After three stellar episodes in a row, Watchmen stumbles ever so slightly with episode four, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own.” That’s not to say this episode is bad. It’s just the first episode we’ve encountered that feels like, well…filler. Almost everything that happens this week is meant to set up something else further down the road, and while the payoff might be worth it, getting there can be a tad frustrating.
Enter Lady Trieu. We’ve heard several things about the mysterious billionaire – sorry, make that trillionaire. But she’s remained in the shadows. Until now. After a cute little montage set at a farm where we watch a childless couple going about their perfectly pleasant, perfectly boring lives, Lady Trieu (as played by Hong Chau) makes an unexpected late-night visit. The couple – the Clarks – are both puzzled and amazed that Lady Trieu has shown up at their door, since everyone in town knows her but no one has really seen her.
Rather than saying, “It’s a bit late, come back later, mysterious woman!”, the Clarks invite Lady Trieu in, and things escalate quickly. I’ll admit I had a pit of dread in my stomach here, because we really knew nothing about Lady Trieu, and the Clarks seemed like really nice folks. And anytime a show like Watchmen sets up characters as “really nice folks”, it’s a hint that something bad is about to happen. But thankfully, the Clarks make it out alive. And with a new child.
Lady Trieu wants the Clarks’ farmhouse, and the 40 acres it sits on. And she wants it immediately. To sweeten the deal she makes the Clarks a shocking offer: she’ll give them a baby. Right now. A baby that’s biologically theirs. She’s made her fortune in pharma and owns several clinics, including a fertility clinic the Clarks went to 10 year ago in a failed attempt to get pregnant.
After the Clarks agree to the deal, getting the baby – and $5 million to boot – something crashes on their land from space, Superman-style. What could it be? We don’t know. But Lady Trieu does. “That’s mine,” she says, smiling knowingly.
The First Wonder of the New World
After being a little sidelined last week, Angela is back in action here. She’s still trying to figure out what the hell is up with Will, the grandfather she never knew who mysteriously disappeared when he was pulled up into the sky in Angela’s car. That car comes crashing back down to earth here, right back at the spot it was stolen from, minus Will. We saw the vehicle land last week, right in front of Laurie, and it turns out Angela was nearby as well. She’s broken into the cultural center to get more info on Will, and also learn about her great grandparents.
Laurie, meanwhile, isn’t going anywhere. She’s moved into Judd’s office, and she’s also taken the liberty of having Angela’s newly returned car dusted for prints. Besides those of Angela and her family, the results come back with an extra set of prints: those that belong to Will. Laurie’s digging informs Angela (and us) that Will’s full name is Will Reeves, and that he was a cop in New York City in the 1940s and 50s. Angela, meanwhile, finds something on her own: Will’s bottle of pills.
All the snooping eventually leads Laurie and Angela (and Petey) to the Millennium Clock, the giant object that Lady Trieu is constructing in Tulsa. Of course, Lady Trieu herself says it’s more than a clock. And yet, when Laurie and Angela ask Lady Trieu’s daughter what the device does, she replies: “It tells time.” She also calls it “the first wonder of the new world,” whatever that implies.
Since both Angela and Lady Trieu grew up in Vietnam, the two are able to have a quick secret exchange speaking Vietnamese in front of Laurie. “Your grandfather wants to know if you got the pills,” Lady Trieu asks. Angela’s reply: “Tell that old fucker he can ask me himself.”
What’s the connection between Lady Trieu and Will? We don’t know, but we do know that Will is hanging out at her place, and the two have some sort of plan cooked up. And oh yeah, Will can walk, so his wheelchair use was all a rouse.
Speaking of that wheelchair, Angela dismantled it and ditched it – an act that was witnessed by a mysterious skinny stranger dressed from head to toe in silver spandex. After a foot chase, the spandex-clad figure douses himself in lube and slides into a sewer. Good luck trying to figure out what the hell that was about.
Meanwhile, With Adrian…
It wouldn’t be a Watchmen episode without a brief, weird interlude featuring Adrian Veidt. This week we learn even more about his circumstances. First: he pulls some mutant-looking babies out of a body of water in lobster trap-like cages. Then, he puts those babies into a device that painfully transforms them into adults – the adults being his clone servants Mr. Phillips and Ms. Crookshanks.
Veidt has brutally murdered all the other clones – “I had a rough night,” he explains – and now needs a new set. One by one, the dead clones are loaded into a catapult and launched into the sky. And here’s where things get even weirder. Because as the corpses are hurtling into the air they suddenly blink out of existence, as if they’ve vanished rather than continuing to sail through the atmosphere.
In some expositor dialogue, Adrian explains that he’s been here – wherever here is – for four years, and he’s been using his hapless clone servants to find a way to escape. At this point, it’s safe to assume that wherever Veidt is, it’s not on Earth.
- The episode’s title is a quote from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the book Angela’s husband Calvin is reading.
- With Watchmen‘s focus on race and reparations, one can’t help but think that the “40 acres” the Clark farm rests on is a reference to the post-Civil War phrase “Forty acres and a mule.”
- Angela shows Looking Glass the Klan robe she found in Judd’s house, and asks if Glass knew that Judd was racist. Glass’ no-nonsense reply: “He was a white man in Oklahoma.”
- Petey is not a fan of American Hero Story, calling the show “garbage” and “inaccurate.”
- “The pills are passive-aggressive exposition. If you want her to know who you are, just tell her,” Lady Trieu tells Will, seemingly speaking for all of us and summing up this episode in the process.
- Whatever it is Will and Lady Trieu have cooked up, it’ll happen in “three days.”
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