Over. It. All.
posted by liquorice at 1:11 AM on December 2


I just realised that, if Angela's father was Abar (not Reeves, so named after June Abar), then Cal took his wife's name when they married.

And how heartbreaking is it that June died while going around the car after buckling her granddaughter in?
posted by kandinski at 1:14 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


Guys I really love this show but I feel like it is time that we ask why it fails to address the real issues, like: why does the Game Warden look so much like a young Cary Elwes
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:34 AM on December 2 [34 favorites]


The first 55 minutes of this episode were a slog, with yet more convoluted hiding of Will from Angela and pointless time-wasting like the absurd trial scene, which (again with this show) did absolutely nothing to advance the story or Veidt's character with only two episodes left.

I had an eye-rolling "oh come on" moment at "you can't see your grandfather now so soon after taking his nostalgia pills because Medical Reasons." And the piling up of tragedy, including the ridiculous sudden death of the grandmother that still left gaps in our understanding of Angela's childhood after spending so much time in flashback, made very little sense.

Finally, the Big Blue Twist came out of nowhere and served only to make Angela's character even less comprehensible. It felt cheap and unearned. God I was really hoping for something special to arise at the end of this thing. Now my expectations are "well, maybe there'll be another shocker or two."

I’m even more convinced that Lady Trieu is the Comedian’s kid

Isn't it more likely she's Veidt's kid? She says her dad is coming back soon, doesn't she?
posted by mediareport at 4:00 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


DoctorFedora: He really really does.

It sounds like Trieu's mother was alive long enough for Trieu to get memories and to clone her, so I think it's highly unlikely she's the child of the pregnant woman we (and Manhattan) saw the Comedian kill. I think we're supposed to think it's Veidt, although I find myself wondering if Dr Manhattan could father a child. Also, being rich enough to buy MIT at the age of 19 would typically include some starting capital - maybe Captain Metropolis's fortune made its way to an orphanage?
posted by rmd1023 at 4:01 AM on December 2


Tom Mison only looks like that with the mask on so maybe less Cary Elwes and more The Dread Pirate Roberts, which is a similar but not the same thing.

This whole episode felt like it had been infected with a late '60's/early 70's British art-film, or just the last few episodes of The Prisoner. That is in no way a complaint. The ending is beginning to look sufficiently whack-a-do to be a fair match for the graphic novel but only if they stick the ending. All the threads are starting to come together and when Lady Trieu manages to get Veidt back and he meets up with Manhattan I may start giggling. I am wondering, is Yahya Abdul-Mateen also going to play Doc?
posted by Ignorantsavage at 4:47 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


I feel like some people decided they would hate this show before it even aired and have spent the last 7 weeks trying to convince themselves that they were right.
posted by Mick at 5:07 AM on December 2 [24 favorites]


The final surprise was so amazing, I feel like the prior shocker from the episode is easily overlooked: Jane Crawford interrupting Laurie's coaxing-out-the-confession spiel to say yeah we did it, your monologue is boring, and btw, I'm dropping you through a freaking trap door into my secret lair.

That was such a perfectly baroque comic book moment. I loved the shit out of it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:31 AM on December 2 [17 favorites]


I also appreciated Laurie and Angela both unwilling to play their captor’s games of theatrics and drawn out questions and just. Being. Over. It. All.

As well: Veidt sat through a year-long trial without ever offering a defense beyond a fart. He seemed pretty over it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:36 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


Peteypedia 7 includes Cal’s accident report and Petey’s report on “Sister Night”, apparently a 1977 example of the “Black Mask” film genre, in which he cites, yes, “The Black Superman.” I would say that our previous potential Abar name sourcing is confirmed, then.
posted by mwhybark at 5:36 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


I feel like some people decided they would hate this show before it even aired and have spent the last 7 weeks trying to convince themselves that they were right.

Oh, indeed. On the Book of Face, some folks I know were analyzing last week’s episode about Mirror Guy and one fellow stomped in to declare he gave up at the halfway point of the first episode because it was boring and full of bad writing and clichés. My favourite bit was he then told the viewers who had watched it that he was “sure he missed a lot of great car chases,” which is an almost total lack of understanding what this show is about.

Between the mocking of Snydervision in the second episode with HJ’s crimebusting and its replay of the event in the sixth episode, I thought I had maybe found a show that realized that the dullest bit of action shows is the action. Putting the confrontation between Looking Glass and the 7K dudes in the white space between panels confirmed it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:44 AM on December 2 [16 favorites]


I wonder where this is headed:
PA at Trieu facility/the Millennium Clock:
Good afternoon. It is now mine hours until the Millennium Clock is activated. All personnel designated green, please report to the medical wing for the removal of any remaining metal implants.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:56 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Loved the episode, but am worried that there's so much to wrap up at this point...it's only supposed to be one season, right? In 2 episodes we're going to get some sort of answers or payoff on:

- WTF is going on with Veidt in the trial thing
- The complete history of how Dr. Manhattan met Angela and came be hiding in Tulsa (and didn't an early scene in the season actually show him on Mars, as if through a telescope or something?)
- A wrap-up of The Clock vs. The 7K Plot
- Return of Looking Glass
- Lube Man
- Whatever is going on with HJ
- Lady Trieu's history
- Some sort of denouement

Feels like a lot to me.
posted by jquinby at 6:27 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


I don't know we need an answer to all of those things, which is good because we certainly aren't getting it. I'd be astonished if we didn't at least get:

- Veidt
- Dr. Manhattan + Angela
- Clock vs. 7K (throw in Looking Glass for free because he's probably infiltrated the 7K now)
- HJ
- Lady Trieu's history

Some of those things can be handled pretty quickly and/or at the same time. And I'm guessing Lube Man is Petey, I don't need that confirmed!
posted by adrianhon at 6:42 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


It does seem like there's a lot going on, but at this point, I'm most interested in how they tie up the 7th Calvary/Dr Manhattan/Trieu stuff. With particular interest on if the show has anything more to say about racism in America.

pointless time-wasting like the absurd trial scene, which (again with this show) did absolutely nothing to advance the story or Veidt's character with only two episodes left.

It's hammering home the point that Veidt is STILL the guy who'd murder 3 million people to "save humanity". I wonder how that'll contrast with what Trieu's plan to do that same.

Overall, I still think the show has been weird has fuck, in good and not so great ways, but I'm hopeful things will come to satisfying conclusion on the plot and emotional beats.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:42 AM on December 2


I love the stuff like the trial and the elephant and Lube Man because they're so comicbooky. I wouldn't want this to be a super-serious police procedural; on some level it's all kind of goofy and I'm glad to see them lean into that a little.
posted by octothorpe at 6:53 AM on December 2 [9 favorites]


I agree on the comicbooky stuff. In fact, part of me sort of (wickedly) hopes they leave Lube Man unexplained.
posted by jquinby at 7:10 AM on December 2 [7 favorites]


pointless time-wasting like the absurd trial scene, which (again with this show) did absolutely nothing to advance the story or Veidt's character with only two episodes left.

I actually am wondering if they’re planning some complicated prison abolition thing. The complicated trial, everything depending on the judge’s whims - even the verdict from the mouths of pigs. But also the idea that even the kindest, gentlest prison makes someone even worse than they started, that being deprived of humanity does not create repentance.

I’m not sure I buy the Trieu is Veidt’s kid theory, but if so, it could also fit in terms of how family are impacted by imprisonment.
posted by corb at 7:18 AM on December 2




It's all a set-up by Veidt to get frozen in goldenite to be shot back to Earth. The trial is a farce because he wants it to be. He kills the clones both because they don't matter in this reality (let's throw imperfect clone puppies in the incinerator) and he needs to prompt the game warden to kill him. He's probably Trieu's dad (it's not just that she's a genius, but her mom was, too). Lube man and mirror face are going to save Laurie (though I would like to see Laurie actually act like a superhero and not a doof, going into the police chief's widow's house alone was not very clever) and Doctor Manhattan is gonna die or something, idk.

It seems like there are a lot of open threads but they're all really one or two threads.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:39 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


Also Bob Benson is the best evil politician. Great casting.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:41 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Also I appreciate how they're showing us things in early episodes and then the reveals hinge on those things, so that we've already seen them. that requires some trust in the viewer, which is kinda rare even in these days of serial television. We already know bunches of Trieu's history.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:43 AM on December 2


Interesting interview with Lindelof at Hollywood Reporter where he explains his thinking about Cal/Manhattan:

Once we landed on Angela Abar as that center, the new rule became that any legacy characters we were using (Veidt, Laurie and Hooded Justice) could only be used in service of Angela's story…she was the sun, everyone else needed to be orbiting around her. So how could Dr. Manhattan, a man with the power of God, be in service of Angela's story as opposed to the other way around? Based on his past (and all the tropes of Greco/Roman mythology), the answer was intuitive…love. We knew this relationship could only work if Manhattan took the form of a human, and so, the idea of Cal was born. And yeah, it came early. Almost from the jump.

ricochet said: Veidt sat through a year-long trial without ever offering a defense beyond a fart. He seemed pretty over it.

Huh. What's your thinking about the small tear running down Veidt's face as the courtroom chants "Guilty! Guilty!" at him at the end of the trial, before we fade to the statue in Lady Trieu's garden?

Also, this from Mick:

I feel like some people decided they would hate this show before it even aired and have spent the last 7 weeks trying to convince themselves that they were right.

is really unfair. I assume it's at least partly directed at me; if so, it's completely wrong (and inappropriate for Fanfare) psychologizing. I went into the show with reasonably high hopes, loved the fantastic first episode, and then watched with increasing disappointment for 5 weeks before articulating any sort of opinion here, and have tried to ground my criticisms in specific examples from the show itself. I definitely do think the show's writing has been heavily padded, its themes and politics are muddled, and it overemphasizes gimmicky callbacks instead of thoughtful worldbuilding. The filmmaking and acting have been routinely solid and often great (Faithe Herman as Young Angela, e.g.; she's done some great work lately, like Darla in Shazam). Anyway, I've given this show more than a fair shot and haven't changed the opinion I first shared 2 weeks ago: Watchmen is being overpraised by most critics.
posted by mediareport at 7:47 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


I wonder if Lady Trieu's plan involves mesmerism, possibly via all those HDTVs she gave out.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:56 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


As packed as the last two episodes are apt to be, I'm still hoping to see some footage from Sister Night.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:13 AM on December 2 [6 favorites]


God I was really hoping for something special to arise at the end of this thing.

Well, let me tell you about my pal Lindelof......
posted by sideshow at 8:17 AM on December 2 [6 favorites]


To your point mediareport, I remember seeing a quote once (can’t seem to find it again) that any critic experiences so much of what they critique over and over again that eventually originality trumps quality. I think that’s been true of Watchmen’s over-the-top reception by professional media critics. I’m also not sure it’s been great, but it’s certainly been original.

I loved the first episode, thought 2, 3, 4 and 5 were increasing bad, enjoyed 6, and thought this was just OK. I am, however, completely hooked by the Cal reveal and honestly interested in what come next.

I also hold out some hope that this will play better as a nine hour binge. It’s pretty clearly a nine chapter novel, not a collection of nine short stories.
posted by Frayed Knot at 8:18 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


I'm on the side of "this is amazing and terrific". But I recognize the knife edge. If I just saw this episode without any of the previous ones I would have hated it. The reveal about Cal is absolutely ridiculous, like a freakin' comic book you know? But also earned (IMHO) in that the show has had a lot of more serious moments, too. Also I want to toot my own horn by pointing out Cal being special was foreshadowed pretty well. Down to Laurie even mocking him; boy is she gonna be pissed.

I really liked the scenes of childhood Angela in Saigon. Poor girl.

This whole episode felt like it had been infected with a late '60's/early 70's British art-film, or just the last few episodes of The Prisoner.

I was gonna say Legion, which itself was biting off that 70s style. Maybe it's just Jean Smart being in both episodes. But Lady Trieu's complex reminds me conceptually of Division 3's HQ. Also the general zaniness of it, although I prefer Watchmen's style of ultimately delivering a ordinary plot to Legion's fractured storytelling.
posted by Nelson at 8:23 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


Lindelof is batting .500 on ending shows he’s run with Lost among TVs worst endings and Leftovers the very best. So it’s hard to predict where this will land.

BTW, if you are enjoying Watchmen and haven’t yet seen The Leftovers, watch it! Season 1 is good, seasons 2 and 3 are some of the greatest acting and writing ever on TV.
posted by Frayed Knot at 8:27 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


100% agreed on The Leftovers. It's my high-water mark for big concept storytelling/execution. I've never seen Lost, but may take a look at some point.
posted by jquinby at 8:39 AM on December 2


Man, I was SO down with everything in this show up until that Dr. Manhattan reveal. I just don’t see an explanation that won’t be stupid.

Like, what’s everyone’s read? Was Cal a real person who died and then Dr. Manhattan replaced so that Angela could still be with her husband and Dr. M could live amongst humans?

Or were Angela and Dr. M in love and this is how they could be together in secret?

In the comics, Dr. M is presented as being both incapable and uninterested in human emotions, so I don’t see how we go from that to where we are, especially in a way that doesn’t render Angela’s home life meaningless (which was a part of the character I loved).
posted by fryman at 9:55 AM on December 2


Laurie's vociferous fascination with Cal sure reads differently knowing that he was the love of her life in disguise, doesn't it?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:04 AM on December 2 [9 favorites]


[Deleted a bunch. It's really not fair to discuss the ending of a different contemporary show in this thread. Please drop that.]
posted by restless_nomad at 10:09 AM on December 2 [9 favorites]


especially in a way that doesn’t render Angela’s home life meaningless

After she did him Lester Nygaard style, I'm not sure how much of that you get to keep, yeah.
posted by thelonius at 10:20 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


I feel increasingly like this is a well-made show that I am enjoying right now but whether I can call it good or not, and in fact whether I will re-watch it or not, entirely depend on if they're able to make the ending good. My wife again ended up watching a bit of it (just the part with young Angela in the orphanage) - she asked me a question about what was going on and I turned around and saw that she was watching too. The parts she's seen have definitely held her interest but I don't think she has the time to watch the whole thing right now. Maybe we can watch the whole thing over the winter holidays (assuming the ending is good).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:50 AM on December 2


Like, what’s everyone’s read? Was Cal a real person who died and then Dr. Manhattan replaced so that Angela could still be with her husband and Dr. M could live amongst humans?


No, it's clear that John was John before he was Cal, and there was a need to do a deep-cover wipe of his self-awareness for their relationship to proceed. Sort of a parallel to the Gnostic mythology of the fracturing of the Godhead into the Demiurge - an initial position of omnipotence/omniscience does not permit for growth, so a self-splintering is required to proceed to new future states. And a moment's self-reflection by the Doc would show that he knew it was impossible for someone to love an unstoppable weapon of mass destruction as a person and not as a deity, and to love and be loved was one of his core drivers to stay bonded to humanity. And so, he portions off his power in a way that it could only be accessed in the most catastrophic of fashions.

And Cal had been showing subtle but odd signs for some time - he seemed *way* too chill about a lot of the events he was shown as involved in. Home invasions, Angela's career as a nighttime vigilante, the general high-weirdness of the current plot... he sailed through it all with the placidity of someone who is concerned for Angela's emotional well-being, but not threatened in the slightest - like he was literally invincible, but also humble or at least not driven to take the spotlight.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:51 AM on December 2 [13 favorites]


Blink and you miss it: Image captures from the episode

I assume that the "Manhattan Lithium Battery" in the Timex ad is the kind of battery that the 7th Cavalry was collecting, and that is is the basis of their anti-Dr. Manhattan tech. So the Millennium Clock will counter its powers in some way, a way that is hazardous to employees with metal implants.
posted by thelonius at 10:55 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


If you want hints for more about Cal, next week's teaser included some meaningful snippets. We have a policy of not discussing that content on Fanfare, so will say no more.

I've lost the plot a little bit here... We know for certain that Senator Keene and the 7th Kalvary are going to try to destroy Dr. Manhattan. Do we also know that's Lady Trieu's goal? And if so, is she working with Keene? I'm not asking a subtle speculative question here, I'm wondering if I just missed a scene that explains Trieu's plan. I'm still confused about what she's actually doing.
posted by Nelson at 11:12 AM on December 2


I'm going to assume that over the years tons of people/governments have tried to make their own Dr. Manhattan (at least up until the time of the incident in New York). I wonder what the explanation will be for what is different about the 7K's attempt.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:15 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


I added a couple more images to the Blink and you miss it album. I wonder if there are more easter eggs hidden in the Vietnamese signs that pop up during the episode.
posted by Omon Ra at 11:29 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


I've lost the plot a little bit here... We know for certain that Senator Keene and the 7th Kalvary are going to try to destroy Dr. Manhattan. Do we also know that's Lady Trieu's goal? And if so, is she working with Keene?

It's clear that Trieu is aware of the 7th Calvary's plans and is other going to stop them or have another plan that mitigates what they do.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:33 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]



I'm going to assume that over the years tons of people/governments have tried to make their own Dr. Manhattan (at least up until the time of the incident in New York). I wonder what the explanation will be for what is different about the 7K's attempt.


My sense is that the difference is that the 7k plan requires actually capturing Dr. Manhattan, which usually would be impossible, but would be possible when he's buried in Cal.

It will be interesting to see how the presence of Dr. Manhattan in his normal form is going to change the show. Since he can basically do anything, it's hard to imagine how anything can be a threat once he's on the scene (which is why Moore had to figure out a way to sideline him in the comics).
posted by Ragged Richard at 11:35 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


In the comics, Dr. M is presented as being both incapable and uninterested in human emotions, so I don’t see how we go from that to where we are, especially in a way that doesn’t render Angela’s home life meaningless (which was a part of the character I loved).

No, it's that he can see the future without influencing it, so that's given him a certain amount of emotional detachment to most of humanity, but it's clear he still feels things.

Given what we've seen of Angela's past, I don't think it's a stretch to imagine Dr. M's interest in her. The real question is why would he hide himself from himself? Even that's not too hard to imagine, since he clearly cared for Laurie, but lost her, so perhaps he was trying something new?

After all, isn't love a thermodynamic miracle of sorts?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:41 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Is no one even going to mention the transition from Angela's eyes to the stained glass windows at the trial? Pretty self-conscious and flashy, but pretty great, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:41 AM on December 2 [10 favorites]


My sense is that the difference is that the 7K plan requires actually capturing Dr. Manhattan, which usually would be impossible, but would be possible when he's buried in Cal.

Veidt zapped Dr. Manhattan in an intrinsic field generator. I would think that if taking his powers was a possibility then Veidt would have done that way back when. Does the 7K have someone smarter than Veidt? Lady Trieu might be but her secretly being behind the 7K would be too much like Veidt being behind the events in the comics.

Is no one even going to mention the transition from Angela's eyes to the stained glass windows at the trial? Pretty self-conscious and flashy, but pretty great, too.

My wife said "cool transition" when it happened.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:43 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


Veidt zapped Dr. Manhattan in an intrinsic field generator. I would think that if taking his powers was a possibility then Veidt would have done that way back when. Does the 7K have someone smarter than Veidt?

Does the 7K or anyone even know what happened then?

It was a complete failure, as Jon noted: "putting myself back together was the first trick I learned" and he did that in what, a few minutes?

I'd be surprised (and disappointed) if the 7k's plan had the slightest chance of working. It's a classic batshitinsane idea, because if it was possible, governments would have already done it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:50 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


Also, the name of Sister Night's theme song/music in the soundtrack is Nun With a Motherf*&*ing Gun. Nice touch to see that was the name of the movie.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:08 PM on December 2


Sooo I am wondering about the 5th (unmasked) Kavalry guy. Is Mirror Guy pulling a Hannibal Lector so he can escape? It doesn't make a ton of sense because it seems like he could have RUNN OFT at any time... hmm.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:09 PM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Sooo I am wondering about the 5th (unmasked) Kavalry guy. Is Mirror Guy pulling a Hannibal Lector so he can escape? It doesn't make a ton of sense because it seems like he could have RUNN OFT at any time... hmm.

I'd imagine he's infiltrating instead
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:15 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


The thing that stands out to me is the stuff in Vietnam. It's making an effort but it's mixed up. I can't decide if it makes sense or fails to cohere. I appreciate that VVN (Victory in Vietnam) Day -- filled with representations of Dr. Manhattan (shades of the fun Hulk effigies in Ragnarok) -- also has a terrorist attack. The death visited upon Vietnam by the USA and Dr. Manhattan (the comic has how many upteen humans killed by Manhattan in the name of Cold War/USSR containment/colonialism).

We're not shown much in the way of sympathetic Vietnamese characters, really. I loved the local VHS film thing happening there though.

Aside: There's a New Model Army song that came out the same year as Watchmen (1986) called "51st State" which is cynical about what it means to be under the thumb of the USA. They were talking about the UK, but it feels not impossible for Moore to have listened to that song. Vietnam loomed large in the 80s as an American Failure, as the shorthand for American Fallibility.

Aside on Aside: The wikipedia talk page for Stripes has a whole discussion of a joke about the US Army being "10 and 1" - Vietnam being the one loss in a long history of the US "kicking ass."

Spending time in Vietnam honors the context of the original novel. That Vietnam didn't simply or easily integrate with the US makes sense. 1959 was when Hawaii was added as a state, and there were concerns by racists around the inclusion of such a heavily Asian state. I said before I wished we spent more time at the newsstand introduced in the first episode, as we did in the comics. We returned to those people-in-the-street to humanize the larger action and feel something when they ultimately were killed by the Squid. Does the lack of regular-people in this show mean we're not going to see regular-people killed? Or is that a function of the change of medium? Or just a lack of time?

The reveal of Cal as Jon (and in the novel it's Jon, not John) - was wild. Does it work? It works as a dissociative effort by Manhattan to try to be "a real boy at last" or even "a real boy again" - now, does this preclude Manhattan having his multiple nature, still? Are there more copies of Jon across the solar system? I'm still rather a fan of the notion that Manhattan is responsbile for the pocket universe Ozymandias is stuck in - in some ways, it adds to it, because Jon made a little universe, then ran off to be a DILF in Tulsa. The flow seems less natural to this point. It's rather too much like plots where everyone is revealed to be family to every one else. It's convenient for the plot but may not work.

This makes Angela Jon's third major relationship - Janey, who was given cancer (by Viedt, Jon doesn't actually cause cancer), and Laurie (who I still love, please put Jean Smart in everything please). I am not sure Cal-Angela is much of a partnership though. How did Angela Function for CalJon? Babysitter? Agent? Lover? Therapist? Sherpa for humanity? I'm not sure I get it.

I missed Looking Glass. Wanted to see what's up with him.

I also was really hoping for Petey as Lube Man to spring Laurie.

Loved the Elephant reveal.

Entertaining and vexing episode.
posted by artlung at 12:29 PM on December 2 [6 favorites]


Here’s one problem with Keene’s plan: if he does manage to steal Doc’s power and omniscience, he’ll also inherit his fatalism and indifference to human divisions. After all, a white person and a black person have the same number of particles...
posted by ejs at 12:30 PM on December 2 [12 favorites]


Surely Angela “killing” Cal means the 7K’s plan is nullified already? Weren’t they counting on getting the jump on Dr. Manhattan-as-Cal, and now I’m guessing (I didn’t watch the next ep teaser) he’ll have his memories and powers restored?

Of course, this doesn’t have a bearing on Lady Trieu’s plan, assuming that affects or is dependent on Dr. Manhattan - she was perfectly happy to let Angela go back home to Cal. Maybe she was even counting on it.
posted by adrianhon at 12:52 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


Sooo I am wondering about the 5th (unmasked) Kavalry guy. Is Mirror Guy pulling a Hannibal Lector so he can escape? It doesn't make a ton of sense because it seems like he could have RUNN OFT at any time... hmm.

I'd imagine he's infiltrating instead


So then the fifth guy was already at Looking Glass' house, lying in wait? Because only four 7K guys get out of the van in ep5.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:58 PM on December 2


So then the fifth guy was already at Looking Glass' house, lying in wait? Because only four 7K guys get out of the van in ep5.

I wouldn't worry about the numbers too much. Point is that LG is not dead while a certain number of racist fucks.

LG is on the loose!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:38 PM on December 2


Like, what’s everyone’s read? Was Cal a real person who died and then Dr. Manhattan replaced so that Angela could still be with her husband and Dr. M could live amongst humans?

My guess: yes, Cal is a real person who existed in Vietnam (the Peteypedia docs indicate that he has been IDed in some official capacity) and may have been involved with Angela. Doc's powers of reconstruction would seem to include the ability to recreate the mental state of a recently deceased individual, down to memories and feelings, which would make the Cal suit a good hiding spot. What's less clear is why he came back at all, and why he anticipated needing to hide.

The book has no shortage of despicable characters in it, but Doc was always among my least favorite. The dispassionate brutality he was able to exercise at the behest of the Nixonian government, and the ability to let things get to a point where Ozy commits a mass atrocity that Doc could prevent by turning all of the nuclear stockpile into sand somehow feel worse than The Comedian being a thug in Vietnam, or even Ozy's plan itself (since Ozy is reacting, poorly, to a real crisis, while Doc is basically just failing to act on something he could easily prevent). Making him back into a likable character... well, I'm curious to see what they have planned.
posted by codacorolla at 1:46 PM on December 2 [5 favorites]


I do like that the 7K's plan is to not destroy Manhattan, but to become him. It's a mirror to the original novel, where Manhattan's presence lead to the "God Exists and He's an American!" line of thinking, except removed from the context of American imperialism, and distilled down further to the racism that leads to imperialism in the first place.
posted by codacorolla at 1:52 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else have a disconnect between the scale of the 7K plan and Trieu's vision of their plan?
I had been thinking, with their teleporter and stash of Manhattan battery materials, and their seed crystal being the Big Hoax, that they were going to do a false-flag counter-hoax of their own.
Like, one of them paints himself with blue lithium, then bamfs into a press conference posing as Dr. M and says Vote for Senator Joe, he is my chosen one. That would make sense with the 'some lies are necessary evils' (or thought to be by their tellers) Watchmen theme.
But then Trieu busts out with 'they want to make an army of Manhattans', and I haven't seen any build up to that that makes sense?
posted by bartleby at 1:57 PM on December 2


Man, anybody who didn't think that both the Laurie episode and the Hooded Justice episode were superb... well, they have an opinion I guess.
posted by Justinian at 2:08 PM on December 2 [4 favorites]


Theories:

Trieu has Veidt. He’s who landed in the field when she bought that farmhouse. He’s also most certainly her dad. “Save me daughter”.

She is very proud of her achievements, and very aggressive. The historical figure Trieu would say things like “I only want to ride the wind and walk the waves, slay the big whales of the Eastern sea, clean up frontiers, and save the people from drowning. Why should I imitate others, bow my head, stoop over and be a slave? Why resign myself to menial housework?”

In Senator Keene, I think she’s found a useful idiot. Trieu is using the 7K in much the same way that Veidt used the Octopus to prevent a world war. I’m not sure whether she wants to take over the world, or merely liberate Vietnam*, or become the next President, but she - like Viedt - is playing both sides to fix the game.

I suspect the reason the local yokel 7K understand intrinsic fields is her - not Senator Keene. That guy couldn’t find his ass with both hands.

Trieu also knows that Cal is Manhattan. I think she told Angela that explicitly to force Cal’s reveal. Once Dr. M is back on the scene, and the 7K is trying to make another one, Trieu is going to somehow come in and clean it all up. Unlike Veidt who is content to be in the background (and a monster), I think Trieu wants to recognized as the savior of humanity.

She also wants to kill Dr. Manhattan. She is going to try to get as much mileage as possible out of the 7K before she destroys them.

*would be very historically fitting
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 2:13 PM on December 2 [10 favorites]


add me to the list of people with beefs about this show

I didn’t want to say anything about it earlier but I don’t like how that “American Cancer” poster uses Arial
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:35 PM on December 2 [12 favorites]


chuntered...: That is an excellent theory and I wish to subscribe to your New Frontiersman newsletter. Recall that the 7K was seen with Trieu supplies, and while that might be as innocent as villains using an iPhone, I choose to believe there's a deeper connection.
posted by adrianhon at 2:48 PM on December 2


Veidt won't be arriving as he is already there, in the vivarium with a scowl on his face and covered with gilt. Manhattan, on the other hand, will be arriving. Other than that I shan't bother conjecturing as we'll all know in a fortnight anyway. Just think, we're the only people who'll have to watch it this way - from now on everyone will breeze straight through it (unless they want to ration themselves).
posted by Grangousier at 2:56 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


Yes, I have been trying to limit my speculating to what we've already seen and not what'll happen next because you only get one chance at not knowing what'll happen next.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:05 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Actually, I just had an idea about something that would make Manhattan want to come back to Earth: knowing that somebody else had intrinsic field technology capable of producing another one of him. I don't know that he'd care what would happen to Earth from the perspective of a former human, but I do think he'd have an interest in his own safety and uniqueness in making sure no other super-beings exist.
posted by codacorolla at 3:48 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


So to be the perfect stay-at-home dad you have to actually be a God.
posted by chavenet at 4:01 PM on December 2 [12 favorites]


Personally I do not see any plot holes if what they're saying is that even an omnipotent super being with no interest in human life would still fall in love with Regina King.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:01 PM on December 2 [29 favorites]


Sorry if I’m just restating the obvious, but I would like to restate that in an earlier episode, after the 7th Kavalry kidnapping/assassination attempt at Crawford’s funeral, one of the questions a reporter asks of Joe Keene is about Russia developing its own intrinsic field technology, which Keene waves away as being above his pay grade.

But yeah, there’s zero possibility that the US government hasn’t shoved a thousand Green Berets into an intrinsic field extractor in an attempt to reproduce Doc. So why is Doc the only time it worked? Because he had a fundamental knowledge of both subatomic physics and watchmaking? Is it a thermodynamic miracle? I supposed even a 0.001% chance of Russia getting its own Doctor St. Petersburg is too much, according to the Cheney Doctrine (and thank god Cheney never made it to the White House in this universe).

(As mentioned above, since the 7K plan involves trapping Doc and destroying him for his power, it presumably would be more successful than tossing a thousand klansmen into an IF extractor.)

Favorite moment of the episode that didn’t involve an elephant: Mrs. Crawford’s remote and trapdoor having problems. Laurie’s reaction was hilarious, but girl, you know enough to get out of that chair once she starts jabbing the remote.
posted by ejs at 5:38 PM on December 2 [7 favorites]


Joking aside, Laurie really had a death grip on the Idiot Ball this episode. Why did she assume that Jane was not part of Judd’s plan? Why did she go to Jane’s house without telling Petey where she was going? I am fine with fictional characters being fallible but this seemed uncharacteristic for what has been established about her in the last few episodes. Even when she fucks up (like shooting the 7K guy with the kill switch bomb) it’s from over-preparedness.
posted by ejs at 5:45 PM on December 2 [9 favorites]


Laurie was being incredibly overconfident (with good reason) and it bit her in the ass this time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


I had a hard time with it too, though. That was the one problem I had with this episode. Laurie - who always has a plan, or at least a quip - gets totally bested by the OBVIOUS co-conspirator to the Cyclops leader. At the very least I expected her to be witty about it.
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 7:30 PM on December 2 [4 favorites]


from now on everyone will breeze straight through it

Much like the original material. I definitely remember looking up from reading last-quarter releases, at the sun, at people walking by, at bugs on the ground and weeds growing out of cracks in the sidewalk and thinking, “no one else will ever have the experience of reading these comic books like this.

This show brings that to a new medium. Even if Lindelof stumbles the dismount, this show has met and exceeded its’ bar, quibbles and critical takes accepted and acknowledged.
posted by mwhybark at 7:33 PM on December 2 [9 favorites]


The reveal of Cal as Jon (and in the novel it's Jon, not John) - was wild. Does it work? It works as a dissociative effort by Manhattan to try to be "a real boy at last" or even "a real boy again" - now, does this preclude Manhattan having his multiple nature, still? Are there more copies of Jon across the solar system

It turns out that Veidt's plan didn't work—there are no more humans, only billions of Doctors Manhattan in disguise.
posted by thedward at 7:34 PM on December 2


I'm Doctor Manhattan and so is my wife.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:54 PM on December 2 [11 favorites]


Searching for “Cal Abar” had hits on “Calabar.”
posted by mwhybark at 8:32 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


The "next week on" section leans in a different direction, but for me there's a resonance in the Dr Manhattan emblem in Cal's brain with the old idea that the nuclear codes might be put inside the chest of an aide, someone the president would have to kill in order to launch nuclear weapons to acknowledge the gravity of the act.

It's as if Dr Manhattan realized he himself was a terrible thing to exist in the world, and invented an elaborate situation in which a good-hearted woman would have to kill the love of her life and the father of her children to ever access his power.
posted by Rinku at 10:41 PM on December 2 [11 favorites]


I have only watched this episode and the one before it (and cultural osmosis about the first ep) and I never read the book and I love it. I think it's beautiful and magical. I have no confusion or doubt about any of it, it all tracks to me. I mean yeah some of it is larger than life but, isn't that the point of comic books? So you can tell big stories. Within comic book physics there was nothing that seemed off to me. The next few episodes will reveal whatever I missed.

Re: Laurie trusting the other lady, I could be missing context but I assumed she let herself fall into that trap because that other lady looked like her.
posted by bleep at 10:58 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


*that is to say she implicitly trusted her without thinking about it. That was my interpretation. In the context of all this talk about white supremacy I think it's an interesting and important point.
posted by bleep at 10:59 PM on December 2 [10 favorites]


Codacorolla, you have given me a thought. Sharing here, but spoiler protected w/rot13.

Vf Natryn tbvat gb orpbzr gur arkg Qe Znaunggna, naq guvf vf npghnyyl jul Wba ybirf ure?
Nyfb, yvarf hc jvgu Yvaqrybs'f nffregvba gung guvf vf Natryn'f fgbel.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:05 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


ursus_comiter,

Naq jr'yy nyy fgneg ersreevat gb guvf frevrf nf Jngpuzra 2: Oevqr bs Znaunggna
posted by Rinku at 11:13 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


Shades of Eleanor and Chidi in Angela and Cal/Jon.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:25 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


Not sure I'm loving this whole "Jon turns himself into Cal to experience life as a human" angle, but I don't personally tend to find Jesus stories all that interesting, and still I'm holding out hope for a more interesting explanation.

One interesting thing from Cal's accident report in Peteypedia is that he was reported (by Angela) to have worked for Pyramid Global Construction, undoubtedly one of Veidt's front companies. (The Sister Night piece also has some interesting back-story on Vietnam in this universe, which has a "large population of African Americans who migrated there after the war to escape the institutional racism of the Nixon era.")

I'm quite convinced that Trieu is Veidt's daughter - she's got all of his characteristics, from ambition to entrepreneurship to a weakness for allusions to Shelley, and chuntered inelegantly's suggestion that he was spelling "save me daughter" seems obvious in retrospect. It does raise the question of who has imprisoned him, though. Presumably Dr Manhattan, who created the game warden to watch over Veidt while he was wearing his person suit?

The blue glow on Trieu's face during her confrontation with Angela seemed like a definite visual reference to Dr Manhattan, but I'm not sure what to make of it.
posted by whir at 11:39 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


I don't think Laurie trusted Mrs Judd - she'd gone there to take her in, after all - she just didn't expect her to have a trap door in the living room. Because who has a trap door (triggered by a 1960s-era remote) in their living room? Her response to the situation was completely believable. I also enjoyed the clattering sound of Laurie being roughly dumped into the basement, presumably displacing a broken lawn chair and a couple of half-empty tins of paint. It really was a half-assed trapdoor, that happened to work because what the fuck.
posted by Grangousier at 12:32 AM on December 3 [9 favorites]


Nevertheless I'd expect her to at least have some reaction once a just-confessed conspirator starts pointedly clicking a remote at her-- she's already seen a bomb and MIND CONTROL this season. That she'd just stand in place while Mrs. Judd slowly clicks away at her is a bit 'idiot ball' as suggested above.
posted by Pyry at 1:46 AM on December 3 [5 favorites]


So did I miss something here? How did Angela know Cal was Manhattan? Why is he Manhattan? Did he know he was Manhattan? Was the symbol she dug out of his skull "trapping" him as Cal?
posted by Chaffinch at 3:13 AM on December 3


Chaffinch: You didn't miss anything, we will hopefully find out all of that next week.
posted by adrianhon at 3:32 AM on December 3 [1 favorite]


That she'd just stand in place while Mrs. Judd slowly clicks away at her is a bit 'idiot ball' as suggested above.

She is an arrogant person, who thinks she is smarter and more capable than anyone else. This has worked for her, for years. She got complacent.
posted by thelonius at 3:50 AM on December 3 [11 favorites]


The other sign of her arrogance is that she refused to tell Petey where she was going, so no one knows she's there, which could be a problem were it not for the fact that both the most powerful being in the universe and ferocious mirror guy are going to turn up soon.
posted by Grangousier at 5:15 AM on December 3 [5 favorites]


spoiler protected w/rot13

You really don't have to do that. We're in the thread for discussing the show. Even the person who hadn't seen every episode opted into joining a thread where others have.

Between this and the deletion of comments that discussed feelings about The Leftovers ending without at any point discussing the tiniest shred of content or plot, we are approaching some truly peculiar levels of spoiler aversion.

We could probably relax a little.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:27 AM on December 3 [19 favorites]


The other sign of her arrogance is that she refused to tell Petey where she was going

She has no respect for Petey. She doesn't want anyone else there, was forced to bring a second agent, and she picked him because she thought he'd be easy to push around. Combined with hastily stereotyping Mrs Judd as a housewife/idiot/informant-not-a-threat, this led to a very bad situation.
posted by thelonius at 5:41 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Chaffinch: You didn't miss anything, we will hopefully find out all of that next week.

That's a relief. When Treiu was talking to her and she leaves I thought I'd missed something and got really confused when she started bashing her husband's head in with a hammer.

Also I think the guy watching the house was Looking Glass
posted by Chaffinch at 5:50 AM on December 3


I think that Laurie was just overwhelmed with the WTF emotion. The feeling you get when a dog brings you what you were thinking about but had not asked for. Or when your spouse tells you that they ordered you a sex doll of themselves for you to use while they are out of the country for a long-term work project. Eventually you have a response but the initial shock is just overwhelming. "What the hell is that remote for, a goddamn ceiling fan? Why is she pointing it at me. There is no aperture. It's not a gun. Did the chair just shake? What the hell? Is this a trapdoor chair? That's crazy. It must be an earthquake. Again with the shaking? Oh, fuck, it is a trapdoor chair. I should..." Crashing. The unexpected takes a while to process. If it had been a gun, I like to think that she would have had a better response. Basically she had an OODA loop going but had not thought to put in the bit about assuming that all Texas Ranch houses should be treated like the lair of a 1930's serial villain.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 5:53 AM on December 3 [11 favorites]


Laurie definitely knew Jane Crawford was a villain and dangerous. Her mistake was that she thought this was a detective case and she was at the point where the PI drops by to prod a bit and squeeze the perp to see how they react to learn what track to investigate next. Problem is, she's actually in a superhero plot and this is the moment where the supervillain captures the hero and tries to make them watch while they end the world. This is why she reacts with irritation at "all the silliness." She's trying to live in the real world and not in the middle of all of this comic book shit.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:55 AM on December 3 [25 favorites]


The only thing I think we do know is that Cal had no idea he was Manhattan - which is why Angela took the step of telling him that he, Cal, had been a good husband and father, and he was like “I’m not Jon, what are you talking about?” before she hit him out of left field.
posted by corb at 6:54 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


No, it's that he can see the future without influencing it, so that's given him a certain amount of emotional detachment to most of humanity, but it's clear he still feels things.

I think Jon’s words in the graphic novel were that he was just a puppet who could see the strings. In this episode we have a street performer with a sizeable Dr. Manhattan puppet with prominent strings. And as we see the marionette from a low angle, through the strings we see the puppeteer, who will shortly hand over an IED to a suicide bomber and set Angela on a course in life that eventually takes her to Jon.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:52 AM on December 3 [13 favorites]


Was the symbol she dug out of his skull "trapping" him as Cal?

So that’s what happened to the earrings Jon gave Janey at Christmas 1959. One of them wound up in Cal’s forehead.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:11 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


So did I miss something here? How did Angela know Cal was Manhattan? Why is he Manhattan? Did he know he was Manhattan? Was the symbol she dug out of his skull "trapping" him as Cal?
1. No.

2. She always knew, because they hatched the plan for Jon to become Cal together.

3. He chose to become Cal.

4. Jon deliberately hid knowledge of his true nature from himself-as-Cal.

5. No, it's not a trap. The text makes it super clear that the Jon-as-Cal thing is something he did to himself, deliberately, to be with Angela.

I also don't think Cal-as-a-person existed before the "accident." I think Jon created him to "wear."
posted by uberchet at 8:44 AM on December 3 [14 favorites]


I agree with all of that. Though some of that, I think it helps if you watched with captions and caught every word.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:04 AM on December 3 [1 favorite]


From the Peteypedia: "Mr. Ebert notes that Sister Night belonged to a subgenre called “Black Mask” movies — responses or parodies of masked vigilantes. Some were very specific; The Black Superman, for example, was an on-the-nose spoof of Dr. Manhattan. Others, like Sister Night, Tarantula, and Batman, were expressions of archetypes forged by the likes of Silhouette, Mothman, or Nite Owl."

hahaha
posted by FatherDagon at 10:16 AM on December 3 [24 favorites]


Sister Night is based on a nun superhero, huh?

You know who they say nuns are married to, right? People say they're married to God.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:40 AM on December 3 [33 favorites]


A pretend nun/real human married to a pretend human/real god!
posted by artlung at 11:26 AM on December 3 [9 favorites]


Angela only half ass trying (and usually failing) to be cordial to Laurie also reads differently now. I had assumed it was masked-hero-doesn't-like-anti-mask-Fed but now I'm thinking it may just be how nobody likes their spouse's bitter ex.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:31 AM on December 3 [13 favorites]


How does one weaponize nostalgia? You get Nine Inch Nails to cover David Bowie, just read the comments.
posted by Molesome at 12:52 PM on December 3 [10 favorites]


Like, one of them paints himself with blue lithium, then bamfs into a press conference posing as Dr. M and says Vote for Senator Joe, he is my chosen one.

Like, point A: bamfing is another blue-skinned fam’s thing.

Point B: While the comics do not provide much support or contest to the idea, Jon Osterman in the show (in part via Wikipedia) appears to have US immigrant roots that tie him to NYC Jewish emigrant communities, exactly as does Superman IRL. This literally just became clear to me. This show. Lindelof! Don’t fuck it up!
posted by mwhybark at 3:42 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


in part via Wikipedia

er, Peteypedia, to be sure. yr hbl cspdt regrets, etc
posted by mwhybark at 4:55 PM on December 3


It sounds like Trieu's mother was alive long enough for Trieu to get memories and to clone her, so I think it's highly unlikely she's the child of the pregnant woman we (and Manhattan) saw the Comedian kill.

When Angela first meets Trieu in the vivarium, Trieu says that her mother in her deathbed made her promise she would never leave Vietnam. I don’t think that the unnamed woman who glassed Blake lived long enough to have a deathbed; frankly, I think anyone who buys a deathbed is just asking for trouble.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:11 PM on December 3 [9 favorites]


(That would be a momentarily diverting jape - go into a furniture shop and tell them that you're looking to buy a deathbed. "It wouldn't need to be that comfy, obviously. I'm only looking to die in it.")
posted by Grangousier at 3:32 AM on December 4 [6 favorites]


While the comics do not provide much support or contest to the idea, Jon Osterman in the show (in part via Wikipedia) appears to have US immigrant roots that tie him to NYC Jewish emigrant communities, exactly as does Superman IRL.

Counterpoint: Is Dr. Manhattan circumcised? Was Jon Osterman, for that matter? It doesn't look like he is when he miraculously reappears in the comic. Then again, he did fully reconstruct himself from ambient particles, so maybe he got a bit carried away and put everything back?
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:15 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Yes this is the metafilter I love, a close analysis of Dr Manhattan’s dick tip.
posted by weed donkey at 8:06 AM on December 4 [9 favorites]


We had a whole discussion on the blue about Dr. Manhattan's big blue schlong.

As for the foreskin count.. The Watchmen show has canonicalized Jon Osterman being of Jewish heritage, so we can presume Jon was circumcised. We learned that Cal is circumcised from Peteypedia this week.

Whether Dr. Manhattan circumcised himself in his reconstruction is a remarkably interesting theological question, explored in my comment here. I submit the original comic art is not detailed enough to truly rule on the topic, and I weigh on the side of a blue circumcision as well. But I sure wish I knew a Talmudic scholar to consult.
posted by Nelson at 8:11 AM on December 4


Speaking of details in Peteypedia, another thing we learn about Cal is that his name was "Calvin Jelani" when he was found, amnesiac, in Saigon. Jelani is uncommon but not unknown name, I believe originally from Muslim roots. But I'm gonna guess in this case it's a nod to Jelani Cobb the American cultural writer. In particular he wrote a New Yorker piece in 2016 Creating “Luke Cage,” the First Woke Black-Superhero Show which has to have been read closely by the Watchmen writers. Cobb also had a cameo in season 2 of Luke Cage.
posted by Nelson at 8:20 AM on December 4 [9 favorites]


Looking at Cal's chart on Peteypedia, I noticed that his visit was at Rampart Memorial Hospital, which is a reference to the 70s TV show Emergency!, and Rampart General Hospital.
posted by aerosolkid at 10:06 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


Jelani means "Mighty" and "Powerful" in Swahili.
posted by cazoo at 10:18 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


The thought experiment of Schrödinger's Schlöng would imply that Jon could be cut and uncut at the same time.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:32 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Yes this is the metafilter I love, a close analysis of Dr Manhattan’s dick tip.

I think the term of art here is weenplating.
posted by jquinby at 11:13 AM on December 4 [18 favorites]


TRIEV / VEIЯT

Draw that second R like a stylized D and it spells VEIDT.
posted by Justinian at 12:51 PM on December 4 [4 favorites]


Why is the R mirrored but not the E? Who can say? Not me.
posted by Justinian at 12:55 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


Counterpoint: Is Dr. Manhattan circumcised? Was Jon Osterman, for that matter? It doesn't look like he is when he miraculously reappears in the comic. Then again, he did fully reconstruct himself from ambient particles, so maybe he got a bit carried away and put everything back?

The fist thing he did was put himself back together, but it wasn't as he was, but as a blue bald guy with almost classic proportions. WTH Jon?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:09 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Stray thought:

Cal -> calorie -> unit of energy expressed as heat -> thermodynamic miracle
posted by mwhybark at 4:00 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


I really liked how these last 2 episodes made me think about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I like anything that makes me do that. I liked how it showed what it feels like when memories trigger each other and get associated with each other.
posted by bleep at 8:37 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Only on rewatching this episode did I realise that Bian is wearing old lady spectacles. They might even be on a chain.
posted by Grangousier at 12:48 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]


Ha! I just thought that was the fashion.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:44 PM on December 6


It’s been most of a week. I fully understand that the moment was scripted and foreshadowed with the egg imagery. I have been married twice. Once it didn’t take, but it was a relatively easy parting. I’m over 25 years deep in my current relationship.

Cal, although presumably a mask created and worn by Dr. Manhattan, lived a real life with Angela and eventually their kids. I can’t reconcile the apparently-planned method of shedding that skin with what I understand of Angela from the show. I cannot visualize shattering my wife’s head with a ball peen hammer as an act of love. I grant, I am not apparently insane. Angela is not apparently insane.

In this, the show may have overwhelmed my ability for suspension of disbelief. I cannot stop thinking about it. I wish that I could.
posted by mwhybark at 3:46 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]


With that Nostalgia tutorial injection showing that you can make fake sensory perceptions created out of whole cloth like producing a video that plays in the brain, now I feel like Veidt might just be on Earth and hooked up to a totally fictional Nostalgia simulation prison. Would explain the weird science of it all, what with the lake baby clones.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:09 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]


I was thinking about during my massage earlier that now that we saw how Angela's mind is experiencing all of her own memories now wrapped up in all her grandfather's she's almost on Dr. Manhattan's level, with how he talks about how he has no concept of "now" because he lives in the past, present and future all at the same time so it's hard for him to think on the same scale of humans, and the stuff about how a dead body has the same molecules as a live body. I was just thinking about that but then it ties into how she could have mustered up the steel of will to dig into her husband's brains - I dunno if you know that your beloved is locked inside a bone prison and some lady told you the klan is coming to get him and you've just absorbed 100 years of memories & they're all tied up with your tragic childhood and your associations with love and abandonment, I think you'd do anything, I could definitely see myself doing anything.

(My husband recently started a treatment that requires me to painfully stick him with needles and listen to him scream but I'm happy to do it to keep him alive. I think it's that kind of thing.)
posted by bleep at 5:06 PM on December 6 [6 favorites]


& they're all tied up with your tragic childhood and your associations with love and abandonment
* PLUS deeply painful knowledge of how scary and destructive the klan is
posted by bleep at 6:57 PM on December 6


I didn’t want to say anything about it earlier but I don’t like how that “American Cancer” poster uses Arial

Also known as Helveidtica, in the Watchmen universe of fonts.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:14 AM on December 7 [3 favorites]


I sure wouldn't want to be around for that conversation that Angela has to have with her kids, now. Awkward.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:55 PM on December 7 [3 favorites]


Awkward.

Daddy’s big and blue now. Now hush.
posted by valkane at 2:17 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]


About that awkward conversation, no joke!

The kids know who Dr Manhattan is, and Dr Manhattan can for sure dispose of Cal's body. Will the children buy that "dady was Dr Manhattan in disguise all along"? Would Dr Manhattan have Cal's memories of their life together?

I'm pretty sure Dr Manhattan can look any way he wants. What if the actor playing Dr Manhattan is Yahya Abdul-Mateen, so Dr Manhattan doesn't look like a bright blue white man, but a bright blue black man who looks exactly like daddy because he is daddy?
posted by kandinski at 3:08 PM on December 7 [2 favorites]


Cal, although presumably a mask created and worn by Dr. Manhattan, lived a real life with Angela and eventually their kids. I can’t reconcile the apparently-planned method of shedding that skin with what I understand of Angela from the show. I cannot visualize shattering my wife’s head with a ball peen hammer as an act of love. I grant, I am not apparently insane. Angela is not apparently insane.

On the other hand, when a suicide bomber threatened to kill the mourners at Judd Crawford's funeral, Angela did not hesitate to shove her friend's coffin on top of it to muffle the explosion. When she was arrested by Blake upon learning that the pills were her grandfather's Nostalgia, she didn't hesitate to chug the whole bottle despite the well-known health risks. Angela acts decisively and unsentimentally when people are at risk. It's her thing!
posted by ejs at 4:25 PM on December 7 [5 favorites]


Also, the alternative to hammering Cal is the very good possibility he/Dr.M is killed and his power goes to a white supremacist with bad plans for Angela and the world. So...
posted by chris24 at 4:53 PM on December 7 [3 favorites]


less than 24h to go now...
posted by kandinski at 8:00 PM on December 7


With that Nostalgia tutorial injection showing that you can make fake sensory perceptions created out of whole cloth like producing a video that plays in the brain, now I feel like Veidt might just be on Earth and hooked up to a totally fictional Nostalgia simulation prison. Would explain the weird science of it all, what with the lake baby clones.

I was thinking about this a bit while on a long drive over the weekend: is it a satisfying ending if there's some constructed reality ending to all of this? Another possibility would be that this is all some sort of simulation Manhattan is running in space to see if it's worth him coming back to Earth. As a rule of thumb I'd prefer any story to have some sort of consequences and baseline reality. I think there are ways that the show could land something like that, but just from a gut level I'd prefer that everything we've seen is 'real' within the world of the show.
posted by codacorolla at 7:21 AM on December 8


People are asking how could Dr. M love Angela, since he's been show to be pretty remote emotionally.

To me, the bigger question is how could Angela love HIM? The only way I can think of is if Cal was a real person, got killed and Dr M assumed his form. Hence the accident and amnesia on his part.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:49 AM on December 8


Is it a faux pas to comment on an episode after the following episode has aired?

People are asking how could Dr. M love Angela, since he's been show to be pretty remote emotionally.

The interesting thing about Dr. M is that, no matter how remote he is about everything else, he always wants to be loved by a woman. He reunited with Janey after his accident, later dumped her for a teenage Laurie, and (passive aggressively) pointed out to Laurie that once she left him, he left Earth. He may or may not be a god but his track record with women is straight-up normal dude behavior. It's not surprising that after a while alone on Europa he came back to Earth for some womanly attention (and nookie).
posted by ejs at 8:23 PM on December 9 [2 favorites]


Is it a faux pas to comment on an episode after the following episode has aired?
Not at all!
posted by ellieBOA at 9:36 PM on December 9 [1 favorite]


Dr. Manhattan is commenting in all of the threads simultaneously, including the final episode that hasn’t aired for us yet.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:09 PM on December 9 [4 favorites]


There are few canonical truths in SF, but one of them is surely the Turing Test -- if you convincingly present as sentient, you are. Via dozens or hundreds of stories and thought experiments, that has long since been extended even to things as abstract as constructed multiple personalities or self-delusions or whatever. Regardless of how Cal was constructed or whether he was just a facet of Dr Manhattan or even identical to him with self-induced amnesia, he was clearly real in his own right and has a right to continue to exist if that is possible -- and given all of Dr M's powers, it certainly is. Murdering Cal, whatever his ontological nature or previous agreements, feels like very much an immoral act, and I'm hoping the next episode (I'm behind!) confronts that.
posted by chortly at 11:31 PM on December 9


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