Review: Watchmen Season 1 Episode 8

The pleasure of watching a story is to have it delivered as a slow burn. To begin with confusion and slowly descend into the depths of the world that has been so meticulously created just for you. If done right, a story becomes its own paradise, something that gets better every time you revisit it. But there is another very critical thing concerning this.

How much time should you really spend in this paradise? The penultimate episode of ‘Watchmen’ indulges this query in its story-line as well as its storytelling. For the past two months, we have been waiting for Damon Lindelof to deliver us his version of the popular comic book series. We have been amazed, confused, petrified, disturbed and amused. With just one more episode to go, the show does all of that again and answers almost all of its mysteries and sets the stage for the final showdown.

Watchmen Episode 8 Recap

‘A God Walks into Abar’ begins with a god walking into a bar, and eventually, turning into Abar. While the previous episode focuses on the past of Angela, this one gives us a broad view into the story of her husband and how it ties to everything else. The story goes back and forth in time as Manhattan tries to persuade Angela to go on a date with him and kick-start their relationship that will happen either way, and will end tragically no matter what.

Because the blue god experiences time differently, we, too, are subjected to his perception and move fluidly in time to see how everything comes back full circle. Meanwhile, Adrian Veidt is rotting in the prison of his paradise, which, as it turns out, was created by Doctor Manhattan himself.

Watchmen Episode 8 Review

All characters in ‘Watchmen’ are mysterious. Each of them has their own secrets, and everyone is marred by one or the other form of catastrophe that changed the course of their lives. The show took its time to build these secrets, often to the point that it pushed us to become restless. But now that it has finally unraveled them, you applaud the writers for making you go through that anxious phase for weeks before handing you over a key to the world they have created so fantastically.

What makes this episode stand out from the rest of the batch is the way it morphs itself into a time travel story. It is, technically, not time travel, but the bending and twisting of one of the most fundamental things of human existence brings a necessary flair to it. The writers of ‘Watchmen’ know how to tell a story good. They know the trick that can turn any mediocre tale into the one that you won’t forget for a long time. With the story of Doctor Manhattan, they employ this tried and tested trope, and its works brilliantly.

“What came first, the chicken or the egg?” is one of the questions that you, as well as the characters of the show, ask themselves. And the only answer to this is that “time is a flat circle”- courtesy of Rustin Cohle from ‘True Detective’. (Because not everyone reads Nietzsche!) But that is not the only philosophical musing that you will be thrown into with the ending credits of the episode. The idea of paradise and the “careful what you wish for” saying walk side by side as we gain absolute clarity on what’s happening to Adrian Veidt.

The perspective shift from episode to episode has given a power to ‘Watchmen’, through which it has masterfully tied one thing to another, creating a web that only makes sense when you have a complete view of it. The things that seemed weird and otherworldly and impossible and, at times, irrelevant, have a whole new meaning when everything’s put into perspective. And that is exactly what this episode does. It gives you the perspective to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, before the show returns next week to tie up all loose ends.

It also makes us somewhat anxious about the finale. The show has been going great by far, but as we came to understand it better, there were times when things got predictable. What we want is to be shocked and confused, but the extent of that has gone milder, considering the last couple of episodes. Is it intentional on the writers’ part, who allowed us to have some relief before they dump the mind-blowing end of the story on us? Or is this the pace that we will meet in the final episode as well? Will it disappoint us, or end the series with a winning streak?

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