Hutch Watches the Watchmen Ep. 4: If You Don't Like My Story, Write Your Own
By Chase Hutchinson
Is it possible to love almost all of a show but deeply loathe where it is going? In this fourth episode of Watchmen, Agent Blake and Sister Night have reluctantly teamed up to begin to figure out what happened to Angela's car. While they still are keeping information from each other, they are for the time being aligned in their shared pursuit of information. They are now facing down Lady Trieu, a new character to the show who happens to be a multi trillionaire and now controls Adrian Veidt's company. She also is from Vietnam, just as Angela is. What an interesting series of coincidences. The opening scene shows Trieu buying a home from a couple who have been attempting to have a child. She needs their home and land to begin building a giant clock. She gives them a child and they quickly give in. It is quite a brilliant introduction and Chau absolutely tears through the scenery. It establishes that she is a power player and not to be messed with. I appreciate how the story is able to effectively and efficiently introduce characters that already begin to feel flushed out within a single episode. It is where the show feels strongest and demonstrates how there is potential to populate the show beyond just the main cast of characters.
Beyond the main plot of Angela finding out her heritage, there are many great scenes with Angela connecting with the other characters that make up for any concerns that these characters would fade away. She talks with her husband, her son, and most notably Looking Glass. The scene where she tells him about how the Chief had Klan robes in his closet throws off my theory about him being part of the schism in the policy force as they seem more aligned here. I am most curious about what the next episode will entail as that seems to be an episode devoted to him which looks like it will play to Tim Nelson's strengths. Even the small glimpses in this episode are fantastic and make me curious about how he plays into the rest of the story. If he ends up being the bridge between this world and the more fantastical other dimensions, I may be okay with that. All of this is to say that Angela's interactions with all of these characters give much-needed depth to their interactions. I was slightly thrown by who the show calls Lube Man and who it could possibly be of who we know. The show does have a sense of humor about its mythology so it is okay. Beyond that, this show has the least happening except for the late reveal that Will can walk likely due to Lady Trieu having created some medicine to heal. That is with the main story. Our side plot that will likely become the main plot, that is another story. Speaking of which.......
The legacy of this show will be one that hinges on how it answers the questions about Adrian Veidt
I can give the faintest of praise to this episode's recurring segment of wacky experiments with Ozymandias: it feels the shortest and most streamlined. It might not be the shortest, but it is much more focused. We are finally getting somewhere that feels relevant to the main storyline. I am perhaps able to see how the story could bridge the narrative gap especially if the Looking Glass episode introduces the idea of other dimensions into the mythology of the show. There are still many problems with the tone that in retrospect are still jarring as hell. Jeremy Irons is literally just launching the random clones he has grown from babies he has pulled from the lake in catapults. The goal is likely to escape and the sooner he does finally escape (or die trying) the better. The show is toeing a very fine line of it potentially being a hard science fiction story which would be fine. It all will depend on the execution. It is not clear who has trapped Veidt in this alternative dimension but it is likely related to Doctor Manhattan. He is the only one who has the power to be able to pull this off in the universe by himself though it is possible that Lady Trieu has tapped into his power to do this herself. After all, that essentially happened in the Snyder movie. Anything is possible. No matter the answer though, I just feel like the resolution will create a huge problem with how it proceeds forward.
The problem is just that I am worried that Ozymandias will take over the entire narrative of the show and that he will utterly push Sister Night to the side. Her storyline and interactions with all of the other characters are the best parts of the show. These are the most down to Earth and gritty feeling moments that continue to have an emotional impact on me. I do not feel anything close to that with Ozymandias. His scenes feel like sketches that are mostly disconnected from everything else and don't need to be a part of the story. It is possible that maybe Ozymandias will just die upon trying to escape but that would mean it was even more of a waste of time. I think the best outcome would be that the final episode has his arrival and this sets up the next season while also keeping Angela's story as the focus with a proper resolution. The mystery with Veidt that the story seems invested in just isn't interesting enough to justify how much of an unbalanced amount of focus it has on it. If this episode represents a trend and it begins to slowly trim that down, it would serve the story immensely. I suppose the title is telling me to write my own story if I don't like the direction they are going but I would say that they could take their own advice. Focus on the new character of Sister Night and her own journey. Leave behind the characters we already know and give life to your own story with its own characters.