Episode three of HBO’s Watchmen delivered even more references and teases to the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons than any of the previously released episodes, the least of which was making Jean Smart’s Laurie Blake its focal point. Throughout the episode though, countless Easter eggs were on display ranging from the not so subtle to the deepest of deep cuts. So grab your Owl goggles and slap on leather your gloves, because we’re going to dig through them all here.
Watchmen airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
Jean Smart’s Laurie Blake takes center stage in this episode and is quickly revealed as none other than Laurie Juspeczyk aka Silk Spectre II from the pages of the original Watchmen. In the TV series continuation, Laurie finds herself working for the FBI, hunting down vigilantes (naturally she’s got plenty of experience). Laurie’s new surname in the series comes from her father, Watchmen‘s The Comedian aka Edward Blake.
The entire episode is framed around a phone call that Laurie places to Doctor Manhattan. During the call Laurie tells two jokes, itself a reference to her father’s past as The Comedian, but her second joke takes it a step further by outlining the entire plot of the original Watchmen with references to Nite Owl II, Ozymandias, Doctor Manhattan, and Laurie herself.
Fans have already been treated to glimpses of Watchmen‘s show-within-a-show but in episode 3 a new banner ad for American Hero Story: Minutemen appears on a cab, this time with a glimpse of The Comedian and Captain Metropolis from the crime fighting team. Their photos are also accompanied by the tagline “Comedy begets tragedy.”
When Laurie enters her apartment she commands her AI system to play Devo, the “Whip It” musical act from the 70s and 80s that she previously expressed a fondness for in the original comic series
Furthermore in Laurie’s apartment there’s a double owl reference as Laurie not only has a pet owl, but is told by Senator Keene that if he happens to become President he could “Help get her owl out of his cage.” This seems to imply that Laurie’s former lover and hero partner Daniel Dreiberg aka Nite Owl II is behind bars during the events of the TV series.
During the FBI meeting about the investigation in Tulsa, Petey includes a slide of the cover of Rorschach’s journal and even an excerpt. The text itself is lifted directly from the first issue of Watchmen with the further implication being that the entire journal was published after the events of the comic (as the final panel also implies).
As Laurie and Petey see the Millennium Clock, the junior agent recites this line from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias,” revealing that the line was said in reference to Adrian Veidt (who used that name as his hero moniker in the comics).
The hotel that Laurie and Petey check into is named none other than “Blackfreighter Inn,” a reference to the comic series “Tales of the Blackfreighter,” used as the comic-within-a-comic in the original Watchmen.
Blink and you’ll miss it, but as Petey and Laurie are entering the cemetary for Judd Crawford’s funeral, a protest sign can be seen that reads “Who polices the police?” This line comes from the eponymous “Who watches the Watchmen” that is peppered throughout the original text.
As Petey talks to Laurie about her past he references the “Police strike of 77,” an event seen in the fourth issue of the comic series where Laurie and Doctor Manhattan attempt to quell a riot
As Jeremy Irons’ character rides across the countryside he passes a scyth with a yellow skull painted on it, a reference to the larger realm of “Pirate media” found in the original Watchmen.
Following his letter from the mysterious Game Warden, Jeremy Irons’ character pens a letter with plenty of Watchmen references. He notes that the Warden acts like he is “some sort of Republic serial villain,” a phrase lifted from Ozymandias’ final speech in the conclusion of the series.
He wraps up the letter saying “All best wishes and encourages, Adrian Veidt,” not only revealing that he is the hero from the original Watchmen comic but also using a signoff seen in the pages of Watchmen, found in a letter in issue #10’s “The Veidt Method.”
Finally, Veidt concludes the scene saying he will “hunt again at Midnight,” a reference to that exact tie when he dropped the alien squid on New York.
As Veidt prepares for his hunt, he puts on his classic Ozymandias costume as seen in the pages of Watchmen.
While being interviewed by the news after the terrorist attack, Senator Keene is asked about Russia building “an intrinsic field generator,” which is the very device that gave Doctor Manhattan his powers in the pages of Watchmen. Could Russia be trying to make their own Doctor?
Laurie has a talk with Regina King’s Angela Abar aka Sister Night about Judd’s hidden compartment in his closet, referencing the circumstances of her father’s death and the hidden compartment found within his closet by Rorschach in the pages of the comic series.
Laurie makes herself at home in her hotel later, opening a steel case to reveal a Doctor Manhattan themed sex toy, itself a reference to the always present blue genitals of the character from the comic.
The conclusion of Laurie’s joke at the end of the episode is another major reference to the original comics as the line “Roll on snare drums. Curtains. Good Joke.” are lifted directly from Rorschach’s journal in the second issue of the comic series.
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