Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the first episode of HBO’s Watchmen.
There was a lot, and we do mean A LOT, going on in the first episode of Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen series. From baby squid rain, to cows being blown to smithereens, to a stunning final scene, the premiere had more Easter eggs and major developments than many shows have in a single season. But it also raised plenty of questions that will have huge ramifications for the rest of the season and beyond. These are the biggest mysteries we need answered after the pilot.
1. Who was the baby girl the young boy picked up after the Tulsa Race Massacre?
We know the young child who survived the massacre in Tulsa is still alive nearly 100 years later, as we see him in 2019 holding the note (“Watch over this boy”) that his parents had left with him after the aforesaid tragedy. He is seemingly responsible for hanging Don Johnson’s Judd Crawford from a tree (though the season preview after the episode suggests he wasn’t the one who killed him). But who was the baby girl he picked up in that field so long ago? Is she still alive a century later? If not, who was she and how does she connect to the story?
2. Who killed Judd Crawford and why?
Whether it was Louis Gossett Jr.’s old man, the Seventh Cavalry, or some other person or group, the murder of Chief Judd Crawford could send an already tenuous situation in Tulsa over the edge. Could the cause be revenge for the unlawful violation of civil liberties by the police, or an old grudge against the city itself? An attempt by the Cavalry to create an Archduke Franz Ferdinand moment and start the war they so desperately want? Or is it possible this was far more personal and Judd Crawford wasn’t targeted because of his job but because of something else?
3. Why is the Seventh Cavalry collecting watch batteries?
What could a group of white nationalist terrorists want with little watch batteries? (“The old kind, with the synthetic lithium, the ones that were making people sick.”) There are easier ways to make an explosive, though Judd Crawford wondered if they were working on a cancer bomb… which isn’t farfetched, since in the comic book, Adrian Veidt did give people cancer. But a deadly disease seems like a slow way to start a war already on the verge of breaking out. So what do they really want those batteries for?
4. How did the police get their own fleet of Archies?
Night Owl II, whose real identity was Dan Dreiberg, was wealthy, which is how he was able to afford his fancy gadgets and high-end crime fighting technology. The most memorable piece of such tech was his flying apparatus called Archie. But Night Owl II went into hiding after the Giant Squid attack, taking on an entirely new identity to protect himself. How did his owl-shaped plane end up in the hands of the Tulsa police, who had a fleet of them patrolling the skies? Was it discovered when Dreiberg left it behind? Did he give it over freely? Was he arrested and his technology seized?
Or is it possible Dreiberg brought it with him to his new job in Tulsa? Was Judd Crawford really Dan Dreiberg, which is why he had an owl mug and a copy of the original Night Owl’s tell-all memoir on his desk?
5. Who is responsible for the baby squid rain? The government, Ozymandias, or someone else?
The people living in the world of Watchmen believe a transdimensional monster alien squid landed in New York City in 1985. However, that was the work of Adrian Veidt, a.k.a. Ozymandias. His plan was to unite the world against a common enemy that appeared in the form of a space invader, and it worked. Mostly.
The Seventh Cavalry thinks “alien” squids, whose babies now rain down upon the cities randomly, are a government hoax. We know the government wasn’t behind the first squid, but are they behind these latest “attacks”? Did the governments of the world uncover the truth of Veidt’s plan but, like his fellow Watchmen, decide it would be better to maintain the lie than admit the truth? Or does Ozymandias still send baby squid rain showers sometimes using his teleportation technology to help maintain his deception? Could it even be someone else, or some other group, entirely?
Between Night Owl II, Ozymandias, and Silk Spectre II (Jean Smart’s Laurie Blake who didn’t appear in the pilot but will soon as an FBI agent), the question of how much the former Watchmen are working with or against the government will be a major element of the season.
6. Why is Dr. Manhattan on Mars?
Dr. Manhattan left Earth’s solar system at the end of the graphic novel to start new life somewhere far away. So why did he return to Mars, his former planet of solitude? Was he lonely in the universe by himself? Did he miss his original cosmic neighborhood? Or does he want to be close to Earth because something terrible is going to happen soon (he can see through time) and a small part of him still cares about the fate of mankind?
And why didn’t his appearance seem like a very big deal on Earth? Is a Dr. Manhattan sighting a frequent occurrence and not all that surprising? If so, why does he sometimes reappear?
7. Why did Adrian Veidt go into hiding?
A newspaper headline reported Jeremy Irons’ Adrian Veidt had been officially declared dead, but he’s very much alive at his private chateau. Exactly how long has he been in hiding and why? What does he gain from being presumed dead? Is he on the run from the world’s governments, possibly because they uncovered the truth about his giant squid? Are they in on the lie to protect him? Could he need privacy to work on something new (and not just a new play)?
8. Why are Adrian Veidt’s servants so weird?
Mr. Philips, who tried to cut a cake with a horseshoe and wrapped a gift in rabbit fur, and Miss Crookshanks, who was completely undisturbed by rubbing her naked master’s thigh as he typed, are weird. Really weird. Is that because Adrian Veidt, who once created a massive biological monster, genetically-engineered them too? For a man in hiding from the world, it would be the best way to ensure total loyalty and devotion, even if both servants are a little off.
9. What anniversary were they celebrating?
The cake that Philips and Crookshanks prepared for Veidt was part of an anniversary celebration, but which one? The premiere took place in September, so it couldn’t have been the anniversary of the first squid attack, which occurred in November. What other monumental event in Ozymandias’ life was worthy of celebration?
For an episode loaded with so much we still have a whole lot of questions we need answered.
Featured Image: HBO