Watchmen: Unanswered Questions We Have From the Finale
Watchmen fulfilled its promise to tell a complete story. But that doesn't mean we don't have some linger questions.
The following contains spoilers for Watchmen episode 9.
So, how about that Watchmen finale, eh? Unlike other HBO shows that rush to a conclusion that isn’t entirely earned, or perhaps leave things on an ambiguous note that plays less like an artistic choice and more like sheer laziness, Watchmen sure did manage to end things in a satisfactory manner with its ninth (and potentially final) episode. That’s a relief.
But as the saying goes, “nothing ever ends,” and even a narrative as tight as this one is bound to leave some unanswered questions. We’re here to address some of that.
Remember the mysterious runner in the silver jumpsuit who appeared back in episode 4? The one who Red Scare (and the entire internet) then dubbed “Lube Man” because of the way he greased himself up to slide into a sewer when Sister Night caught him spying on her? Yeah…it sure seems like there was going to be more to that, didn’t it?
But let’s think about this: we know that Laurie was keeping an eye on Angela Abar and thus was likely aware of her identity as Sister Night. And if Laurie knew, then the FBI knew, and if the FBI knew, then Agent Dale Petey knew. And Petey sure is a lanky fella, with a fondness for masks and superhero lore.
In fact, Dale Petey is a big fan of Max Shea’s novel Fogdancing, an important literary work in the Watchmen universe. “Fogdancers” are government agents who wear silver bodysuits with goggles and coat themselves in “SPF 666” to prevent burns from the horrible war crimes they commit. Lube Man’s look seems like it could have been inspired by Fogdancing, and he was observing Sister Night, the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. We’re not saying there’s a connection, but…it sure is suspicious. After all, did Agent Petey and Lube Man ever share screentime? No. No they did not.
Is Dr. Manhattan really dead?
All signs point to yes. Although, if it’s any comfort, because of the way Dr. Manhattan experiences time, he was able to live out the best moments of his life in “real time” likely over and over in the moments before his death. In other words, he’s still alive…just wherever else in time he was.
Of course, that raises the question about whether or not if his consciousness is there, there’s theoretically nothing stopping him from breaking his usual rules and making different choices and creating new timelines or something, but all of that seems like a longshot.
So yeah, he’s probably dead.
Does that make Angela the new Dr. Manhattan?
Um…probably? On their first meeting, Dr. Manhattan did tell her that he could “theoretically” transfer his powers into some organic material for someone to consume, thus passing on his powers. And he did say it was important for Angela to see him walking on the pool (again, to remind her of their first conversation where she glibly made a crack about him being able to “walk on water”). And he DID tell her to “watch the eggs” while he was making waffles and one egg remained miraculously unbroken.
So yeah, do the math. Ambiguity be damned, let’s just assume that yes, Angela has been transformed in some way after consuming that raw egg that likely is supercharged with Dr. Manhattan juice. What the implications of that entail is left up to the viewer…or a potential second season.
We wrote about all of this in much more detail here.
Who survived the second squid attack?
While there was definitely a body count involved in the frozen squid rain that saved the day at the last minute, most of them appear to be nameless masked cops. Both Red Scare and Pirate Jenny survived (though it’s not entirely clear how), so hopefully we’ll learn more about them someday if there ends up being a second season of this show. While Veidt said it would be “five square blocks” of death and destruction, it thankfully ended up being a little more contained than that.
read more: Watchmen Episode 9 Easter Eggs Explained
But Lady Trieu’s daughter/mother clone Bian also survived. She…had a rough night, between getting confirmation that she was the clone of her mother’s mother, witnessing another human (a scumbag, but a person nonetheless) get reduced to a blob of blood and tissue, the deaths of dozens of people (bad people, but people nevertheless), and finally the death by frozen cephalopod of dozens more people (including her mother), well, this could certainly end up being a supervillain origin story for her. Or maybe not. Bian seems like a good kid. Hopefully she turns out ok. Even though she weirdly put all of this into motion.
Is Cyclops really gone?
The sad reality (based on our own sad reality) is that they’re probably not. But at the very least, they’re screwed for a while. That was the entire “senior leadership” of Cyclops that Lady Trieu vaporized with her Pink Floyd light show, and it’ll take a while to recover from that. It’ll at least take a while for them to reorganize.
But look at this like Veidt’s plan from the end of the book. He was really just setting the Doomsday Clock back by convincing everyone that the world was under threat from an extra-dimensional source. It was inevitable that humanity would eventually bring itself to the brink again (and there are hints in the background of HBO’s Watchmen of rising tensions with China and the building of more nukes, for example). So it’s just as inevitable that Cyclops will reform, especially since it looks like the political pendulum of Watchmen’s America is overdue for a swing back to the right after years of the extremely liberal Redford administration.
Where’s Nite Owl?
We’ve been over this before, but Dan Dreiberg, the second Nite Owl and one of the main protagonists of the book has been absent from the show. The reason? Well, for one thing, he wouldn’t have fit neatly in the story.
But more importantly Dan is still in jail for violating the Keene Act in 1995 with Laurie. That’s when they prevented Timothy McVeigh from carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing, and ended up in FBI custody. Laurie decided to cut a deal with Uncle Sam. Dan did not. Hence, he’s rotting in prison.
read more: Watchmen Timeline Explained
If Watchmen ends up getting a second season, though, we’ll probably see Dan. He’ll have to testify at Adrian Veidt’s trial, for one thing.
Speaking of which!
What is the list of charges against Adrian Veidt?
Well, something like three million counts of first degree murder, right?
And since he was wearing his Ozymandias costume when he did it, maybe one additional charge of violating the Keene Act? There are bound to be millions of civil suits as well for the emotional trauma inflicted on the citizenry.
What about Robert Redford’s Presidency? Is he now running unopposed for a fifth term?
Presumably there were other Republican challengers beyond Joe Keene working campaigns all around the country. After nearly 30 years, things are bound to eventually swing back in the other direction, and you can see the dissatisfaction with President Redford here and there throughout the series, whether it was a crack the news vendor made or the fact that Redford’s latest Supreme Court nominee, John Grisham, was finding his confirmation hearings dragging on (as per a headline glimpsed in episode 9). It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that, should we ever return to the world of Watchmen, that Redford has been defeated and a conservative administration is now in place.
Will the FBI keep Hooded Justice’s identity a secret?
This is a tricky one. The answer is “maybe.” There’s probably some agents who are also members of Cyclops, and it would probably be a massive embarrassment for them if word got out that most of their pet projects were foiled by a black man. But ultimately, since Hooded Justice retired over two decades before the Keene Act was passed, they can’t even get him on that. The question, then, is will the Tulsa PD get him on charges of essentially murdering Judd Crawford?
Whatever the case, Will Reeves himself doesn’t seem too concerned about the prospect.
Where’s Dale Petey?
He’s Lube Man. Pay attention, sheeple!
No, seriously, the last we saw of Dale he was investigating the carnage at Wade Tillman’s bunker. Presumably he was nowhere near the frozen squid rain that decimated downtown Tulsa. However, the final Peteypedia memo makes it known that he has been fired from the FBI, and that he is considered a vigilante activity risk (now classified as “Hero Enthusiast-Obsessive/ Solipsist on the Werthem Spectrum”), and that “a jug of what appears to be some kind of canola oil” was confiscated with his belongings. See? He really is Lube Man! You think I was messing with you?
We are all Dale Petey.
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