With each episode, Watchmen raises lots of questions. That's not surprising, considering that the original comic left readers with plenty of head-scratchers and that the writer and executive producer of the HBO series is Damon Lindelof, who also worked on Lost and The Leftovers.
Before we go into the big questions left in the season, there are plenty of reveals from episode 8 that explain so many things.
Episode 8: A God Walks Into Abar
First off, Doctor Manhattan has been creating life on Jupiter's moon, Europa. He's not on Mars as the public seems to think. On the moon, he created the "paradise" where Adrian Veidt now lives, and the clones that serve him.
It's also Doctor Manhattan who is partly responsible for the death of Sheriff Judd Crawford. He conveyed a message from detective Angela Abar to her grandfather Will Reeves in the past, asking how he knew about the Klan outfit in Judd's closet. This created a paradox where Will carried out the events in Will and Doctor Manhattan that theorizes maybe the blue hero shared his powers with the original masked vigilante. The two met in 2009, and Will isn't so spry as he is in 2019. It could be that since Doctor Manhattan knew he was going to be captured, he passed part of his powers to one person who could save him and that would be Will. Keen viewers noted the egg given to Will by Doctor Manhattan, and it was an egg he ate in episode 2.. There's also an interesting theory revolving
As for Adrian, he's definitely had his hands in a lot of mysteries. He's the one responsible for the squid storms that keep people believing aliens might attack Earth, likely with help from or at least the knowledge of the US government. He also concocted the device causing Doctor Manhattan's amnesia, allowing him to live as Angela's husband, Cal.
Adrian is also on Europa by his own decision. He thought a new world would be his utopia, but instead found he's unfulfilled. The episode also somewhat explains the Game Warden. He was one of the original clone servants and literally saw his god leave him. This caused some severe trauma. And like Laure Blake said in, people wear masks to cover up their trauma. Since the Game Warden views Adrian as his master, he's taking it upon himself to make sure his master doesn't leave again.
Now, on to the questions.
What happened to Cal?
At the end of the episode, one of the Seventh Kavalry members shoots Cal with some sort of energy weapon. It seems like he's destroyed, but it also kinda looks like he got sucked into the machine. As mentioned in episode 7, the Kavalry's plan is to capture Doctor Manhattan and then transfer his powers to Sen. Joe Keene. The promo trailer for the season finale shows the senator entering a chamber, possibly to become a new Doctor Manhattan.
There's still a bigger question with the Seventh Kavalry's plan: How did they come up with it? Maybe this was another option Adrian came up with and shared with the US government?
How is Adrian going to escape?
In the post-credits scene, Adrian is humiliated as his clone servants smash tomatoes in his face and then throw him in prison. The Game Warden visits with a birthday cake. Inside is the horseshoe he was originally given back in episode 1, which at the time Adrian quickly dismissed saying he didn't need it yet.
With the horseshoe now in hand, he immediately starts digging. Whether Adrian knew he was going to be put in prison is unclear. What is clear now is that he's seeking help from Lady Trieu, or his "daughter," to get off Europa. In, Adrian uses the bodies of his dead servants to send a message saying "Save me D." Lady Trieu has a special place for Adrian and even mentions her father would be appearing soon. She probably made the accommodations, and it could be that his return is the cliffhanger for what may come if we get a season 2.
Where is Adrian's secret lair?
In a flashback, Doctor Manhattan heads to a building someplace in the Arctic where he meets up with Adrian. This is pulled directly from the Watchmen comics. Adrian oversaw his plan for the psychic squid attack from his base in the North Pole. It appears he's kept his secret lair since the fateful day to continue with his various secret plans.
What book is Adrian reading?
The book is Fogdancing, written by Max Shea, the same writer in the Watchmen universe who wrote the Black Freighter comics. A new entry in Peteypedia explains that the book was a favorite among counterculture people, conspiracy theorists and masked vigilantes. Adrian is even quoted saying it was "the second best book ever written."
There isn't a clearcut summary of the book, but it is compared to Jacob's Ladder and Shutter Island. One interesting point not mentioned in the entry is that the author was one of many intellectuals picked by Adrian to devise the plan of the psychic squid attack and was poisoned shortly before the plan was initiated.
Originally published Dec. 9, 8:19 a.m. PT.
Update: 2:03 p.m. PT: Adds additional info.