Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Watchmen‘s fifth episode.
The strangest part of this week’s Watchmen was not the giant monster that destroyed New York. The weirdest moment took place in an abandoned mall, when the Seventh Kavalry lured Looking Glass there to show him the truth about Adrian Veidt’s giant “alien” squid. The scene contained deep and important references to the comic book, and gave us insight into Senator Joe Keene’s mysterious plan. And all of it revolved around teleportation technology that could change the world once again.
“Are you opening portals?” Wade Tillman’s fear about the squid that nearly killed him in 1985 led to him becoming an expert on the “science” behind the event. That’s how he knew those basketballs falling from the sky were being thrown into a “CX-924 Teleportation Window.” It’s the machine the world believes brought the transdimensional squid to Earth, which is what Adrian Veidt wanted everyone to think.
DC Comics/Dave Gibbons/John Higgins
Part of Ozymandias’s plot involved preparing people to accept the “reality” of an extraterrestrial attack. For years, a number of his companies subliminally planted the possibility in the public’s consciousness. His movie theaters showed old alien invasion films. The most important aspect to this part of his plan was the work of the Institute for Extraspatial Studies. It was another one of Veidt’s corporations no one knew he secretly owned and operated.
Wade said the Teleportation Window he saw the Kavalry using was “just like the one they were playing around with at the Institute for Transdimensional Studies in Harold Square on 11/2” in 1985. Slight name change aside, the respected Institute was looking for energy sources from other dimensions. When the giant squid appeared on top of the building, it was easy to believe they had been responsible for accidentally bringing it to Earth. It was Veidt’s covert way to offer a plausible, scientific explanation for what had happened. In reality, he had utilized that very same technology to teleport his squid from Antarctica to New York City.
An unintended result of Veidt’s grand plan was the world shunning Dr. Manhattan-related technology after the squid. The Institute was using technology based on Manhattan’s own teleportation power. (The god-like figure’s influence can be seen when the Teleportation Window turns Manhattan-blue as basketballs go through.) No one wanted to accidentally open another portal with technology based on Manhattan.
Looking Glass now knows the truth about other dimensions and aliens. He doesn’t have to worry Senator Joe Keene and the Kavalry are “gonna open up a portal in Tulsa, drop another squid on us.” But what exactly is Joe Keene planning with that teleportation machine? Just like Adrian Veidt in 1985, he wants to reshape America and the world into his own version of Utopia.
“I’m not a murderer. I’m a politician,” Keene said to Tillman. He then explained his association with the Seventh Kavalry terrorist organization is a pragmatic association, not an ideological one. “I came down here and assumed leadership of these idiots to prevent that shit from happening again. And my buddy Judd did the same as Chief of Police, each of us managing our respective teams so we can maintain the peace.” That might sound like a lie, but it’s likely not.
Keene’s D.O.P.A. law allowed Tulsa police officers to be masked after the Kavalry’s White Night slaughter. It’s his signature achievement, the one he will tout during his current presidential campaign. It’s been such a success other cities around the country are close to passing similar laws. Its continued effectiveness was so important to both him and Judd Crawford, who was attacked on White Night. Infiltrating the group helped them both maintain the peace they craved.
Keene’s motives are obviously more self-serving than Crawford’s were. Chief Crawford wanted to keep his officers safe; Keene wants to be president. Keene sent Laurie Blake down to Tulsa to find Crawford’s murderer to make sure that happened. He must maintain the peace to protect his presidential aspirations. But that’s not why he wanted Angela Abar “removed” from the proverbial board the next couple of days. That’s related to his secret plans for the Teleportation Window and his grand plans.
Robert Redford’s decades long presidency has been a sweeping success for liberal policies. It has made the right bitter and violent over gun and environmental laws, and furious over reparations for African Americans. And all of those Democratic accomplishments were possible because of Adrian Veidt’s lie.
The Seventh Kavalry wants to turn back the clock to Richard Nixon’s administration. Republican candidate for president Senator Joe Keen saw value in aligning with them. How will they get the country and result they want when the greatest lie and decades of liberal rule stand in their way?
Keene told Looking Glass he’s not going to send a squid through that Teleportation Window, he’s “gonna do something new.” Whatever it is will help him destroy what Adrian Veidt built.
Featured Image: HBO