*Spoilers for the HBO series “Watchmen” ahead*
The last episode of the first season of HBO’s “Watchmen” aired Dec. 15 — the final chapter in Creator Damon Lindelof’s quest to bring a graphic novel from 1986 to life in 2019. From the opening sequence of the series, which documented the Tulsa massacre of 1921, to the last episode that shows white supremacists getting vaporized by a laser, the show has been all over the place. Set in the same universe as the graphic novel of the same name, “Watchmen” had big shoes to fill — and boy did it fill them. With much credit given to Academy Award-winning actress Regina King, this finale was a fan’s dream for how the season should end.
“Watchmen” is inexplicably about race and the American dream. The series strayed from the plot and time period of the graphic novel to instead focus on the masked police force of Tulsa, Oklahoma and its conflict with the white supremacist group the Seventh Kavalry. The series revolves primarily around Angela Abar (King) — one of many officers forced to work undercover to remain safe — and the secrets she holds about her family. Over the course of nine episodes, Angela’s story arc develops into something somewhat chaotic, and she becomes surprisingly dynamic throughout the show.
Most of the season, there were many things that did not make any sense until the end was near. Two episodes prior to the finale in one of the many climaxes of the season, the audience became privy to the information that Dr. Manhattan (Yahya Mateen-Abdul II), the quintessential god figure of the series, was walking the Earth in a black man's skin. He was disguised as Angela’s husband Cal. This moment made the undertones of racism make sense — there is an angry mob of members of a white supremacist organization hunting the streets of Tulsa for a black man.
“Watchmen” is all about not believing your first assumptions about anyone. In the season finale, all plans are revealed from the broad swath of supporting characters. The Seventh Kavalry is going to kidnap Dr. Manhattan and harvest his power to make one of their own omnipotent. The powerful scientist Lady Trieu (Hong Chau) and Angela’s grandfather Will Reeves (Louis Gossett Jr.) seek to stop them, with their own agendas. Lady Trieu has also rescued her father, the infamous Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons), from Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, to watch her plan unfold.
“Watchmen” does something different in that it punishes white supremacy without attempting to humanize it. In one of the scenes, one of the villains of the season, Senator Joe Keene Jr. (James Wolk) makes his stereotypical bad guy manifesto speech to his followers about how he feels that their current leadership, President Robert Redford, is a race traitor. Five minutes later, he ends up literally melting himself to death in an effort to steal Dr. Manhattan’s power.
Given the maze-like structuring of the rest of the season, it is no surprise that “Watchmen” ends in a cliffhanger. In the last scene, Angela ingests a raw egg that is implied to contain the powers of Dr. Manhattan. She goes to take a step on her pool to see if she can walk on water and then the screen cuts to black. One of the taglines for “Watchmen” is “Nothing Ever Ends.” Let's hope this is true when Lindelof and his team think about another season.