They’ve used two episodes to set up the world in this version of the Watchmen’s universe. Now, they veer off from what we’ve seen so far to focus on some other characters, or one specific one at any rate. Laurie Blake, the second Silk Spectre, has gone through a lot of changes since the events of the Watchmen graphic novel (or movie if you prefer). She’s the central figure of this episode, played by Jean Smart. Smart was recently seen in Fox’s incredibly odd Legion show, so she joins the ever-growing list of actors who have played characters for both Marvel and DC. She joins for a truly odd bit of the story, “She Was Killed By Space Junk.”
The episode opens with the show title being used as a keypad for making a call, and we see that Laurie is still trying to keep in touch with her ex. She tells a convoluted (and bad) joke, before something of an extreme scene shift. Things are not what they seem as events unfold, and it becomes clear that Laurie has absolutely left her days as a costumed adventurer behind her. She takes a very ruthless approach to her job, and this impresses and troubles her coworkers. As they clean up afterwards outside, we are shown that the official stance on some issues isn’t popular, or at least not with everyone.
Getting home, Laurie attends to some odd rituals, one of which is a nod to a former comrade in arms, before she gets an unexpected visitor. Senator Joe Keane, who allowed Tulsa cops to wear masks and was at Judd’s funeral, pays a call and makes a “request” of Laurie in her capacity as an FBI agent. They bicker about the concept of masked cops before Laurie finally agrees, in part due to some hinted promises should Keane get what he wants down the road. As the sporadic voiceover continues with Laurie attempting to tell another joke, this one about three thinly disguised characters, she sits in on an FBI briefing that gives us a lot more background about the events in Tulsa. Her boss wants to send a team, she wants to go alone, so they strike an odd compromise with Petey, the guy who runs the slide projector, as her backup. They have some awkward conversations on their flight, and Petey tells her off, standing up for himself and establishing some of his own history, as well as an apparent interest in masked heroes. They both agree they don’t like Adrian Veidt AKA Ozymandias, the villain/misguided hero from the original story.
Their information leads them, with more joke voiceover, to the warehouse where some of the masked cops operate, and Laurie is her usual abrasive self as she meets Red Scare, Pirate Jenny, and Looking Glass. She does get an amusing exchange with a prisoner on her way in, where she sees the extent of their operation. Looking Glass demonstrates he’s a very smart man, and Laurie finds out she’s arrived on a bad day. She can’t speak to Angela because she’s getting ready to speak at Judd’s funeral, which is in a few hours. The joke narration takes them to Tartarus Acres, a sprawling cemetery where the funeral is happening. Jane Crawford speaks about her late husband and introduces Angela, who talks about her shared past with Judd. The service gets interrupted when a very unwelcome guest crashes the event, and Laurie takes some ill-considered action, leaving Angela to save the day. With all the media there, and because of some of what happened, Senator Keane comes out of this looking like a hero, and knows just how to play it.
This brings us back to the Country Gentleman, whose identity is confirmed in this episode. He’s trying some experiments which go poorly, and show he has a wicked temper. Storming around, the suddenly feels the need to go buffalo hunting, and runs afoul of a very strange Game Keeper. This leads to an exchange of letters that hint at the past and are a mix of formal and absurd. The Gentleman signs the letter Adrian Veidt, so we now know where two of the characters from the original story are. Three if you count Dr. Manhattan being on Mars. Veidt later dresses in his Ozymandias costume, which looks remarkably good on him, all things considered.
While Senator Keane does a masterful job of public speaking, Laurie goes to talk to Angela, who is hard at work. Laurie continues to be abrasive and unpleasant to everyone around her, and presses her suspicions with Angela, dealing some not-so-subtle threats. Angela isn’t impressed, and snarks back. This scene made me like Angela a lot more, and Laurie less.
Later, Laurie and Petey return to their hotel, where we see Laurie has a strange reminder of one of her ex-lovers. After she has a rendezvous with someone she probably shouldn’t have, the main story starts to catch up with the ongoing joke. Laurie tells the ending of it, which has an odd twist linking it to the first one, and finally unites the narratives. As she leaves the strange device that’s apparently part of this world, she gets a sign that someone is listening to her after all, which actually makes her laugh for the first time this episode, and probably for the first time in a long while.
What I liked: Looking Glass is growing on me as we see more of him. He’s clearly a lot smarter than most would credit, and I like how he works. I’m glad Petey stood up for himself with Laurie. I have a hunch I know what Adrian is up to, and it’s going to get very interesting if he succeeds. I’m also glad they confirmed his identity, even though IMDB had given that away a bit ago. Angela didn’t get a lot of screen time, but she took some pretty kickass action while she was there. I’m intrigued about this Game Warden and his connection to Adrian.
What I didn’t: I don’t like Laurie’s new job. The elaborate lengths they went to in order to accomplish a questionable goal in the early scene seemed very wasteful and spoke of some really skewed priorities to me. I actually didn’t like Laurie at all. She’s rude, obnoxious, and not as infallible as you’d need to be to make those traits tolerable.
It was a well-done episode, as the others have been so far. I’ll give this one a high 3.5 out of 5.