(Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 4, 2019 and is now republished as the entire series is available free of charge on HBO.com.)
HBO's Watchmen series got off to an explosive start, and the show, which is based on the groundbreaking comic series, shows no signs of slowing down.
Episode 1 of Watchmen was packed with clues to the source material, clues to where the story was going, and lots of Easter eggs, and the second episode offered more of it. The creator of the TV series, Damon Lindelof, has a lot to offer the audience in every episode, and there's a good chance you've missed some fascinating elements. To help you get the most out of your Watchmen experience, we've put together a list of key comic book references, story tips, and Easter eggs from Episode 3.
(Note: The details of the plot from Watchmen's latest episode are explained below, so make sure you are up to date with the series to avoid spoilers.)
Fame is everything
The Guardian world is a world where celebrity is a valuable asset and more than a household name in our world has led to some of the nation's highest positions of power in the series' fictional timeline. The first episode of the series introduced the audience to a timeline in which actor Robert Redford succeeded Richard M. Nixon as US President after he served for at least five terms. (The 22nd change was overturned on the Watchmen timeline, and reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were murdered before the Watergate scandal was exposed, probably by The Comedian.)
In this episode, we learn that the famous thriller novelist John Grisham – author of The Firm and The Pelican Brief, among others – has been appointed to the Supreme Court at some point in the past few years and will soon retire. The newspaper's headline announcing his upcoming retirement is another reminder that the world of the Guardians is not too different from ours, with the same pieces in different places.
Meet Laurie Blake
FBI agent Laurie Blake (played by Jean Smart) makes an explosive debut in Episode 3 of Watchmen, and it soon becomes apparent that the nail-resistant agent is actually the woman who was formerly Laurie Juspeczyk, a.k.a. Silk Specter, was known. Laurie, a second generation costume vigilante, was a central figure in the plot of the original Watchmen comic and was romantic with Dr. Connected to Manhattan and Nite Owl.
It is remarkable that she bears the surname Blake, since she apparently adopted the name of her biological father. Edward Blake, better known as The Comedian. The book revealed that The Comedian had sexually assaulted Laurie's mother at the start of their respective careers as a criminal, but the two later developed a romantic relationship.
Though Laurie now appears to be anything but friendly to costumed vigilantes (and more like her father than ever before), there are more than a few allusions to the fact that she has had her vigilante history – and the colorful characters that surrounded her – in the past couldn't leave. At the beginning of the episode, we see her holding an owl as a pet – probably in association with Nite Owl – and an Andy Warhol-style artwork on her wall with stylized representations of her and the members of her former Vigilante team.
Another suggestion she sticks to is … a big and distinctive element in one of the last scenes of the episode.
The Millennium Clock and Lady Trieu
Episode 3 introduces some more subtle secrets into the ever-expanding canon of history with the introduction of the Millennium Clock and the mention of a character named Lady Trieu. During their trip to Tulsa to investigate Chief Crawford's murder, Agent Dale Petey (Dustin Ingram) and Laurie look out of the plane's window to see the Millennium Clock.
The massive structure receives no additional explanation, but Petey considers it appropriate to quote Percy Bysshe Shelley's classic poem Ozymandias and say, "Look at my works, you mighty and desperate." He adds that he simply repeats the words of a currently unknown character, Lady Trieu, after buying Adrian Veidt's company.
Lady Trieu, a new character featured in the HBO series, is played by actress Hong Chau (Big Little Lies), and that's pretty much all we know about her at the moment. (Her name is shared with a 3rd century warrior so this affects her character.) What she did with his company and the meaning of the Millennium Clock remains, like so many other elements in the series, a fascinating mystery.
Black Freighter Inn
In the original Watchmen comic, Tales of the Black Freighter was a story that appeared in one form or another throughout the series and served as a kind of story within a story that reflected elements of the characters' own experiences. (There's a reason Watchmen is considered one of the most cerebral, meta-textual comics ever created.) Black Freighter tells the stories of seafarers and other seafarers who condemn themselves in one way or another and deal with it Cross Title Phantom Ship.
The infamous ship appears to remain in the HBO series when we see Laurie booking a room at the Black Freighter Inn and Suites when she arrives in Tulsa. It remains to be seen whether this is just an allusion to the comic in a comic or a threatening indication of what will come for them.
Music was a key element in the original Watchmen story. The creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons added musical extracts to the entire story in a subtle and open way. The love that Dan Dreiberg (a.k.a. Nite Owl) had for classic jazz was a symbol of his awe of the past, while Laurie lived at the moment and was a big fan of modern hits from the 1980s when history was playing. In a comic scene, Laurie refers to the Whip It band Devo while trying on Dan's Nite Owl glasses. The title of the third episode, She Was Killed by Space Junk, comes from a line in the Devo song Space Junk.
Nite Owl and Silk Specter aren't the only characters who show their musical preferences in the original comic. Adrian Veidt also reveals in the comic that his musical interests are a little more forward-looking, and he quotes a new form of Jamaican music at the time, which he describes as a "hybrid between electronic music and reggae" called "dub music".
The music that we later hear (and see) in Veidt's workshop comes from Lee Perry's Megaton Dub 2. As a singer, producer and inventor, Perry is a pioneer in the dub music genre. Remix versions of existing reggae tracks.
The above-mentioned scene in Adrian Veidt's workshop is full of references to the comic and watchmen lore, including an enlarged sketch of octopus and the domino mask that he wore with his Ozymandias costume. However, the most striking scene could be Jeremy Irons – as Veidt – who pulls Ozymandia's complete comic outfit in all its golden and purple glory.