HBO's Watchmen Episode 7: 6 New Theories

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Caution: Spoilers ahead.

One of the best things about HBO’s Watchmen–and theorycrafting about it–is that it rewards attentiveness. When the show lays out a mystery, the writers give you enough clues and for you to solve it. The lazier way of creating a twist is to simply deprive the audience of the information necessary to see it coming. There’s a sense of disappointment in these moments, that perhaps we had placed more thought and effort into the plot than the writers did. Watchmen is different; it treats its audience with respect.

Episode 7 of Watchmen, “An Almost Religious Awe,” cradles us in capable hands. The narrative is off-the-wall bonkers, but because it plays fair with the viewers, and follows logically with what came prior to it, we’re willing to accept the far-fetched events as possible and logical within the parameters of the show.

Here are 6 new theories for Episode 7 of HBO’s Watchmen. Warning: Spoilers ahead.

1. Lady Trieu’s Father?

Lady Trieu says to Angela that she wants both of her parents present when the Millenium Clock becomes operational. We know that her mom is there in the form of her daughter, Bian; she was cloned from her Lady Trieu’s mother’s DNA, and Lady Trieu is slowly drip-feeding Bian her old memories back to her. Her father is not there, but according to Lady Trieu, he will be there soon. So who is the father? The Peteypedia’s latest article theorizes The Comedian, but dismisses this possibility just as quickly

There are two other father theories. The first is Doctor Manhattan, who was with the Comedian during the Vietnam War and saw him commit atrocities. Doctor Manhattan was also employed as a weapon in the Vietnam War, and he has the deaths of countless Vietnamese people on his hands. If he is Lady Trieu’s father, this certainly complicates her trauma.

The second theory is that Trieu could be Veidt’s child, which is the more likely outcome. It would explain her pride and aspirations; it would make sense that the world’s smartest man would be involved in the creation of the world’s smartest woman, and that his daughter would inherit his properties.

Remember that golden statue of Veidt in Trieu’s vivarium? Veidt was sentenced to imprisonment in Episode 7; perhaps the golden statue is the form of that imprisonment? That could have been the meteor from Episode 4 that crash-landed on the farm, which Trieu immediately secured possession of.

2. Who Will Looking Glass Save?

Dale Petey discovers that every 7th Kavalry member sent to kill Wade is dead, and that one of the men is missing his Rorschach mask. The implication is clear: Wade survived the attempt, and is currently incognito as a member of the 7th Kavalry. How will this play into the final two episodes?

One theory is that he’s going to save Laurie, who’s being held prisoner by Senator Keene. It would bring the two characters’ mutual antagonism full circle–that Wade proves himself a good officer to someone who has mocked and doubted him, time and again. And it would resolve the conflict between Wade and Keene, who showed him the video of Veidt confessing to his massive crimes and awoke him to the moral complexity of the world.

The other possibility is that Wade is one of the 7th Kavalry members staked outside of Angela’s house. In the biggest twist thus far, we learned this week that Cal is Dr. Manhattan in disguise, and that the 7th Kavalry are planning to capture Dr. Manhattan and turn Senator Keene into a similarly superpowered being. Could Wade play a role in allowing Doctor Manhattan to escape, and thus fulfill his goal of protecting Angela and her family?

Either way, Looking Glass is going to get involved. Be on the lookout for a Rorschach-masked man who stands around without actually committing the terrible acts himself.

3. Television Trojan Horse

Throughout the show, we’ve seen that “American Hero Story: Minutemen,” Watchmen’s show-within-a-show, is highly watched and highly popular. We learn from the Peteypedia that Lady Trieu gave everyone in the tri-state area an HD television. And we learned in Episode 6 that Will Reeves has what is essentially a mind control device that flickers a light and sends a subliminal message to the viewer to obey instructions, even if that means killing people.

At some point in the final two episodes, Reeves is definitely going to broadcast his mind control signal over the airwaves. A peaceful directive could easily be defused by the people who are not watching TV at the moment. But a violent directive would involve everyone, turning every non-watcher into a potential victim. It would cause bloody mayhem in the streets, thus retreading the chaos of the Tulsa riots that opened the show.

4. A Thanos-esque Endgame

Lady Trieu gives a speech to Angela about trauma and the inability to move on from it–that given the chance to experience one’s memories via the Nostalgia drug and thus move past them, a user will instead choose to wallow in his or her miseries. This reminded me of Thanos’ speech at the end of Avengers: Endgame. After destroying half of all life, Thanos didn’t anticipate that people would continue mourning what they lost. Thus, he draws the conclusion that he must destroy the entire universe and strip it down to its base components, so that no one alive will remember the world that came before them.

So perhaps, that is the endgame to Lady Trieu’s plan–to create a nationwide state where people forget their traumas, or decimate the population to the extent that no one is left to remember the traumas.

5. Telling Time, Literally

Or (and this is the most karmic theory), the Millennium Clock could inflict the most horrific traumas on everyone–regardless of whether or not they’ve personally experienced them–thus leveling the playing field. Oppressors would be forced to live the memories of their victims, firsthand.

In Episode 4, Bian explains the purpose of the Millennium Clock with a sarcastic, pithy sentence: “It tells time.” Perhaps she meant that literally, in a storytelling sense of the word.

6. Creating the Problem, Offering the Solution

What’s really interesting in Episode 7 is that Lady Trieu had a Nostalgia memory-scrubbing injectable tutorial ready to go when Laurie brought Angela to her. It isn’t personalized; the voiceover addresses itself to a general audience. Is overdosing on Nostalgia pills a common enough occurrence in this world? It seems odd to create a generalized FAQ program for something this specific–unless, of course, millions of people will need it in the near future.

If Lady Trieu is planning on traumatizing millions of people with her Millennium Clock, then perhaps she found a way to make an easy, cynical buck: by selling and marketing a program to have those traumatic memories stripped away.

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