There are only two episodes left of Watchmen, and everything is coming together, the puzzle is almost complete. The last dangling thread is what Adrian Veidt has to do with all this, and everything is else is pretty much down to who lives and who dies. As much as Watchmen is deconstructing the superhero genre, it’s still coming down to good guys versus bad guys, though with this particular tale, the bad guys winning would not be shocking—the bad guys won in the graphic novel. Angela Abar and Laurie Blake are in imminent danger, and Lady Trieu is still up to something fishy (this woman has ZERO ethical boundaries, she is TERRIFYING). We also need to find out where Looking Glass went, and if we will ever see dear, sweet sewer-slide guy again. And, of course, we must learn the fate of Doctor Manhattan.
Once the initial shock of the Cal reveal passed, what becomes interesting about Doctor Manhattan is how his presence in Tulsa sets up an echo of the 1921 Tulsa riot. Watchmen began with the Tulsa riot, a real-life moment when a white citizenry murdered their fellow black citizenry, and in the process destroyed one of the most successful and affluent black communities in America. It was, in some sense, a seizing of power. Now, the Seventh Kavalry is poised to destroy a black family in order to once again seize power. It’s not the same, but Watchmen has deliberately created a scenario in which white supremacists are constantly tearing down black accomplishment (just like the real world).
And it is interesting that Doctor Manhattan, the most powerful being in the known universe, chose to hide among humanity as a black man. The racial politics of Watchmen have been topsy-turvy since the beginning, and I am interested to see how “Cal” ties into that. Watchmen is also concerned with masks, who wears them, and why. Between Judd and Senator Keene, a world has been created where bad guys and good guys wear masks, and it can be impossible to tell them apart. What does it mean for this powerful being to be unmasked? And Manhattan has been wearing a specific mask for a decade. How will that impact him? Will it impact him?
I have a lot of questions about Manhattan, but I don’t want Watchmen to be consumed by him right at the end. I don’t think it will be—it’s been too well-structured to this point—but when a nearly omnipotent blue god shows up, it’s hard for him not to hijack the story. Manhattan is fascinating, but what really matters is how this reveal impacts Angela, how it changes the stakes for her, and what choices she makes as a result of this information being revealed. And then how do these pieces—Laurie, Lady Trieu, Adrian Veidt, Will Reeves, Looking Glass—coalesce with the information that Doctor Manhattan is Angela’s husband? Doctor Manhattan might be the most powerful, the obvious game-changer, but the real question is what does Angela do next?