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‘Watchmen’ Season 1, Episode 8 ‘A God Walks Into Abar’ Review

BY Daniel Rayner

Published 5 years ago

'Watchmen' Season 1, Episode 8 'A God Walks Into Abar' Review

Themes about the Blue God continue in this chapter of Watchmen. The Blue God does not run out of surprises for everyone as he narrates the story. With that said, the concept of time bends to however he experiences it. A journey from his past, to Vietnam, and Tulsa transpires in this reality-altering experience. Indeed, the Blue God does have a weird way of looking at life; after all, he makes it himself.

On Sunday’s episode of Watchmen, Calvin Abar (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) reveals himself as Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan. As Jon retells Angela Abar/Sister Knight’s (Regina King) life in Vietnam, he mentions the origin of Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias’ (Jeremy Irons) paradise-prison. Soon, the inevitable arrival of the Seventh Kavalry seals Dr. Manhattan’s fate as he predicts.

Dr. Manhattan’s Whereabouts

Zak Rothera-Oxley in Watchmen Season 1 Episode 8


Much of Dr. Manhattan’s story retelling explains a lot about his character. Jon and his father, Hans Osterman (Anatole Taubman) left Germany in search of a better life, with his mother deciding to leave them for a soldier. The journey to America requires them to stop at England, where a gracious, wealthy, Christian couple welcomes them along with other refugees from Germany. The Manor becomes a special place to him, where Jon first learns love and the idea of life’s purpose. He decides to transport that same Manor to a world he created in one of Jupiter’s moons 25 years later. It is quite strange to note that Dr. Manhattan still identifies himself as both Dr. Manhattan and Jon Osterman. He still has humanity left in him, falling in love with Angela. What sets him apart from ordinary humans, however, is his obliviousness despite knowing how things will end.


Watchmen Season 1 Episode 8


Finally, we know the origin story of Veidt’s paradise-prison. Dr. Manhattan makes the place out of scratch in one of Jupiter’s moons. He calls it Europa, a place with no conflict and people eager to look for someone to worship. Dr. Manhattan takes a childhood Manor and makes people in the image of the Manor’s long-deceased occupants. Seeing Veidt troubled by the world’s events compels Dr. Manhattan to offer Veidt the place, to which Veidt agrees. A few years later, however, Vedit grew tired of living in solitude. Of course, there is evidence of how Veidt spent his time there. After all, he did find himself ways to accelerate the clones’ birth, as well as create a contraption that landed him in prison. However, Veidt wishes to leave. Luckily, Mr. Phillips (Tom Mison) and Ms. Crookshanks (Sara Vickers) remain loyal to him, offering him a way out of prison–next, Europa.


Regina King in Watchmen Season 1 Episode 8

Mark Hill/HBO

The episode brings closure to Angela’s life in Vietnam. There, she becomes a police officer before meeting Dr. Manhattan. Celebrating Manhattan day is particularly hard for her since it is her parents’ death anniversary. Dr. Manhattan hitting on her initially ticks her off, but his strangeness has its way of amusing her. Much of this sequence was confusing as Dr. Manhattan jumps from one timeline to another. However, it does give key points as to how their relationship works. For instance, Dr. Manhattan mentions how she finds a remedy to his appearance. Also, Dr. Manhattan knew the duration of their relationship as well as how it ends. Here, we see two sides of Angela, one curious to what the mysterious man says about them, and another living the story that the man tells her. Flashbacks and flash-forwards are baffling, but they add a Dr. Manhattan touch to the narrative.


Regina King in Watchmen Season 1 Episode 8


The end of the episode frustrates both viewers and characters. Sure, Dr. Manhattan saves the adoptive Abar children, but it seeing him accept his fate as inevitable is annoying. He is practically a God, but for some reason, he lets his capture happen. As soon as Angela removes the Amnesia-inducing device Veidt made for him, Dr. Manhattan simply goes about his business, doing things like preparing waffles and walking on pool water before meeting Will Reeves (Louis Gosset Jr.). Angela makes the mistake of revealing Judd Crawford’s (Don Johnson) alter ego. Indeed, this part is where the episode messes with the timeline. Angela and Dr. Manhattan fighting side by side are one of the best scenes that the show portrays, a well-choreographed sequence paired with excellent special effects. It is perhaps an intentional move to have Dr. Manhattan be oblivious, a way of intensifying the plot as the finale approaches.

‘Watchmen’ Season 1, Episode 8 ‘A God Walks Into Abar’ Final Verdict

As Watchmen approaches the end of its first run, it introduces a key character to the show. Also, it concludes some sub-plots that are mainly character backstories. It takes much time in playing the narrative out, but it does not necessarily halt the progress of the main plot. As always, this one has much easter eggs hidden in it, with the DCUC Ozymandias being a personal favorite of mine. The show has its way of making an hour feel inadequate for the story, so hopefully, the finale takes up more than that.

Watchmen continues Sunday, December 15th with “See How They Fly’ at 9/8c on HBO.

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