Spoilers ahead for Watchmen.
On last night’s episode of Watchmen, “An Almost Religious Awe”, Damon Lindelof and his writing staff showed that even though they were on episode seven of nine, they weren’t done dishing out big surprises. The new big twist is that Dr. Manhattan, the god-like figure who was a major character in the original Watchmen comic, has not been living on Mars. He’s been living in Tulsa, Oklahoma because he’s actually Angela Abar’s (Regina King) husband, Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Angela, knowing what the Seventh Kalvary is up to, says that it’s time for John (Dr. Manhattan’s real name) to come out and so she bashes in Cal’s head with a hammer and pulls out an object representing the atom insignia. Then there’s a glow of blue light and the episode ends.
Lindelof spoke to THR about the reveal, and said that when he was planning Watchmen, he always wanted Dr. Manhattan to factor in, but they also wanted to abide by the rule that everything must connect back to Angela since she’s the lead character:
I started this whole journey from the perspective of a fan — what would I have to see in a television show daring to call itself Watchmen? Dr. Manhattan was near the top of that list. But even higher was that we needed to tell a new story with a new character at the center of it. Once we landed on Angela Abar as that center, the new rule became that any legacy characters we were using (Veidt, Laurie and Hooded Justice) could only be used in service of Angela’s story…she was the sun, everyone else needed to be orbiting around her. So how could Dr. Manhattan, a man with the power of God, be in service of Angela’s story as opposed to the other way around? Based on his past (and all the tropes of Greco/Roman mythology), the answer was intuitive…love. We knew this relationship could only work if Manhattan took the form of a human, and so, the idea of Cal was born. And yeah, it came early. Almost from the jump.
It’s a neat reveal, and it will presumably be explained in the next episode, “A God Walks into a Bar.” While Watchmen has shown itself capable of some big swings, I’m a little concerned about this reveal because it might make the world a little too small. It’s one thing to connect everything back to Angela, but if she’s a nexus that also relates to Dr. Manhattan, that’s a pretty big coincidence (of course, perhaps it just looks coincidental without context).
We’ve got two weeks left to see how it all plays out, but in terms of legacy characters, it looks like we’re tapped out. Lindelof tells THR that Dan Dreiberg aka Nite Owl II won’t be making an appearance this season.
For more of our questions on Watchmen, click here.