HBO's Watchmen raises a lot of questions with each week's episode. It's not surprising considering the original comic series left readers with plenty of questions, and the TV series writer and executive producer is Damon Lindelof who also worked on Lost and The Leftovers.
Each week until the end of the season, we'll look at the big questions from each episode and attempt to provide answers based on the original comics, the additional readings from Peteypedia or just giving the best guess.
Episode 3: She was killed by space junk
Who is Agent Laurie Blake?
Laurie Blake, played by Jean Smart, was the focus of the third episode in the season, and there's a lot to unpack. The episode hints at the seasoned FBI agent also being a former hero. From the , we know Laurie fought crime under the name Silk Spectre and eventually retired from being a hero.
Born in 1949, which would make her approximately 70 years old in the show, Laurie was the daughter of Sally Jupiter, the original Silk Spectre. Laurie was reluctant to get into the "family business" of fighting crime but eventually took up the Silk Spectre name.
In the comics, she also fell in love with Doctor Manhattan and gave up being a hero after the Keene Act in 1977 made costumed vigilantes illegal. She later grew apart from her blue boyfriend and fell in love with Dan Dreiberg, the second Nite Owl. The two eventually retired together at the end of the comic series under the name of Mr. and Mrs. Hollis.
In the Peteypedia, a companion selection of clips for the show providing more exposition about the Watchmen universe, a memo from Special Agent Dale Petey (Dustin Ingram), who we meet in episode three, explains that the two went back to their hero ways and were arrested in 1995. At that time, Laurie had taken up a new last name, Blake, and a new hero persona, The Comedienne.
At some point, Blake joined the FBI and its Anti-Vigilante Task Force, which is where we see things pick up in the HBO series -- with her apparently leading an operation to catch a masked hero. She then shifts gears to investigate the murder of Sheriff Judd Crawford.
Throughout the episode, we also see Blake talking into a phone that supposedly goes to Mars, where Doctor Manhattan has been since the events of the comics. Her "joke," which is shown in bits, is a retelling of the, referencing the Doctor Manhattan, Night Owl, Ozymandias and herself. The episode also shows a brief scene of Laurie unpacking a sizable blue sex toy, suggesting she still has some feelings for Doctor Manhattan. Maybe something about her character sort of being the link between the world of the original comics and the series which is set 30 some years later.
While we don't know exactly where Laurie's investigation will lead, we do know she'll play a big role throughout the rest of the season. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times Sunday, Smart says her character comes to Tulsa expecting to solve a murder quickly but it's much more than that.
"What happens is almost as mind-boggling for her as it is for the audience, and her relationship with Angela (Regina King) goes through all sorts of ups and downs," Smart said. "And the ending is indescribable. It's not going to be anything like anyone is expecting."
What Is Ozymandias doing?
Jeremy Irons plays Ozymandias, also known as Adrian Veidt, the hero who came up with the grand scheme to end global tensions by . Ozymandias disappeared in 2012, according to a newspaper clipping found on Peteypedia, and was considered dead by the FBI in 2019. However, as the first three episodes have shown, he is very much alive.
Ozymandias lives on a large estate, though it's unclear exactly where, and has a staff of clones working for him. They act as his personal servants, perform for him in plays he creates and act as test subjects.
Early in the episode, Ozymandias is seen working diligently on a suit of some kind that's fitted on to one of the clones, including a helmet that connects to an air tank. After a quick jump cut, the clone is laying on the ground seemingly frozen solid, giving the impression that it was possibly sent into space. Ozymandias takes out his frustration over the failed experiment by stomping on the dead clone.
Later on, Ozymandias attempts to retrieve a buffalo he shot with an arrow -- proving that he's still exceptionally fit even at his old age, most likely in his late 70s or 80s. However, he's stopped by a "game warden" who fires a warning shot at his feet.
A letter from said warden is delivered to Ozymandias saying he needs to stay put, but strangely enough, it's signed "your humble servant." This is the same phrasing the clones say to him, making it possible that the warden is also a clone.
Ozymandias has likely subjected himself to a form of isolation and is finding ways to entertain himself. This includes having his clones act out a play he wrote telling the origin of Doctor Manhattan, the various experiments and maybe even creating his own opposition to keep him in check.
The theory going around the internet is that Ozymandias is actually a prisoner of none other than Doctor Manhattan, and his antics on the island are in the past. The key clue is the clones wishing him a happy anniversary. In each of the first three episodes, they come out with a yellow and purple cake with a growing number of candles. this could mean that in each episode another year has passed.
As mentioned earlier, Ozymandias went missing in 2012 and the current year of the show is 2019. What may happen is that episode 7, "An Almost Religious Awe," will be when the events in his timeline reach the current year. What we could see then is how Ozymandias plays a part in the events happening in Tulsa. Or most likely, episode 7 ends with his triumphant return, while episode 8, "A God Walks Into a Bar," will act as the episode to fill in all the events leading up to the murder in the first episode. Lindelof's previous shows, Lost and The Leftovers, were known for their flashbacks. His season structure would consist of several episodes leaving many unanswered questions, then an episode before the finale would include a flashback that explains almost all the questions. This appears to be the case for Watchmen.
As for Doctor Manhattan being Ozymandias warden, so to speak, it's not clear, but there are a few clues. The clones appear to be some sort of pacifier created by someone who doesn't fully grasp human personalities, which sounds like something Doctor Manhattan would do. There's also the experiment Ozymandias conducted. With such rudimentary tools available, if he was able to send a clone into space, causing it to freeze, it could be that space isn't that high up. Ozymandias himself also is a clue considering the second episode was dedicated to his retelling of Doctor Manhattan's origin.
So if Doctor Manhattan plucked Ozymandias from Earth and created this prison that looks like the perfect piece of land in Europe, the big question is why.
Other quick questions:
Why does the American flag look so strange?
Because the US easily won the Vietnam War thanks to Doctor Manhattan. The country is now considered the 51st state, thus the new flag.
Do the phones really connect to Doctor Manhattan?
Probably not. They're likely added to give people some peace of mind or comfort knowing that they could be asking a literal god for help. These phone booths were possibly set up by the US government, kind of like the NORAD Christmas Tracker. Doctor Manhattan has the powers of a god and has cared little about humanity since the events of the comic.
Is the SUV that almost hit Laure Blake the same one carrying the old man from episode 2? Or was this a sign from Doctor Manhattan?
It seems the likely answer is that the SUV is the same from episode 2, but it does appear to be different. It also seems unlikely Doctor Manhattan would send a car crashing down on Laurie. However, a theory going around the internet is that he did listen to Laurie and her brick joke. She starts the episode telling a joke where a girl throws a brick into the air, but Laurie quickly blows off that joke to tell another, with the punchline being the return of the brick from the first, incomplete joke. This is a common trope called, as expected, the brick joke. As the brick returns at the end of the joke, so does the car from the last episode, placed there by Doctor Manhattan himself.
Was that really a blue sex toy?
Yes. Smart told the LA Times that she brought up this "blue elephant in the room" to Lindelof who told her, "Don't worry."
Originally published Nov. 4, 12:55 p.m. PT.
Update, Nov 5: Adds new fan theories.