Sunday, October 27, 2019

REVIEW: 'Watchmen' - Angela Questions a Man with a Surprising Connection to Her in 'Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship'

HBO's Watchmen - Episode 1.02 "Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship"

As Angela relives haunting memories of an attack on her family, she detains a mysterious man who claims responsibility for Tulsa's most recent murder. Elsewhere, an original play is performed for an audience of one.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Watchmen.

"Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship" was written by Damon Lindelof & Nick Cuse and directed by Nicole Kassell

Not all suffering is equal. Some are systemically oppressed by the world. It takes more than being aware of that imbalance in order to alleviate the suffering though. It takes real action. The aftereffects of slavery can still be felt to this day. There are communities that have been trapped in the vicious cycles of economic disparity for generations because of that original sin. This show points out that there are still descendants of the 1921 massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Moreover, the violence playing out right now comes from the same exact place that the violence back then did. In 1921, rising animosity towards the economic prosperity of the local black community led white supremacists to murder. That same impulse is apparent now because of the reparations given to communities of color to reset the natural balance of society. In the show, they are referred to as Redfordations. It's a vicious slang term might to signify that President Robert Redford has complete possession over this economic tool. It's the same methodology that created Obamacare out of the American Care Act. To the citizens of this community, it's something that Redford fought for that no one else wanted. That is a very privileged and racist thought though. Just because the world says that the racial balance has been restored that doesn't mean hatred on the basis of race has been eliminated. There are still those filled with hate who are willing to kill once more in order to exert their dominance. The economic lift of one community shouldn't be seen as coming at the expense of another. And yet, white people have grown accustomed to ruling the world for so many years. When other races are given the tools to properly compete, it creates a sense of uncertainty and insecurity. One that once again feels the need to oppress in order to validate the position that rightfully belongs to them. Again, it's such a horrible worldview. The show is delving into that head first though. This hour fleshes out the coordinated attack on police during Christmas that eventually led to all officers needing to wear masks. It presents as if Judd and Angela were the only survivors within the department. They didn't want to sit back and do nothing afterwards either. They wanted to fight in order to prove to the world that this rising hatred couldn't destroy the institution they revered so much. Of course, they should be held to a much higher standard. They aren't though. When the police department learns that their chief has been killed, they essentially force a riot to happen in the trailer park known for housing members of the Seventh Kalvary. That's the way Red Scare motivates his officers into feeling as they are still strong and lawful in the aftermath of losing their leader. Angela and Looking Glass understand that it's not as simple as that. However, Angela fights with as much brutality as anyone else on the job. It's how she enforces the law too. She has no problem bending the rules to her own personal benefit. She doesn't arrest Will despite him confessing to Judd's murder. She doesn't see it as viable. And yes, the show creates a fair amount of mystery around what Will is talking about and how Angela's ongoing investigation plays into it. None of these characters present as who they truly are. The chief of police may have secretly been a white supremacist as well. This world is one built around deception. It means that violence is much more prevalent and commonplace. There may be extensive warnings ahead of television shows. And yet, the action depicted in American Hero Story glorifies the behavior of masked vigilantes in a way that absolutely mirrors what is currently going on with the police. That violence is so accepted that it feels as if unchecked power corrodes the world into becoming a shell of itself. The socio-economics of race was the entry point into this world. However, the show presents a much more nuanced and complicated take on the state of policing and freedom. People feel the power of voicing their opinions and being heard. However, this remains an artificial world in which some people have closed themselves off from feeling anything about the suffering of others. The Lord of the Country Estate has no problem killing one of his servants because he has several more clones who can step up to fill the role. Will knows that he won't actually be processed at the police station because he has friends in high places. Angela may not be able to make sense of a giant magnet falling from the sky to take her biological grandfather away. She has so many questions. The audience should as well. But again, the focus remains on questioning power and the narrative that drives the economic suffering of others. It's all tangled up in a superhero story but it still has powerful parallels to the current state of the world. Compassion needs to always be present. Angela and Cal provide for the children of her partner who was killed in the coordinated attack on police. And yet, her view of a black-and-white world of heroes and villains may not be the comforting advice necessary to inspire the next generation. It may only ensure the continuation of human suffering just like those children being raised to believe that people with different skin colors should be treated as less than.