Warning: This post contains major spoilers for episode eight of HBO’s Watchmen and speculation about Lady Trieu.
When she was five years old Watchmen‘s Lady Trieu named herself after a legendary warrior who fought against Chinese occupation of Vietnam. The trillionaire genius now aspires to be a hero herself. She plans to save the world by stopping the Seventh Kavalry from acquiring Dr. Manhattan’s powers. The Rorschach-wearing face of Cyclops is an enemy of the world, but the group might also be Lady Trieu’s naive allies in her ultimate goal. She wants to kill the god who stole her country. It would be a double-cross worthy of her hero, Adrian Veidt.
Watchmen‘s seventh episode bolstered our theory that Lady Trieu hates Dr. Manhattan like many others in her homeland. However, her hatred seems to go beyond how he helped America annex Vietnam as the 51st state. She knows he’s not on Mars and never has been. (Her deep space probes were certainly how Ozymandias knew Manhattan was on Europa. Veidt said to Jon “a little elephant” told him.) He gave people false hope as a decoy, just like all of those phone booths she set up around the world to “call” him are fake. Dr. Manhattan isn’t listening to anyone’s prayers, and Lady Trieu resents the blue deity for abandoning mankind.
The Seventh Kavalry doesn’t have any obvious personal issues with Dr. Manhattan, though. They worship Richard Nixon, and Manhattan was Nixon’s great weapon that won the Vietnam War. They merely want to capture and destroy Dr. Manhattan—which the blue god said they will do—so that Senator Joe Keene can steal his abilities. Cyclops wants to restore power to white Americans. Making Keene a god instead of a president ensures they not only can, but that they will always maintain white power. Lady Trieu has no intention of letting that happen.
“They’re going to capture Dr. Manhattan, and they’re going to destroy him, and then they’re going to become him,” she told Angela. “Can you imagine that kind of power in the hands of white supremacists? I’m sorry Angela, I know you asked me not to say it but I am saving fucking humanity.”
In episode eight the Kavalry was able to pull off the first part of their plan. They used a tachyonic cannon to teleport Dr. Manhattan to their secret base. It was an amazing feat requiring amazing technology. But a machine that can best a literal god seems to be well beyond anything a bunch of “morons” (as Joe Keene called them) could build. That’s because they didn’t.
Every machine they constructed in front of a tied-up Laurie Blake, the same ones they used to capture Dr. Manhattan, belong to Trieu Industries. They all had the same “T” logo sported by Trieu workers at her Millennium Clock.
Did the smartest woman in the world, a genius beyond compare, allow her technology to be stolen by idiots? Did they really get a hold of Adrian Veidt’s Teleportation Window (which she owns)? And did they do all of this right under her nose in Tulsa. It seems insulting to Lady Trieu to even suggest it. Plus, her knowledge of their plan shows she’s aware they have her technology and her machines. How else could they best Dr. Manhattan? Which leaves only one other option for how they got her tech—she gave it to them.
Lady Trieu admires Adrian Veidt, the “truly great man” she knew before he went missing. She bought his companies and took control of his estate. She was also the one he almost certainly called to save him from Europa. It’s even possible Veidt is her father (and also that he actually IS the gold statue in her vivarium). Either way, Trieu told Laurie Blake and Angela Abar, “So much of my success grew from the seed of his inspiration.”
Lady Trieu’s connection with Veidt goes beyond her respect for him, though. She is the modern day Ozymandias. He too was/is an unparalleled genius determined to save the world at al costs. To do so he used people as unwitting pawns in 1985, including supposed allies. A big part of his giant squid scheme involved letting Rorschach go on a wild chase for a masked vigilante killer. Veidt even hired a hitman to attack him to sell the lie. It was one of many red herrings he used to hide his true intentions.
Letting the Seventh Kavalry do her dirty work for her, all while she plans to stop them, would be a move right out of Ozymandias’s playbook. Lady Trieu’s not playing 4D Chess, she’s playing a game no one else is even aware of, just like Veidt did when he “saved” the world.
And just like Ozymandias, part of her plan involves trying to kill Dr. Manhattan. Veidt tried to destroy him with an intrinsic field subtractor. It was the same machine that turned Jon Osterman into a god, but it didn’t work. But that was 34 years ago, and in that time Lady Trieu’s technological advancements have far exceeded what Adrian Veidt had in 1985. An intrinsic field subtractor might not have killed Dr. Manhattan then, but a new and improved one could now. And that’s exactly what Cyclops seemed to be building.
There would be an obvious poetry to Trieu using the Seventh Kavalry the same way Veidt used Rorschach. She’s smarter than they are, and they don’t even know she is playing them. But she might finally do the one thing Ozymandias couldn’t—she could kill Dr. Manhattan. Cyclops wants an all-powerful god who can control the world, and she knows how that turned out for Vietnam.
Featured Image: HBO