The second episode of Watchmen wastes no time in tying in the opening of the premiere and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre (a real-life event) with the heroes and villains of this series.
In the opening minutes of the Watchmen season premiere, the episode replayed a look at what really happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, almost 100 years ago. At the end of that, a young boy survived the attacks and set off with the instructions to watch over a surviving baby from the event.
Last week, the episode ended with kindly police chief Judd Crawford dying by lynching with only one elderly black man in a wheelchair by the hanging.
So, who was this elderly man, portrayed by the impeccable Louis Gossett Jr.?
This week’s episode opens with another flashback in history where black soldiers are battling against the Germans in World War I while pamphlets rain down on them, written by a German leader who reminds them that they are unappreciated by the white men that give them orders.
One of those pamphlets is what the note to watch after the boy that was given to the surviving child of the race riots was written on.
Yes, the elderly man who is now taking full credit for lynching Chief Judd Crawford is that young boy from the opening of the premiere episode. Furthermore, as this episode reveals by the end, he is also the grandfather of Angela (Regina King).
That is the reveal that ties this entire episode together.
There are a lot more race issues involved here, which should make people complaining that the show is too political (because they have no idea what the original comics were really about).
The Redford-ations that was mentioned last week was not just to help those police officers and their families who were massacred on Christmas Eve that started the entire idea of police wearing masks for their own safety. It also helped those who were hurt in the past, such as those in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that the real-world United States chose to ignore.
When Angela wants to find out who the old man is, she takes his DNA to the museum set up to show the horrors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. On the way in, she passes some white protestors who have signs that say things like “You already got a sorry, now you want a handout.”
As if sorry is ever good enough. But that is what the mystery of Watchmen seems to be leading to.
See, Angela was told that there are skeletons in Chief Crawford’s closet so she takes it literally and finds a Ku Klux Klan outfit in his closet. This is more of a shock to her than when she finds out that the old man is her grandfather, Will Reeves.
The police themselves prove no better, as, without Judd there to lead them, they go on the offensive in a move that even Angela frowns upon when they head out to Nixonville and attack and arrest everyone there in an attempt to find the murderer and get some revenge for the attacks.
The police here are no worse than the white supremacists, although that might be the entire plan. This could be causing a giant civil war between the racists and the police. Could Will really be behind it all?
That might be the case when a ship at the end of the episode drops a giant magnet on Angela’s car after she arrests Will and flies him away as she looks on in shock.
So, who is behind all this? It would be no surprise to learn that the Lord of the Manor (Jeremy Irons) is the man pulling the strings once again.
He has a crazy moment in this episode where he finally puts on his great play, The Watchmaker’s Son, where it was exactly what we thought it was about last week. Yes, it was about the birth of Doctor Manhattan, a watchmaker’s son who was involved in a terrible accident that gave him his powers.
As a matter of fact, when he had the play put on for him, he burned his servant, Mr. Philips, alive to finish the play. That is when, as expected, we learned that these characters are all apparently clones (not robots, as they actually can burn to a crisp). There are many different versions of Mr. Phillips and Ms. Crookshanks in the service of the man who can only by Ozymandias.
Watchmen is an interesting puzzle that is playing much like the original comic book story. As with the original comics, it is a look at the political landscape and the separation of two groups with a murder to possibly tie them together in the end.
Watchmen proves in the second episode that it shares DNA with the source material that only the blind and ignorant will miss.
Watchmen airs on HBO on Sunday nights at 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT.