Please note, the following contains spoilers for episode three of Watchmen.
Episode three of HBO’s Watchmen gives us the most direct connections to the comic we’ve seen thus far - Silk Spectre II, Ozymandias, subtle and not-so-subtle references to Nite Owl and Dr. Manhattan, and an excerpt from Rorschach’s journal itself. The questions keep coming and the mystery deepens, but for fans of the book, this episode was a feast of visuals, characters and collusion.
The Blue Booth Network
The episode begins with federal agent Laurie Blake (Jean Smart) in a large, blue “phonebooth” structure transmitting a message to Doctor Manhattan. She’s relaying a joke that, while providing a narrative device that allows several touchpoints to be framed around agent Blake, makes mention of several characters that Watchmen fans will immediately recognize.
Blake’s joke involves an “owl guy,” a “smarty pants” who “some might even say is the smartest man in the world,” and someone who is “pretty much a god himself… he’s blue.” It doesn’t take a Rorschach-level investigation to realize these are nods to Nite Owl II, Ozymandias and Dr. Manhattan.
Regarding Dr. Manhattan, it has been mentioned several times that he has been living on Mars for the past thirty years. His lack of compassion for humanity is well known. He has shed his Earthly duties to mankind for greater cosmic purposes. So, why would there be a network set up for people to send messages when, as Laurie notes, he probably won’t listen to them anyway?
From Watchmen Chapter IV
The episode revolves around agent Blake as she travels to Tulsa to deal with the ongoing investigation into the Seventh Kavalry and the murder of Judd Crawford. Laurie Blake, formerly Laurie Juspeczyk, a.k.a. Silk Spectre II, took the hero moniker from her mother, Sally Jupiter, a.k.a. the original Silk Spectre. From a vigilante crimefighter to a member of the anti-vigilante task force, she’s come a long way from the naïve teenager we meet in the early pages of Watchmen.
Laurie’s relationship with Dr. Manhattan began when she was just a teenager. Against her own wishes, she followed her mother’s footsteps into a life of crime fighting, joining the “Crimebusters” team along with Ozymandias, Rorschach, Nite Owl II, Captain Metropolis, Dr. Manhattan and The Comedian. Laurie and Dr. Manhattan began a romantic relationship, to the disapproval of his then girlfriend Janey Slater. When Dr. Manhattan’s interest in humanity starts to fade, so does their relationship and Laurie finds herself sparking a new flame with Dan Dreiberg, a.k.a. Nite Owl II. In the episode, we see that Laurie has a pet owl of her own, named Who, and Senator Keane makes a passing reference to “her owl” who may currently be in prison. The details of this situation are not yet known, but she clearly still carries feelings for Dr. Manhattan, even if he is millions of miles from Earth. After all, she’s been to Mars. She’s seen Olympus Mons. Her connection to Dr. Manhattan is celestial.
We also need to address Laurie’s surname, Blake. She does not go by Juspeczyk as she did when she was younger. Blake was the name of her father, Edward Blake, a.k.a The Comedian. This revelation occurs during the events of the comic and is one that shatters Laurie’s world. Her mother was the victim of sexual assault. The perpetrator was The Comedian. We’ll be interested to see whether the show digs deeper into Laurie’s decision to go by Blake and if the politics of self-identification have made Laurie more hero or villain.
From Watchmen Chapter IX
Finally, we have confirmation that, yes, Jeremy Irons’ Lord of the Manor is Adrian Veidt. In this episode, he’s scheming with an experimental suit that has clearly, again, cost several Mr. Phillips their lives. We don’t know what he’s up to, but it does clue us in to the fact that he’s agreed to terms of captivity with someone known as the Game Warden. And while the media has declared him dead, we get to see him taunt authority and pose in full Ozymandias regalia.
From Watchmen Chapter XI
And before we wrap up for the week, we want to give a shout out to Agent Dale Petey (Dustin Ingram), the lone agent selected by Laurie to accompany her to Tulsa. He’s educated in the history and politics of Laurie, Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias’ past exploits and has been kind enough to share some of his findings at HBO.com/Peteypedia. Dig in to more details and evidence from the first three episodes including an article from the New Frontiersman.
Watchmen airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO. The Watchmen graphic novel, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is available wherever books and comics are sold.