Watchmen season 1, episode 2 recap: Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship

Watchmen -- Louis Gossett Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen -- Louis Gossett Mark Hill/HBO /

Watchmen gets real with Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship. Who is Will Reeves? Is Adrian in a time loop? Was that Nite Owl? We’ve got the recap!

On Watchmen, even the note from “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” has a backstory. In this week’s episode, “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship,” written by Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers) and Nick Cuse (Maniac), a lot of questions are answered. But those answers lead to many more questions. Director Nicole Kassell (The Killing) juggles what appears to be a growing number of timelines. It all plays, for the most part, like one continuous narrative. I’m sure there are still more revelations on the way.

I Am The Eggman. They Are the Eggmen. I Am the Walrus.

The episode starts with a flashback to Work War I Germany. A German Officer (Miles Doleac) asks an English speaking typist, Fräulein Müller (Annika Pampel), to help him type the script for propaganda. It appeals to black soldiers fighting for the United States. It asks legitimate questions like why would anyone fight for a country that does not see them as equals.

More. Watchmen series premiere recap: It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice. light

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The propaganda is dropped on a squad of black soldiers who are marching towards the front while their white counterparts ride horses in the opposite direction. As one white rider passes, he spits in the face of a black soldier. The propaganda’s promise of being fully integrated into German society is obviously madness considering how history played out.

But the father (Steven Norfleet) of the young boy (Danny Boyd, Jr.), who survived the Tulsa Race Massacre in “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” still had one of those propaganda pamphlets in his uniform when he returned home.

The young boy, Will, found it. It was eventually used by his dad to write the Watch Over This Boy note during the massacre. This is the same Will, played by Louis Gossett, Jr. (Iron Eagle) in the present day, who revenge lynched Chief Judd Crawford (Don Johnson). The flashback ends where last week’s episode did: With Angela (Regina King) arriving on-site to make the grisly discovery after Will summoned her.

Watchmen -- Louis Gossett Jr. photo: Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen – Photo: Mark Hill/HBO /

Angela takes Will back to her bakery lair for questioning. She doesn’t take him to the police or report the murder. I think she’s afraid of inciting a second Tulsa Race Massacre. The city is already on edge from the Seventh Kalvary’s threats and shooting of a black police officer. If she brings Will in, it could spark an eye-for-an-eye-for-another-eye type war. Plus, Will is 105 years old and wheelchair-bound. She doesn’t believe he acted on his own. She also doesn’t like his simple explanation that the chief had skeletons in his closet. Angela changes into Sister Night and makes a cup of coffee for Will. In classic TV procedural form, she seizes the empty cup for fingerprints and DNA testing. Will doesn’t care.

What was The White Night all about?

Angela leaves Will handcuffed in her bakery lair and responds to a page that she knew was coming. Crawford has been found. She drives to the scene and stays in her car. Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson) gets in the passenger seat and asks for food. While munching on some mixed nuts from Angela’s glove compartment, he interrogates her. It makes sense. Crawford was at Angela’s the night before. He was tipsy and had done some blow. Angela doesn’t withhold any of this. She calls LG coldhearted for his questioning. He asks that if he’s coldhearted, why is he crying underneath his mask?

Red Scare (Andrew Howard) wants to go to Nixonville and round up all the white supremacist 7th K folks and bring them in, gang-style. Angela is against it, but goes along and ends up thrashing on some poor slob who tried to throw down on LG. Angela is hurting. It’s clear that she felt a connection to Crawford. We find out the nature of that connection through another flashback.

Watchmen -- Regina King, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. photo: Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen –  Photo: Mark Hill/HBO /

It’s Christmas Eve some years ago. Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) wants to open his present and, in Watchmen style, is counting down till midnight of Christmas morning. Angela tries to take his mind off his present by jingling his bells. It’s nice to see the couple happy. But, Angela hears something and knows someone is in their house. She hides Cal and kills a 7th K thug with a knife. But another shoots her in the stomach. The last thing she remembers is that 7th K person walking up to her with their shotgun leveled at her head. She wakes up to Crawford at her bedside in the hospital.

This was the White Night attack mentioned last week. All police were targeted on Christmas Eve night at 11:59 PM. Angela’s partner, Doyle, was killed in his sleep with his wife. Their children are safe. They were adopted by Angela and include the protective Topher (Dylan Schombing). At the hospital, Crawford and Angela bond. But, was he the second 7th K man in Angela’s house? Or did he just prevent her execution? Was the White Night a power play and/or a coup to get a man on the inside? It appears this was the moment Crawford was promoted from Captain to Chief. I got creepy vibes from his dressing room last week.

Revelations and Bigger Questions

Angela goes to Crawford’s home to comfort his wife, lady (Frances Fisher). After briefly meeting Senator Keane (James Wolk), she fakes a faint to get into the master bedroom. Angela uses what looks to be an advanced version of Dan Dreiberg’s Nite Owl goggles to x-ray the room. She finds a KKK hood and cloak with a badge attached to it. She really could faint at this point. Angela needs answers.

Watchmen -- Regina King. photo: Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen – Photo: Mark Hill/HBO /

At the Tulsa Cultural Center, you can test your DNA to see if you qualify for Tulsa Race Massacre related reparations. You need to be a direct descendant. There are a bunch of white reparations protesters yelling for equal rights outside. Angela shows up with the Will mug and tests it. She uses her bakery lair phone number for a contact. Then she goes to interrogate Will at said lair.

A good 36 hours have passed since Angela left him. So, Will got out of his handcuffs, went to the grocery store, and came back to make eggs. Angela is shocked. Will tells him that he has friends in high places. Just then the phone rings. It’s the government. Will is eligible for reparations. And, Angela is his granddaughter. She’s shocked. After a minute to clear her head, she decides to take Will in for questioning at the police station. But, as she lifts him into her car, a ship appears. It drops a Breaking Bad level magnet on the car and carries it, with Will, away. He has a look on his face that says, “Science, bitch!”

Was that Nite Owl? Is Dan Drieberg, or some descendant of his, aiding Tulsa? 7th K wear Rorschach masks. Maybe he’s defending the honor of his former partner, the actual Rorschach. Also, I know it’s only IMDb, but they have listed Will’s full name as Will Reeves. That’s the same last name as hero lawman Bass Reeves. Is Angela related to him, as well? Is she the heir apparent to take over as the one true chief of Tulsa?

Other Notables, Music, and the Spider-Verse

It looks like we’ll see Adrian (Jeremy Irons) in his castle at least once per week. The week starts out in some strange time loop where he’s having his special honeycomb cake. But the conversation is different. It’s the night of his play “The Watchmaker’s Son.” It’s a legit retelling of John Osterman’s transformation from timid physicist to feared demi-god Dr. Manhattan.

It includes the accident in the Gila Flats intrinsic field chamber that tears John apart. Adrian has gone full wackadoodle and actually incinerates the actor playing John. Another actor is lowered in his place. He’s full-frontal naked, all blue, and wears a Dr. Manhattan mask that totally looks like a Spiderman mask. Let the DC/Marvel comments begin.

Photo: Jeremy Irons in Watchmen.. Photo: Colin Hutton/HBO
Watchmen – Photo: Colin Hutton/HBO /

We find out that Adrian’s staff is comprised of clones of one man and one woman. It explains why they are all slightly off. What it doesn’t explain is how the hell this is happening. Is this Dr. Manhattan? Adrian is smart. Did he make the clones? Why did he make the clones? Why is he treating them like Hugh Jackman would in The Prestige? He saves the burned up corpse. He says he has more corpses! I have an eerie feeling that Adrian is going to use the bodies to make the public think that a bunch of people have been killed at once. It’s an Adrian thing to do. But. Why?

The masked hero show within a show started airing. It featured the origin story of Hooded Justice (Cheyenne Jackson). It’s cool and will play a role in Watchmen, for sure. But, what was cooler was who was watching it. All alone in his home with a TV dinner like Marty in season one of True Detective, Looking Glass is transfixed. LG seems to identify with Hooded Justice’s search for an identity. The reflection in the mirror didn’t match the person he was. It wasn’t until he put the mask on that he felt like a complete person. There’s LG. Safe at home, but still wearing his mask. He’s for sure the Rorschach of this Watchmen.

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Lots of music this episode:

  • Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)” by The Temptations. It plays when a young girl buys a bunch of newspapers for someone in a van. It seems like an everyday routine. I wonder if that someone is Lady Trieu (Hong Chau).
  • Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt. It plays in the happy moments between Angela and Cal leading up to The White Night.
  • Nothing Fades like the Light” by Orville Peck.
  • Lacrimosa” by Mozart. It plays when Angela discovers Crawford’s KKK cloak and hood. It translates to weeping. It associated with the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows. Angela’s Sister Night alter ego is a nun born of sadness.
  • Symphony 29 in A Major” by Mozart. This plays during and after Adrian’s method-acting-required play.
  • Egg Man” by The Beastie Boys. This is the outro and refers to Will, who had just been making eggs. Interesting. When we first met Angela, she was cooking with eggs for Topher’s class.
  • The soon to be released Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score, which rules.

What are your thoughts on Watchmen, so far? Who is Angela meant to be? How depraved has Adrian become?