Watchmen season 1, episode 3 recap: She was Killed by Space Junk

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Dustin Ingram and Jean Smart attend the premiere of HBO's "Watchmen" at The Cinerama Dome on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Dustin Ingram and Jean Smart attend the premiere of HBO's "Watchmen" at The Cinerama Dome on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images) /

“She was Killed by Space Junk” marks Sally Jupiter’s entrance into Watchmen. Adrian gets in trouble. Poor Judd can’t catch a break. We’ve got the recap!

“She was Killed by Space Junk” was written by series creator Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers) and Lila Byock (Castle Rock). It was directed by Stephen Williams (Counterpart). It’s paced well. In a throwback to the old epistle episodes of M*A*S*H, most of the hour happens while Laurie Blake (Jean Smart) is leaving a Mars message for Dr. Manhattan.

We find out what happened to Dan Dreiberg and get some insight into the nature of Adrian’s (Jeremy Irons) manor. But our current Tulsa story moves forward as well, thanks to a suicide bomber’s attack on a funeral. “She was Killed by Space Junk” acknowledges the mythos of the original Watchmen and tries to bridge the audience to the current Watchmen more than the previous two episodes. I liked the result.

We Never had Phone Booths Like That

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We still haven’t met her formally, yet. But, one of the many inventions and innovations that Madame Trieu (Hong Chau) has come up with since purchasing Veidt Industries are these Dr. Manhattan phone booths. In them, you can pick up an old school receiver and leave a message that will be beamed up to Dr. Manhattan on Mars. You can subscribe at varying levels. Laurie is a platinum subscriber. That allows her to leave very long messages and get them beamed up to Mars in approximately 40 seconds. Nice.

In a mix of her sardonic mom and ironic dad, Laurie’s message to her former boyfriend is in the form of a long, messed-up joke. From it, we learn that Dan Dreiberg, Adrian Veidt, and John Osterman have all been snapped into hell by god. But, out of nowhere, Laurie appears at the pearly gates of heaven and kills god. She ends with “Good joke” in a nod to Rorschach.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Dustin Ingram and Jean Smart attend the premiere of HBO's "Watchmen" at The Cinerama Dome on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
Watchmen – Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images /

I’m not sure if what Laurie is living is heaven, but she is free. We learn from Senator Keane (John Wolk) that Dan is “in a cage.” Adrian’s manor is apparently some form of a minimum security incarceration similar to Pablo Escobar’s in Narcos. And, Dr. Manhattan is secluded on Mars. Watchmen keeps driving that fact home more every week. Laurie carries a silver case with her at all times. For a lot of the episode, I thought this was some portable communication device for Mars. But, it turns out that it’s a great big two-piece blue steel dildo. More on that in a bit.

Judd gets Double Tapped

Laurie Blake now hunts masked vigilantes for the FBI. When we first meet her, she’s orchestrated a bank robbery that she leads. Mister Shadow (Lee Tergesen) is purposefully tipped off. When he shows up, Laurie places him under arrest. When he tries to flee, she shoots him a bunch in the back. His body armor stopped the bullets. Laurie doesn’t seem to care one way or the other. Back at the office, she is tasked by her boss, Deputy Director Farragut (David Andrews), with going to Tulsa and leading the investigation into Judd’s murder. Laurie chooses to not take a huge task force. Instead, she opts for Agent Petey (Dustin Ingram). He holds a Ph.D. in history, seems to really know his Watchmen stuff, and is usually just asked to prepare slideshows. He’s as shocked as everyone else.

In Tulsa, Laurie quickly tracks down the secluded warehouse that houses the police department post-White Night. She confronts Red Scare (Andrew Howard) and Pirate Jenny (Jessica Camacho) who are interrogating a Seventh Kalvary suspect at gunpoint in an alley. Once they are all introduced, Laurie has a talk with Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson) in his cube. Laurie has fun pushing his buttons. LG explains the whole device is to gauge responses to various racial and socio-political stimuli. Laurie calls it what it is: a racist detector. Laurie cuts to the chase and wants to know how Detective Tillman (LG’s real name) got the info that leads to the cattle ranch raid from “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice.” Laurie gets LG to reluctantly confirm Angela (Regina King) got the info by beating up a suspect.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Andrew Howard,Tom Mison, Tim Blake Nelson, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Regina King, Damon Lindelof, Nicole Kassell, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II attends the Premiere Of HBO's "Watchmen" at The Cinerama Dome on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Watchmen – Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images /

At Judd’s (Don Johnson) funeral, Laurie introduces herself to Angela and her family. Senator Keane is there. He’s big on law enforcement and was the architect of DoPA (Defense of Police Act) that allowed them to hide their precincts in warehouses and their faces behind masks. As Angela starts to give her eulogy, we see a 7th K thug tunneling into a mausoleum. He comes out wearing a suicide vest that has an EKG connection. He wants Senator Keane on the charge of being a race traitor. If the thug is shot and killed, the EKG will trigger the bomb.

Laurie almost immediately shoots the 7th K member in the head. His brain is dead, but his heart is still beating. Slowly. Angela springs into action. She pulls the ticking thug, bomb and all, into Judd’s grave. She then pushes poor Judd’s casket in to further dampen the blast. It works. When the thug’s heart stops, the bomb is six feet down and has energy absorbed by the occupied coffin. Angela has saved everyone. Laurie is suspicious, though. She finds it convenient that Judd’s body was being buried during an active investigation. There wasn’t even a tox-screen run on him. She was going to have his body quietly exhumed the next day, but the bomb blew those dreams away.

The Game Warden

In the mausoleum, Laurie confronts Angela and calls her Sister Knight. She tells her that she’s investigating everyone and mentions that she found wheelchair tracks near Judd’s murder scene. Angela isn’t scared. As she storms off, she leaves her Nite Owl goggles. That may have been to make a point that she knows who Laurie is. After the day’s events, Laurie takes out her Dr. Manhattan sex toy and admires its heft. But she wants something warm and real. So, she goes to Agent Petey’s hotel room and rocks his world. Afterward, she goes and makes the call we’ve been hearing. When she leaves the Trieu Phone Booth, Laurie is almost killed by Angela’s car which falls from the sky. Was this Dreiberg? Isn’t he in Jail? Was it John? I honestly don’t know. Laurie starts laughing because it’s all a joke.

Meanwhile, Adrian is trying to get to space. I’m guessing he wants to visit John on Mars. So, he crafts a spacesuit that wouldn’t protect poor Mr. Phillips (Tom Mison) from a Chicago winter, let alone the cold vacuum of space. Adrian has a wackadoodle breakdown while he kicks the frozen corpse of Mr. Phillips. He decides that bison skin will better suit an astronaut, so he goes beyond the skull and crossbones flags and shoots one dead with a bow and arrow. He promptly gets a warning shot at his feet from a long gun.

Adrian’s manor is, in fact, a form of imprisonment. He is not allowed to venture off his manor’s boundaries. He definitely should not be killing other people’s animals. In a moment everyone was expecting to happen at some point, Adrian refers to himself as Adrian Veidt and puts on the costume of Ozymandias. He will kill another bison at midnight. In the rain. Did anyone else expect Adrian to call it all off when they heard the thunder crack?

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This week’s music run-down:

  • Mongoloid” by Devo. Laurie asks her smart home to play some Devo after she captures Mister Shadow. Also, “Space Junk” is another Devo song that refers to the title of the episode and refers to Laurie’s near-death experience at the end of the episode. Oh. And the name of the girl killed by space junk in the song was Sally, which was Laurie’s mom’s name.
  • Israelites” by Desmond Dekker and the Aces. This plays as Adrian crafts a spacesuit. It may refer to his loss of wealth and access to superior materials being reduced to what he feels is slaving-for-bread conditions.
  • Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Dance of the Knights” by Sergei Prokofiev. The often sampled song plays when Adrian goes to kill a bison.
  • Carmen Suite No. 2: Habanera” by Georges Bizet. This plays when Adrian dictates his letter to the warden and leads up to him donning his Ozymandias costume.
  • The score of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, which continues to rule.