Now that we finally have some answers about the vast conspiracy in Tulsa, it’s time for Watchmen‘s biggest secret to reveal itself. And if this preview for next week’s episode is to be believed, that revelation comes with the show’s most anticipated character making his long-awaited return.
Since the 2009 Watchmen film, there was one worst cast scenario with the ability to complete crack Watchmen apart: Watchmen 2: The Search for Dr. Manhattan. It’s right there in the original comic, oddly enough, thanks to the character’s parting line to Adrian Veidt. And as he is that world’s only legitimate superhero, it makes sense a sequel would center around his return. Consequently, I personally praised the film (on another site) for making that obvious sequel an impossibility. It’s use of the material and it’s less than Earth-shattering box office performance guaranteed we’d never see the return of Jon Osterman.
But here we are, ten years later, and the Watchmen series has made the Search for Dr. Manhattan a key part of its storytelling. The signs were always there, of course. Cal’s (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) passivity suggested a deeper story than the series was letting on. His name echoes Kal-El — a fictional character we now know exists in the Watchmen universe — even as Will Reeves’ (Louis Gossett Jr.) history also echoed Superman. And after all this time, it turns out Angela (Regina King) is the fulcrum of the universe because both of the original Supermen are related to her. It would be a ludicrous thing to do if not for the way the show weaved it all together while giving Angela (and Jon) a potent enemy worth facing. This is the only reason Dr. Manhattan should ever return to Earth.
Well, provided the 7th K don’t trap him and eliminate him first. As Lady Trieu (Hong Chau) herself states, Jon’s powers in the hands of the Klan would be the absolutely worst-case scenario and a real potent stake as the characters head into the final two hours of the season. Hopefully, the solution to the problem will be as ingenious as the way Watchmen used the iconography of the original comic book to tell this story. And even they biff on the landing, the audaciousness required to do all of this is still laudable.
Watchmen airs Sundays on HBO.