Review of 'Watchmen' 1.8

by Paul Levinson 8 months ago in review

The Fault

Review of 'Watchmen' 1.8

Well, last night's episode 1.8 of Watchmen was my favorite so far. All the pieces came together; not easy in a time-travel story, especially when the time traveler is some kind of god, Dr. Manhattan, who, among his many impressive powers, has the ability to live and act in all times that he exists, at the same time, all of the time.

This, for example, at last provides the explanation for why Angela's grandfather killed her boss in the first episode. We already knew it was because he thought Judd Crawford was a racist, with a Klan outfit hidden in his home. It turns out that that was because Angela, having been told that by her grandfather, then told it Dr. Manhattan, who in turn told it to her grandfather at an earlier date. It's the kind of neat time travel snake-swallowing-its-own tale routine that shows like Lost were so good at, at their best. Which makes sense, given that Damon Lindelof, the creator of this Watchmen, was one of the co-creators of Lost, and Jeff Jensen, one of the critics who most sagely reviewed Lost, co-wrote this episode with Lindelof. There may be a meta-story there in which Lindelof reads one of Jensen's reviews of Lost, and got the idea for this treatment of Watchmen. Or, Jensen is himself a time traveler, and was able to review Lost so well because he saw tonight's episode of Watchmen back when he was reviewing Lost. Nah, only kidding. Sort of.

What is certain is that last night's episode also had one of the all-time best titles, "A God Walks Into a Bar," which was exactly the way the episode began. And we also learned why Angela "killed" her beloved husband Cal last week, and whom she was talking to, right after she did that. But back to how her grandfather, Will Reeves, got the idea that Crawford was a racist. It wasn't really Angela's fault -- as she ruefully thought she was -- even though she was the conduit. The fault lies much deeper than that. It's like how did the universe come into being? The Big Bang? Well, then, what caused the Big Bang to happen? Ok, then, God? Well, what brought God into being? To say that God brought her/him/itself into being is no answer, it's a tautology.

Which is to say, it's at the profoundest, mostly unknowable, level of our existence. And good for Watchmen 1.8 for stripping a little of that bare.

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Paul Levinson
Paul Levinson
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Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code (winner Locus Award, Best 1st Science Fiction Novel of 1999) & The Plot To Save Socrates. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context has been translated into 15 languages.

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