The most powerful thing about a story is that it gives us the ability to see ourselves as different versions of who we are in reality, who we want to be, and who we ought to be. Sometimes we’re the young girl who throws a brick into the air. Sometimes we’re the hero who has never killed a person in their pursuit of justice. Sometimes we’re the hero who has casually killed three million people because the grand justice of the world demanded it, a monster. Sometimes we’re the superhero who already knows that he is in hell. Sometimes we are God. It’s a matter of self-awareness, desire, and perspective.
The third episode of Watchmen is centered around the introduction of Special Agent Laurie Blake, brought to crackling life by the wonderful Jean Smart. She has a special history of her own, from the consequences of her parentage to her former relationship with Dr. Manhattan, layers of at least the latter spill out bit by bit over the course of a long, thematic joke that forms the episode’s structure. As she finds herself throughout the episode, a part of her sees her for that young girl who threw the brick up into the air, a master in some sense of just seeing what happens, leaving the reverence of structure to older men obsessed with it. At the end of the episode she finds herself in the position of God, almost dying because she couldn’t see Angela’s car dropping from the heavens. Unlike the God in her story, however, she survives the brick, laughing manically.
Ozymandias (Jeremy Irons), a man for whom Laurie has the utmost disregard, clearly sees himself in the position of God. In Laurie’s joke, he’s the monster and indeed he conducts himself with the casual cruelty that would earn him such a moniker. But Ozymandias seems to lack that self-awareness and if he has ever realized it at all, he has hid it underneath the air of someone who believes in the utmost version of himself in spite of all evidence pointing otherwise. There is a battle between his singular vision in battling the as of yet mysterious opponent guarding the game and the grand plans he is inevitably building. Are they connected?
Laurie’s question of how one can tell the difference between a masked cop and a vigilante is slightly on the nose, but it’s a question that is going to inherently tug at the center of this series. It is difficult to see heroism be so closely tied to the police force when the reality that is so closely mirrored to our has a plethora of stories suggesting something else entirely. Little hints are being dropped, through the visuals and with Judd’s (Don Johnson) skeleton in the closet, that the heroism is far more cracked than the series at this juncture would like us to believe. As I said above, in many ways, it’s a matter of perspective.
+ The music. The first album covering the score drops November 4th!
+ Laurie gets a giant blue dildo and sleeps with a twink. It’s what she deserves!
+ I would love to know more about Laurie’s father. Are him and Judd connected through the same skeletons in their respective closets?