Final Warning: This post will contain Watchmen spoilers.
Well, they finally did it.
Last night's Watchmen delivered The Thing We Were Wondering If They'd Show All Along, which is to say that last night's Watchmen opened with a flashback to the interdimensional squid attack that brought Alan Moore's iconic comic series to a close. The show didn't telegraph the moment - the action started in a carnival somewhere across the river from NYC, where a young man (who we'd later learn to be the teenage version of Tim Blake Nelson's Looking Glass) was getting hustled inside a midway funhouse. Upon exiting said attraction following a very loud noise, the young man finds himself standing amidst...a gigantic pile of bodies, fires burning in the distance.
The camera pulls back...and back...and back...until we're all the way in NYC, where Adrien Veidt's "interdimensional squid" has suddenly appeared in midtown Manhattan. As realized by this series, the moment is absolutely horrific, awe-inspiring, perfect. That the show then immediately cuts to the present, where a focus group is testing out a new commercial for the New York Board of Tourism ("No, seriously, it's safe to visit NYC now!" is the general idea) is the blackly comic cherry on top of the moment. It's also where we learn that Looking Glass is moonlighting as a guy who evaluates focus groups: are they being honest in their answers? Turns out this group, which said they loved the commercial, was not.
This sets in motion an episode that's largely built around Nelson's character, and what an episode it is. Turns out that being within the blast radius of the interdimensional squid has led to Looking Glass living a life of fear - he's got an elaborate alarm system installed in his underground bunker, one that will supposedly warn him of any further, incoming interdimensional attacks. His mask (and the interior of all his hats) turns out to be composed of a material designed specifically to protect him from psychic energy blasts. He is, for lack of a better term, a doomsday prepper, always on high alert that something terrible and inexplicable could happen again.
Nelson's work in this episode is simply outstanding, on par with the work we've seen from fellow cast members Regina King, Jean Smart and Jeremy Irons. And speaking of Irons, "Little Fear of Lightning" finally reveals what the hell's been up with Adrien Veidt all this time: turns out he's been imprisoned on some kind of moon near Jupiter, contained within a false reality that he's spent the past few years finding a way to escape. He finally makes that escape in this episode, launching himself through an invisible portal in the sky and out onto the surface of the moon where he's actually being held (gotta be Dr. Manhattan keeping him up there, right?), only to be yanked back through the portal by his world's mysterious game warden, who places him under arrest.
Looking Glass, meanwhile, finds himself in a Seventh Kavalry-operated warehouse where all manner of shenanigans are afoot: for starters, turns out Senator Keene's working with the villainous organization. For another thing, the Kavalry is monkeying around with an interdimensional portal, teleporting a basketball all over the building in an effort to...well, we don't know what their ultimate goal is here, but we know it'll be bad, and we know it won't be another interdimensional squid (assuming Keene's to be trusted, which of course we probably shouldn't assume). Oh, and on top of all that? The Kavalry's in possession of a video , shot in 1985, featuring Adrien Veidt revealing that the interdimensional squid attack of 11/2 was a hoax, one intended to bring the world together and end inequality and blah, blah, blah. Looking Glass is beyond staggered to learn this information, but it remains to be seen whether or not he's taken it to heart.
I'm just barely scratching the surface of this episode here. As is the case with each new episode of Watchmen, there's so much to discuss, and I invite y'all to do so in the comments below. Were you surprised to see the Squid Moment brought to life? How funny, in light of recent real-world events, was Keene's "squid pro quo" comment? How about Looking Glass throwing Sister Night under the bus - what do you make of that? And what do you think will happen to her, now that she's slammed an entire bottle of Nostalgia (hint: next week's episode is fucking bonkers, gang). Sound off below, and stay tuned for more on Watchmen as further updates become available and more episodes air!