Sunday, December 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'Watchmen' - Angela's Connection to Doctor Manhattan Is Explored in Beautiful but Tragic Detail in 'A God Walks Into Abar'

HBO's Watchmen - Episode 1.08 "A God Walks Into Abar"

Angela's mysterious past in Vietnam is at last revealed.

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.

"A God Walks Into Abar" was written by Jeff Jensen & Damon Lindelof and directed by Nicole Kassell

When Angela first meets Doctor Manhattan, he lays out the extent of their relationship right away. He is upfront about everything that is going to happen. It's strange and unsettling because it feels like a man telling a woman what will become of her life. That has the potential to be off-putting and problematic. Here though, Angela is just as skeptical as the audience should be. She doubts that this is the real Doctor Manhattan. She is simply in a bar mourning the anniversary of her parents' deaths. It's a solemn night already riddled with Doctor Manhattan imagery that conjures up a negative opinion in her mind. For him though, this can be viewed as an uplifting and powerful romance. He has already experienced it in its entirety. He fundamentally knows that it will end in tragedy. He has seen it play out over and over again. He experiences time in such a dramatically different way. He truly does present as a god. He has the ability to do so much. The pursuit of love is so universal though. It's not just going through the motions to ensure this becomes a component of his superhero story. Instead, it's a reflection of the genuine emotions he is feeling. At a time, he served as what the world wanted him to be. He regrets the actions he took on behalf of President Nixon in the Vietnam War. He can't defend it when Angela confronts him about the damage he caused. He simply saw it as a mistake that had to occur in order to feel that regret. That too is a universal concept. People make bad decisions all the time knowing that they will inevitably regret it. That is a fragile concept in the form of human consciousness. Doctor Manhattan may have the powers to create new life. He can build a new world on a faraway moon. He can live far away from the sins and pain of humanity. However, he chooses to leave behind his creation knowing that his story is destined to end in tragedy. He outlines to Angela right away that they'll have ten years together before it ends. He can't experience every moment of that time together either. There is a tunnel of time that he can't see. He understands the basics of what their relationship will consist of. He can detail the fights that will occur and the life they will create in Tulsa. He can bring comfort through the thought of three children and the awareness that others would have to choose to accept the powers he wields. He doesn't want to harm anyone. He believes he's doing his best in order to create a sense of peace and understanding for all involved. His actions may have inadvertently sent this whole narrative into motion. He is experiencing two moments at the same time. He is talking with Angela in 2019 and Will in 2009. As such, they both become aware of Judd Crawford and his connection to the Seventh Kavalry through each other. They never would have known to look if Doctor Manhattan didn't touch their lives in some way. These are the profound connections that humans can share. It can be mystifying and tragic at the same time. But that may be the fundamental appeal of love. Most people search for it even knowing that it will inevitably end tragically. Even the best case scenario of a happy life with someone for years will end in death. That's simply the way that life operates. That's not what happens in this case. Villainous forces are once again conspiring to kill Doctor Manhattan.

The Seventh Kavalry have enacted this incredible plan in order to gain the same powers as Doctor Manhattan. They are so vicious and heinous in their actions. They feel the need to take this power for themselves. Angela and Doctor Manhattan can embrace that same sense of violence. However, their actions are ones out of love. The ending is when Doctor Manhattan knew the power and importance of this relationship. It's enough for him to experience it. He lays out its importance from the first instinct. Others may be baffled by it. They may be trying to control the world themselves. Angela is susceptible to the same thought. She wants to avoid what Doctor Manhattan proclaims as the future. It is seemingly set in stone. However, people change as a direct result of their interactions with him. He came with the perspective that Angela has a rough exterior because of the tragic and repeated loss of family in her life. But he also knows how fundamentally she craves having one of her own to love and protect. That is her priority when disaster comes to their front door once more. It means the children have to endure the loss of another parent. That's a choice that the adults have to make as well. They may not have known all the facts at the time. Even Doctor Manhattan withholds the truth about Will's existence from his granddaughter. But again, it's all about respecting the choices of the moment. For Angela in 2009, it's agreeing to the second date by swearing it off as too improbable that it's truly Doctor Manhattan. She falls in love with a god though. That is beautiful to watch despite the destiny that it ends tragically. That is stated over and over again. It's still true when the actual moment happens. But it's also so beautiful and powerful to watch. Doctor Manhattan was even willing to grant the man who tried to kill him with the dream he always hoped to achieve. Adrian Veidt is confined to his current reality because it was his choice to live amongst a world where people sought to serve him. It's devastating that he changes his mind. He wants to return to the imperfect nature of humanity. That may be where his skills are best utilized. It may be a daunting task for him to return to Earth without Doctor Manhattan's teleportation powers. Their friendship is complex and twisted. It's clear that there is genuine love and hatred at the same time. These heroes have known each other for so long. Their actions have had a profound impact on the world. And now, newcomers are taking up the mantle of the story. They are the ones left behind to determine the fate of the world. Doctor Manhattan may be gone now but Angela still has allies and power. Hopefully, that's enough to save the world from the monstrous threat that comes from white supremacists becoming gods. She had power long before Doctor Manhattan walked into that bar. He helped enrich her life and reveal to her the person she wanted to be in the place that felt like home. That is what every romance should fundamentally be despite the inevitable tragic ending.