The Watchmen Podcast: Episode One – Show and Tell

Join Norton, Christian, and me as we deep dive into what will be a weekly series of reviews for HBO’s Watchmen, which is prescient as ever in the year 2021

Colors

They define us, whether you’re seeing with your two eyes. McDonald’s has two. Red and Yellow. We’re a slave to colors.

Yet colors compose all spectrum of the rainbow. These days, we only see blue or black.

Back in the day, they only saw black and white. On their tv screens and in life. There is one difference though. It wasn’t ONLY black and white.

There were shades of gray and in those states, we shall proceed with the first episode of Watchmen (HBO) titled “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” because we can rewind and go back to the first two colors. Yellow with just a hint of blood.

The location

Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Players

Angela Abar/Sister Night (Regina King)… two names of royalty. Wears a nun’s habit and a balaclava. Detective for the police force of Tulsa. But is she?

Judd Crawford (Don Johnson)… the chief of the Tulsa police force… But is he?

Wade Tillman (Tim Blake Nelson)…. a detective on the Tulsa police force. Wears a reflective mask.

Cal Abar (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II)… Angela’s husband but. But is he?

Red Scare (Andrew Howard)… thick Russian accent, this presence. But is he?

Panda (Jacob Ming-Trent)… his partner in crime. But is he?

Will Reeves (Louis Gosset Jr.)…. Angela’s great grandfather, but we don’t know that yet. The original superhero. But is he?

Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons)… who else? Ozymandias!Ozy the best! But is he?

Laurie Black (Jean Smart)… second Silk Spectre, FBI agent, and commander of the Anti-Vigilante Task Force. Good intentions. But does she?

Lady Trieu (Hong Chau)… owner of Trieu Industries, which bought out Veidt Enterprises on the news of Adrian’s death and heiress to his throne via artificial insemination. Wants her birthright and is entitled to it. But is she?

The plot

We open in a black and white silent film. It’s a western but silence speaks louder than words. In it, the Sheriff is the bad guy, whose stolen cattle. Who better to speak truth to power than wresting it from the laws of governance? Who does that? Bass Reeves, motherfucker! The black Marshal of Oklahoma.

Trust in the law. That’s the ending statement of it. Then shit goes down.

Tusla, 1921. A town is torn asunder by the KKK. From violence sows peace. Like burning down a forest just to let the flora flourish anew. Except, in this case, it doesn’t. It simply begets more violence… and the fire is sometimes, just a fire. Destructive- that’s all.

A young and very traumatized Will Reeves inherits a new baby to look after once all the world around him has burned. This is

CUT TO:

Present-day. We have a white dude shaken, being pulled over by a black cop. Though it would appear cops have the upper hand in this scenario, this one didn’t. He caught a Calvary constituent, but even his ‘brothers in arms’ couldn’t or wouldn’t save him. Who is watching whom?

We then go to to the musical of Oklahoma! Where the cast is all black. Both Judd and his wife are taking in the sights as if the black cast is providing their entertainment… but Judd’s good time is cut short when news of a boy in blue’s life is cut down.

He meets Wade at the hospital to survey the body of their brethren at semi-respiration. This isn’t for long though as they have to inform in the following scene his next of kin.

He didn’t die though. They are moving him to their special medical bay once out of surgery. Plus, they are going to change his narrative on how he was injured.

The series also opens up with cracking a few eggs, starting with five. Eggs will come onto this plane later.

We see in her son’s classroom that she was born in Nam and that her son has a protective nature over the mother. Doesn’t matter though because what comes reigning down? Squids. You heard me right, squids.

They drive home and we finally catch a glimpse of her hubby, Jon, I mean Calvin. We also see that her job’s communique operates through a pager, which is smart.

The hour is nigh, and as we see Angela go to her assignment, we hear that the Minutemen will be premiering.

She’s going into her own bakery. Milk & Hanoi. She’s only interrupted by an older, wheelchair-bound gentleman that… but no time for that.

Batman has his cave, Sister Night has her joint. She suits up and shit is about to go down.

She was called to action because one of the Rorshach peeps put out a message to the world. A change going to come, come hell or high water and if you don’t like it, you can kick rocks. Compliments of the Seventh Calvary.

Tick-tock.

Article 4 is hereby off the table. The stabilizing of guns for the public’s safety from the police is no longer an issue and once there’s red spilled in the blue, they just see… well red.

We now go into the pod, which is a great version of an interrogation room. It can give the Voight-Kampff test a run for its money.

This leads us to the cattle ranch. By the way, good lead up score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

As they descend on the homestead, we see that the resistance is removing batteries from watches.

They are packing heat and who takes the brunt of it? The livestock. Matter of fact, in O! Brother, Where Art Thou? When Babyface Nelson escapes from his heist, he uses his Thompson to shoot anything in his way, including the cows. Tim Blake Nelson’s character, says, ‘Aww, not the livestock, George.’

As the homestead gets lit the fuck up by Rorshach’s team with a Gatling gun, a few derring-do’s pilot a goddamned plane only to see Sister Night running point on their with the coverage of Red Scare.

After a scruff with one of the unfortunate souls that managed to ‘escape’, Sister Night runs house… But does she? The scrapper was merely a pawn in the bigger scheme of things, as evidenced by his swallowing a cyanide pill just before she could cull information from hit.

Snitches don’t get stitches. They just get pine boxes.

Yet, just before Red Scare and Sister Night can deduce the trace of their dearly departed, the plane has taken flight. Sometimes gravity is a little bigger than your situation.

That’s when you call the Owlship. How did these guys procure such a majestic piece of technology? We’ll save that for later. Either way, it fulfills the job it was meant to do. This comes at a price, however, as it blew its proverbial ‘load’ and crapped out.

Angela need not worry though, as Judd and Pirate Jenny come out, no worse for wear. And they laugh.

You can only laugh to the heavens until the heavens will reign down on you. We cut to Ozymandias, on his steed. Where is he? In his palatial estate with not one but TWO servants.

But wait! It’s his anniversary. But of what? His sycophants are simply reciting words of a birthday song. They know not what they do and, god, fucking forgive them.

I beg your pardon, however, as our man Adrian refuses a horseshoe to cut his illustrious cake and merely takes a peck at it. I guess rich comes at a cost.

He’s gifted something. A stopwatch. Tick-tock.

The watch is still ticking at Angela’s home, as Judd and his wife break bread with her three of her kids, and her husband, Calvin… of course under the auspices of cocaine. Allegedly.

The avuncular boss rubs the wrong way though with Calvin. This comes down to musical Oklahoma! And how.

He sings a song from it upon their inciting, but something feels off. It doesn’t help that the tick of the clock is more of a metronome. Tick-tock.

Angela realizes that their enemies are excising the batteries of watches, possibly to create something more sinister but Judd pays it no mind. There is an heir or uneasiness as we go into the preview of what Judd is playing later at home for American Hero Story.

His wife seems the wiser. Maybe she’s in on the grift! Charlie’s woken up though and in full regalia, Judd goes to pay a visit.

Though the road paved with good intentions is always pebbled with harm… or maybe the best intentions in the world.

As Angela and Cal are getting on, dressed in their birthday suits, duty calls. Isn’t that always the way?

A simple phone call is all Angela becomes Sister and with one of the coolest moves ever, she extracts a shottie from her bed and a pistol from her fireplace. This could be a mere scare… or this could be war.

With a kiss to her beloved, she’s gone. This isn’t just a kiss. This is a possible death knell. She already knows she’s in the mire and whomever she loves is in the crossfire, whether they are willing participants or not. Her handling of this situation hangs in the balance all of them.

What hangs in a balance? Judd. A white man is lynched and a black man seems responsible for the actions taken.

I think the prescience of this show is outstanding. Who watches the Watchmen? I mean who polices anything these days? The actors are great, as is the writing and direction. It only gets heavier from here, so stay tuned!

 

Robert Kijowski
Robert J. Kijowski is a screenwriter who enjoys a good chuckle and an even better weep when indulging in art both good and even better bad. He enjoys the company of strangers in a theatre but adores the camaraderie of friends watching Netflix. He also loves to talk- a lot. This can be read through his recaps and reviews on the Workprint or heard through his weekly movie podcast, After the Credits. His presence can be felt through Facebook, Spotify or Ouija. Don’t use the latter though- he almost always ghosts people.

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