Watchmen Decoded s1ep4: What is Lady Trieu planning?

Hong Chau in Watchmen,
Image: HBO

Over the next month, The Burn-In will recap every episode of HBO’s “Watchmen.” Like the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel that inspired it, the program actively resists passive consumption. Accordingly, Watchmen Decoded will examine the show’s many unexplained details, dark implications, and oblique references to its source material.

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

Lady Trieu is Always on Time

“If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” drew a lot of parallels between “Watchmen” graphic novel antagonist Ozymandias and Lady Trieu. Both are obscenely wealthy and brilliant industrialists who have a knack for getting people to do what they want. The pair also shares a desire to affect change on a global scale. While Adrian Veidt tried to affect world peace by faking an alien invasion, Trieu’s aims are unknown.

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She also made a golden statue of the former hero and spoke about him in a way that implied a profound reverence.

That said, the program has offered several clues regarding the trillionaire’s long-term agenda. In the show’s lost episode, the character revealed that she made her fortune in pharmaceuticals. Moreover, she developed a fluid that apparently causes her daughter Bian to experience her ancestors’ memories. As such, she likely developed the memory-enhancing pills Will Reeves left for Angela Abar.

“Watchmen” also established that Trieu has a gift for forecasting. She purchased the Clarks’ farm in anticipation of an unidentified flying object landing on the property. As she mentioned the couple’s reticence to give up their family business, the character likely knew of its arrival well ahead of time.

Besides, the trillionaire noted that her massive Millennium Clock monument does a lot more than tell time.

Accordingly, Trieu’s secret plan might be to continue Adrian Veidt’s work. As the series has shown, America is being rendered asunder by unaddressed racial tensions. With her advanced technology, she might’ve seen a future where the country’s resentments have a disastrous outcome. To prevent that crisis, she might’ve created a drug that allows people to share memories, thereby expanding their sense of empathy

However, like Ozymandias’ utopia, Trieu’s new world will likely have a staggering human cost.

Tim Blake Nelson in Watchmen, "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice"
Image: HBO

Looking Glass is a Sensitive Man

Although Watchmen’s fifth installment looks to be focused on the character, “My Story” offered key details about Looking Glass. The episode revealed that he lives alone inside an underground bunker. Moreover, the show made it clear he has an obsession with the extra-dimensional squids that fall from the sky.

In the “Watchmen” comic book series, Veidt genetically engineered a gigantic mutant cephalopod that materialized in New York City. The billionaire made the monster’s brain from tissue harvested from human psychics. As a result, the squid sent out a powerful telepathic wave to the world as it died. Moreover, Veidt filled its mind with nightmarish images, sounds, and sensations dreamed up by science-fiction authors and artists.

Consequently, the monster’s death caused a host of Manhattanites to die or go insane from psychological trauma. Besides, Veidt predicted that the squid’s telepathic transmission would adversely affect the entire world’s psychic population. Given the information presented, Looking Glass is almost certainly one of those damaged mediums.

In addition to being obsessed with the squid manifestations, the policeman is almost preternaturally intuitive. Notably, he uses an audiovisual chamber called the Pod to provoke suspects into reacting to certain stimuli. He then uses that information to determine the truthfulness of their responses to his questions. However, the program has not shown how the character’s unconventional interrogation process actually works.

Admittedly, Looking Glass could be an extremely talented body language interpreter. However, it’s more likely that he has some level of psychic ability and the Pod helps him focus his talent. Indeed, Agent Blake implicitly confirmed that the chamber is not a standard tool of law enforcement. Also, the reflective detective is the only person who has used it to interrogate suspects.

With so many secrets in Tulsa, it’ll be interesting to see who next ends up under Looking Glass’s microscope.

How Laurie Juspeczyk Became Agent Blake

One of the more notable aspects of the “Watchmen” graphic novel is its back-matter. Every issue of the original series featured a full-length story followed by a series of text pages. Though the material varied in format, the back matter always provided additional context about the comic’s characters, setting, and history.

HBO’s “Watchmen” has its own back matter in the form of “Peteypedia,” a series of case files maintained by Agent Blake’s new partner, Dale Petey. Updated weekly, the records provide a lot of material that bridges the narrative gap between the graphic novel and the TV show. This week’s Peteypedia featured transcripts detailing the 1995 FBI interrogation of Laurie Juspeczyk.

According to the file, the Bureau arrested the erstwhile Silk Spectre after she killed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. While being interviewed, Laurie admitted that she broke up with Nite Owl/Daniel Dreiberg, but that they teamed up one last time to deal with McVeigh. The transcript also suggests that Dreiberg didn’t intend to kill the mass murderer, but Laurie did, which sheds some light on why their relationship ended.

The exchange between the-then superhero and her interrogator also confirms that Dreiberg developed the advanced technology utilized by the Tulsa PD.

Lastly, the latest Peteypedia reveals that Laurie gave up her identity as the Silk Spectre and adopted the alias the Comedienne. She also took her father Edward Blake/The Comedian’s surname for reasons unknown. Moreover, Laurie ended her FBI interview by threatening to reveal the truth behind the New York City attack.

As the character not only avoided prison for her vigilantism but became an FBI agent, some part of the U.S. government must also know the truth. Therefore, it seems that Laurie facilitated her transformation via high-level blackmail.