On Watchmen, the enigmatic Lube Man was the hero that no one deserved, needed right now, or even asked for…but he was beloved all the same.
As depicted very briefly in Watchmen’s fourth episode, Lube Man patrolled the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma with two bottles of SPF-666 to keep himself as lubricated as possible and able to squeeze through tight spaces. The show’s supplemental material strongly hinted at Lubey’s real identity. But now his identity has officially been revealed.
In a new video from Rolling Stone in which chief TV critic Alan Sepinwall chats with Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof, and musicians Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross about the show’s soundtrack, Lube Man stops by unannounced. He begins to hack into the video around the 20-minute mark and then finally breaks through 25 minutes in.
Like us all, Lube Man is a big fan of Reznor and Ross’s atmospheric score – so much so that he has a spoken-word poem that he’d like them to provide musical accompaniment for. Reznor and Ross agree on the condition that Lube Man remove his mask. Lube Man complies, revealing that his identity to be that of…FBI Agent Dale Petey!
This, of course, is among the least surprising surprises from the Watchmen television universe. As previously mentioned, the show’s supplemental material has already pretty heavily implied that Petey was the slippery vigilante. In the final installments of HBO’s aptly-named Peteypedia, FBI Deputy Director Max Farragut writes that Petey has gone missing and the Bureau suspects that his hero fascination may have finally gotten the best of him:
“My understanding from Tulsa PD is that he has now gone missing. Given the simultaneous deaths of a U.S. senator and a prominent trillionaire, it would appear Petey has taken it upon himself to continue the investigation despite our closing it. It’s clear now from his memos that Petey (Hero Enthusiast-Obsessive/ Solipsist on the Werthem Spectrum) is at risk for vigilante behavior, and most likely, always was. Perhaps sooner or later, this task force will be investigating him.”
Petey’s physical characteristics always matched up quite closely with Lube Man, as does Petey’s clear interest in heroes. Petey likely was familiar with the book within the Watchmen universe known as “Fogdancing.” The book discusses U.S. special agents known as “fogdancers” who wear silver bodysuits with goggles and coat themselves in a special lubricant known as “SPF-666” to shield them from radiation. In fact, Agent Petey mentions SPF-666 in his Reznor and Ross-scored rap.
In the clip, Lindelof stops short of confirming that Petey is indeed Lube Man and mentions that he would prefer the fans to work out where a Rolling Stone interview falls into the Watchmen canon. He also refers to the Lubed One by the actor’s name Dustin Ingram. So perhaps the real twist to the Watchmen canon here isn’t that Dale Petey is Lube Man, but rather the very real Dustin Ingram.
That’s insane, obviously, but no less insane than Squid Raid we suppose.