Watchmen: Secrets are revealed as the villain takes center stage

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Hong Chau in Watchmen,
Image: HBO

After weeks of compelling setup, “Watchmen” finally established its central conflict by introducing its main villain. The installment revealed the mysterious Lady Trieu has great and possibly terrible ambitions for Tulsa. Moreover, it showed how Angela Abar and Laurie Blake, the show’s ostensible heroes, are too distracted by personal conflicts to see the forest from the trees.

**This article contains spoilers for “Watchmen,” the graphic novel and TV series **

‘Actually, I’m Trillionaire’

“If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” began with a flashback that served as an introduction for Trieu. Sometime in the recent past, the character convinced a couple called the Clarks to sell her their land. She had no particular interest in their plot, but rather the UFO that she knew would land there.

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In doing so, the businesswoman explained she’s a trillionaire who made her fortune in pharmaceuticals. While the episode left the craft a mystery, it offered a lot of information about its terrestrial owner.

Besides incredible wealth and resources, the installment showed Trieu is dispassionate and utterly ruthless. She’s not above using a newborn baby as an incentive to force a childless couple into following her agenda. Unsurprisingly, she’s an admirer of Adrian Veidt, having bought his holdings after he disappeared and commissioned a statue in his likeness. The entrepreneur also shares his condescending view of humanity and the ability to play the long game.

Also, this week’s “Watchmen” heavily implied the character has memories of the Vietnam War and is therefore much older than she appears.

“My Story” showed that Trieu plans on doing something dramatic in Tulsa very soon. The plot, which somehow involves her massive Millennium Clock, is something she wants to keep secret. The whys and wherefores are unknown, but one thing is certain. Like her idol’s scheme to unite the U.S. and Russia, the execution of her project will be great and terrible.

Also, with her fixation on time, staggering wealth, and lack of empathy, Trieu feels like a parallel to “Mr. Robot’s” Whiterose.

Regina King and Jean Smart in Watchmen, "If You Don't Like My Story Write Your Own"
Image: HBO

A Badly-Timed Cat and Mouse Game

While last week’s installment focused on introducing Agent Blake, this week’s episode returns the show’s attention to Sister Night. Earlier on, Angela told Laurie the mysteriously dumped car belonged to her and found a bottle containing her grandfather’s pills. She asked Looking Glass to have the capsules examined off the books and disposed of Will’s incriminating wheelchair.

However, Laurie knows Angela is hiding something. The FBI Agent questioned Sister Night’s husband about her whereabouts the night of Chief Crawford’s murder. Plus, she had Angela’s car fingerprinted and knows Will has been inside it. As such, Laurie probably now believes the police detective murdered her boss. While her deduction is logical, it’s also a waste of time because Crawford’s murder is a distraction.

Right now, Laurie and Angela should be working together. In addition to the threat of the Seventh Kavalry, the pair are also the only people in Tulsa who have a chance of stopping Trieu’s plans. The duo can’t see it, but their cat and mouse game is preventing them from doing some extremely vital work. Hopefully, Angela will trust in her husband’s observation and realize Agent Blake isn’t the bad guy.

With an apocalyptic event scheduled to occur in three days, “Watchmen’s” protagonists need to work together, not against one another.

Who is Will Reeves?

“My Story” offered a wealth of information about Angela’s grandfather Will. Though his surname is Williams, he renamed himself Reeves, after his hero.  Presumed dead by the Greenwood Center for Cultural Heritage, he spent the 1940s and ‘50s as a New York City policeman. Will also works with Trieu, who used one of her flying vehicles to rescue him back in episode 2.

Notably, he also does not and has not ever needed a wheelchair.

This week’s installment also revealed his “memory pills” aren’t actually for him. He left the capsules in Angela’s car in hopes she would take one. Moreover, the pills, likely created by Trieu, don’t help a person remember their past but the history of their ancestors.

The 105-year-old man told his benefactor he needs Angela to discover rather than her history rather than be told it. So far, Will has introduced a great deal of chaos into his granddaughter’s life. Moreover, he’s also betrayed her in a way that will make her hate him. Presumably, he killed Chief Crawford to distract her from uncovering Trieu’s mysterious Millennium Clock plot.

As such, he might want his granddaughter to experience his painful past to make himself sympathetic, and his actions forgivable.

Lastly, “Watchmen” seems to be implying Will was a superhero. Notably, no black masked adventurers appear in the graphic novel upon which the series is based. Nevertheless, with his strong sense of justice, traumatic formative experiences, and preternatural robustness, Will fits the archetype. As such, it’ll be interesting to see why he’s thrown in with an unabashed villain like Trieu.

Jeremy Irons and Sara Vickers in Watchmen, "If You Don't Like My Story Write Your Own"
Image: HBO

Round the Decay

Lastly, “My Story” showed a lot of “Watchmen’s” cards regarding Ozymandias.

First off, the program explained how Veidt has a seemingly endless series of clone servants. They exist as fetuses he can fish out of the local lake and then age into maturity. Moreover, this episode revealed each of the program’s vignettes featuring the character had occurred one year apart. Also, Veidt is becoming increasingly unstable due to his captivity. On the fourth anniversary of his imprisonment, he slaughtered over a dozen of his attendants.

Besides, Veidt is trying to find a way to launch himself out of his estate using a trebuchet. Also, the area surrounding his estate, which is indeed artificial, ends somewhere above its stratosphere.

Although Ozymandias served as the “Watchmen” graphic novel’s antagonist, that’s not the case on the TV series. Through unknown means, he’s become a prisoner, though, at one point, he agreed to his confinement. Once obsessed with changing the world, his current preoccupation is affecting his freedom.

Before the show’s first season ends, Veidt will almost certainly make his way to Tulsa. However, it’s a complete mystery as to what role he’ll play. He might be part of Trieu’s plan, but she probably wouldn’t want a brilliant but deranged ex-hero on the field as she executes her masterstroke. Ironically, “Watchmen’s” former Grand Master has become a pawn in someone else’s game.

Whatever the show has in store for the character, it’s undoubtedly something significant. Though the series has made Veidt into something of a cartoon, he’s still the man who fooled the world, and his actions demand a reckoning.

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“Watchmen” airs on HBO Sundays at 9 pm ET. Come back to The Burn-In for coverage of the show’s first season.