Watchmen Episode Nine, See How They Fly Review. Satisfying, Yet Disappointing.

4 stars
And that’s a wrap.
HBO’s Watchmen has concluded with its final episode, “See How They Fly” directed by Frederick E.O Toye, and, honestly, I’m a little disappointed.
That is not to say that I did not enjoy the finale because I did.
However, compared to the incredible episodes that came before “See How They Fly” is more on par with the first few episodes of the series.
Not only this, but there are multiple things that are set up throughout the season but many of them do not pay off here.
A prime example of this is Laurie Blake, who has such a minor role in this finale, despite being hyped up in the third episode.
In that episode, Laurie’s relationship with Dr Manhattan is shown to be very important to her character, and we are reminded of this in the seventh episode when Cal is revealed to be Manhattan.
So, how do these two characters interact in the finale?
Well, they don’t.
Laurie and Manhattan were shown to be intrinsically tied together in this story and yet there is no moment where they talk.
Laurie barely even reacts when she learns of his death.
And then there is Looking Glass, who is also pushed to the side.
The only role he and Laurie have is arresting Ozymandias at the end but they do nothing to progress the overall plot.

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Despite both characters having an entire episode focused around them, Laurie and Looking Glass serve almost no role in the finale.

And what the hell was the point of Lube Man anyway?
I know the Peteypedia hints at Petey being Lube Man but you don’t just put a scene into an episode that looks to be important only for it to be relegated to internet content.
Speaking of setup things not having importance, remember when that guy showed up on Angela’s doorstep wanting to see her and Cal’s kids?
He is never seen again so who was he and what was his point?
I know I am hating on this finale a lot but I do want to say that, even though I was disappointed, there are still a lot of great things about it.
My favourite part of “See How They Fly” has to be the Ozymandias scenes.
I loved his opening escape from Europa with Trieu being revealed as his daughter, like many had predicted.
By far the best scene, though, is the callback to the Watchmen graphic novel where Ozymandias catches a bullet fired by the Game Warden.
As he kills the Game Warden, we learn that Ozymandias made him wear a mask to make him cruel as his entire conflict with him was created by Ozymandias to have a worthy adversary to keep him sane, even if he does not consider the Game Warden worthy.
This is certainly not the last mask metaphor in the episode either.

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Fabricating an entire mortal enemy storyline to keep himself entertained is classic Ozymandias.

Upon returning to earth, Ozymandias is dragged along by Trieu, who plans to transfer Dr Manhattan’s powers to her like the Seventh Kalvary do, but she hopes to use his powers to create world peace.
However, being Ozymandias’ daughter, she is, of course, a narcissistic megalomaniac, so cannot be trusted with such power.
Hong Chau does an amazing job portraying Trieu’s crazy side as she reveals that Joe Keene Jr. has deservedly been reduced to a puddle of gore.
I also really enjoyed her nonchalant reply to Jane Crawford saying she’s going to kill them of, “Oh, yeah. Of course I am.”
But then, Dr Manhattan transports Ozymandias, Laurie and Looking Glass to Ozymandias’ Antarctic base to “save the day.”
There, they turn the squids Ozymandias had been using to simulate an alien invasion into deadly projectiles to stop Trieu from achieving her goal.
Before this, though, we get the death of Dr Manhattan as Trieu transfers his power.
This was a genuinely sad moment but it was  a little tacky, considering how off Dr Manhattan still looks.
After his death, Trieu is stopped by Ozymandias’ plan as the squids rain down and, just before Trieu is killed, a Jesus on the Cross stand falls just as Trieu’s illusions of godhood fall.
She is crushed by her Millennium Clock or, more appropriately, her own hubris.
Taking refuge in the same theater where Will Reeves sat as a child as the Tulsa Massacre took place, Angela finds her grandfather caring over her children.
Will reveals how this was all part of Manhattan’s plan and, in my second favourite moment of the episode, he explains to Angela that what he felt when he became Hooded Justice was fear and hurt, not anger, and that “you can’t heal under a mask, Angela. Wounds need air.”

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Will’s line about masks during this scene is instantly iconic.

The music during this moment is also exceptional.
I have to say that I really liked how this show expanded on Hooded Justice and made him a much more interesting character than the original did.
Will and Ozymandias have the best moments of the series by far.
Speaking of Ozymandias, like I said, he is arrested by Laurie and Looking Glass near the end of the episode.
Looking Glass doing this does bring an end to his arc but it was a small part given what came before.
Hopefully, if we get another season then we can see more of him.
If we do get a continuation, though, I have no idea how they are going to follow up the big cliffhanger, which leaves it up to the audience to decide if Angela inherited Dr Manhattan’s powers when she ate the egg he left her.
The final shot of Angela about to attempt to walk on water but cutting away before it can be revealed if she can reminded me a lot of the open ending to Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
As soon as I saw her foot descending to the water, I knew it was not going to show us.
Still, it is a great shot to finish the finale on, whether this is the last we see of the show or not.
Overall, I found “See How They Fly” to be a satisfying conclusion, although somewhat disappointing with its usage of characters like Laurie and Looking Glass.
However, for characters like Angela, Will, and Ozymandias the end was more than worth the wait.
That is if this is the end because, in the words of Dr Manhattan himself, “nothing ever ends.”

Watchmen Episode Five, Little Fear of Lightning, Review. The Trauma of Looking Glass.

5 stars
I can easily say that the fifth episode of Watchmen, “Little Fear of Lightning” is the best episode of the series so far.
Directed by Steph Green, it mainly centers around the character Looking Glass, who was a character I had been intrigued by since the first episode, and this episode definitely makes him my favourite.
His arc in “Little Fear of Lightning” is just fantastic, with Tim Blake Nelson doing an amazing job bringing his trauma to life.
This trauma was created in 1985 when Looking Glass was just Wade Tillman, a young, conflicted and naive Jehovah’s Witness, played by Philip Labes.
His nativity is proven by how he literally approaches the most aggressive looking people at a carnival and is then dragged into a house of mirrors by a female member who manipulates him into getting undressed and then steals his clothes.
Ironically, this ends up saving his life as the mirrors seem to save him from the psychic blast unleashed by the alien squid Ozymandias drops on Manhattan, killing half its population.

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Wade somehow chose the most threatening people to approach but, hey, at least it saved his life.

The squid is then shown in all of its glory and I was honestly surprised by how well it is incorporated into the story.
I had always supported Zack Snyder’s decision to make Ozymandias blame Dr Manhattan for the attack in his adaptation because I felt the giant squid would not work on screen.
Well, “Little Fear of Lightning” proved me wrong with a perfect portrayal of the hoax.
The effects the event had on Wade is also perfectly displayed, hinting that his truth telling ability may have been generated by the blast that traumatized him.
Wade’s trauma is so great, in fact, that it is the reason he joined the police force after the White Night because it allows him to wear a mask made of a material that will supposedly protect him if another giant squid were to attack.
It seems that Laurie’s speech in the previous episode about people wearing masks to hide from the pain and trauma applies more to Wade than it does Angela.
Unfortunately, the Seventh Kavalry are fully aware of this trauma, using it to manipulate Wade by sending one of them to his support group and then purposefully alerting him to her Seventh Kavalry affiliation to lure him into a trap.
Inside their base, Wade learns that they are experimenting with teleportation and is quickly apprehended when he confronts them.
Following this, we get the reveal that Senator Joe Keene is involved with the Seventh Kavalry.
While this was expected, it did led to some interesting comments from Keene about his and Cheif Crawford’s connections to the Kavalry.
One especially interesting thing to note is that Kenne calls the Kalvary racists, implying that he is not on their side ideologically and may just be using them for a greater purpose.

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It will be interesting to see what Keene’s true role in the Seventh Kalvary is.

What this purpose is remains to be seen but it is clearly not aligned with Trieu and Will’s because Keene wants to know who murdered Crawford.
So the Seventh Kalvary, and Will and Trieu have different monstrous goals that our main characters will have to stop.
Sadly, Wade looks to have impeded this because he turns Angela in to Laurie at the end of the episode, both to protect her from the Kavalry and because he learns the truth behind the squid attack.
Keene gives him a video of Ozymandias confessing to how he hoaxed the squid attack, killing millions of people to create world peace, destroying Wade’s entire perception of what is real.
He also somehow planned for Robert Redford to become President so it will be interesting to see how he managed to figure that out.
From here, the episode goes to Ozymandias’ story where he begins his escape attempt.
Shooting himself out of his prison using the catapult, Ozymandias is revealed to be on one of Jupiter’s moons and uses the dead bodies of his clone servants to create a message for a satellite, “SAVE ME D-”.
We don’t to get to see the entire message before Ozymandias is pulled back into his prison by the game warden but it is most likely either Dr Manhattan or Dan AKA Night Owl.

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I wonder who Ozymandias sent his message to and if they will even be willing to help.

Although, considering Dan is supposed to be in prison this seems unlikely.
As for Dr Manhattan it is highly implied that he is the clones’ creators after Ozymandias is arrested by the game warden and declares that their god has abandoned them.
Why Dr Manhattan would leave his creations, though, remains to be seen, if he is their creator that is.
Either way, the ethical questions about the concept of clones is something Watchmen is tackling very well, as displayed in this episode both through Ozymandias’ servant clones and the pet clones that Wade’s ex-wife is shown to be experimenting on.
This leads to the incredibly dark scene with her supposedly incinerating the clone of a dog.
Funny, how I have seen Ozymandias mercilessly dispose of hundreds of clones and yet it’s the dog that gets to me.
In any case, “Little Fear of Lightning” ends with the Seventh Kalvary converging on Looking Glass’ property, ready to kill him because he has served his purpose and knows too much.
I was horrified when I first saw this because the episode had made Looking Glass my favourite character and I do not want him to die but, after thinking about it, I am sure he is probably safe.
After all, if he was going to die this way the episode would not have ended before his death, as the death itself would be the cliffhanger.
That said, we will probably have to wait a few weeks to know Looking Glass’ fate because it seems we will primarily be getting Angela’s point of view next episode, as she experiences her grandfather’s memories through the Nostalgia drugs she took after Looking Glass turned her in.
I would have to say that “Little Fear of Lighting” is my favourite episode of Watchmen so far, exploring trauma brilliantly through Wade Tillman and his alter ego, Looking Glass.

Watchmen Episode Two, Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship, Review: “Friends in High Places” Indeed.

4 stars
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.

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Will disappears with a smile as he is rescued from Angela’s custody. 

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.

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Watching Ozymandias burn one of his clone servants to death, only for the next clone to eagerly take their place, is both disturbing and oddly comedic.

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.

Watchmen, Episode One, It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice Review: A Solid Start.

4 stars
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.

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I wonder what the Tulsa massacre could have to do with a conspiracy happening close to a hundred years later?

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.

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It’s raining squids! Hallelujah!

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.

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The Seventh Calvary warp Rorschach’s quote from “all the whores and politicians will look up and shout save us, and I will look down and whisper, no”, to “all the whores and race traitors will shoout out, save us, and we will whisper, no.” I hope this appropriation and warping is addressed.

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.