Watchmen smartly changes the pace by leaving the cramming of lore on the showroom floor with a surprisingly emotional and moving episode.
This recap of Watchmen Season 1, Episode 8, “A God Walks Into Abar”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
As lines go, I would have paid anything for Dr. Manhattan to open like, “If looks could kill you would have been a weapon of mass destruction,” or the thought of Angela from a distance has caused his epididymal hypertension to spread all over his body. Dr. M though has gone meta, being upfront, honest, maybe weird, but even more endearing than she could have possibly anticipated.
This episode of Watchmen, titled “A God Walks into Abar,” starts with how Angela and Cal first met. Except, she met Cal when he was already dead, and after falling in love with Dr. Manhattan, he decided to take Cal’s body because his deceased body can afford an autopsy, burial, or even a death certificate. We don’t really know why Dr. Manhattan loves Angela, but we can only assume he loves strong women (and they love him).
Damon Lindelöf and Jeff Jensen wrote the episode and it finally recaps the Vietnam back story on Angela’s profound loss and creates a linear timeline that “relatively” coincides as Dr. Manhattan doesn’t so much jump between timelines as he multi-tasks and causing a domino effect in the process. For instance, the paradox of Angela asks him to find out how Will Reeves knew that Judd was a member of The Seventh Kavalry. The thing is, Reeves didn’t, and this caused his investigation into Crawford in the first place.
Lindelöf’s perception of Watchmen’s timeline is quite extraordinary and strays from the conventional, even though it could have endangered not only its core audience but its new ones as well by antagonizing them with a convoluted plot. They never let it get there though, as, for instance, in the opening scene where Angela questions how Dr. Manhattan can be in love with her without having a moment. Later (or is it happening at the same time?) he reveals 7K is outside waiting for him and there is nothing they can do to save him. She shows him what true love is, running into a machine-gun fight with a pistol to save the only man she will ever love, and this is the moment he fell for her.
“A God Walks into Abar” smartly leaves most of the jargon and comic book lore on the floor unlike previous episodes and lets the natural flow of the story between the two speak for themselves. It’s surprisingly emotional and even moving, as Trent Reznor’s beautiful score resonates as Angela fights to save her soul mate. Of course, as she kills at least a half-dozen or more bad guys, she jumps into a truck to take the rest head-on, which is a questionable decision, but soon Dr. Manhattan is on the front lawn mentally squeezing and exploding 7K member’s heads like neon-blue pudding cups. As Angela thinks they have won, and Dr. Manhattan was wrong (which must be infuriating for any wife to never be right around her husband, right?), he is struck by the Kavalary’s weapon to steal his power and leaving Angela helpless in the process.
The other nuggets have to do with the backstory of how Veidt came to be in the castle and how the adorable Ms. Crookshanks and Mr. Phillips came to be. Dr. Manhattan offers a deal. In exchange for making himself more human, so he can walk and talk amongst the normal undetected, he will send him back to his happiest time; when he was in a castle waiting to be snuck out of Germany and became a peeping Veidt, if you will, watching the original Phillips and Crookshanks joining giblets. They are used as his own Adam and Eve for Veidt, who will serve as his staff at his new home. Veidt though, as we have watched all year, was never careful about what he wished for. If you watched past the credits, you will know apparently all the Clones have been planning a takedown of their master for years, and we are left to wonder what will happen next week.
Many may think this episode strayed away from racial divides as its main themes, and they may be right. However, I contend, the way true love goes; the heart wants what the hearts wants, and love is always blind to such things.
M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.