Director: Stephen Williams
Starring: Regina King, Don Johnson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jovan Adepo
WARNING: There will be spoilers for Watchmen Episode 6 in this review.
What really makes good television? I’ve been asking myself that a lot recently, and one of the main reasons I’ve been mulling over that questions again and again in my mind is because HBO’s Watchmen has really confused me, and Episode 6 has just made the question even harder to answer.
Watchmen Episode 6, entitled ‘The Extraordinary Being’ is a flashback episode, and normally, I hate flashback episodes. I find them a cheap way of storytelling.
It tends to be a case of show everything and tell nothing (my little riff on the saying, ‘show, don’t tell’). Often it’s best to leave things up to the imagination.
However, what this week’s episode of Watchmen did was turn that on its head, mainly because this flashback episode is directly linked to what was happening before it.
Who’s watching Watchmen? Everyone should be
‘The Extraordinary Being’ tells the story of how Will Reeves became Hooded Justice. OK, so that’s the first spoiler in this review. Yes, Will Reeves is Hooded Justice.
First off, the show’s been having us believe that Hooded Justice is a white man. This episode literally starts off with an interrogation scene in which Hooded Justice is being blackmailed into taking off his mask.
The man behind the mask in this scene is white with bright blue eyes. This is just another way in which Damon Lindelof and his team of incredibly talented writers keep you guessing.
They’ve painstakingly crafted Watchmen’s story. It’s clear for everyone to see. They’ve calculated every story beat and planned out every little detail.
The writers deliberately lead down one path, knowing that the truth lies somewhere behind you. However, that isn’t to say they don’t leave clues.
Upon reflection, it was logical that Hooded Justice was a black man. Just look at the iconography in his costume.
Note to self: too much nostalgia isn’t a good thing
Anyway, that’s not the only reason why this episode is a televisual masterpiece. Firstly, it’s shot unlike anything I’ve seen before.
The only comparison I can make for this episode of Watchmen is with Frank Miller’s Sin City which is shot in monochrome with little splashes of colour.
That’s what they did here, and it just looks so beautiful, but the little dashes of colour also add to the story.
I haven’t actually explained what’s going on in this episode. So, Angela Abar (a.k.a. Sister Knight) took some pills (called nostalgia) which hold her grandfather’s memories – her grandfather being Will Reeves.
This whole episode could be described as a nostalgia trip, as Angela (played by Regina King) witnesses her grandfather’s memories through his eyes and learns more about where she came from.
There are moments in the story where Laurie Black (played by Jean Smart) comes in to explain what’s happening to her in the real world and tells her how dangerous nostalgia is.
Turns out flashback episodes can be good
Read more: Watchmen Episode 1 Review
When I learnt that this episode was going to be a flashback episode, I groaned, because as I explained earlier, I don’t like these sorts of episodes.
What ended up happening was I was hooked. I wanted to know more about Reeves and Hooded Justice. I wanted to find out more about this KKK-spinoff organisation known as Cyclops.
There were also little teases that one of the members of this organisation known as Frank might also be related to President Donald Trump (more on that aspect of the episode in an upcoming article).
Watchmen has been a pure delight, but it’s also a really difficult watch. It explores themes of racism, abuse, corruption, trauma, and even dysfunctional families.
It genuinely is one of the best shows this year, and so far the first season hasn’t disappointed. I don’t think I can recommend Watchmen highly enough. You’ve just got to watch this show.
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