In the season finale of a nine-episode run, the series’ overlapping narratives finally collide as Adrien Veidt returns to Earth, the Seventh Kavalry meet their long awaited fate, and Lady Trieu’s mysterious and meticulous plan finally comes to a close. It’s an explosive conclusion, cashing in on emotional currency that has been accrued across the entire season.
Spoiler Level: Moderate
Introduced to fans as a “remix” of the original graphic novel of the same name, HBO’s Watchmen has successfully redefined what a television adaptation can do for its source material. While undeniably a continuation of the familiar story, Watchmen avoids acting as a true sequel and instead explores the existing world in a way that only enhances it. It dives deeper, rather than simply expands, and this approach monumentally pays off.
This is exemplified in the finale episode, in which previously disjointed storylines all converge into a singular cohesive climax. A direct adaptation would have keyed into the analytical audience—those of us who lovingly nit and pick our favorite things apart—but the unpredictability of an unknown story instead calls out to the intrigued hearts of those who watch it.
Some of our questions were finally answered, such as those regarding Lady Trieu and her great, big clock. Some storylines were masterfully tied up, such as that given to us in the brilliantly titled episode 8: A God Walks Into Abar. Adrien Veidt was as spectacularly apathetic as always and the Seventh Kavalry finally got what they deserved. Satisfaction doesn’t begin to describe this episode, and these are merely the subplots.
The A-Plot is, without a doubt, the best thing to come out of this season. The character of Will Reeves and his surrounding story are gifts to comics fans, to television fans, and, in some small way, to humanity.
The show starts with Will in a Tusla theatre, idolizing the western hero on the screen before him. It is this film that inspires him to become a cop. That inspires him to become the adventurer who, himself, inspired all the others to follow in his footsteps. He trusts in the law, despite the fact that in his single lifetime he has endured outright discrimination, manipulation, and assault from those who are supposed to carry it out. Then, in the final moments of the final episode, where else should we find Will Reeves but in that very same theatre, watching over children three generations removed from himself and coming to terms with the past that drew him right back to Tusla, Oklahoma. It’s downright poetic.
And if that weren’t enough to drive the symbolism home, he’s found by Angela Abar—a woman who has lost her family time and time again to a war that she’s never been able to stop with the power of law alone. The only family she has left, found in the remnants of a massacred Tusla, exactly where it started.
And they talk. And they cry. And Will is able to pass on his knowledge and experience to the next generation, continuing the cycle, because as we all know: nothing ever ends.
Will and his family are the catalyst for a bigger conversation of power imbalance that is echoed from the original graphic novel. The character is masterfully crafted to feel familiar to fans, with a concentrated effort on making his story resonate. He makes his presence known, loud and clear, telling viewers that this—this—is what the story is about.
It’s a theme that is emphasized one final time with the episode’s cliffhanger. With that final shot of Angela walking/not walking on water, audiences are forced to ask the question in blatant terms: does she have the power? We won’t get an answer until at least the next season (if we get one), but the answer isn’t the important part.
At this point, anyone who’s keeping up with Watchmen knows how good it is. This truly is one of those next level shows, both in content and in craftsmanship. Anyone who isn’t watching knows that they need to. It’s going to be a challenge for this team to top themselves if they move forward, but they have more than earned that trust.
Lingering questions are answered, and new intrigue is introduced. By taking the side door into this story, the stakes remain high and the characters remain interesting. Watchmen doesn’t just entice viewers—it grabs them by the wrist and pulls them through a story that feels like an old friend.
Watchmen: Season Finale Review
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 7/107/10
- Production - 8/108/10
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