On the November 1, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film senior writer Ben Pearson is joined by /Film writers Hoai-Tran Bui and Chris Evangelista to talk about the third episode of HBO’s Watchmen, titled “She Was Killed By Space Junk.”
Opening Banter: Thanks to Kris Keochinda for the opening theme song and @sirzapz on Twitter for the logo
Who is Laurie Blake?Watchmen comic backstoryShe has a complicated relationship with masks, as seen through her relationships with Mr. Shadow “he’s not a hero…he’s a fucking joke” & PeteyIs Keene behind this whole thing?Presidential hopeful. Crime is down 80% in Tulsa, other cities want to adopt the Defense of Police Act. Is he orchestrating these events to draw attention to him and his policies?Implies that he could get Nite Owl out of jailIntroduction of Petey FBI Deputy Director seems resistant to Petey’s ideas to dive into the psychology of Rorschach – is there something else going on there?Millennium Clock – who is Lady Trieu? On the plane with Laurie, Petey says the word “fan” with real contemptLaurie interrogates Looking Glass, who reveals that Judd’s funeral is in a couple of hoursSeventh Kavalry suicide bomber interrupts the funeral. Laurie who was hiding a weapon shoots him, Angela throws the bomb into Judd’s graveFace off between Laurie and AngelaAdrian Veidt confirmedHis “we’ll have a use for him before too long” quote appeared in the “previously on” segment – did we see that use in this episode?What is his endgame? Designs for a catapult/trebuchet, but Mr. Phillips has a rope attached to himWho is the game warden? What is the dynamic at play here? Is he in Argentina with plastic surgery?Car crashes down ties in with her joke – is Doctor Manhattan involved somehow? Does he care more than Laurie thinks?Tidbits: They’re staying at the Black Freighter Inn. Tartarus Acres is the name of the cemetery. Pirate imagery on the manor
Other Articles Mentioned:
‘Watchmen’ Brings Back Some Familiar Names With “She Was Killed by Space Junk”The ‘Watchmen’ Reference Guide: Every Easter Egg in “She Was Killed by Space Junk”‘Watchmen’ Episode 4 Promo Teases Lady Trieu and a ReckoningHow ‘Watchmen’ Uses Superheroes to Explore the Complexity of Being Black in AmericaHBO’s ‘Watchmen’ Demonstrates the Right Way to “Remix” a ClassicIf You’re Enjoying ‘Watchmen’, You’ll Love These Five Comic Books
All the other stuff you need to know:
You can find more about all the stories we mentioned on today’s show at slashfilm.com, and linked inside the show notes./Film Daily is published every weekday, bringing you the most exciting news from the world of movies and television as well as deeper dives into the great features from slashfilm.com. You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the popular podcast apps RSS. Send your feedback, questions, comments and concerns to us at [email protected]. Please leave your name and general geographic location in case we mention the e-mail on the air.Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes, tell your friends and spread the word! Thanks to Sam Hume for our logo.
After three episodes of whispered references to a mysterious “Lady Trieu,” we finally get to meet her face to face in the Watchmen episode 4 promo. Right off the bat, Hong Chau‘s trillionaire businesswoman strikes an intimidating figure, saying “a legacy…legacy as in blood.” But that’s not the only intriguing thing about this promo, which teases a “reckoning” after the events of the past three episodes. Watch the Watchmen season 4 promo below.
Watchmen Season 4 Promo
Who is Lady Trieu? And what connection does she have to the violent happenings in Tulsa, Oklahoma? Maybe nothing, but we do know that the trillionaire head of Trieu Industries will play a major role going forward in Damon Lindelof‘s acclaimed superhero series inspired by the groundbreaking graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. We’ve seen references to her in past episodes, with a young woman collecting newspapers for her, and various mentions of Trieu Industries.
According to the show’s hilariously named companion website Petypedia, she purchased Adrian Veidt’s company in 2012, right when he went missing and has been formally running his estate since 2017. She was the one to accept the FBI’s announcement that Veidt is dead, but as saw in last night’s killer episode, he is very much alive. She arrives just as the police force in Tulsa prepare for a “reckoning,” as Tim Blake Nelson’s Looking Glass dryly comments to Regina King‘s Sister Knight.
Watchmen airs on HBO on Sunday nights.
Set in an alternate history where “superheroes” are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name while attempting to break new ground of its own.
The first two episodes of Watchmen were spent introducing us to the world of the show and its new characters – while referencing the past. But in “She Was Killed by Space Junk”, we at long last catch up with characters from the comic, mainly Laurie Blake, better known as the former Silk Spectre.
In case you didn’t have the time to re-read the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel, we’re here to give you all the easter eggs and references to the original Watchmen from the episode. Of course, this is going to be spoiler-heavy.
Doctor Manhattan Takes Your Calls
Not so much a reference to the graphic novel, but as the show keeps expanding the world of Watchmen, we’re seeing more details of how the existence of superheroes have changed this world. One such way is the existence of phone booths where you can send messages to Doctor Manhattan on Mars. We only see one in Tulsa, but Laurie Blake implies there are more of these elsewhere and that Manhattan doesn’t listen to the messages as he still doesn’t give a second thought to humanity.
The Washington Monument
Just like the Doctor Manhattan booth, this is another simple illustration of this alternate world. We briefly see the Washington Monument, but it has what looks like a ring-shape platform floating around the top of the obelisk.
Comedy Begets Tragedy
Advertisements for American Hero Story keeps showing up everywhere. We get a look at the show’s version of Captain Metropolis to the right and The Comedian himself to the left. The show’s tagline of “Comedy Begets Tragedy,” is especially poignant given that it was The Comedian who first figured out Veidt’s plan for a fake alien invasion and died because of it.
It seems like Robert Redford is not the only celebrity in charge of the country in this universe. After last week revealed Henry Lewis Gates Jr. as the Secretary of Treasury and Vox co-founder Ezra Klein as Press Secretary, a headline reveals that bestselling author John Grisham is a Supreme Court Justice. Grisham is of course known for legal thrillers such as The Firm and The Pelican Brief, but he’s also a lawyer. The show’s official companion site also reveals TV personality and political commentator John McLaughlin was also part of the Supreme Court, and that Johnny Cochran was somehow involved in a lawsuit that gave way to Redfordations.
Et Tu, Christopher Nolan’s Mr. Shadow?
Laurie Blake and her fellow FBI agents take down the vigilante known as Mr. Shadow, one of plenty of do-gooders still out and about despite the Keene Act of 1977 having made vigilantism illegal. Mr. Shadow’s black costume and grave voice heavily resemble that of Batman in the Christopher Nolan film trilogy. Later on, he’s described as a “rich asshole playing dress up,” which we can’t really refute.
Alexa, Play Devo
When Laurie returns to her apartment, she commands her voice-activated CD-player to “play Devo.” The episode’s title, “She Was Killed by Space Junk,” is also a lyric from the Devo song “Space Junk.” But that’s not all! This popular ‘80s band was also referenced by Laurie in the original Watchmen comic. In issue #7, she described Nite Owl’s goggles as “pretty Devo.”
The episode title can also refer to Laurie figuratively carrying Doctor Manhattan’s space “junk” in her briefcase, or even the car that literally falls from the sky at the end of the episode and nearly kills her.
The Owl And The Cage
Laurie has a pet owl in her apartment, an affectionate homage to Dan, the second Nite Owl and her former partner. Better yet, the owl’s name is Who, which is simply the best name for an owl.
A few minutes later, we see Senator Keene convince Laurie to go to Tulsa by implying he could pardon Nite Owl if he became president. Though Lindelof has said that Dan Dreiberg will not appear on the show, the supplemental material on the show’s official companion website reveals that he’s in federal custody after being arrested alongside Laurie for violating the Keene Act in the ‘90s. We still don’t know how Laurie got out of prison, though.
Laurie Blake Herself
Not really an easter egg, but a flat out confirmation if you didn’t know that already that Laurie Blake is Laurie Juspeczyk, AKA Silk Spectre II. And the reveal is told through a simply perfect shot of Laurie standing in front of her part in a Warhol print of herself, Nite Owl, Ozymandias and Doctor Manhattan.
The Rorschach Journal
Agent Dale Petey, the man behind the Peteypedia from the show’s companion website, tries to include excerpts from Rorschach’s journal in his meeting. This is the first time we see a glimpse of the published book and his writing, which of course is taken word-for-word from the narration in the comic. The journal basically recounts the events of the Watchmen graphic novel as told by Rorschach.
As implied by the episode and confirmed through Peteypedia, the journal was indeed published by right-wing tabloid The New Frontiersman after Rorschach dropped it at their offices at the end of the graphic novel and later became popular reading material among conspiracy theorists.
Millennium Clock And Veidt Enterprises
The millennium clock is not only an impressive, if maybe pointless, structure, but it is also a reference to Lady Trieu. Trieu is a character played by Hong Chau who has not showed up in the show yet. Her company absorbed Veidt Enterprises following a Doctor Manhattan-panic that caused the recalling of all the synthesized lithium Manhattan and Veidt had produced, which affected the latter’s electric car business and led to his company having to sell out. The show will reveal more soon enough.
Black Freighter Inn and Black Flag
Laurie and Petey are staying at a hotel in Tulsa named The Black Freighter Inn & Suites, a clear nod to the pirate comic-within-a-comic from the original Watchmen.
Later on, we see Jeremy Iron’s Adrian Veidt more on that in a second ride towards a herd of bison living on his estate. He passes a skull and crossbones flag handing from a sickle, another nod to the popularity of pirates from the original graphic novel. Curious enough, the comic-within-a-comic also served as a reflection of Veidt’s role in the story, as he was the one man capable of bringing change to the world and stop its destruction, but only through sacrificing countless lives.
Dead And Alive Bodies Are Basically The Same
While sending a message to Doctor Manhattan, Laurie quotes Doctor Manhattan and his detached view on humanity, life and dead. His reasoning was that “A alive body and dead body have the same number of particles. Structurally, there’s no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?”
A Very Watchmen Funeral
It wouldn’t be Watchmen without a rainy funeral scene. Further making the connection between chief Judd and The Comedian, his death jumpstarts the story, and his funeral serves as a meeting between Laurie and Angela.
We see Veidt sitting on a table and meditating, the way his robe hangs down covering the chair behind him makes him look like he’s floating, just like Manhattan was when he built his first castle on Mars.
Definitely Adrian Veidt
Again, this is not so much an easter egg, but after the marketing for the show decided to hide the identity of Jeremy Irons’ character. Here, we finally see him wearing the classic Ozymandias costume.
Also, we hear Veidt claim that he’s not “some sort of republic serial villain,” while dictating a letter to the Game Warder. This is a line first told by him to Rorschach and Nite Owl in issue 11 of the graphic novel before revealing he had already unleashed his giant squid on New York City “35 minutes ago.”
Intrinsic Field Generators
Following the funeral for chief Judd, a reporter asks Senator Keene for his opinion on the claims that Russia is building an “intrinsic field generator.” An intrinsic field is an invisible force not unlike gravity that holds things together. It was also something Jon Osterman was experimenting with when he accidentally got trapped inside an intrinsic field subtractor and was turned into Doctor Manhattan.
Secret Compartment In Dad’s Closet
While talking to Angela, Laurie reveals she knows about the secret compartment in chief Crawford’s closet, and suspects Angela also knew about it. She also mentions that her dad had a similar secret compartment in his closet, referencing the scene where Rorschach finds the Comedian’s costume hidden inside a closet after his death.
Another Big Blue Sighting
After teasing the contents of her briefcase for the entire episode, Laurie finally opens it to reveal…a large Doctor Manhattan-themed dildo called “Silk Spectre Takes Manhattan.” This is the second time Watchmen shows Doctor Manhattan’s big blue penis, albeit indirectly.
Curiously, this isn’t the first time a Silk Spectre image was used for sex accessories. The original Silk Spectre, Laurie’s mother, was the subject of many “Tijuana bibles,” or small erotic comic books that were popular in the ‘30s and ‘40s.
Throughout the episode, we see Laurie tell Doctor Manhattan a joke where she recounts her feelings towards most of her former vigilante partners. She references Nite Owl using his costume to fight crime but not kill anyone. Veidt’s vast intelligence and also his mass murder that saved the world. And Manhattan’s disinterest in humanity and of course his habit of “strolling around with his dick hanging out.”
At the end of her not-very-funny joke, Laurie says “Roll on snare drum, curtains, good joke.” A reference to Rorschach telling a joke about the clown Pagliacci.
HBO's Watchmen TV series continues to break new ground with its continuation of Alan Moore's acclaimed graphic novel. And Doctor Manhattan, who's the only superpowered being who exists in this series, still looms large despite never actually making an appearance. We've only seen news coverage of him along with occasional memorabilia, and last week, we saw a replica of that famed blue appendage appear as part of a twisted production “The Watchmaker's Son” by Jeremy Irons' still-fixated character. This week in the “She Was Killed By Space Junk” episode, we not only see Irons finally articulate his long-obvious-but-secret identity, but we witness the debut of Jean Smart's character, who's obsessing over Doctor Manhattan her former lover as well.
The episode's framing device — a series of expository “jokes,” with the first one being about a bricklayer who's a meticulous planner but still screws up and ends up with a leftover brick, which gets tossed at the end — serves as a relatively breezy rundown of some key Watchmen history though a series of callback-filled, hero-based jokes. We'll talk those out here, but first, a bit about Smart's character.
— Smart plays FBI agent Laurie Blake, who's revealed during the episode to formerly be Silk Spectre II, as portrayed by Malin Ackerman in Zack Snyder's 2009 movie. Laurie's original surnames, Juspeczyk/Jupiter from her mother, has been discarded for that of her father, Edward Blake, and there's our first tie-in, given that his alter-ego was The Comedian who already received a reference in the pilot, when the blood of Don Johnson's police chief dripped onto his badge, as a nod to the blood-spattered smiley face of the comics. Blake, of course, died at the beginning of Snyder's movie with his demise spawning the mystery that fuels most of Rorschach's actions in the story. At one point in her history, Laurie performed vigilante work as The Comedienne, which is presumably why showrunner/writer Damon Lindelof has her tell jokes about heroes while leaving a series of phone messages for the Mars-residing Doctor Manhattan.
[A side note: Laurie makes at least one of these phone calls in front of a restaurant called The Iberian Pig, a real establishment located in Decatur, Georgia part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. I can't tell you the true relevance of plopping a spacey, blue phone booth in front of this restaurant, but Reddit's been digging it.]
— Hero #1 — Nite Owl II: Laurie's first sardonic, rambling joke tells the story of “Owl Guy,” i.e., the costumed vigilante persona adopted by Daniel Dreiberg, who was played by Patrick Wilson in Snyder's movie. A former lover of Laurie's as well, this character doesn't actually appear in the Watchmen series, which is actually pretty relieving. It feels more than like enough “owl” that Laurie's the owner of a caged bird whose name is “Who,” as revealed to James Wolk's senator character. Like every other hero in Laurie's jokes, Owl Guy apparently goes to hell after God snaps his fingers.
— Hero #2 — Ozymandias: This one's much more antagonist than hero, but Laurie talks about Veidt on the flight to Tulsa while taking in a birdseye view of the Millennium Clock. This provides an opportunity for an explicit shout-out Laurie's “not a fan” of the guy, who's been officially declared dead but is actually the twisted lord of his own manor, portrayed by a gleefully scenery-guzzling Irons. Laurie discusses this supposedly “smartest man in the world,” who as fans will recall unleashed an enormous alien squid on New York City, killing 3 million people. And that's why we're seeing the show's squid-rain, which is somehow still falling due to somebody's power, although we don't yet know whether it's Veidt pulling these strings or not. However, Veidt finally utters a formal declaration of his identity to the audience. Most everyone who's followed Watchmen knew this already, but it's still a nice touch to see this display of smug triumph.
— Hero #3 — Doctor Manhattan: Laurie doesn't refer to this fellow by name, but obviously, she's sending a dig to Doctor Manhattan, since no one else can manage to be a blue, god-like creature “who likes to strut around with his dick hanging out.” She drops a verbal primer of his superpowers, including teleportation and seeing the future — you know, all of the abilities that former mere mortal Jonathan Osterman gained after unwittingly turning himself into a radioactive, blue-penised juggernaut during a lab catastrophe. Laurie's clearly in the habit of sending messages to the guy, who's exiled himself for 30 damn years on Mars. It feels like an exercise in futility for her, and she's not even sure that he'll ever hear her words, but then she receives a very clear sign that he does receive her messages. Here's one enormous brick.
Well, Doctor Manhattan does have a sense of humor after all, and it sounds like the bricklayer of the joke might be Osterman's father, whose father was a watchmaker. In the comics, Dad tossed a bunch of watch pieces off a fire escape, which thwarted his son's quest to be like his dad, and all of that led to Osterman's actual career, including the accident that turned him into Doctor Manhattan. Or the figurative bricklayer might be Laurie's mother, Sally, who wanted her daughter to continue the vigilante legacy.
— I love, love, love this moment when Laurie goes to meet Looking Glass Tim Blake Nelson as a character new to Watchmen lore and uses his mask as a mirror to check her teeth while delivering pointed comments about his “racist detector.” Ouch.
— Sister Knight/Angela Abar Regina King sure as hell isn't intimidated by Laurie, who's leading the Anti-Vigilante Task Force. Their interactions, including at Judd Crawford's funeral where a Rorshach-mask wearing Seventh Kalvary member goes full-on terrorist, are filled with mutual pushback. We learn that Laurie is aware that Sister Knight removed something from Judd's closet, which is, yeah, a literal Ku Klux Klan robe. We don't know if Laurie knows what the item was or whether or not this ensemble was planted by Will, who had ominously suggested that Judd has “skeletons in his closet.” Yet we do know that Laurie saw wheelchair tracks close to where Judd was hanged. Furthermore, the verbal barbs between Laurie and Angela — with the former insisting that there's no difference between a cop and a masked vigilante, and “I eat good guys for breakfast” — end with a very unimpressed Angela. This isn't over.
HBO's 'Watchmen' airs on Sunday evenings at 9:00pm EST.
[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “Watchmen” Episode 3, “She Was Killed by Space Junk.”]
Damon Lindelof likes his jokes. Since a joke is just a story with a punchline, it should come as no surprise that Lindelof tells his jokes just like he tells the rest of his stories: There’s an intriguing premise, a lengthy middle with a few curious twists and turns tossed in, and the punchline is often a thinker. He told a great joke, perhaps the greatest I’ve ever heard in a TV drama, during “The Leftovers” Season 2, stretching a knock knock joke from the premiere to the penultimate episode before revealing the sum total of its payoff.
So, like just about everything else in “Watchmen,” when Laurie Blake Jean Smart, at the top of her extraordinary game picks up the telephone to speak with Dr. Manhattan casting TBA at the start of Episode 3, “She Was Killed by Space Junk,” it wasn’t simply for her or his amusement. In both the literal and figurative sense, Laurie was delivering a message — and that message didn’t reach its audience until the eponymous space junk aka Angela Abar’s abducted automobile nearly killed her. As the joke unfolded, viewers learned so much about the former Silk Spectre, a bit more about the death of Chief Crawford Don Johnson, and even got one more joke tossed in the middle.
The third episode of “Watchmen,” co-written by Lindelof and fellow “Leftovers” talent Lila Byock, captured the best elements of the series’ complex roots and aspirations, delivering a compelling character study and a vehement condemnation of self-indulgent idol worship, all while very much earning its last laugh.
Masks Off: What We Know
Aligned with Laurie’s distaste for masks of any sort, her joke is a brazenly obvious reference to her former crew’s most notorious members. The first dead hero visiting heaven is Nite Owl, aka Daniel Dreiberg, a vigilant and inventive crimefighter who Laurie ended up marrying at the end of the comic book. The second hero is Ozymandias, or Adrian Veidt, who was confirmed to be Jeremy Irons’ character in this episode, but that’s neither here nor there. In the joke, Ozymandias tries to justify dropping a squid on Manhattan and killing 3 million people, but God isn’t having that either. Nite Owl is too soft, Ozymandias too monstrous — off to hell with them both.
But what about Dr. Manhattan, the third hero, who’s practically a God himself? Nope, he’s not good enough for heaven either, and down to depths he goes. But here’s where Lindelof’s framing comes into play. Laurie’s joke started earlier, with a meticulous bricklayer who was frustrated by his failure to build the perfect BBQ for his daughter. Before he can break up the whole thing and start over, his daughter asks him to stop — she has an idea for the outlying brick. And while God was staring at the heroes, He forgot all about the little girl with the brick, just like the audience may have over the course of the flashy, action-packed episode. So as He looks at the normal, powerless little girl, the brick comes smashing down on God’s head, killing him, and sending him to hell. Because those who get so obsessed with hero worship that they forget about humanity, well, they’re just as bad as the heroes who forgot their own.
Jean Smart in “Watchmen”
What a punchline, right? After spending an hour watching Laurie shoot masked vigilantes in the back without worrying for their survival and going after cops and cop-killers with equal disregard for their safety, it’s clear Laurie doesn’t like, trust, or support anyone in Tulsa. And she has every right to feel that way. Not only did she live through life as a hero and now works as an unmasked law enforcer — facing her fame even when it means confronting curious fanboys like Agent Petey Dustin Ingram — but her episode-long joke to Dr. Manhattan tells us even more about her mindset.
Laurie, in the joke, is the bricklayer’s daughter. She’s not taking any shit from anyone, not even God. The fact that she’s a platinum user of the Blue Booth network should tell you how comfortable she is speaking truth to power — if the booths are like a confessional, and her calls stand-ins for prayers, then Laurie doesn’t ask Dr. Manhattan for anything. She tells him. Dr. Manhattan is just one tangible step down from God, and she’s spending her time telling him off for abandoning humanity hence his fiery fate in the joke, punishment for a reality he’s given himself. Who amongst the heroes is the most despicable? Adrian Veidt, of whom she tells Petey she’s “also not a fan.” He’s labeled a monster in her joke for killing all those people, and Laurie sees his irresponsible act as assuming the role of God, after being drunk with power for too long.
That all of this information substantiates the actions Laurie takes only goes to show how well “Watchmen” is blending character development with narrative momentum. Laurie’s formation is clear, but to better show off how much happened this week, look at the episode from Angela’s Regina King perspective: What’s changed? The FBI came to Tulsa. The Tulsa P.D. are still interrogating residents of Nixonville. One of the Seventh Kavalry members tried to kill Senator Keene James Wolk and take a few cops with him. The FBI knows her identity. The FBI is suspicious of her dead captain and probably her, too. The power dynamic has shifted, and suddenly the clock is ticking even faster.
Even if Episode 3 had taken a break from the core plot, who cares? When the story is this good, you just have to sit back and enjoy it. Jean Smart sure did. From her brash, “who gives a shit” attitude toward everyone, to the vulnerability she showed at the end of that phone call, to her epic intimidation showdown with Angela which, I’d have to call a draw, Smart relished every second of this meticulously crafted ode to her character. Plus, it let her cut loose, shoot a gun, and have a damn good time showing off. Damon Lindelof crafted a joke. Jean Smart delivered it perfectly. It’s absolutely fine for an episode of television to be only about that even though “Watchmen” will never settle for being about less than six things.
Jeremy Irons in “Watchmen”
Masks On: What We Want to Know
Where — or what — is Nite Owl?
Going back to the joke — since apparently I love them as much as Lindelof — there was one more part that told us a bit about Laurie: the first hero, Nite Owl. In the joke, he’s punished for being “too soft,” which is far from a damnable crime. He didn’t kill anyone, like Adrian, and he didn’t give up on people, like Dr. Manhattan. But he still faced the same consequence, so there’s something Laurie has not forgiven him for: Did he turn himself in? Did he sell his gadgets to the government and give up on a life of crimefighting? Did he get killed in the line of duty?
Her conversation with Senator Keene seems to eliminate the last possibility. When trying to convince Laurie to investigate what’s going on in Tulsa, Keene says if he becomes president, “He can even get your owl out of that cage.” The quid pro quo seems to be if Laurie goes to Tulsa, Keene will let Nite Owl out… of prison? The only prisoner we’ve seen is Adrian, who we found out this week was kept in “captivity” by “The Game Warden.” Who the latter is and what the former means we don’t yet know, but there’s also the possibility that Keene was speaking literally — maybe “Who” is actually Nite Owl/Daniel. Maybe he’s trapped in the body of an owl. Maybe that’s insane, but there are cars and squids falling from the sky. Anything is possible.
What the hell is going on with Adrian Veidt? Part III
Yes! As long rumored and all but confirmed by the show, Jeremy Irons is playing Adrian Veidt — that much we know after this week. We also know that his luxurious accommodations are nothing more than the world’s most regal prison, and that his plan to escape involves chucking his cloned servants into the sky via a medieval-era catapult. The Game Warden stands in his way, guarding the edge of Adrian’s territory as clearly marked by an old-timey pirate flag. Basically, everything makes sense now, and we have no further questions for Adrian. What a fun couple weeks. Glad that’s over.
So who dropped the car out of the sky?
By all appearances — including the 40 seconds that passed after Laurie’s call ended and the car dropped, which is just enough time for her message to reach Mars — it was Dr. Manhattan, proving that he hasn’t forgotten about the little girl throwing bricks. But appearances can be deceiving, and for as much as Lindelof loves jokes, he loves subverting assumptions even more…
Who directed this episode, and will they return in Season 1?
OK, we can answer this one: Stephen Williams, and yes, in Episode 6 — which you can not miss. Every brick has its place. Tick tock.
“Watchmen” airs new episodes Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
Up until this week’s episode, Watchmen has been devoting most of its time to new characters. But in “She Was Killed by Space Junk”, it’s time for us to check in with a name from the past: Laurie Blake, aka Silk Spectre. As played by Jean Smart who is having the time of her life here, Laurie’s costumed days are long behind her, and she’s an FBI agent who has grown just as cynical as her late father, the Comedian. As Angela remains mostly in the background, Laurie charges through episode 3 digging up clues, and reflecting on her storied past.
The Terms of Your Captivity
Before we get to Laurie Blake, let’s let the cat out of the bag about another classic Watchmen character. Yes, Jeremy Irons is indeed Adrian Veidt. The first two episodes played coy and avoided giving away the character’s name, but in this week’s episode, Veidt reveals it himself. We also learn a little bit more about his situation – although it remains overall mysterious.
Just where is the castle that Veidt is inhabiting located? And why is he there? During the Veidt scenes, we watch him working on several experiments. He crafts a steampunk-looking space suit for one of the Mr. Phillips clones, and asks: “Are you ready to venture into the great beyond?” Whatever that means, and wherever Veidt sends this Mr. Phillips, things go wrong, and the poor clone ends up dead. Not just dead, but frozen solid.
In a rage Veidt rides off on a horse to a field full of buffalo, killing one with a bow and arrow. He appears ready to skin the dead animal, but before he can do so, a mysterious masked figure on a horse shoots at him.
This figure is, apparently, someone called the Game Warden. We learn this via a letter the Game Warden writes to Veidt, and it’s through this letter that we get our most tantalizing bit of info regarding the man formally known as Ozymandias: he’s a prisoner. According to the letter, Veidt’s coming to this castle involved working out the “terms of [his] captivity.”
Why is being held captive? And by whom? We don’t know just yet, but we do know Adrian still has his old Ozymandias costume, and he dons it before we leave him.
Comedy Begets Tragedy
Welcome back, Laurie Juspeczyk. Or should we say, Laurie Blake? The former Silk Spectre has now fully adopted her father’s last name, and she’s gone from costumed vigilante to an FBI agent who leads an anti-vigilante task force. She even attempts to gun-down a Batman-like vigilante during a sting. What a difference 30 years makes.
Much of “She Was Killed By Space Junk” is framed around Laurie placing a very, very long distance phone call. In the 30 years since Dr. Manhattan decided to go live on Mars, Earth has set up the Blue Booth Network – a series of fancy phone booths that supposedly let you call up Dr. Manhattan’s answering machine on Mars.
Laurie calls up her ex-lover on Mars and proceeds to leave him a rambling message in the form of jokes. Jokes that recap events of the original Watchmen involving Dr. Manhattan, Adrain Veidt, and Laurie’s ex-lover Dan Dreiberg, aka Nite Owl. Jokes run Laurie’s family, after all – her father was the Comedian, and a close-up of an American Hero Story ad sums up Laurie’s existence with the tagline “Comedy Begets Tragedy.” Even after all these years, Laurie is still clearly haunted by her own legacy. She’s also grown bitter, cold, and, well, funny. Jean Smart’s performance is dynamite through the entire episode, firing off droll one-liners and regarding everything with sharp intelligence. Laurie is sent down to Tulsa to look into Judd’s death, and it’s clear from the jump she’s figured a lot of things out for herself.
She finds wheelchair tire marks at the base of the tree Judd was hanged from. She finds Judd’s secret compartment in his closet and the empty bust that once held the Klan robe, and correctly assumes that Angela took whatever was on that bust away. And she seems to know the secret identities of all the costumed detectives in Tulsa – including Angela.
Accompanying Laurie on this journey is accompanied by FBI agent Dale Petey Dustin Ingram, who is something of an expert on the events that we know from the original Watchmen comic. The back and forth between Laurie and Petey is contemptuous at first, but one lonely night – after clutching a gigantic Dr. Manhattan-style vibrator – Laurie ends up heading to Petey’s motel room for a late-night tryst insisting Petey wear a Lone Ranger-style bandit mask for the act.
While in Tulsa, Laurie attends Judd’s funeral, which is interrupted by a Seventh Kavalry member attempting to take Senator Keene hostage. Things don’t go according to plan: Laurie shoots the 7K member dead, which triggers a bomb attached to his heart. Angela thinks fast, throwing the dead man/time bomb into Judd’s grave and then flipping Judd’s coffin on top, shielding the brunt of the explosion and destroying Judd’s body in the process.
As the episode ends, Laurie finishes her call to Mars and then gets quite a shock: Angela’s car drops out of the sky right in front of her. Where has it been? Who took it? And where is Will, who was sitting in the car when it was stolen by an unidentified flying object?
Watchmen’s Journal The title of this week’s episode comes from lyrics of the Devo song Laurie plays, “Space Junk.” In the first episode, the cake celebrating Veidt’s “anniversary” had one candle on it. Episode two brought out a similar cake, but this time it had two candles on it. Here, in episode three, Veidt gets yet another cake which he smashes in a fit, but this one has three candles. Something tells me the timeline of the Veidt storyline is vastly different than the main story involving Angela. Supplementary materials reveal that Veidt vanished in 2012. The motel Laurie is staying at is called the Black Freighter Inn and Suites, a reference to the Tales from the Black Freighter comic found in the original Watchmen comic. We learn this week that Dan Dreiberg, aka Nite Owl, is in prison, although no one comes out and says that. But when asking Laurie to head to Tulsa, Senator Keane indicates that when and if he becomes president, he could possibly grease some wheels to “get your owl out of that cage.” The act that allowed cops to wear masks was Keane’s idea and is called Defence of Police Act, or DOPA. Laurie, perfectly summing up Looking Glass’s Pod: “It’s a racist detector!” From the sound of things, Tulsa is the only place where cops are allowed to wear masks – but other cities and states are considering the idea as well. While flying to Tulsa, Laurie and Petey pass a huge structure called the Millennium Clock. It’s the brainchild of a mysterious figure known as Lady Trieu, who purchased Veidt’s company before he disappeared. Just go ahead and tuck that knowledge away in the back of your head for the future.