‘If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own’ is the title of this week’s episode of Watchmen, which feels like a pre-emptive defence against the portion of original Watchmen fans who will inevitably decry this new sequel/remix/whatever it is.
While the first three episodes left us with a very long list of questions, episode 4 was a little more generous with its plotting, filling in a few blanks and pushing the narrative forward.
What happened in Watchmen episode 4?
We opened with the arrival of what looks to be a major new character, Lady Trieu (Hong Chau). ‘Pseudo-philanthropic tech CEO’ is going to be the defining on-screen villain of our era, and Trieu is a particularly creepy one, buying a couple out of their ranch (which stood in the way of her developments) with not only money but the biological child they had always wanted. She is happy to play God, it seems, a temptation she shares with Ozymandias (whose business she bought up) and Dr. Manhattan (who she manages the Earth-to-Mars comms link for).
The aggressive buyout was a very dramatic, not-especially-subtle start to the episode, and Lady Trieu is what you might pejoratively call a comic book villain, except you can’t really use that as a criticism when she is in fact a comic book villain.
Over in the Tulsa police precinct, Laurie Blake has taken over Judd’s office and is advancing her no-nonsense approach to local criminal conspiracies. She is not buying Angela’s feigned cluelessness regarding the trashing of her 4×4 one bit, and is surely going to learn of the existence of Angela’s mysterious grandfather Will before long.
Blake – who we learned was allegedly the product of her father, The Comedian, raping her mother, Silk Spectre – is an absolute necessity in this show, always bringing things back to Earth (occasionally literally) when they threaten to get too fanciful and hifalutin.
Who is Angela’s grandfather?
Angela’s job this episode was to try and evade Blake’s scrutiny as she continued to investigate the identity of her grandfather Will (full name, we learnt: William Reeves). Angela researched him at the Center for Cultural Heritage and gave his pill bottle to Looking Glass for analysis. These pills, like seemingly all small ovoids in science fiction, hold the answers to some kind of major revelations yet to be unearthed.
‘Lube Man’ is our weirdest masked vigilante yet
Amidst the ongoing grandfather hunt, there was time for certainly the weirdest and most random scene so far in Watchmen, Angela having a chance meeting with a vigilante dressed in a morph suit and goggles who looked like he’d just ventured out into the day after spending the night at a BDSM techno party in east Berlin. This particular vigilante’s shtick is – get this – dousing himself in lubricant he dispenses from sauce bottles attached to his tool belt, and then promptly sliding into sewer drains. There’s simply no time to search for this ‘Lube Man’ however, with The Red Scare later declared at the police station. Sure! Just another day in the veritable piñata of eccentricities that is the Watchmen TV show.
Is Adrian Veidt planning an escape from prison?
‘Lube Man’ may have slithered into the darkness of subterranean Tulsa, but we learned a good deal more about Adrian Veidt this week. It seems he is indeed planning an escape from his extremely fancy prison. The cakes he’s been receiving, we learned, marked each year of his captivity, and after four years it seems he’s close to perfecting a means of self-extraction. Specifically, this is a trebuchet that hurls one into the air and out of the bubble of environment in which his castle seems to exist. I can’t imagine a Dr. Manhattan-designed prison being susceptible to whimsical makeshift catapults, so I think we must assume Veidt was incarcerated by humans. Side-note: I’m not sure why – maybe just because it’s fun and weird – but Veidt isn’t making his clones in a lab it seems. No, he’s catching them in bayou traps like one would crawfish. This show!
Watchmen episode 4 concluded with Blake and Sister Knight visiting Lady Trieu, suspecting that her magnet-equipped spacecraft were used in the aerial abduction of Angela’s car (you following?). In a sneaky little exchange in Vietnamese that eluded Blake, Trieu let on to Angela that she is in cahoots with Will, who at the very close of the episode we learned is staying with Trieu and her daughter Bian.
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Having allegedly hanged Angela’s best friend, Will apparently has more atrocities in store for his granddaughter, as we learned that in “three days” she will “know what I have done and hate me for it”. Are you getting cold feet? Trieu wondered, to which Will replied “my feet are just fine” as he stood up, revealing that the whole wheelchair thing was a ruse. Will is the key mystery at the heart of Watchmen season one, and while the evidence suggests otherwise, it’s a good bet that he’s a force for good.
It’s another intriguing episode of this deeply peculiar show, your enjoyment of which will have a direct correlation to how much you like solving mysteries and hunting for Easter eggs. We’re all for surrealist japes though, and frankly welcome the rise to power of our supreme leader ‘Lube Man’.
‘Watchmen’ premieres on Sky Atlantic in the UK at 2am each Monday and is repeated at 9pm