Spoilers ahead for Watchmen.
Last night’s season finale of Watchmen had a surprising amount of answers including what was Lady Trieu’s plans, what was Adrien Veidt’s message on Europa, what happened to Looking Glass, and more. But one question it didn’t answer was “Who is Lube Man?” We saw the character crop up in Episode 4 being chased by Angela before sliding down a storm drain, never to be seen again. Who was this mysterious vigilante?
In an interview with Vulture, showrunner Damon Lindelof says that those who read Peteypedia will be rewarded with a last bit of information on the character’s identity. The final file in the Peteypedia is a memo from FBI Deputy Director Max Farragut, who says that Agent Dale Petey has been fired for refusing to suspend his activities in Tulsa and return to Washington. Additionally, Petey’s office contained “a jug of what appears to be some kind of canola oil,” thus providing a pretty definitive conclusion that Dale Petey was Lube Man.
So why include this character at all? For Lindelof’s part, he says:
When I read the original Watchmen, the thing that I was completely and totally obsessed with was Hooded Justice. I would talk to other people with familiarity about Watchmen, and I’d go, “I like that they never told us who Hooded Justice was,” and they’d look at me like, “Who?” And I’d be like, “You know, Hooded Justice? He’s one of the original Minutemen,” and their eyes would glaze over. I was like, “Oh, okay, nobody else cares about this thing.” But that obsession became the foundation for this season of Watchmen. And so, maybe somebody will do the same with Lube Man. There’s a clear indication as to who he may be, but we didn’t answer it definitively. For those future storytellers who may take up the mantle and do another season of Watchmen, I say Lube Man is fair game.
Personally, I think Lube Man works great as a commentary on the obsessive superhero fan who refuses to look for deeper meaning in the stories. Petey is obsessed with all the ephemera of superhero culture, which causes him to miss the larger societal questions. At that point, you may as well become something as random as “Lube Man” if all you care about is masks and superpowers.
Click here for what Lindelof had to say about the final shot of the season finale.