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HBO's Watchmen finally reveals some answers in episode 5 (and a giant squid)

It's the halfway point in the season and things are getting clearer.

Watchmen

Sister Night still needs more answers. 

HBO

With each episode, HBO's Watchmen raises lots of questions. That's not surprising, considering the original comic series left readers with plenty of head-scratchers, and the writer and executive producer of the series is Damon Lindelof, who also worked on Lost and The Leftovers

Through the end of the season, I'll look at the big questions from each episode and attempt to give answers based on the original comics, additional readings from Peteypedia or just my best guess. 

Sunday's episode marks a real turning point in the season -- questions from previous episodes are finally getting answers. However, this just leaves more room to speculate about the big questions for the season. 

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Episode 5: Little Fear of Lightning

As with the previous episode, let's start with some of the answers we got this week. 

Detective Wade Tilman, better known as Looking Glass, is one of the more mysterious characters in the show. His mannerisms, which are similar to those of Rorschach in the comics, give the impression that there's more to him than most cops. This week's episode revealed that Looking Glass does have a special power -- the ability to tell when people are lying. 

Watchmen

Young Wade Tillman is in for a shock. 

HBO

It's likely this ability manifested following the hoax squid attack (more on that below) of 1985 in New York City. Tilman was just across the river in Hoboken, New Jersey, when the attack happened. In the episode, we see that the attack -- actually planned by Adrian Veidt -- caused a psychic blast that killed millions of people in and around New York, but it had a different effect on Looking Glass.

Now to the questions. 

Who did Veidt send a message to? 

As revealed in the previous episode, Veidt appears to be in a prison in outer space. My guess is that he's on one of Jupiter's moons. Some people online suggest it's Europa. 

Watchmen

Adrian Veidt is almost free.

HBO

His message -- "SAVE ME"  -- was probably meant for Lady Trieu. But let's consider another option. Veidt spelled out more than just those two words with the bodies of his dead servants. What was shown was "SAVE ME D," and then the message appears to be purposely cut off. Could the "D" stand for Doctor Manhattan? That seems unlikely, given that Veidt clearly hoped for his message to be seen a satellite, something the godlike Doctor Manhattan wouldn't need. 

But Lindelof is known to pull the rug out from viewers. So maybe it is a message for the blue hero, and Veidt's actual jailer has been Lady Trieu this whole time. Aside from Doctor Manhattan, she's the only person capable of the kind of technology needed to keep Veidt imprisoned on a moon. Or it could be that signaling Doctor Manhattan is part of a grander scheme to bring the hero out of hiding and find a way to dispatch him once and for all.  

There's also a possibility that the "D" is for Dan, as in Dan Dreiberg, the Nite Owl. In the latest entry in Peteypedia, Dan owns a tech company called MerlinCorp responsible for the owl-shaped aircraft and blue sex toy we've seen in earlier episodes. He should be still locked up, but he could have access to his tech. 

What was the squid attack? 

Nov. 2, 1985, also known simply as 11/2 or by the FBI as the Dimensional Incursion Event (D.I.E.), was the day when Adrian Veidt killed millions during a staged alien attack and brought the world together. As Looking Glass described in the episode, the US and Soviet Union were on the verge of nuclear war, but the sudden appearance of a giant squid in New York City brought the two superpowers together to fend off an alien attack that never came. The ramifications from that hoax continue to be felt three decades later. 

In a video meant to be played for President Robert Redford on his inauguration day in 1993 and recorded the day before the attack, Veidt explained his plan. In the episode, we learn that at least some government officials have been shown the video. Since high-ranking politicians know the truth, it's likely the government is dropping small squids to keep people believing there is an alien threat. 

The year 1993 also has some significance in the Watchmen universe that was expanded upon in Peteypedia. An FBI memo dated Aug. 29, 2019, mentions a Tech Recall and Reintroduction Act of 1993. After the attack, there was a fear that technology was responsible so the planet refrained from using or developing new tech. This is why some gadgets, such as cellphones, seem a bit outdated for a show based in 2019. Also, considering the date, the US government began working on keeping a grasp of the people by dictating what technology is deemed safe. Veidt could also have a hand in this as his businesses made huge strides in the technology so it could be he struck a deal to keep his companies thriving while putting others on a restrictive list. 

What is the Seventh Kavalry planning?

As Sen. Joe Keene said, the Seventh Kavalry is planning something big. As for what exactly, it's too early to say. 

The Seventh Kavalry was looked at as a group of Ku Klux Klan wannabes. But with a US senator in charge and incredibly sophisticated tech in their war chest, there's more to this racist group than burning crosses and wearing masks. 

Watchmen

The Seventh Kavalry has bigger plans than expected. 

HBO

Considering that Keene knows the truth regarding 11/2 and that the Seventh Kavalry is dedicated to Rorschach --  who did say that Veidt was behind the attack --  a likely plan is they'll reveal the hoax to the public. Another theory is that the group is planning a hoax of its own to change who's in power. Maybe they'll carry out a plan that makes Keene president, just like how Veidt was able to carry out a plan that put Redford in office. 

Other questions:

What's with the sex scene from the American Hero Story?

As he enjoys a hearty can of beans, Looking Glass is watching the latest episode of American Hero Story, a TV show retelling the story of the first hero group, the Minutemen. Hooded Justice, considered to be the first costumed vigilante in the Watchmen universe, is seen having sex with another hero who goes by the name Captain Metropolis. 

In the comics, The Comedian (Laurie Blake's father) is on the receiving end of a beating from Hooded Justice and comments on how he's heard that the first hero was actually a homosexual who enjoyed rough sex. A letter in the Watchmen comics to Laurie Blake's mother, Sally Jupiter, from her agent talks about how Captain Metropolis would complain about Hooded Justice not coming home to him or their constant fighting. As described in Peteypedia, the American Hero Story series tends to overdramatize certain facts. 

How is there clone technology? 

To carry out his big hoax, Veidt had to develop gene-altering technology. It let him create the giant squid for the hoax attack and his own pet in the comics, Bubastis.

In this week's episode, Tilman visits Forever Pet, a company that apparently will make clones of your pet so you never have to say goodbye to them. It's likely that Veidt started Forever Pet, and it was later acquired by Lady Trieu. If she does own the business, this also adds a little more credence to the idea that she's the one who imprisoned Veidt (hence the never-ending supply of clone servants).

What are the Nostalgia pills? 

Like the cloning technology, Veidt could have also had a hand in creating these pills that apparently insert memories. However, the effects of taking the Nostalgia pills is unknown as of now. 

What's with the Game Warden? 

The Game Warden is a puzzling character. It initially appeared he was a clone ordered to act as Veidt's jailor for his own amusement. In episode 4, there was the possibility that he was murdered along with the rest of the clones. Yet he appears once again in this week's episode and is far more violent. It could be that Veidt simply repurposed another clone to play the part again, but his reaction to the Warden was far more antagonistic than in earlier episodes.

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