Watching Watchmen: Nothing Ever Ends
Episode 8: A God Walks into Abar (Spoilers ahead.)
How do you overcome a god?
Give him a wife.
The end of Episode 7 was a hammer to the head. We not only learned Dr. Manhattan is walking around Tulsa, but that he’s actually “Cal,” Angela Abar’s husband, and she’s known the whole dang time. She’s known because she has loved him for the past 10 years, as he has loved her. It was his undoing, or perhaps it was her beginning… It is hard to tell when, as Dr. Manhattan said, nothing ever ends.
Episode 8, A God Walks into Abar, is the love story of Angela and Dr. Manhattan. It’s told masterfully, existing in different timelines simultaneously, driving the plot forward while filling in the past. It begins with Dr. Manhattan quite literally walking into a bar, where he first meets Angela, introduces himself and works very hard to get her to commit to dinner the following night.
It is the anniversary of her parents’ death and she is drinking alone. Dr. Manhattan is drawn by her loneliness and sorrow; he has already fallen in love with her. He tells her this at the bar and she asks (playing along) if there is a moment he knew he was in love. There is, but it is 10 years in the future, which – for him – is also right now.
And that moment, which we experience as the episode draws to a close, is about love – reckless, hopeless, all-encompassing love. As the plot thunders into a gallop and the Seventh Kalvalry drawdown on Angela and Dr. Manhattan, she begs him to do something. Already knowing the future’s tragic outcome, he doesn’t see the point; they will fail. But being told the future by an omniscient god/husband will not stop Angela from trying, from fighting to protect him. She will act.
And that is the moment he knows he is, was and will be in love.
It comes moments before he is, perhaps, destroyed by the Seventh Kavalry. Yet, Dr. Manhattan knew this and walked into Abar anyway.
Love. Perhaps it isn’t just the human condition, but THE condition – desired by both gods and villains, by scared men and scarred girls. It drives us to live, to strive, to protect. It makes and unmakes us, and it is more valuable than, say, heaven on a distant moon of Jupiter.
By Jaimie K. Wilson