Sunday, December 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'Watchmen' - Angela Recalls Her Own Past While Lady Trieu Outlines Her Ambitiions in 'An Almost Religious Awe'

HBO's Watchmen - Episode 1.07 "An Almost Religious Awe"

Under Lady Trieu's care, Angela undergoes an unconventional treatment while Agent Blake chases down a lead. Elsewhere, The Smartest Man in the World delivers a stunning defense of his past actions.

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.

"An Almost Religious Awe" was written by Stacy Osei-Kuffour & Claire Kiechel and directed by David Semel

The power of perception is key to understanding the possible motivations for any particular action. To Angela, it's silly that Lady Trieu believes she is going to save all of humanity with her clock. It appears as an abstract concept that doesn't seem to bear much gravitas on the current situation. And yet, Lady Trieu and Will accept their actions as being what's necessary in order to prevent the coming doom from the Seventh Kavalry. Similarly, Senator Keene doesn't see himself as a white supremacist. He is simply trying to tip the scales in his favor once more because of a course correction that favored too many people who don't look like him. He has still failed upward and benefitted from nepotism. But he views the world as being unfair when everyone is on an even playing field to compete for influence. Agent Blake is more than willing to call him out for his racist views. Everyone can try to diminish him down to that specific definition. But he still wields a ton of power in this world. There are still so many horrifying white men in the world who will do whatever it takes in order to remain in power. Everyone also operates with the sense that their intellect is vastly superior to everyone else in the world. Adrian Veidt may be the most famous example of this. He was once billed as "the smartest man in the world." That was a moniker he wore with pride. At one point in time, he could manipulate events in order to install Robert Redford as President through a vast conspiracy which included a squid falling out of the sky. That still terrifies people to this day. Everyone may be trying to mimic his success and prove that the human race is still evolving. It is still capable of making these massive discoveries that advance humanity forward in powerful and engaging ways. Each discovery leads to a further advancement of technology and social change. Many people resist that though. Senator Keene and Judd Crawford believed they were gifted with a sacred mission. They are simply trying to become powerful themselves so that no one can question them any more. They want to become just like Doctor Manhattan. That is their grand ambition. They believe they have the materials to make that a reality for all of them. They view the superhero as the most powerful figure to ever exist in American history. He too falls into a false narrative. The world at large believes that Doctor Manhattan is on Mars living in isolation. There are phone booths around the world recording messages to the hero. It's a glimmer of hope that salvation may always be on the horizon for the human race. There is comfort in believing that story. However, it's completely fake. Doctor Manhattan lives in Tulsa under a new identity. It's a way for him to be happy and in love for a little while. It too may have just been a fleeting glimpse at what could have been. Everyone has those moments. Those feelings that are worth chasing even though they may not last. Agent Blake is the one who figures everything out. It's ridiculous that she's captured because of a trap door in the Crawford house. And yet, that points out just how fantastical all of this can actually be. These people are all in positions of power that threaten to shape the rest of the world. Adrian Veidt no longer has to be interacting with the world in order for his influence to be felt. Of course, that's what makes it silly and enjoyable when a major fart is all the defense he offers during his trial in this faraway land. That proves that he understands just how artificial the structures of the world may be. This narrative may fundamentally be a condemnation of the way that reality has been shaped. Some people in charge may always abuse others out of their own selfish interests. Here, Angela wants to understand everything she has just witnessed and how it connects to the life she has tried to create in Tulsa. She has endured so much pain and suffering in her young life. Every family connection she had in Vietnam was taken away from her. Doctor Manhattan may not be seen as a hero. He may be nothing more than a conqueror who destroyed the culture that held so much resonance for a huge portion of the human population. And yet, Angela must have found some kind of love with him. Agent Blake did at one point as well. That continues to prove just how similar they are. It may be up to them to save the entire human race. They are flawed heroes though. They may stand as polar opposites on the masked heroism debate right now. However, they operate with a sense of urgency knowing that all of the pending doom comes from their family histories. Everything is shaped by the generations before us. That is a powerful message that also showcases just how difficult it is to change the world. With enough power and influence, it can be done. People with similar ideologies will always find a way together. Mysteries may always present themselves and need to be solved. There is also the sense that a hero will emerge to save the day. But every hero should be seen as complicated and damaged because each action they are willing to take will do so much destruction as well. That burden needs to weigh heavily on their stories instead of highlight the awesome brutality of it all. This show does so marvelously because it embraces the true darkness lurking underneath the human psyche. Angela has to be willing to kill her husband, Calvin, in order for him to save the world as Doctor Manhattan once more.