The Watchmen miniseries has been some very intriguing television, showing further adventures in the world seen in the original comic book series and its less-well-received movie adaptation. If there’s a theme at all here, I’d say it’s “No one is what they seem,” or at least damn few are. By the end of this, there are a few good guys left, and a lot of evil revealed, and a good bit of collateral damage. They also set up for a lot more story, but don’t count on that happening. For now, it’s time to wrap things up with “See How They Fly.” This is a season, and possibly series, finale. I’ll try and avoid spoilers, but they may happen.
We’ve seen pretty much anyone you could describe as “good” in dire straits by the time this finale starts off, and there really is a lot of “How are they getting out of this?” going around. The few good guys are either missing, captured, or hopelessly out-gunned. The opening, which shows the title like one of the movie clappers, proves to be Ozymandias recording his video message to President Redford, which we’ve seen bits of or heard references to throughout the season. What we do see is the genius does have a blind spot or two, and a few of his cleaning crew have plans of their own. Much later, in 2008, Lady Trieu goes to the Karnak fortress in the Antarctic, and we learn of the connection between her and Ozymandias, which wasn’t something I saw coming. The conversation ranges from revealed secrets to flattery to stubborn pride and a not-terribly surprising revelation about Ozymandias’ personal life. By the end of it, the two geniuses aren’t exactly on the best terms, especially not with something he vows to never do.
In the present (well, closer to the present) on Europa, Ozymandias witnesses an unexpected arrival. He finally gets away from his “prison” that he asked to go to in the first place, and has a run-in with the Gamekeeper for the last time. The escaping genius looks a bit rattled by the series of rapid instructions he’s given, and likely isn’t in for the most comfortable or pleasant of journeys. By the time everything is set, it’s very clear where this escape is going to lead. When events finally catch up with the show’s present-day era, there are a lot of hurried explanations that even the so-called smartest man in the world is surprised by. We finally learn Trieu’s goal, and I have to say, she’s aiming big.
A large convoy arrives at the newsstand we’ve seen several times in the series, and the guy working there gets some truly surprising customers. The talk about who someone looks like and an absurd story get interrupted by the next step in Trieu’s plan starting up. Also busily planning is the 7th Kavalry, a later incarnation of the racist Cyclops organization we saw during Hooded Justice’s origin story. Blake gets a potential ally, who she still can’t bother to get the name of right, and the head bad guy is as surprised as anyone else when his plan actually works. Elsewhere, Angela uses some very persuasive and not at all policy-approved methods to get some answers.
The head of Cyclops goes on a long rant, gloating over his newest prisoner (who doesn’t seem to care), and doing a morale speech for his various backers. We learn how a lot of these pieces have come together, and it makes a disturbing kind of sense. Blake mocks her captor, who is utterly unimpressed, over-confident, and in full villain monologue mode. Things get even more complicated when Angela arrives, surprising even Blake. She comes with a warning no one is inclined to listen to, although when a black woman who happens to be a kick-ass cop is actually helping white supremacists, or trying to, that just might be the time to pay attention. Nothing goes as expected, when the bad guys get ambushed by other bad guys, and there’s an impressive reversal and the cast list gets thinned out a lot. Some of it is very messy, but that mess helps a prisoner pull off an unexpected trick, sending a few people out of harm’s way and maybe even setting up the surviving bad guys for a surprise.
The new threat also goes into explanation/monologue mode, and a few more pieces fall into place. A surprising splinter group of unlikely allies, who sort of echo the Watchmen in part, start hurriedly working to prevent a major problem from developing while Angela talks to the last remaining captive, who is not doing well in their current conditions. The most god-like being in the series has a very human moment, while some allies bicker as they work. A lot of conspiracy theories get shot down and there are some surprising reveals as the small group exchange information and barbs.
The threatened execution takes place, and it’s a heart-wrenching moment. We really are running low on characters. The most unlikely attack is launched, and it’s not a precision strike. Bain and Angela become temporary allies of convenience, and then the cops show up, a bit late if you ask me. Bain gets an unexpected call for Angela, and there’s a mad dash for safety as fatalities start piling up. Angela ends up in a theater we’ve seen several times in a few different eras, and runs across some family while they take shelter. She finds out some things she might not have wanted to know about the price of seeing the future. There’s a lot of talk about the past, and cryptic clue about the future is worked in as well. Angela makes an offer, and the very odd family slips away from all the chaos.
Temporary alliances prove to be just that, and the world’s smartest man gets defeated by someone he dismissed as a “hayseed.” There is agreement about Veidt talking too much, and a vehicle turns up that’s very important to one of the heroes that’s been referred to but never seen in this series.
The final scene is really interesting, and has some serious possibility for future storylines. Angela, crisis resolved, sets to cleaning up after some of the earlier mess. As she does, something she was told clicks with part of her very first meeting with the man who would eventually become her husband. Working everything through, she comes to a decision to try something I’m not sure I would have, and all goes black before we find out the results. There could easily be more story here, but the showrunner has said he has no definite plans to return to the world of the Watchmen.
What I liked: Everything was wrapped up well, and the various plot revelations made some things that were a bit obscure fall into place really well. This was some great writing. It’s as close as we’re going to get to a happy ending, good vanquishing evil in this world. One of the characters I was worried about from a few episodes ago is accounted for and even gets a heroic moment. Sorta.
What I didn’t: There are a couple of unanswered questions that I’d really like an explanation for, like how Will Reeves was in such good shape for a man his age, and what the hell Angela was hooked up to at Trieu’s base of operations while recovering from the Nostalgia. A few characters I actually liked were really big bad guys, and that’s always disappointing.
This was remarkably well done. I’m giving the finale a 4.5 out of 5, and the season the same. It’s unclear if we’ll see more here, but I’d like to.
Who Watches the Watchmen? I will if it comes back. I bet I’m not alone.