Watchmen, like Game of Thrones, invites theorizing. We’re two episodes in and this is already a richly detailed world, with big plot setups and seemingly minor background information that may or may not end up being relevant. Unlike Game of Thrones, however, book readers don’t really have an advantage here. Damon Lindelof’s adaptation is a freewheeling sequel-ish text that exists somewhere adjacent to the graphic novel. It doesn’t hurt to know the novel, but so far all that has given me is an appreciation for details but no real insights into What It All Means or how various characters might connect. So let’s make some wild assumptions about where Watchmen is going and what is up with all these people!
First, I am REALLY hung up on old man Will. Is he actually a superhero capable of hanging a man even at his advanced age? Or is he connected to the “vast conspiracy” he told Angela about? Is he a supervillain? Here’s the thing about Will—we know now he’s the little boy who survived the Tulsa massacre, and we know he’s Angela’s grandfather. But what I really want to know is why he’s wearing that red and purple suit. As we saw in episode two, the American Hero Story television show portrayed Hooded Justice, the first masked hero in the world of Watchmen. He’s a holdover from the novel and a figure of mystery, as his true identity was never revealed. Take a leap with me—what if Hooded Justice is WILL? In the opening of the first episode, young Will was watching a film about Bass Reeves, the real-life lawman who inspired the Lone Ranger. In the real world, Bass Reeves was whitewashed for mainstream audiences as John Reid, a white man in a mask. Is this what has happened to Hooded Justice? Did the story of a black man who wore a mask and sought justice get reinvented for popular culture as an unknown white man? I see no other reason for Will to wear Hooded Justice’s colors if we’re not meant to make some kind of connection, and this theory ties together the Bass Reeves silent film and the superhero prestige drama.
And if Will is—or was—a good guy, then what’s the real deal with Angela and Judd? Is the klan hood in Judd’s closet a memento from a misspent youth? Or is nothing as it seems? And if nothing is as it seems? How far do we take that? I am prepared to take it ALL THE WAY FAR. Angela and Judd are, apparently, the only survivors of the White Night attack against the Tulsa police. Judd was there when Angela woke up, and this is the basis of their strong friendship. This shared survivorship bonds them and makes Angela Judd’s footsoldier. Angela, who might be descended from a masked hero, maybe even one with actual power. If Judd is not on the level—and let’s be honest, you don’t hire Don Johnson to play straightforward hero types—then Angela is a hell of an ace to have in his pocket. I think Will’s conspiracy is that Judd was in the Seventh Cavalry and was agitating for the race war from the inside. He was using Angela to some purpose, and the plot engine of the show is Angela discovering Judd’s plan for her.
Which brings us to the totally unrelated issue of Adrian Veidt, Doctor Manhattan, and Topher’s floating metal LEGO set. Veidt is fixated on Doctor Manhattan, and up on Mars, we see a news clip of Manhattan destroying something he’d built. In episode two, we see Topher building the same edifice out of his floating LEGO. And damned if it doesn’t look like Veidt’s castle. What do Doctor Manhattan, a seemingly random kid in Oklahoma, and Adrian Veidt have in common? Why are Manhattan and Topher building the same thing? Why is Veidt so fixated on Manhattan? I don’t know how this is going to connect to Angela’s story, but I bet it does. It’s just a matter of how. Is it through Will’s legacy as a masked hero? Or Angela’s investigation? Or the conspiracy Will is so worried about? And seriously, who the f-ck rescued Will with the flying magnet? Who IS he?