After Watchmen‘s sixth episode hit like a bolt of lightning among the internet commentariat, with many calling it some of the finest television they’d ever seen, it was pretty fair to wonder how Damon Lindelof and company could possibly top it. And while “An Almost Religious Awe” wasn’t quite as stylized as last week’s outing, it did allow for an enjoyable balance of moving the plot of the series forward, while also filling in considerable gaps – such as the fate of Angela’s parents and how she came upon the Sister Night name – in true Watchmen fashion, really. It’s a bit of a perfect symmetrical pair with the origin of Looking Glass that we got in “Little Fear of Lightning” two weeks ago.
With one exception…and this is where the spoiler alert is blaring loud and clear…the final minutes of the episode dropped a hydrogen bomb of a twist that few predicted and those that did seemed to disregard it as an unlikely bit of obfuscation. But now the truth is out, and here it is loud and clear:
Cal is Doctor Manhattan.
Cal is Doctor Manhattan.
To some degree, the clues were there, and I’m sure a better internet detective than I could piece it all together in an even more succinct fashion; but from Cal’s somewhat mysterious vibe (vague mentions of an accident), to his very matter of fact approach to the idea that there is no such thing as an afterlife, to even the idea that he hates lying, all laid the groundwork for this reveal. Now, of course, there was a bit of misdirection early on, with Cal’s own admission that Doctor Manhattan can’t actually change his appearance…but, looks like that was an outright red herring and our favorite blue naked superman has an unforeseen ability, which raises some questions of its own. Regardless, I was curious where this new wrinkle landed with the fandom, did this big reveal land with same critical celebration as the answer to Hooded Justice’s long-held secret identity? Let’s find out:
UH WATCHMEN WHAT
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) December 2, 2019
Me watching Watchmen Ep1: What is going on?
Watching Watchmen Ep2: What is going on??
Watching Watchmen Ep3: What is going on???
Watching Watchmen Ep4: BRO what is going on!?
Watching Watchmen Ep5: WHAT IS GOING ON????
Me watching Watchmen tonight: pic.twitter.com/7GrpuXXjQz
— Jon Jenkins (@lifeasjonnyj) December 2, 2019
— Pieter J. Ketelaar 3 (@PieterJKetelaar) December 2, 2019
— Sophie Gilbert (@sophieGG) December 2, 2019
A reminder that the last 30 seconds of tonight’s #Watchmen is the only time a TV show made me scream
— Tom & Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo) December 2, 2019
So incredibly glad I reread Watchmen before the show aired, because the ending of the book actually makes what happened make perfect sense.
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) December 2, 2019
Just when I thought Watchmen couldn’t be more My Shit, tonight’s episode ended with a scary ass piano rendition of Life on Mars? so we’re now betrothed.
— Casey Mink (@Casey_Mink) December 2, 2019
SPOILER 🚨 SPOILER 🚨 scroll right by this…if you haven’t seen Episode 7 of #Watchmen!
Next week’s episode: “A God Walks Into A Bar”
It’s all right in front of us… ABar… pic.twitter.com/vFTKAojfLX
— Laurence Holmes (@LaurenceWHolmes) December 2, 2019
The entire show Watchmen has kicked more ass than any reasonable person could have expected, and tonight’s extraordinary episode co-written by @clairekiechel is no exception.
— Sam Reisman (@thericeman) December 2, 2019
WATCHMEN is just fucking thrilling is what it is.
— Cully Hamner (@CullyHamner) December 2, 2019
#Watchmen continues to own. That is all.
— Matt Goldberg (@MattGoldberg) December 2, 2019
WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN WATCHMEN
— Hector Navarro (@Hectorisfunny) December 2, 2019
— theblerdgurl™️ (@theblerdgurl) December 2, 2019
Whoever wrote this latest episode of @watchmen is a fucking no-holds-barred genius. Well, they all are. This show. Damn, this show.
— Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer) December 2, 2019
I am annoyed that we still live in the stupid timeline where I still have to wait four whole stupid minutes to see the next Watchmen episode.
— Brian Brushwood (@shwood) December 2, 2019
I just showed @StephenSalazar_ episode 7 of WATCHMEN and here is his word-for-word response, just as the credits hit: “…holy SHIT.”
— Visionary Director Scott Wampler™ (@ScottWamplerBMD) December 2, 2019
man, the Abar kids are gonna need so much therapy #Watchmen
— Soraya Nadia McDonald (@SorayaMcDonald) December 2, 2019
Damon Lindelof when he finished writing this season of Watchmen: pic.twitter.com/NQzG1wR8B2
— Trey (@TreyAdell) December 2, 2019
me watching tonight’s WATCHMEN pic.twitter.com/R61sp64En9
— karen han (@karenyhan) December 1, 2019
So basically, no shark jumping here, as the fandom is showering this episode and revelation with universal acclaim. But hey, let’s hear from the man himself!
— Yahya Abdul-Mateen 2 (@yahya) December 2, 2019
Back to the episode, on rewatch, I was particularly taken with the opening bit, showcasing Saigon (a nicely disguised Decatur, GA) during a Doctor Manhattan festival of a sorts, scored to James Brown’s “Living in America”. And it really does come to a nice crescendo in the last 10 minutes or so, where the Seventh Kavalry’s plan comes into focus and Angela and Lady Trieu have one last face to face before it’s showtime.
Based on the preview for next week, it looks like Episode 8, “A God Walks Into A Bar”, will detail how Doctor Manhattan and Angela met. Is it too much to ask that it might somehow echo what I think is one of the greatest comics ever made in Watchmen #4? More to come, and I personally cannot wait to see how Yahya Abdul-Mateen II brings Doctor Manhattan to life. While I still maintain that Billy Crudup was the best part of the Zack Snyder film adaptation of Moore and Gibbons’ comic, Abdul-Mateen is the one member of the cast I’ve been waiting to see stretch his legs a little more, bringing some new and different energy to the character, and it looks like we’re gonna get the chance see it.
Hey also, what’s going on with Lady Trieu’s thing for elephants and elephant imagery?
What did you think of the episode? Sound off below and see you next week!