‘Watchmen’ Ending Explained: Damon Lindelof on That Final Shot

     December 16, 2019

Spoilers ahead for Watchmen.

Last night’s finale of Watchmen ended with a cliffhanger of sorts. After Lady Trieu’s plan to steal Doctor Manhattan’s powers goes to hell, Angela is back at her home cleaning up when she recalls that in her first conversation with Jon, he said he could transfer his powers into something as simple as an egg, and if she were to eat that egg, she would get his powers and be able to walk on water. Angela decides to do just that after finding an egg Jon was using. She eats it, goes out to her swimming pool, places her foot on the water, and then we cut to black.

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Image via HBO

Speaking to Vulture after the finale, showrunner Damon Lindelof said that the conclusion was meant to echo the final pages of the Watchmen graphic novel where Rorschach’s journal ends up at the New Frontiersman, threatening to reveal that Adrian Veidt’s squid drop was all a big hoax. Lindelof says that while they didn’t show Angela walking on water, they didn’t really have to:

It felt very clear to me, if we had rolled another 10 seconds forward, what would have happened.

 

If someone wants to argue that Angela sinks to the bottom of the pool, I would want to hear their points. I have my index cards ready to make an argument for why she doesn’t sink. But we still chose not to show it. If ending No. 1 is “she walks on water,” and her No. 2 is “she sinks to the bottom of the pool,” and then No. 3 is “we stopped right before her foot hits the surface of the water,” ending No. 3 felt like it was the best ending.

Lindelof continues that while he doesn’t have a second season planned out, this season of Watchmen felt like the second part of her origin story. If the first part was her witnessing the death of her parents, then part two needed to be about how she acquired the powers of a god:

For Angela, phase one of her origin story was the loss of her parents, her upbringing in a Vietnamese orphanage, and then the subsequent loss of her grandmother. But the second phase of her origin story is these nine episodes, all leading up to that moment of what happens when her foot hits the surface of that pool.

 

In order for Angela to potentially contain the power of a god, if that’s the road that we’re going to go down, Will needed to give her the legacy of knowing who she was and where she came from. There’s a combination of legacy from these two men, Will and Doctor Manhattan, and Will does give her a final gauntlet toss. The final line of the series is “He could’ve done more,” as it relates to Doctor Manhattan, who is a fundamentally very passive character, both in the original text and in our interpretation of him. Angela Abar is not a passive character.

 

If, in fact, Angela Abar is now empowered by the legacy of Will and the legacy of Doctor Manhattan, she is ready to take on white supremacy in a way that Doctor Manhattan was never interested in taking on. That’s going to be a battle that goes on until the end of time, unfortunately. I’d like to be more pie in the sky, but if I learned anything through the experience of writing the show and reading all the things that I’ve been reading, it’s the insidiousness of white supremacy. I don’t think that I ever would have even put it in the show if I felt like we were going to try to convince the audience that it could be defeated. But we could convince the audience that it was worthy of pushing back and fighting against, which is more than most superhero stories do.

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Image via HBO

As for whether or not Lindelof will tell that story, he says he’d rather someone else take the reigns:

I will say, I would love to see someone who is not a white dude taking a shot at Watchmen — a woman or a person of color or both. Most of the good ideas that ended up in this season did not come from a white dude. And so, it would be pretty wonderful to have someone at the helm that was not the traditional person at the helm of a comic-book movie or TV show.

For more of our questions about Watchmen, click here.

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