If anyone has been paying attention over the last week, they would have noticed Watchmen popping up in the headlines. Organizations like the Critics Choice Association (as an example) are starting to recognize how well written HBO’s breakout hit truly is. My guess is that when HBO submitted the show for awards consideration, they more than likely made sure tonight’s episode was part of the reel. Out of the eight episodes so far, this one was the best written and deftly managed to connect all that has transpired to setting up an intense finale.
Episode 8 is essentially at how Angela got to this point in her life (for those who don’t remember … she revealed to the world that Dr. Manhattan was hiding inside her husband). What I admired is how well the episode really painted how one choice is what sets these dominoes in motion (which eventually leads to last week’s climactic conclusion).
It all starts Angela being in a bar and she’s approached by Dr. Manhattan (who is actually disguised as a fake Dr. Manhattan to blend with a festive atmosphere). Angela is understandably skeptical of who he claims to be (as any rational person would).
Angela’s life experience has caused her to always be on guard so the idea of her meeting a guy (while on duty) and even falling in love is nuts. What makes it touching is that Dr. Manhattan lays out that all of this will end in doom (in fact he references 10 years of happiness) but in the end, she’s willing to take the risk.
The other part of this equation (that shouldn’t be ignored) is the sacrifice Dr. Manhattan makes for Angela. In order to have a decade of bliss, the good doctor changes his form and goes to his archnemesis (Ozymandias) for a solution so he won’t use his powers in the real world. In the process though, he does manage to tempt him into living in a paradise/prison.
So in reality, Sunday’s episode really crystalized how prevalent the themes of love and sacrifice have been this season. Even when Cal/Dr. Manhattan spells out that this will end badly and we are all made well aware that the Calvary is closing in, Angela puts her life on the line in an attempt to change (which ends up being futile).
The episode ends with quite an emotional stinger. Also, do not forget that post-credit scene which sets up next week’s finale.