Watching Watchmen: Not Your Victim
Episode 7, An Almost Religious Awe (Spoilers ahead.)
My grandmother on my mother’s side was a painter, jeweler, and rock-hound. She was also bipolar, but no one really knew what that was back then. She would just have some bad months and run off to stay with her sister, leaving my mother to run the house and mind her sisters. My mother also became an artist – a writer. She’s brilliant, but it’s pretty hard to get her to leave the house. And here I am, a writer who occasionally makes jewelry, diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I also don’t like to leave the house much.
“They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.”
-- from This Be The Verse, Philip Larkin
I had to clean my grandmother’s house once because she loaned me money and I was working it off. I guess I might have spent a weird amount of time lining shoes against the wall because I suddenly heard a strangled sound and turned to see my grandmother staring at me from the entrance of the kitchen. “I’m so sorry,” she said quickly and turned away.
I didn’t understand that then, but I do now. Every generation has its own weights to carry. Most of us try not to pass them down to our kids, but we do… Some of them, we do. We carry the past in our blood and brains. Whether lessons and habits are passed on through learning, created by society or even encoded in our genetic makeup, we are connected to our past, even when we are not aware of what it is.
In the past two episodes of Watchmen, we get to see all of this play out for Detective Angela Abar. Episode 6, This Extraordinary Being, was a stylistically explosive replay of key memories of Abar’s grandfather (Hooded Justice). By taking his Nostalgia pills (manufactured by Lady Trieu), Abar gains his origin story and her own. But now his memories are fusing onto and into her own. What results leaves us guessing about how much of Angela Abar’s life is a result of her own choices and how much was decided two generations before.
Episode 7, An Almost Religious Awe, takes a deep dive into Abar’s past: why she was born in Saigon and the tragic events that shaped her early life. We learn why it’s so hard to rattle her and we begin to see how her birth in Saigon (conquered, essentially, by Dr. Manhattan) connects her to the blue immortal on Mars.
In the meantime, Adrian Veidt endures reallllly long court proceedings overseen by the mysterious Game Warden, is overwhelmingly found guilty and cuts a ripe fart.
Back on Earth, Abar receives treatment for her Nostalgia overdose at Lady Treiu’s estate as the countdown for her mysterious “clock” ticks down hour by hour. As the memories of Abar’s grandfather embed themselves into her mind, as the wreckage of her past replays… we hope Angela makes it through okay. We want the best for Angela because she is getting seriously screwed. And we feel this way until the last few minutes of the show…
…and then we reel in shock, call a friend, make a post on Facebook, because Angela Abar may not be a victim after all.
By Jaimie K. Wilson