Created by Jonathon Nolan and Lisa Joy, Westworld is a series that I have been invested in right from the beginning.
As soon as it started airing I was hooked.
I loved season one and, even though season two gets a lot of criticism, I personally think it is just as good as the first with some of the show’s best episodes.
And now we have season three, which was… okay?
I put a question mark there because I am genuinely unsure of how to feel about this season.
It certainly wasn’t bad but, unlike the other two seasons, there were very little standout moments that had me on the edge of my seat.
Season three honestly feels like an entirely different show and that is not exactly a good thing.
The story picks up with the setting changing from the titular Westworld park to the outside world, where Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) is beginning her plans to take over all of humanity with a Host Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thomspon) at her side.
Enter Aaron Paul’s character, Caleb Nichols, who is recruited by Dolores to help with her revolution.
However, at the same time, the mysterious Engerraund Serac (Vincent Cassel) revives Maeve (Thandie Newton) with the intention of using her to take down Dolores… oh, and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and William (Ed Harris) are in this season too but they really don’t matter.
I’ll start by saying that I liked the roles Dolores, Charlotte, Caleb and Maeve had in this season.
While their stories aren’t anything spectacular they are still enjoyable, with Caleb being a welcome addition to the cast.
There are also a few surprise returns from minor characters that are well used.
But then there are Bernard and William who, as I said, don’t really matter.
They honestly felt like afterthoughts this season, which is such a shame because they are among the series’ best characters.
I especially don’t like how William’s story appeared to end.
Thankfully, there is one great scene with Bernard in the final episode, although I wish this scene had more build up to it happening.
Then there is the action, which seems to fluctuate in quality across the season.
For example, there are some fights that are very good in the final few episodes.
However, there is a fight with Ashely Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) in the second episode that was just atrocious in quality.
One thing I can definitely praise the season for though is Ramin Djawadi’s score because it is amazing, as always.
Along with this, the CGI is also well done.
The season is surprisingly short too, with only eight episodes compared to the original two seasons’ ten each.
I actually got to the final episode not realizing it was the finale so I was pretty surprised when I learnt that it was over.
All in all though, season three is still pretty good overall.
But, with its story having almost no epic moments, some characters being mishandled, and a few action sequences being laughable, it does fall miles short of the first two seasons.
After Watchmen‘s biggest twist yet in Episode Seven, Episode Eight “A God Walks Into Abar” sets about explaining that twist, starting off with the great pun of a title.
This pun comes from the beginning of the episode when Dr Manhattan both walks into a bar and walks into Abar with the intention of starting a relationship with her, which he already knows will happen because of his ability to see the past, present and future simultaneously.
Nicole Kassel returns to direct “A God Walks Into Abar”, which is almost entirely from Dr Manhattan’s point of view across time.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II does a fantastic job as the character, portraying a perfect mixture of uncaring and caring that creates that enigma that is Dr Manhattan.
Although, I will say the effects and makeup do make him look a little cheesy, which did draw me out of the scene on a few occasions.
These moments are relatively minor, though, and the scenes with Dr Manhattan’ first meeting with Angela are amazingly shot through how it avoids showing his face.
Mateen II and Regina King have great chemistry throughout the episode and it was very investing to watch Angela go from skeptical but interested in Dr Manhattan to in love with him as time passed.
Dr Manhattan’s love for Angela is also brilliantly portrayed through how he experiences time.
The moment he falls in love with her is when she tries to save him from the Seventh Kalvary many years after the get together.
However, because Dr Manhattan experiences time simultaneously, he was already in love with Angela when he met her because he knew of this moment.
Sadly, Dr Manhattan also seems to know of his imminent capture, which he allows to happen, either because he is a victim to time or because he has some other plan.
I guess we will just have to wait and see which one it is.
He did say that Angela had to remember he could walk on water so that has to be important.
“A God Walks Into Abar” also goes about explaining many of the mysteries surrounding both Dr Manhattan and Ozymandias and Will.
We see how Angela chose Cal’s body for Dr Manhattan to impersonate, hence why he appears as he does, and Will learns of Crawford’s involvement with Cyclops and the Klan robe in his closet because of Dr Manhattan conveying a question to him from Angela in the present.
This creates a time loop that raises the interesting question of if Crawford was as bad as he seemed?
Will’s information about Crawford was not gained first hand and Crawford did later tell him he was trying to help.
Although, again, this did come with some racist undertones when he said it so maybe I am looking too deep into it.
As for Ozymandias, we finally got an answer to why he is on Europa and who created the clones that served and arrested him.
They were made by Dr Manhattan, who he based off a couple he met as a child that asked him to build something beautiful when he grew up.
And, when Dr Manhattan obtained a Tachyon device from Ozymandias that allowed him to live as Cal by losing his memories, he rewarded Ozymandias by sending him to Europa to be served by the clones.
The reason the clones served Ozymandias to the point of death is because they were created to always put others before themselves, which is why Manhattan left and why Ozymandias now wants to.
Initially happy in this paradise, he grew bored of it all and now wants to return to his millions of children on earth like the delusional maniac he is.
However, because the clones’ one rule is that no one is allowed to leave, he is imprisoned.
This is when Ozymandias is confronted in a post credits scene by the Game Warden who reveals he was the first to be created by Dr Manhattan, essentially making him the Adam of Europa.
But this raises the question that if he is Adam then what happened to Eve?
Perhaps we will find out next episode?
In any case, the episode then ends with Ozymandias discovering a clone has mistakenly put a horse shoe in his cake, which allows him to initiate a plan to begin his escape back to earth.
Considering that next episode is the last one, I am not sure how this will happen.
In fact, I would say that I am slightly concerned about how all the different plot points like Ozymandias, Dr Manhattan’s capture, Trieu and Will’s plan, Laurie, Looking Glass, and of course Lube Man, are going to come together for the final episode.
Still, Watchmen has been fantastic so far so I have to put faith in that they can pull it off.
“A God Walks Into Abar” is another fantastic episode of the series and it will be interesting to see how it all ends in the finale.
I really need to start paying more attention to the Watchmen fan theories.
First, I rejected the Will is Hooded Justice theory because it did not make sense for everyone to think he was white but then it turned out to be true.
And then, I rejected the theory that Angela’s husband Cal is Dr Manhattan in disguise because he was supposed to be on Mars.
Well, David Semel’s episode seven of Watchmen, “An Almost Religious Awe” proved me wrong again because, you guessed it, Cal is secretly Dr Manhattan.
Although, I guess it is not so much of a secret now because the Seventh Kalvary know and are planning on capturing him and giving his powers to Senator Joe Keene Jr.
This actually explains how Angela survived the White Night.
Dr Manhattan saved her from the Seventh Kalvary but someone probably saw this and reported back, leading to the plan to turn Keene into the new racist Dr Manhattan.
Speaking of Keene, after episode five, I speculated that he might just be using the Seventh Kalvary and may not actually be a full on racist.
Well, I was wrong again because Keene is definitely that, complaining that it is difficult to be a white man in America… while he is a senator.
Hypocrisy at its finest.
In any case, Keene explains his plan to Laurie Blake who is captured by Chief Crawford’s wife in a scene that felt kind of stupid with how easily she was trapped.
Didn’t she used to be a superhero?
And I know in Watchmen the superheroes don’t have powers, except Dr Manhattan, but I would have thought Laurie would at least be skilled enough as an FBI agent and former hero.
On another note, it will be interesting to see how Laurie reacts to learning Cal is her ex Dr Manhattan.
It should create drama between her and Angela but they will probably be too occupied dealing with the Seventh Kalvary to worry about it.
It just remains to be seen who will rescue Laurie.
Will it be Looking Glass or the greatest hero of them all Lube Man?
Jokes aside, we get more hints to future reveals, mostly through Lady Trieu who reveals that Bian is a clone of her mother, as expected, and that her father will be joining them soon.
This has caused many to speculate that Ozymandias is her father and the message he sent was “SAVE ME DAUGHTER.”
I dismissed the Hooded Justice and Dr Manhattan theories and I was wrong about those so I am not dismissing this one.
As for Ozymandias, he appears is a farcical and flatulent scene where he is put on trial by the clones, headed by the Game Warden.
His only defense is a massive fart he lets out before he is judged as guilty through a jury of peers, a pen of pigs.
Ozymandias will probably not be executed, though, because he has to link up with the main storyline somehow.
I have heard a theory that the meteorite strike in the fourth episode was actually him landing on earth and he is now trapped in the statue of himself and this seems pretty likely to me.
After all, I certainly have to start paying more attention to fan theories after I dismissed two of them, only for both of them to be right.
I remember the exact moment Lady Trieu started talking about how Dr Manhattan was disguised as a human on earth and I knew instantly it was Cal.
Honestly, I should have realised it was true earlier with how many hints there were.
Will said that Dr Manhattan could appear as any race, subtly telling Angela that he knew her secret.
And then there was the moment I mentioned when Cal told his kids that there is no heaven, and that when you die there is nothing, which was very apathetic and classic Dr Manhattan.
After realizing that the theory was right, I sat back and watched as Angela hit Cal in the head with a hammer to release Dr Manhattan.
I remember praying that she had not just lost her mind and murdered her husband in a fit of insanity but, thankfully, he really was Dr Manhattan, leading to a great cliffhanger for the next episode.
It will be interesting to see how his relationship with Angela began and what led them to this point, especially with Angela’s tragic backstory that was revealed this episode, with her parents being killed by a suicide bomber and then her grandmother dying of a heart attack before she could be adopted.
Overall, “An Almost Religious Awe” is another great episode of Watchmen that has me excited for how the final two episodes are going to play out.
I have no idea how the Seventh Kalvary plan to take down Dr Manhattan since he is a literal god but it will be interesting to see.
Every episode of Watchmen just gets better and better and the sixth episode, “This Extraordinary Being” is no exception, being the best episode of the series so far.
Directed by Stephen Williams, the story follows a young Will Reeves (Jovan Adepo) as Angela experiences many of his memories due to the large amount of Nostalgia drugs she consumed in “Little Fear of Lightning.”
It is though her experiencing her grandfather’s memories that the fan theory of Will being Hooded Justice, the very first superhero in the Watchmen universe, is confirmed.
I was on the fence about this theory before it was finally revealed.
Although, I knew that it would make sense for the story thematically and that Hooded Justice’s costume could be representative of a black man surviving a lynching, I was skeptical because it would make no sense for everyone to think Hooded Justice was white if he was Will.
Thankfully, this did not turn out to be a plot hole because Will is shown to be applying makeup to make himself appear to be white, knowing that if the white public knew he was black he would be labelled a criminal.
This racist ideology of the community is proven time and time again by Will’s experiences, leading up to him becoming Hooded Justice.
We are given a front row seat at how corrupt and racially charged the police force is.
However, the truth of the matter is even darker because many of the police are revealed to be part of a secret KKK society known as the Cyclops.
This is slowly revealed through a member of the group named Fred (Glen Fleshler), who was arrested by Will for burning down a Jewish shop, being released without charge.
It is Will’s arrest of Fred that leads to the Cyclops targeting him, with him nearly being lynched by the racist cops.
Stumbling home, he then comes across a couple being attacked and, driven by his trauma both old and new, dons the hood and hangman’s noose and charges in to help, becoming Hooded Justice.
While in most stories this would be the start of an inspirational story of Will triumphing over evil, this is not how it works in Watchmen‘s world.
With the exception of his wife, June (Danielle Deadwyler), who was the baby Will rescued after the Tulsa Massacre, he is very much alone in his fight.
Even his fellow heroes will not help, with Will’s lover, and leader of the Minute Men, Captain Metropolis (Jake McDorman) caring more about publicity than actually helping people.
As the years go by, the situation with Cyclops gets worse as no one listening to Will eventually leads to the organisation carrying out an attack by brainwashing a black audience watching a movie to riot.
Metropolis once again brushes Will off about the threat the group poses and this, combined with more racist taunts from Fred, causes Will to take matters into his own hands, killing Fred and many members of the group.
He even steals one of their brainwashing devices to fight back, only to find that he has alienated June and his son, with them going back to Tulsa because of his anger.
From here, the episode cuts to many years in the future to reveal that Will really was the one who killed Judd, using his brainwashing device to have him kill himself.
This is one of the most interesting scenes of the episode because it shows a lot about both characters.
For one thing, it raises a whole lot of questions about Judd and his involvement with the Kalvary, which appears to be descendant from Cyclops.
Judd tells Will he is trying to “help you people” but the “you people” part does seem to have some kind of racist implications.
Still, I think there may be more to Judd than him just being a completely evil Kalvary member.
As for Will, I love the moment when Judd asks who he is and Will replies “justice.”
In the years since we last saw him, Will has thrown away the hood, no longer hiding, and this line perfectly portrays that.
Now, as to what happened between the time Will killed the members of Cyclops and his killing of Crawford is a complete mystery.
There is a lot of years between these two points so it will be interesting to see how he became involved with Trieu.
Speaking of her, Angela wakes up in her care but how she got there is unclear right now as well.
From the promo for next episode, I can guess we will learn more about Angela’s past in Vietnam, which could also lead to us learning more about Will and Trieu.
Back to “This Extraordinary Being” I have got to say that the direction of the episode is incredible.
The representation of the trauma Will has with the constant colored in hallucinations of the Tulsa Massacre is very disturbing, especially when Will hallucinates that the car driven by Cyclops police members is dragging dead bodies.
Along with this, the passing of time is also portrayed brilliantly, as are the transitions between Will and Angela as she experiences his memories.
Probably the best example of this comes when the memory literally freezes in place as Laurie and Cal try to get Angela out of there but fail to do so.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find just how many historical elements have been thrown into this episode, like the first black police officer of New York, Samuel J. Battle (Philly Plowden), who makes a brief appearance.
“This Extraordinary Being” is easily Watchmen‘s best episode so far.
The only issue I have with it is that it doesn’t really make sense for Will to be kidnapped by three Cyclops members so easily, only to be beating them to a pulp with relative ease not long after.
Other than this minor problem, though, “This Extraordinary Being” is a fantastic episode that manages to be dark, depressing, and full of many great character and historical moments, supported by the top notch direction.
Directed by Andrij Parekh, episode four of Watchmen, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own,” certainly seems to be the episode that begins to connect the plot lines together.
And this all starts with the appearance of the mysterious Lady Trieu (Hong Chau) in the opening scene.
“If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” begins with the Clark family receiving a visit from Trieu who knows of their struggles to have a child.
So, she decides to gift them with one, essentially cloning a baby with their DNA.
This gift does not come without a price, though, because Trieu wants to buy their land, apparently because of some kind of object that crash lands there after the Clarks give the rights to her for the baby.
With this baby being delivered to them, the object that appears to be from space crashing in their back yard, and the fact that the couple’s last name is Clark, it is obvious that this first scene is allegorical to Superman.
Given that Dr Manhattan is essentially Watchmen‘s Superman, this speaks to the possible connection between him and Trieu.
The signs are everywhere both through this scene and Ozymandias’, who we see again testing the limits of his prison by launching his murdered servant clones out of it with a catapult.
However, before this, we get a disturbing explanation of these servant clones who Ozymandias fishes out of the water as babies, using traps, and then transforms them into adults through some kind of machine.
The sounds of his transformation are particularly gruesome but the implications of these clones are very clear.
Ozymandias says that he did not create the clones, highly implying that Dr Manhattan or Lady Trieu, or possibly both of them, have something to do with it.
Dr Manhattan did say he was going to create some life when he left earth in the Watchmen graphic novel, and Trieu has been shown capable of creating life in the opening scene.
Along with this, Tieu’s daughter Bian (Jolie Hoang-Rappaport) also seems to be some kind of clone, having nightmares about the war in Vietnam when she is way too young to have been alive then.
Then there is the statue of Ozymandias Trieu has, which looks exactly like the man himself does in his captivity.
All these signs speak to the links between Trieu, Dr Manhattan and Ozymandias, and these should hopefully become clearer in future episodes.
Either way, Trieu somehow manages to top Ozymandias as the most interesting character this episode with various hints to her connections with other characters.
She is also confirmed to be working with Will Reeves for some, as yet, unknown goal.
Them working together is first revealed by Trieu subtly telling Sister Night in Vietnamese that her grandfather wondered if she had the pills.
Then there is the final scene, which shows the two are planning something big in three days that Sister Night will hate Will for.
If I had to guess, I would say that Will and Trieu’s plan was probably generated by the racism they have suffered.
Will’s parents were killed in the Tulsa Massacre and it is highly implied that Trieu and her family were severely impacted by the Vietnam War so it makes sense that the trauma caused by these events would lead them down the path they are now on.
Will also appears to be in perfect health now, walking normally, despite being 105-years-old, which does make it possible for him to have been the one to kill Judd Crawford.
He also repeats the catch phrase of the Seventh Kalvary, “tick, tock”, showing the importance of Trieu’s Millennium Clock, which is clearly representative of the Doomsday Clock in the graphic novel.
With so much emphasis on Trieu, Ozymandias and Will, it was a little hard for Sister Night to stand out, although there is one scene of her that has stuck in my mind.
However, this is not because of her but because of the weird vigilante figure watching her who has been dubbed Lube Man.
This weirdo, who in all likelihood is probably Petey (Dustin Ingram), sees Sister Night dispose of Will’s wheelchair before running off and using his lube to escape into a sewer.
Sister Night’s following exclamation of “the f$#*!” basically voices what the viewers were thinking at this moment.
Speaking of Sister Night, though, there is something off about her husband Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).
He tells their adopted children that there is no heaven and when you die you don’t exist anymore.
Now, Cal could just simply be an atheist, but this seems a little too much of an apathetic thing to say to children who have just lost their uncle and also lost their biological parents.
There are some theories out there that Cal is a form of Dr Manhattan and there is some evidence that seems to support this.
However, I have no idea why Dr Manhattan would return to earth to live out life as a family man when he did not seem to care about such things so the theory is probably wrong.
Either way, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” is another solid episode of Watchmen that seems to be connecting the plot lines together, building towards whatever the finale will be.
The next episode looks to be centered around Looking Glass who appears to be going undercover to investigate the Seventh Kalvary.
He knows about Crawford’s possible Kalvary connections from Sister Night and he has Will’s pills so this could lead to him discovering the conspiracy.
Let’s just hope he doesn’t die as soon as he discovers it.
Watchmen‘s third episode, “She Was Killed By Space Junk” is the best episode of the series so far with the role of main character temporarily switching from Angela Abar to Jean Smart’s Laurie Blake.
Directed by Stephen Williams, the story of the episode centers on Laurie being brought into the Seventh Calvary Case while flashing forward to her sending a message to Dr Manhattan through a phone to mars.
This message is a joke about three heroes, Dr Manhattan, Ozymandius and Night Owl, who appear before god to receive judgement.
All three go to hell until god sees a woman standing behind them who identifies herself as the girl who a threw a brick from the joke Laurie appeared to screw up earlier.
The brick falls from the sky and kills god, sending him straight to hell.
The flash forwards to Laurie’s joke are the best part of the episode because I was very intrigued by what the joke ended up being.
Personally, I think it has great thematic purpose with the girl who threw the brick clearly being representative of Laurie, and the joke itself being similar to Rorschach’s Pagliacci joke from the original graphic novel.
Dr Manhattan also seems to appreciate the gag because Angela’s car, which Will escaped in last episode, descends from the heavens, nearly crushing Laurie like god’s head got crushed by the brick.
In all likelihood, though, the car was most likely dropped by the people who rescued Will who want Laurie to become a part of the case for as an unknown reason.
But, for the moment at least, Laurie seems to believe it is Dr Manhattan, bursting out into laughter, being very reminiscent of her father The Comedian.
With this, and the fact that she has taken on his last name, it is apparent that Laurie has started to feel some kinship with her destructive father over the years.
As for the rest of the episode, it is also great with Laurie being revealed as part of a vigilante capture task force of the FBI.
Night Owl is also revealed to be in prison.
Laurie actually drives quite a few comedic interactions as well, like with Looking Glass, Red Scare (Andrew Howard), and Pirate Jenny (Jessica Camacho).
Then there is her Dr Manhattan dildo, which is a real “wait, what!?” moment.
Laurie also has a few action moments as well, shooting the Seventh Calvary member with the suicide vest who tries to kidnap Senator Joe Keene JR (James Wolk).
Speaking of him, I think it is pretty apparent that he will most likely be involved somehow in the conspiracy Will mentioned.
The fact that he was at Judd’s house where Angela found the Ku Klux Klan robe last episode also supports this.
Aside from these individual moments, however, one of my favourite things about the episode is its soundtrack with Laurie having a killer theme.
This soundtrack accompanies her pretty much through the entire episode, apart from the Ozymandias scenes and, unfortunately, it is these ones that keep the episode from being perfect.
While the scenes are great I do have a few flaws with them, like the CGI Buffalo, which look completely fake.
Then there is the official reveal that Ozymandias is… well, Ozymandias.
This was presented as some kind of shocking twist but I am pretty sure we all knew it was him going in so they did not need to act like it was some big moment.
Other than this, though, Ozymandias’ scenes are still intriguing, with us learning he is the captive of “the game warden.”
There are multiple theories about who this game warden could be but the most likely seems to be Dr Manhattan.
We will just have to wait and see as Ozymandias’ escape plan slowly comes to fruition.
Overall, “She Was Killed by Space Junk” is the best episode of Watchmen so far with just a few scenes holding it back from being a truly fantastic episode.
The mystery deepens in the second episode of Watchmen “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship”, with Angela beginning her investigation into the death of Chief Crawford.
Her prime suspect is the 105-year-old Will who claims to have “strung up your police chief”, despite looking physically incapable of doing so.
Directed again by Nicole Kassel, episode two dives head first into the interactions between Angela and Will as the costumed detective tries to learn the truth from him.
An interesting point to note is that, as far as I can remember, Will never outright says he murdered Crawford.
Again, he merely states that he “strung up your police chief.”
So, while he may have had a hand in hand in hanging Crawford, he may not be behind his murder.
Although, Looking Glass later says Crawford did die of asphyxiation, likely from being hung, so I may be wrong about that.
Or maybe he was killed elsewhere before being hung.
Either way, Crawford’s murder is not the only mystery surrounding Will because it is revealed that he is Angela’s grandfather at the end of the episode.
One thing I did find interesting was that it was mentioned that Will has two descendants.
This means, along with Angela, there is one other character who is descended from him.
Following the realization that Will is her grandfather and realizing he will not cooperate, she decides to take him in, ignoring his claim of having “friends in high places.”
This comes back to bite her when, after putting Will in her car, a magnet descends from the sky and picks up the car with Will in it, flying off.
“Friends in high places” indeed.
The scenes between Angela and Will are great as they continue to build in suspense and anticipation for the reveal of the conspiracy Will claims is currently happening in Tulsa.
The only weak moment came in the aftermath of Crawford’s murder, where Angela lets out a cry of anguish that seemed kind of artificial to me.
Aside from this small moment, though, their interactions are very good.
There are already multiple theories surrounding Will, including one that he was Hooded Justice who appears on a TV show called “American Hero Story”in a brief yet interesting scene that speaks to Angela’s character.
Supporting this theory, is the opening scene where Will’s father is fighting in World War One and sees a German pamphlet that urges black soldiers to come over to their side where they will be treated fairly, and Hooded Justice was thought to be German.
Speaking of theories, I also like the one that Crawford was the Seventh Calvary member who shot Angela.
In a flashback of the White Night, Angela is shot and about to be killed by one of their members but then it cuts to her waking up in the hospital with Crawford beside her.
However, none of these scenes are my favourite of the episode.
That award goes to the scene where we get to see Ozymandias’ play.
This moment proves to be the most confusing yet interesting scene in the show so far, with his production of Dr Manhattan’s transformation being particularly disturbing and also somewhat comical.
We watch as he literally burns his assistant Mr Phillips to death to simulate Dr Manhattan’s transformation, upon which it is revealed that all of his assistants are clones.
Why Ozymandias has all these clones and what exactly he intends to achieve by making this play for himself is uncertain.
One thing is clear, though, and that is that he has been deeply affected by his last meeting with Dr Manhattan, remembering his last words to him before he departed, “nothing ever ends.”
I am probably looking forwards to Ozymandias’ scenes the most in future episodes as Jeremy Irons is doing a great job.
Other notable scenes in this episode include the discovery that Crawford may have been in the Ku Klux Klan, and the touching moment where Looking Glass reveals that, despite seeming completely cold, he is actually crying under his mask.
Overall, I would say that “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship” is another great episode of Watchmen that, while not as enjoyable as the first episode, deepens the mystery and creates more interesting questions for the show to answer.
Let’s just hope those answers will be satisfying.
Alan Moore’s Watchmen is one of the greatest graphic novels of all time, and while a lot of people did not like its 2009 adaptation, directed by Zack Snyder, I enjoyed it for what it was.
So, when it was announced that HBO would be creating a follow up series to graphic novel, under Damon Lindelof, I was pretty excited.
And, after watching the first episode, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”, directed by Nicole Kassel, I can say that this new show looks to be just as layered and complex as Moore’s original graphic novel, even if Moore has disowned the series just like the 2009 film.
The series takes place 34 years after the story of Watchmen in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where police now wear masks to protect themselves from a white supremacist terrorist organization, inspired by Rorschach, known as the Seventh Calvary.
Before this is revealed, though, the first episode picks up in 1921 with the Tulsa massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history where potentially hundreds of black people were brutally murdered.
I found the inclusion of this disturbing scene to be very interesting because not only does it highlight the issues the series will be dealing with but also because it is made clear that this tragedy is somehow influencing the plot of the story.
In fact, one of the child survivors of the massacres appears in the present story as an old man (Louis Gosset Jr.) who goes on to hang the chief of police, Judd Crawford (Don Johnson), at the end of the episode, or at least he claims he did.
What exactly a massacre that happened nearly 100 years ago has to do with the current conspiracy in Watchmen is an interesting question and one I am anticipating to be explored in the future.
As for the present events of the episode, it all does a solid job of building up the story and characters.
Our lead character is Angela Abar, or Sister Night, (Regina King), a police detective who joins in on the manhunt of the Seventh Calvary after they gun down one of her fellow officers.
She already seems to be a very good protagonist, with her looking to eventually be caught up in whatever conspiracy is going on.
Another interesting character is Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson), a costumed detective who has learned how to tell when someone is lying.
Along with these interesting characters and the so far compelling story, the episode also raises a lot of questions.
There are the tiny alien squids that fall from the sky, which are smaller versions of the one Ozymandias sent to destroy New York in the graphic novel.
Then there is Ozymandias’ play about “the watchmaker’s son”, and his incredibly creepy servants.
Finally, there is the question of who really killed Chief Crawford.
This last one looks to be the big question of the season, with Crawford’s death being built up as a mystery just like the Comedian’s was in Watchmen.
The final shot of the episode sees a drop of blood drip onto Crawford’s badge in a clear homage to the blood that dripped onto the Comedian’s badge in the graphic novel.
“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” certainly does raise a lot of interesting questions and, with its good story and characters, this provides a solid start.
My one big issue with the episode is how the Seventh Calvary are inspired by Rorschach.
As far as I can recall, Rorschach was not a white supremacist in the graphic novel.
Sure, he was far from a moral character and was bigoted in other ways but he interacted with black characters, like his prison psychologist, who he did not seem to hold prejudices against.
If anything, I think the Seventh Calvary is a group that Rorschach would be fighting if he was still alive.
So, the series acting like he was a white supremacist is actually problematic because anyone watching this show, without reading the graphic novel, would just assume he was one.
Because of this, I do hope the show makes it clear that the Seventh Calvary has warped Rorschach’s ideals to suit their own ends.
Other than this problem, though, I found “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” to be a solid first entry in the Watchmen TV series and I am interested to see where it goes from here.
When I started watching Chernobyl, I had not heard the amount of praise it was getting, especially not that it had become the number one rated show on IMDB.
However, after watching the five episode miniseries, I can honestly say I am not surprised it achieved this. Chernobyl is nothing short of an absolute masterpiece that is incredibly crafted from start to finish.
Covering the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, the miniseries is directed by Johan Renck, and written by Craig Mazin.
Mazin is surprising because because he has written some of the Scary Movie films, both The Hangover sequels, and The Huntsman: Winter’s War, to name a few, and these are not very good in my opinion.
So, it is great to see him go from writing films that I do not like to writing this incredible miniseries.
I felt so many different emotions across all five episodes from horror, to anger, to sadness, to flat out disbelief at what was happening.
I remember watching a documentary about the Chernobyl accident a while back, so I did know a bit of the story going in but I was still not prepared.
The first episode, “1:23:45”, details the immediate aftermath of the explosion at the power plant and the beginning of Soviet attempts to suppress what was happening while even they do not know the full scale of what has happened.
The next three, “Please Remain Calm”, “Open Wide, O Earth” and “The Happiness of All Mankind” showcase the struggles of officials Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) and Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård), and nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson) to prevent further catastrophe.
And the final episode, “Vichnaya Pamyat” is a court case about the causes of the disaster and the push to expose the truth.
All three episodes are thrilling, with every actor giving a fantastic performance.
Everything about Chernobyl just comes together, including the cinematography, the music, the CGI and make-up effects.
And boy are those make-up effects horrifying, with them detailing the extent and extreme agony caused by the radiation on its victims in terrifying detail.
Also, if I had to sum up Chernobyl in one word it would be that, “terrifying.”
The way the miniseries shows the effects of radiation poisoning is terrifying.
The absolutely nail biting sequences where people work in extremely radioactive conditions, with only the sound of their Geiger Counter’s exploding with noise to be heard, are terrifying.
The mistakes and incompetent decisions, not just before the disaster but also in the aftermath, causing further tragedy is terrifying.
The scene that will inevitably stick with me the most, though, is at the end of episode one when the deputy chief operational engineer of Chernobyl Anatoly Sitnikov (Jamie Sives) is sent to look at the reactor from the roof.
I will not say what happens during to this scene, or to Sitnikov, but it is such a gut punch of a moment with Sives’ expression selling the tragedy of the scene perfectly.
As for whether Chernobyl adapts the whole truth of the disaster, there obviously had to be some liberties taken, and things cut out, to adapt the story in this format.
Khomyuk’s character, for example, is completely fictional but used as a representation of all the scientists who helped after the accident, which is nice.
I also doubt that one of the main contributors to the disaster Anatoly Dyatlov (Paul Ritter) was as cruel as he was made out to be here.
Then there are the accents, with no attempt to sound Russian or Ukranian being made.
However, the explanation for this is definitely valid because it was better for the accents not to be addressed rather than risking getting terrible fake sounding ones.
As for Dyatlov, his unlikable nature does not affect the miniseries in a negative way, even though I wish they had made him a bit more relatable.
So, overall, the changes to history are well done with the magnitude of the event and those affected by it being treated with respect. Chernobyl is an absolutely fantastic miniseries.
It will make you feel sad, angry, and often horrified with you being left on the edge of your seat throughout.
It is easily deserving of all the awards once the time comes.
If you have not seen Chernobyl yet then I must ask you “where have you been?” before advising you to go and watch it.