I felt mixed about “See How They Fly” the finale of HBO’s Watchmen Season One. On the one hand, I enjoyed the episode. Director Frederick E.O. Toye and the writers Nick Cuse, Dave Gibbons & Damon Lindelof did a brilliant job wrapping up all the first season’s mysteries while leaving a door open for a potential second season.
On the other hand, this finale is anti-climatic — a symptom of a television show like Watchmen, where every episode feels like a stylized blockbuster film. There were no “small” stories this season, so “See How They Fly” felt like just any other episode. There was nothing wrong with the finale, but there was no big bang at the end, either.
My favorite scene comes at the end when Angela Abar has defeated the Seventh Calvary and Lady Trieu. The superhero detective has tucked her three adopted children into bed. Her grandfather Will Reeves is staying at her home. She cleans up her kitchen when she realizes what her husband Doctor Manhattan meant by warning her, “watch the eggs” earlier that evening as he was making an egg dish for a snack. When they first met, he had told her that he could gift powers by putting some energy into an egg.
When Angela spots one whole egg, she realizes that her husband put his powers into the egg for her to inherit after his death. She takes the egg out to her pool and eats it raw. The final shot of the season shows her about to step onto the water. We are left wondering if the egg contained Doctor Manhattan’s god-like powers. Is Angela now a god? Can she walk on water?
Unlike Lady Trieu or the Seventh Calvary, Angela had no desire to become all-powerful. The fact that she does not want to be a god makes her the best “offspring” of Doctor Manhattan. If there is to be a new season, and if it tackled Angela Abar becoming the new Doctor Manhattan, I would tune in.
The ultimate revelation in the finale that connects everything is the fact that Lady Trieu is Adrian Vedit’s daughter. Her mother was a Vietnamese refugee named Bian. She worked as a maid in Vedit’s mansion and stole a vial of his sperm. She injected the Vedit’s sample into herself, then nine months later, genius Trieu was born.
Before Adrian Vedit was sent to Europa, Lady Trieu tracked down her father. She wanted her father to give her enough resources to trap Doctor Manhattan so that she could take his powers and use them to destroy all the world’s weapons. Vedit refuses because he is horrified after discovering that Bian stole his sperm to create this child he never wanted.
Adrain tells Lady Trieu that he donated all his parent’s wealth so he could prove he could become “something out of nothing.” Vedit charges his daughter to do the same. Now, years later, Lady Trieu clones her mother, Bian, who she tells everybody she is her daughter. Her mother’s clone is now about twelve years old. Trieu rescues her father from Europa so she can kill Doctor Manhattan then become a god before both her parents.
Lady Trieu used the Seventh Cavalry to trap Doctor Manhattan in a ball-shaped machine that doesn’t allow him to use his powers but stops them from succeeding in becoming him. Joe Keene Jr. dies because the device that the KKK based organization built sent all of Doctor Manhattan’s radiation into his body without any filters causing him to explode.
What’s ironic is that Lady Trieu fails to become Doctor Manhattan after killing him because her father, Adrian Vedit, stops her. If she had not brought her father back from Europa, then she may have succeeded. Vedit escapes when Senator Keene Jr, becomes liquid goo from the radiation.
Keene Jr.’s remains seep into Doctor Manhattan’s prison, allowing him to transport Vedit to his lair. Vedit showers Lady Trieu with frozen baby squids killing her and destroying the equipment that would have granted the absorption Doctor Manhattan’s powers.
While all these events do sound exciting, you have to remember every other episode of Watchmen has crazy stuff happening as well. The first episode has elderly Will Reeves hanging the chief of the Tulsa police from a tree!
Though the finale has a lot of explosive scenes, there is nothing that beats Angela experiencing her grandfather’s memories in episode 6. Or Adrian Veidt who tortured the clones for his amusement by having them reenact Doctor Manhattan’s origin story, causing them to burn up alive in episode 2.While Doctor Manhattan disintegrating in front of Angela Abar is upsetting, we have heard about his potential death for a couple of episodes, so it’s no surprise this happens
“See How They Fly” is another fantastic complicated episode of Watchmen, but nothing special enough to be a true finale of an action-packed season. The anti-climatic end makes me want a second season, though I do understand that Damon Lindelof hasn’t expressed any interest in creating more seasons. Perhaps somebody else will pick up the torch?