I might still be woozy from that big blast and the squid blizzard, but… did we actually get all of our Watchmen questions answered in that humdinger of a season finale?
Sunday’s episode tied up most of the HBO drama’s remaining mysteries in a pretty, blue bow, leaving just one tantalizing thread that can carry the story into a potential Season 2 if HBO and showrunner Damon Lindelof come to some sort of agreement. All that and the deep satisfaction of seeing a racist piece of something-or-other get liquified by his own hubris? Have I died and gone to Europa?
Read on for the highlights of “See How They Fly.”
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! | In a flashback to the time when Veidt is recording his message to Robert Redford, a Vietnamese woman with glasses and her hair in a tight bun wheels her janitor’s cart into Adrian’s empty office and closes the door behind her. She breaks into his hidden fridge full of sperm samples, loads one into a syringe, then inseminates herself right there at his desk as she says, “F–k you, Ozymandias.”
Fast-forward to 2008, when someone clad in fashion-forward cold-weather gear approaches Veidt’s Antarctic bunker and knocks on the door. When Adrian answers, we see that his visitor is Lady Trieu; he assumes she’s a fan and tries to send her away. But when she reveals that she knows he was behind the New York City squid event and sweetens the sentiment by saying he’s the smartest man in the world, he’s intrigued. She introduces herself as the smartest woman in the world, and he invites her in.
Trieu wants to save the world by getting rid of all the nuclear weapons, she explains. She’s got a subspace antenna that has picked up Doctor Manhattan’s signature on Europa, and she’s launched a probe that’ll get to the Jupiter moon in five years or so. Her plan: Destroy Europa and take Manhattan’s powers via giant quantum centrifuge… except she needs $42 billion from him to build it. He scoffs at her ask, wondering why he’d be inclined to comply. “Because I’m your daughter.” And yes, even though Veidt apparently has never had sex with a woman, he soon realizes that her story about her janitor mom is true. “Hi, I’m Sample 2346, but you can call me Trieu,” she says simply. “I will never call you daughter,” he spits.
VEIDT TAKES FLIGHT | Fast-forward again to Veidt in his cell on Europa, wearing his Ozymandias armor. Suddenly, everything starts shaking and some kind of craft starts to land on the lawn outside his window. He gleefully grabs his horseshoe and exits via the hole he’s dug in the floor. He surfaces near the spaceship but is intercepted by the Game Warden, whom Veidt fights and winds up killing by putting the horseshoe into his belly. As the man dies, Veidt pulls him into his arms: From their conversation, we learn that Veidt orchestrated everything — even his imprisonment. The Game Warden wonders why he did it in the first place. “I had eight years to kill. Having a worthy adversary kept me sane,” Veidt says. “Was I worthy?” the warden asks his master. “No,” he says quickly (heh), “but you put on a hell of a show.” Then all of the Crookshanks and Phillips clones line up and bid their master adieu, and he gets on the completely automated ship.
As it heads into space, we see that the full message Veidt spelled out on the neighboring moon was “Save Me Daughter.” Then the ship instructs him that he’s going to be preserved for the very long ride back to Earth, and he’s sprayed from head to in a gold material that OH MY GOD HE’S THE STATUE OF HIMSELF WE SAW EARLIER THIS SEASON.
Right before he’s reanimated, Trieu tells Bian that she’s actually a clone of Trieu’s mom; the girl already knew. Trieu and her dad have a very brief reunion (regarding his calling her “daughter” in his corpse-o-gram: “It must’ve been hard to completely cave, to humble yourself like that, Dad”) then they all go to the newsstand to get some more fodder for the time capsule. While there, Trieu’s Doomsday machine starts up. “Israel is desolate, and her seed is no more, and Palestine has become a widow for Egypt,” Veidt says to the stymied newsstand owner. “It’s the end, my friend. The end is nigh.”
‘YOU LOOK STUPID IN THOSE PANTIES’ | Let’s check in over at Racist Central, where Jane, Sen. Keane Sr. and the rest of the white supremacists in Cyclops senior leadership have gathered to see what’s going to happen in that big cage the Seventh Kavalry members built. Laurie is there, too, still chained to the chair. And Looking Glass is by her side, posing as a masked Kavalry member but whispering that he’ll help her escape as soon as there’s a diversion.
Moments later, Doctor Manhattan is beamed into the cage via the transporter we saw in the previous episode. Laurie breathes, “Jon?” and Sen. Keane Jr. revels in wonder that the whole thing worked. “I got you,” he says nastily, pointing at the disoriented superhero. And oh look, now it’s time for Keane’s racist rantings/Dr. Evil-like explanation of his plot!
He tells the crowd that the real monster Veidt created is Robert Redford. “First, he took our guns. Then he made us say sorry over and over again… sorry for the color of our skin,” he says, undressing down to some Doctor Manhattan-esque briefs. He explains that on the White Night, the Kavalry member that Cal unconsciously zapped out of the Abar home wound up in Gila Flats, N.M. — the town where Jon Osterman accidentally became Doctor Manhattan. When they realized that Cal was Doctor Manhattan, the Crawfords pulled a long con in order to get close to the family. There’s a lot more exposition (for instance: the cage is made of lithium, melted down from all those old watch batteries, which is one of the few materials that can mess with Big Blue), but Laurie has the best response to all of his racist rantings: “You look stupid in those panties.”
CYCLOPS BE GONE | Then Angela shows up and says that whatever Keane thinks will happen won’t, because Lady Trieu’s been planning much longer and way smarter than they ever could. But Keane doesn’t care, and so he gets into some sort of chamber adjacent to the cage. Once he’s locked in, a Kavalry member flips a switch… and then there’s some sort of blast that makes Angela’s ears ring. Everyone is kind of out of it, and Looking Glass rips off his mask to vomit on the floor. Trieu’s centrifuge is hovering over the cage, and I had to rewind the ep to make sure I was seeing correctly, but yes: Trieu has transported the cage, the Cyclops members and Angela, Laurie and Looking Glass outside to where the newsstand is. “I’m fulfilling my promise to your grandfather,” Trieu tells Angela when she and her team arrive. “He gave me your husband, and I’m giving him justice.”
Keane Jr.? Dead and liquefied, his remains splashing all over the ground and oozing into Manhattan’s cage. Laurie? OK, but shocked to see Adrian, who refers to her by her original last name of Juspeczyk. “Ah s–t, am I dead?” she wonders. “No,” he answers, “but the night is young.” Jane and the Cyclops asshats get vaporized after Trieu reads a note from William, reminding them that they’ve been behind the terrorization of people of color for a century and pointing out that they happen to be standing on the site of the Greenwood race massacre. Doctor Manhattan uses the mass murder as a cue that he needs to do something; he dips his finger in Keane’s bloody remains and transports Laurie, Looking Glass and Veidt to Karnak in Antarctica.
Angela wonders why he didn’t get her outta there, too. “Because I don’t want to be alone when I die,” he says, right before Trieu turns on the beam that will suck all of his power out of his body. From the way he’s writhing, the process looks painful. She begs him to stay, but he’s losing the fight, and they both know it. She asks him where he is. “I’m in every moment we were together, all at once,” he says, scenes from their relationship flashing before us. She’s crying. He’s crying. He says one last time that he loves her, then an explosion throws her halfway across the square. All of his power is in Trieu’s centrifuge, and it’s going through some process that will make it OK for the gazillionaire to absorb (Keane apparently skipped this step).
ADIEU, TRIEU | Meanwhile, at Karnak, Veidt decides that freezing a squidfall right over Tulsa would be the best way to destroy Trieu’s machine. Unfortunately, it’ll also destroy most of what’s nearby. Shrug emoji! He knows that Trieu won’t actually save the world “because she is a raging narcissist whose ambition knows no limits” and “Anyone who seeks to attain the power of a god must be prevented at all costs from doing it.”
In Tulsa, Angela comes to as Bian is shaking her and the police are arriving. The Mars phone starts ringing, and it’s Blake warning Angela to get inside pronto, because “They’re coming any second. They’re coming from the sky!” Trieu learns this the hard way: While she’s waiting in rapturous ecstasy for her power transfer to begin, an icy cephalopod goes straight through her hand, leaving a bloody, large (and a bloody large) hole in its wake. The ones that follow rip her machine to pieces, and it eventually falls right on top of her.
Angela grabs a shield and eventually makes it to the Dreamland Theater, where Will is with his sleeping great-grandchildren. They talk a bit about how “You can’t heal under a mask” and how “wounds need air,” then he mentions that Manhattan said she’d understand what “You can’t make an omlette without breaking a couple of eggs” would mean when the time was right. “Well, I don’t,” she says sadly. “The time ain’t right,” he observes. She invites him to stay with them for a couple of days.
At Karnak, Veidt brings Laurie and Looking Glass to an aircraft he’s got in a hanger. “Archie,” she says fondly, using the nickname for Archimedes, aka the ship that Dan “Nite Owl” Dreibeg invented back in the day — and on which the Tulsa police department modeled its airships, hence the one we saw in Episode 1. He expects the pair to pilot it home, but he’s planning to stay in Antarctica. “You killed three million people, Adrian,” Laurie informs him. “You’re under arrest.” He launches into a HOW DARE YOU speech, but Looking Glass brains him with a wrench before he can really get going, and they drag him into the ship. Ha!
THE EGG AND I | Angela and Will get the kids home via the back room of her bakery, where the Sister Night-mobile is hiding out. Topher notices his mom’s undercover outfit with eyes wide, and Angela notices him noticing it, but they don’t discuss anything. At home, after the kids are settled, Angela goes to clean up the mess left from when she slapped down the carton of eggs when Doctor Calhattan started making waffles.
BUT THERE’S ONE EGG UNBROKEN IN THE CARTON. She remembers their conversation in the bar about him transferring his powers via organic material. “If someone were to consume it, they would inherit — as you call them — my powers,” he’d said. And she’d pressed him: If she ate the egg, could she walk on water? “Theoretically, yes.”
So Angela sure does walk out to the pool, and she sure does crack the egg and eat it raw. Then she pulls up her pant legs and slowly lowers a foot to the water. Before we see it touch the surface, the episode cuts to black. Noooooooooo!
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of Watchmen‘s finale? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!