Warning: This post includes Watchmen spoilers from recent episodes.
When HBO’s superhero television drama Watchmen was initially announced earlier this year, fans of the comic books were skeptical about where the network would be taking the story. HBO’s take on the Watchmen comics star almost-EGOT winner Regina King as Angela Abar (alias Sister Night) and the plot plays out in an alternate reality more than 30 years after the comics.
The series aired in October, blowing the minds of its audience with its intricate storylines and shocking reveals, all to be neatly tied up in a matter of nine episodes. Ten would have been preferable, but listen, we'll take as much of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as we can get. Months later, we’ve finally reached the end of the long and winding road of Watchmen’s first season. We discovered that Angela is at the center of a national white supremacist conspiracy to make white men great again, a plot in which her grandfather Will Reeves (Louis Gossett Jr.) and husband Cal Abar (Mateen) unknowingly play a crucial part. We also found out the Cal Abar is not Cal Abar after all; he's really the legendary Doctor Manhattan, and he's in grave danger.
The penultimate episode of Watchmen places us in the present day, with the smiley Senator Joe Keene, Jr. (James Wolk) and the Seventh Kalvary having captured Doctor Manhattan outside of the home that he shared with his family as Cal. After years trapped on Jupiter's moon, Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons) may have found a way to escape Europa after all. And, as all of this is happening, Lady Trieu's (Hong Chau) mysterious Millennium Clock keeps ticking away.
How will the minds behind Watchmen wrap up this story? The internet has a few good ideas. Here are some of the most intriguing Watchmen season finale theories.
Theory: Doctor Manhattan Gave Will Reeves His Super Powers
This one is absolutely wild, but also...not totally impossible. Doctor Manhattan teleports the kids away to safety when the Seven Kalvary surrounds their house, only telling Angela that they're safe. Where would the children be safe from the danger that the world will surely be under the power of an all-powerful Senator Keene? In the presence of another superhero.
Though he is more than 100 years old, Will is still a spry fellow, equipped with a sharp mind and some special abilities that most people don't possess. As the world's first superhero, he also has a demonstrated history of doing the right thing (the orchestrated murder of Judd Crawford doesn't really count) and, as Angela's grandfather, he has full reason to want to protect her children. During Doctor Manhattan's 10-year time jump to inform Will of Angela's existence, he could have also passed on his powers to the older man. Don't count the centenarian out just yet.
Theory: Angela Will Gain Super Powers
When Doctor Manhattan was freed from the human body of the late Cal Jelani, he took a few ill-timed moments to re-acclimate himself to the world. While the Seventh Kalvary waited outside, he transported through time to make a few house calls, and he even tried to make waffles. Before facing the white supremacist gang, Doctor Manhattan made sure to walk on top of his and Angela's family pool. "You need to see me on the pool," he told Angela. "It's important for later."
Why? So that she can take on some of his super abilities. At the diner in Vietnam, Doctor Manhattan explicitly says that he would never pass on his powers to anyone without consent. But that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be possible, especially for the person who's spent the last ten years with him and has seen his powers up close. If Angela somehow consumes the contaminated pool water, perhaps she too can take on his god-like abilities to save the earth from Senator Keene and Cyclops.
Theory: Lady Trieu Wants Revenge
Industrialist Lady Trieu is very much anti-colonialism; her name itself is an homage to the famed warrior who fought against the Chinese occupation of Vietnam in the third century.
Eight episodes in, we still don't know what her precious Millennium Clock is supposed to do, exactly — Nerdist thinks that the massive invention will be used to wreak mass havoc on the U.S. as retaliation for its actions against Vietnam. That might also explain the partnership between Lady Trieu and Will Reeves. Like the scientist, Will also suffered a great deal of loss as a result of political machination of the U.S. and harbors resentment for the institutional and personal racism he dealt with growing up in Tulsa. The pair might have joined hands to make sure that the country pays for the national and global damage it's done.
Note: Another theory from CBR.com suggests that the Millennium Clock is a time travel machine. We know that Lady Trieu is obsessed with the past, having created the now-illegal drug Nostalgia to help people relive their memories and even going so far as to clone her mother to live out her life. Could her resentment towards the U.S. and her obsession with time lead to a trip to the past to undo the damage that she's faced?
Theory: Lady Trieu Is Trying To Destroy Doctor Manhattan — & She's Working With The Seventh Kalvary To Do It
Doctor Manhattan is the reason for Vietnam's forced integration into the United States as its 51st state, so it's no surprise that Lady Trieu isn't his biggest fan. What if she's secretly teaming up with the Seventh Kalvary to take him out?
A woman of color herself, Lady Trieu is anti-racist and not interested in a world run by white supremacists, but if her hate for Doctor Manhattan runs as deep as we think, she and the Seventh Kalvary have a shared end goal. Besides, there's proof that Trieu Industries technology is being used to build whatever Keene and his crew used to capture Doctor Manhattan.
Theory: Ozymandias Will Team Up With Lady Trieu
With the help of Phillips and Crookshanks, it looks like Adrian Veidt (otherwise known as Ozymandias) might be escaping his prison on Europa after all. But one curious theory posited by Nerdist suggests that Adrian Veidt is already on Earth, thanks to Lady Trieu. She claims to be inspired by Adrian and credits some of her success to him. She purchased a number of his companies after his "disappearance" from Earth and has modeled much of her work as a scientist and entrepreneur after his career.
Inside her Vietnam-inspired vivarium, Lady Trieu keeps a giant golden statue of Adrian in the center of the foliage. Could she have fashioned some kind of space technology that helped him escape from Europa?
Now that they're together on Earth, are they uniting in their shared disdain (her for defeating Vietnam in the war, and him for his imprisonment on Europa) for Doctor Manhattan to take him down?
We could be onto something with these theories, but we could also just be grasping at straws. Watchmen will do that to you. Either way, we'll find out on the HBO series' season finale, airing next Sunday.