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Headscratchers / Watchmen (2019)

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    Laurie's age 
  • According to the comic, Laurie Juspeczyk (who uses her dad's last name, Blake, in the series) was born in 1949. Since the chronology of the TV series seems to be the same as in the comic, we can assume that she is 69 or 70 here, yet she's still in active duty as an FBI agent. Shouldn't she have retired by now?
    • Seeing as in this timeline presidential term limits have been abolished, there could very well be differences when it comes to mandatory retirement age as well.
    • This is also a sci-fi world where a 105 year old man looks 80, and clones are a thing. Most likely medical technology is simply better, and the retirement age has been increased to reflect that.
    • The Peteypedia reveals she blackmailed her way onto the force with a good guess that Redford knew that the squid was a hoax. So, she could also still be there merely because she has the power to ruin them all if they don’t comply. It also reveals that, having never made The Conqueror, Howard Hughes never went insane from guilt and due to the increased medical tech and his own wealth he has become a “life extension guru” who is alive in 2019.

    When did Redford first campaign for presidency? 
  • In the comic book, Robert Redford is campaigning to become the president in the 1988 election, but here it's stated he wasn't elected until 1992. Since the TV series otherwise follows the comic's chronology, what's the reason for this seeming discrepancy? Are we to assume that Redford lost his first election, and only won in 1992, with either Nixon or someone else having served as the president during the previous four-year term? And since Veidt states in his video that he has planned for everything in the seven years between the squid attack and the 1992 election, why wouldn't Veidt have wanted Redford to win in 1988?
    • As mentioned in Episode 1, the president between Nixon and Redford was Gerald Ford, the former vice president. So Ford may have assumed presidency automatically after Nixon's impeachment due to post-11/2 political changes (very much like in real history, though 11 years later) and was re-elected in 1988.
    • I guess Ford's presidency is then somehow part of Veidt's overall plan, since his video predicted Redford would only become president in 1992?
    • It very probably is, because Veidt planned Redford to be elected in 1992 (or he made different videos for different outcomes, but this is less likely). Perhaps Adrian needed a moderate political figure to remove any suspicions. The really complicated part is the rise of Neo-Luddism due to danger of technology that seemingly causes cancer and attracts alien creatures to Earth. Veidt definitely stands for progress, as evidenced by his new Millennium ads, but this could be only a public facade, or Adrian saw technological regression as an irritating, but inevitable side effect of his actions to save the world.
    • I believe that it's mentioned somewhere that Nixon was reelected in 1988 but then died in office, Ford completed the rest of his term, and then Redford was elected in 1992. Adrian probably expected Nixon's reelection because, just as the US "winning" the Vietnam War caused Nixon's popularity to skyrocket (and the Constitution to be amended to allow him more than two terms), the successful end to the hostilities between the US and the USSR would likely hand Nixon the victory in 1988. Of course, there's the open question of whether Nixon's death in office was of natural causes...

     Will knowing about the KKK costume 
  • Will expresses surprise when Angela says she found the KKK costume in Judd's closet. Yet in the flashback of him killing Judd, he knows all about it. So did he know or not? And if he knew, HOW did he know?
    • Judd says the KKK robe originally belonged to his grandfather. Possibly his grandfather was one of the members of Cyclops, maybe even the dirty cop Will strangled. Even if Will stopped being the Hooded Justice in the 1950s, he might've still kept tabs on Cyclops and KKK throughout the decades, working against them from the shadows. So it would make sense he knew about Judd's skeleton in the closet too. As for why he acted surprised when Angela mentioned the robe, remember that he wanted to have a chance to meet Angela and assess her without getting thrown to jail. If he had said he knew about the robe, that would've meant he had an obvious motive for hanging Judd, and Angela probably would've arrested him immediately.
      • It's finally explained in Episode 8. Angela asks Dr. Manhattan to ask Will in the past (as he experiences both at the same time) how he knew about Judd and the klansman robe. It turns out Will never knew and in fact found out right then when Dr. Manhattan tells him. So essentially, Angela inadvertently created a closed Time Loop.

     Clones but no Internet? 
  • In the Watchmen comic book, computers were roughly on the same technological level as they were in our world in 1985. And in our world the Internet already existed back then. So how come in the Watchmen world of 2019 certain technologies, such as cloning, are way more advanced than they are in our world, yet the Internet is still not in common use?
    • Well, ignoring the fact that cloning technology & internet use aren't really related and advancement in one isn't required for progress in another, it should be noted that the clones aren't the product of human technological development but rather made by spoiler: Doctor Manhattan.
    • The OP may have meant the cloned pets from the facility where Wade's ex works, not the clones in Europa.
    • Trieu's "daughter" is also revealed to be a clone of Trieu's mother, so cloning is indeed a technology that's available in general, not something only Manhattan can do.
    • The advances in cloning technology were probably a result of Veidt sharing some of his genetic manipulation breakthroughs with the world, that explains why it advanced way ahead of our current understanding of it. As for why the internet (and other communication tech in general) didn't advance so much, I'm willing to say it was just for plot convenience.
  • The Peteypedia explains it. After Veidt’s cancer hoax about Dr. Manhattan, Manhattan-invented technology was outlawed and confiscated until it was discovered that it wasn’t a danger. The FBI is only getting their computers back in 2019.

     What about Doomsday Clock? 

    Why don't they show Doctor Manhattan's face? 
  • Why don't they show Doctor Manhattan's face before he assumes the Cal form? Is it because he's not the same actor as the movie version? But Laurie and Adrian are played by different actors as well, and their faces are shown. It just seems like such an odd directing choice.
    • It's symbolism. Before his decade as a human, Dr. Manhattan had grown detached from humanity, so they emphasize his alienness by not showing the most expressive and human part of our body, the face. And when he turns from Cal back to Dr, Manhattan, we see that he has kept some of his humanity, which is symbolized by him keeping Cal's face. So there's a strong contrast between the facelessness/alienness of his pre-Cal existence, and him "gaining" a new human face post-Cal.

    Angela's Accent 
If Angela was born and live her whole life in Vietnam before moving to Tulsa with Cal, why doesn't she speak with a Vietnamese accent? Furthermore, during the flashbacks of her childhood, why is she speaking in English instead of Vietnamese with other Vietnamese character since those scenes imply she understands Vietnamese.
  • There seems to be sizable American community in Vietnam, which makes sense, since it has become the 51st state of the USA. Angela's parents were a part of that community, so she's learned American English as her native tongue. Living in Vietnam she's obviously learned Vietnamese too, but she chooses to speak in English to the Vietnamese either out of arrogance, or because she doesn't feel comfortable speaking a second language.

    What was the point of the suicide bomber at the funeral? 
  • That didn't advance Keene's goal in any way, so why do it?
    • Maybe they kept the original plan going in case the new plan failed. Keep in mind, Manhatten could have teleported clean out of the galaxy at any moment. So most likely they kept the original plan running at the same time as the new plan to power-drain Manhatten, only fully abandoning the original plan once they actually had Manhatten in a cage.
    • Keene spells it out himself, it was meant as a ploy to offer himself as hostage to protect innocent lives and appear as a hero in the media. He wasn't expecting Laurie to shoot him in the head though.
      • But that's my point. Making himself look like a hero would be part of Keene's original goal to become president, but he already had abandoned that ambition.
      • He is still an attention hog with a big ego so he would want to make himself look like a hero; also staging his own kidnapping would allow him to focus more of his time on running the Kavalry.

    Trieu's meteorite 
  • What was that thing that fell down (presumably from space) onto the land Trieu had just bought from the Clarks? That seems to be the main reason she bought it, given the extremely specific timing. But the mystery object is never brought up again.
    • It's the capsule that contained the frozen Adrian Veidt coming back from space.
      • Ah, that makes sense. Thank you.
      • Except that doesn't make sense. He's in a ship we know can touch down on a planet's surface no problem. Why would Trieu not simply land her ship, or at the very least, steer it to property she owned?
      • Differing celestial bodies with different properties. It’s a lot easier to set down calmly on a moon than on Earth. It’s the same reason humanity managed a lunar lander that just calmly set down on the moon in 1969 when we need advanced space-plane-things to land safely on Earth. Getting it on and off Europa would be a lot easier than getting it to do the same trick entering Earth’s atmosphere, and she did manage to get it to land in the same city.
      • When you are dealing with space flight, you will want to not carry any weight that is not absolutely necessary. Real world space flight could be done so that instead of plummeting into the atmosphere hard enough to require heat shealding to deal with the friction you would apply thrust to gently touch down. We do not do this because that requires extra fuel which means extra weight which itself requires even more fuel to move... Ending with a survivable crash is perfectly acceptable against that tradeoff.

    The Millennium Clock 
  • Why was it called "The Millennium Clock" if it's not a clock, nor built for any millennial celebration since it was launched almost 20 years after the millennium started?
    • Some other ways that name could be understood is that it is meant to survive a thousand years or mark the beginning of a thousand-year era. Given Trieu's ego, she might have chosen the name with the implication her plan would determine the course of history for (at least) the next thousand years. As for why she calls it a clock when it is not a clock, that's just a cover. Calling it publicly a "quantum centrifuge" would draw in all kinds of unwanted attention.
    • Also, "Millennium" was the name of Adrian Veidt's planned successor to "Nostalgia" (which, for him, was a perfume/cosmetics line) that was to follow 11/2. As per Peteypedia, the "Millennium" campaign - and its vision of a utopia of limitless human potential, led by benevolent leaders - failed utterly, because of fundamental incompatibility with the new, extraterrestrial existential threat that Veidt unleashed. (Bad planning.) In addition to what was mentioned above, Trieu was no doubt riffing off of the "Millennium" concept both because it matched what she was trying to do, and as an extra middle finger to her father, Adrian Veidt.

    The plot-convenient damage-level of the frozen squids 
  • Why do the squids shred Trieu's gizmo and slaughter people, yet do no damage to the concrete ground, or the suitcase Sister Night holds over her head?
    • Seems to be literal plot armor as named characters like Red Scare, Pirate Jenny and Bian are shown unharmed afterwards (despite having absolutely no cover other than the roof of a police cruiser and a plastic looking booth) but nameless red shirts are shown under white sheets in the aftermath scenes.

    No powers left? 
  • If Jon transferred his powers to the egg that Angela ate at end of season 1, how was he able to teleport Laurie, Adrian, and Looking Glass onto the North Pole? And kill the 7th Kavalry men when they attacked him? Also, Trieu's machines were clearly registering some sort of power that was transferred from Jon to them, so what was that then?
    • My interpretation is that with Jon transferring his power to the egg, he does not need to drain himself, or at least not drain himself completely. I rewatched the bar scene, and the language he uses is ambiguous. He doesn't directly say that it would remove powers from him. It might be more like copying his powers than transferring them.

    Trieu revealing too much to Angela 
  • In "An Almost Religious Awe", Trieu tells to Angela that Dr. Manhattan is living on Earth and that the 7th Kavalry is planning to attack him. Since "See How They Fly" reveals that Trieu already knew Cal was Manhattan, and the 7th Kavalry's attack was actually part of her overall plan, then what was the point of giving Angela an advance warning? If she had managed to get Cal into hiding, that would've hindered Trieu's plan of stealing his powers. So why tell Angela anything?
    • It was Trieu's way of manipulating Angela into removing the restraining device in Cal's head, as Trieu didn't have the means to get close to him herself.
    • But the restraining device didn't actually remove his powers, just his memory. So it would've been easier to catch him with the device on, as he wouldn't how to fight back. (Though did Trieu even know about the device? It didn't seem like anyone else knew about it besides Angela and Veidt, and he was in no position to tell.)
    • A 7K attack that caught Angela by complete surprise could have killed her. Trieu was in league with Will, her grandfather, so it's entirely possible that Trieu either warned her as a condition of her deal or didn't want her to die. Trieu reads Will's prepared speech even after his role was long concluded, so she clearly seemed willing to honor her end even if he couldn't enforce it. Further, Trieu does not know about Manhattan's restraining bolt and indeed he still could activate his powers despite it (sending the guy to New Mexico is what tipped them off in the first place). She may have predicted that Manhattan would allow her kidnap plot to happen.

    Senator Keene's original plan 
  • So Keene keeps mentioning that originally he was going to use the seventh cavalry and the officers in masks to leverage his way into the presidency...but how? Laurie even acts like it's an obvious idea when she figures it out, but I don't see how the White Night or masked police would gain him much of anything.
    • He plays both sides in the conflict, escalating violence so that it hurt's Robert Redford's presidency. Redford introduced a number of reforms to address racial injustice, but if those reforms are seen to have started a race-war where officers and the public are getting frequently killed, it will damage him. And if Keene's solution of masked officers is seen to fix the issue it raises Keene in the public eye. Furthermore with everyone wearing masks Keene will be able to fill the police with Seventh Kavalry without anyone knowing who they are. He can then continue to use timely false flag Seventh Kalvary attacks to further his political goals.

     Old man keene 
  • So why, in the final episode, is Sen. Keene the senior is noted as being aligned with the 7K. Laurie notes this as strange, presumably since he was always a reasonable senator in the past. If it's not surprising, why note it at all?
    • I don’t follow you, you say it’s noted as strange but then question why note it as it isn’t surprising. I think Laurie was just voicing surprise that Keane was 7K, just an observation she made from her prior knowledge of the character (who, if you hadn’t read the comics, would seem like an out of nowhere addition to the cast, maybe it was just to flesh him out a tiny bit for non fans?)
    • I'm saying it seems like an odd and random detail to include since it goes nowhere and is the only mention of the character in the whole show. I'd agree that it was fanservice accept that it doesn't really fit with anything from the comic. It's just odd.
    • Presumably Keene Sr. was merely acting like reasonable senator while working for Cyclops behind the scenes, just like his son is doing now. As for the comic, he doesn't show up in person there, and the only thing we know about his is that in the 1970s he sponsored a bill that lead to the criminalization of masked vigilantes. Given that the series shows one of those vigilantes found out about Cyclops and stopped their plans in the 1950s, it makes sense for Keene to sponsor such a bill, so that the new generation of vigilantes wouldn't do the same.
    • Laurie probably notes it because he seems extremely old, and it is slightly surprising that he would make the journey to a warehouse in Tulsa. This makes it clearer for the audience that the entirety (or at least a huge portion) of the 7K leadership is congregated, not just a few of them, since even old and frail members show up. This in turn makes it more impactful when Lady Trieu kills them.

     Veidt's video  
  • Why would Veidt, whose plan relied solely on the notion that no one know the dimensional breach was a fake, release a video saying it was a fake? Even if he wanted to control the white house, it puts his entire plan in constant jeopardy and is way dumber than Veidt has ever been.
    • Also, why show it on screens base-wide for all to see, then not keep track of where said staff go? I was expecting a ‘tidying up’ scene similar to what happened to his loyal staff in rage comics, but apparently Trieu just watched the video and wandered off home!

     Judd's wife and Laurie 
  • Why would Laurie go, without backup, to the wife of a known terrorist and not be at least a tiny bit ready for that wife to also be a terrorist? She's FBI and smart but that seemed incredibly foolish.

     Rorschach's journal 
  • So obviously the journal was published and didn't make the impact one would have guessed from the end of the comic. But the journal surely still strongly implies Veidt faked the squid, why would Looking Glass and others like him who study the cavalry not know that was a possibility. Even if they didn't believe it, no one acts like Veidt's video simply confirms something already in print.
    • Though I can't point exactly when, I'm pretty sure there was passing mention to some people thinking the squid was faked, much like there are conspiracy theories about tragedies in the real world (911 truthers being the most fitting example). Rorschach's journal was ultimately considered just the irrelevant ramblings of a mad man, and got covered up pretty fast. Hearing a confession coming straight from the mouth of a young Adrian Veidt is much more shocking, in comparison.

     Veidt's sperm in general 
  • Firstly, why would Trieu's mother steal it (and why would Veidt careless let her know where it is)? She hated Veidt but this seems like a really bizarre plan. Secondly, why was the intelligence so genetically transferred? Veidt's whole origin came from building himself up (CharlesAtlasSuperpower) style. She'd probably be smart, but to be equally smart and resourceful seems like a huge stretch. Admittedly not out of the realm of possibility, but it contributed to this viewer's impression that the Veidt on screen was a very different character from his comic counterpart.
    • I missed the part where Trieu said she hated Veidt... Also why wouldn’t his intelligence be hereditary?
    • Per the comic, Veidt is not genetically brilliant, it's part of his Charles Atlas Superpower bit. You could stretch and say it was hereditary, but it reads as more than a bit a betrayal of the character (in spirit at least).
    • As for Trieu's mother hating Veidt, she angrily blurts "fuck you, Mr. Veidt!" while injecting his semen inside her vagina, so it certainly seems she hated him.
    • The Peteypedia includes a newspaper clipping about her background. Her mother invented the Tiger Mom fad (under a different name) decades earlier than reality, raising her in much the same way that Adrian would have trained himself. Apparently, to the point of being taught semi-supernatural martial arts.

     Judd's mission 
  • In a throwaway line, Keene reference Judd as getting close to the Abars to keep an eye on Dr. Manhattan. But to what end? For a guy who kills a lot of his own men as a police chief and whose motivations are so duplicitous, he seems ultimately like he doesn't effect the story much at all.

     Manhattan's willing capture 
  • Why does Manhattan allow his own capture? One explanation is he knows it's coming so he has to let it happen (which doesn't really fit with how he acts in the comic). The other would be that he wants to die give Angela his powers because he loves her... but he's still pointlessly hurting her and leaving his children for nothing.
    • It's firmly established that while Doctor Manhattan is incredibly powerful, he's neither omnipotent nor omniscient. So when he has to fight multiple 7K members while also trying to protect Angela, it is possible for them to hit with the tachyon cannon, just like it was possible for Veidt to disintegrate him in then final issue of the comic. And while his "future sense" means he can see this happening, it doesn't meant he can stop it, because for him it has already happened. So he doesn't "allow" himself to be captured, because his future sense only lets him know the future but not change it based on that knowledge.

     Fast freeze squids 
  • Why does Veidt have the tech handy to not only turn the squids into ice but to do it in a matter of seconds?
    • Why wouldn’t he? The machine makes squid, he turns down the temperature of the apparatus and now it makes frozen squid! Maybe it makes them frozen by default and every other time they have to be warmed up?
    • Well say I keep an aquarium of fish. I have control enough to make them too warm or too cold, but not to freeze them in a matter of seconds. It's hugely convenient. Or to put it another way, he built a machine to make squids, why would he add the functionality of solid frozen squid?
    • The squids are shown to start decomposing as soon as they hit earth, and Veidt explains that his machine works independently with no input needed from him, which is why it keeps the squid showers going on for years after his departure to Europa. Therefore there must be a large storage of squids somewhere, and since they decompose so easily, they must be frozen. So what the temperature control normally does is defrost them, so all Veidt needs to do is keep them frozen while bombing Trieu with them.

     Laurie and Manhattan 
  • So we're led to believe Laurie is hung up on Manhattan (the dildo and the phonecalls) and yet she doesn't so much as ask about him or say anything beyond his name in the finale. Surely she would have at least said hello or interacted in some way (or been broken up about his apparent death).
    • The time from when he first saw Jon to the moment Jon was destroyed was something like half an hour, and for most of that time she was being held gunpoint by the 7K goons, after which Trieu starts her power-stealing operation. There wasn't much time for talk, and also she could see that Jon was completely disoriented and didn't even know where he was, so he wouldn't probably been able to communicate with her anyway.

     Returning the car 
  • Why return the car to Angela? It didn't lead to any new information beyond that Reeves and Trieu were in league which doesn't effect any of Trieu's plan going forward. Wouldn't it have been easier to just leave the pills behind in the bakery?

     That elephant 
  • Why was Angela hooked up to the elephant in Trieu's office. Trieu remarks at one point that 'a little elephant told me'. Is this related?
    • Elephant's have incredibly good memory, and the point of the whole process was to purge Angela of the overdose of Will's memories, so apparently they needed to be transferred into the mind of another sentient being. No, it doesn't make much scientific sense, but neither does the whole Nostalgia thing to begin with.
    • The show’s creator’s legacy was Lost, most notably not tying up the loose ends at all, to the point that when unrelated but loved shows end he gets hate on Twitter telling him “this is how you end a show”. So, what better loose end for the man whose legacy was leaving loose ends untied to leave untied and never even discussed than the elephant in the room?


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