Things started to become clearer. Kinda. Sorta. Maybe.
After the last couple of Watchmen episodes, anything would be a letdown. And "An Almost Religious Awe" is. Although it does answer a question or two, while raising even more. Which is kind of what Watchmen the comic does.
What are the questions that are answered? Mostly it's about what Trieu and 7K are up to. How things got the way they are remains to be seen, and there are still a few big questions remaining. Like what is the Millennium Clock, and how can it thwart 7K?
The episode is a bit like last week's "This Extraordinary Being", where we find out about a character through memories. Last week, it was Angela reliving Will's memories. This week it's Angela reliving Angela's memories of how she was born in Saigon via Marcus, the son of Will and June. Marcus and his wife are blown up during VVN Day by a domestic terrorist, and Angela grows up an orphan. She later identifies the person responsible for the bomb to two police officers. While one officer takes the man off to blow out his brains, the other one gives Angela a police badge and tells her to look her up when she's older.
Then June (Valeri Ross) comes to Saigon to bring Angela home. They bond over a Sister Night video that Angela has picked up, and then as June loads Angela in a taxi to bring her to Tulsa, she drops dead in the street. The end... of Angela's flashbacks.
In the present, Angela is recovering from the Nostalgia OD. She's hooked up to a tube, and has an enigmatic test administered by Bian (Jolia Hoang-Rappaport). Then Angela eats with Trieu, who is suitably enigmatic but says that she's "saving fucking humanity". Not satisfied with this, Angela tracks down the source of the liquid being pumped into her body. She discovers that she's hooked up to an elephant (??), and finds her way to a communications hub that lets her see everyone who is praying to Dr. Manhattan via Trieu's "Manhattan Booths". Trieu shows up, and tells Angela that Manhattan is on Earth pretending to be human, and she plans to save him. Angela isn't interested in who Manhattan is (because she already knows) and leaves.
Angela goes home and tells Cal that it was his idea for him not to remember anything after their car accident. Then she beats in Cal's head with a hammer and takes out a little Manhattan/hydrogen atom piece of metal, and Cal glows blue.
In other developments, Laurie tape-recorded Angela's ramblings and learned how Judd died. She goes to confront June (Frances Fisher), who immediately confesses, takes out an old-style TV remote, and punches buttons on it until Laurie's couch, and Laurie, drop through a trapdoor. Which is so weird that it looks like something out of The Simpsons with Mr. Burns.
Laurie finds herself at the J.C. Penney's abandoned department store of doom. Senator Keene tells her that he plans to address the racial balance between whites and blacks by becoming blue.
In this week's Adrian sideshow, Jeremy Irons is in his Ozymandias get up. The Game Warden has been trying him for 365 days, further confirming the theory Adrian's adventures aren't taking place congruently with the rest of the show. Adrian has nothing to say in his defense but passes gas, and the Game Warden lets in a jury of Adrian's peers: pigs. They find Adrian guilty and the spectators (Phillips and Crookshanks clones) chant that Adrian is guilty.
Trieu says that Bian is a clone of her mother, and she's been secretly feeding her Nostalgia memories to give her her "original" memories back.
Petey checks in briefly to tell Laurie there are five dead 7K operatives at Wade's bunker, but Wade isn't there. No sign of Panda or Topher.
"Awe" does establish a few answers, and at last we know what 7K is up to. Sort of. They're using teleport technology to... do something that will somehow merge Keene into Manhattan/Cal, giving Keene god-like powers. Presumably the U.S. won't fare well with a superpowered white supremacist. As Trieu notes, Will came to her because he needed her resources to take on Cyclops/7K. How the Millennium Clock will stop 7K isn't at all clear.
The episode is good, but it relies a bit too heavily on what is apparently coincidence. Laurie and Angela both end up romantically involved with Manhattan, and they both end up in Tulsa. Will is Hooded Justice and Manhattan's grandfather-in-law. Keene had Laurie brought to Tulsa... just because. I say "apparently coincidence" because this could all end up being Manhattan subconsciously manipulating everything to come together.
There are also the usual little scenes of weirdness. The entire Adrian trial is weird. Red Scare standing watch outside Trieu industries and eating Cheetos with a fork is weird.
There are other things that aren't weird, but just out of left field. Like the sudden significance of Cal. Cal has been somewhat of a non-entity in the last six episodes. We haven't seen enough of him to get a "Manhattan pretending to be human" vibe off of him. They keep talking about the car accident, but we never actually see it and it seems overly complicated. Did Manhattan create a new body for himself looking like Cal? What happened to the real Cal? Was there a real Cal? When talking to Cal, Angela says it was "his" idea to forget life before the car accident. Does she mean it was Cal's idea, or Manhattan's idea?
There's been a lot of Manhattan in the background, but it's not really clear how important he's been to the proceedings, either. "Awe" is the first episode that really does something with the whole "Manhattan ends the Vietnam War" thing. And in the comics, Manhattan isn't that big a player in the 80s. Yes, he's around, manipulating atoms, doing research, and splitting himself into three selves for sex with Laurie. But it was the movie that made Manhattan a major threat to the world when Adrian framed him for destroying NYC. All of this means the sudden significance of Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen is out of left field, whether on his own or as Cal/Manhattan.
There's also the question of what Adrian is doing and where he's trying to escape from? Yes, we know he's on a moon of Jupiter as was revealed a couple of episodes ago. But why is he there? Did Manhattan put Adrian there and then forget about him along with everything else? No one else seems to have the power to lock up Adrian on Jupiter's moon. But then why was Adrian spelling out "Help Me D" in frozen body limbs? Either the "D" is "Dr. Manhattan", in which case why would Adrian think Manhattan is going to help him after locking him up there? Or Adrian was signaling to someone else, but who can get him off of Jupiter's moon?
We've got two more episodes to go, and a lot of questions yet to be answered. Some of which, I think, will never be answered, like where did 7K get the technology to create teleportation portals and do hinky stuff with Dr. Manhattan? "Just because" seems to be the answer to that one. But there's a lot of other things that need to be explained, and only two episodes to pull it off in. Can the creative team pull it all together? We'll see.
But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Written by Gislef on Dec 2, 2019