Watchmen season 1, episode 4 recap: If You Don’t Like My Story Write Your Own

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Hong Chau 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)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Hong Chau 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 is back with “If You Don’t Like My Story Write Your Own.” Is Lady Trieu helping Adrian? Is she LG’s ex? Is she trying to end the world? We’ve got the recap!

It appears that Lady Trieu (Hong Chau) has been the puppet master behind the first three episodes of Watchmen. We formally meet her in the opening moments of “If You Don’t Like My Story Write Your Own.” That’s a quote from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, which Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is seen reading late in the hour.

The episode was written by Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers) and Christal Henry (The First). It was directed by Andrij Parekh (Succession). It fits in with the first three episodes and I enjoyed it. But this episode was less about story and more about creating the point where all of the character arcs start to intersect. As Lady Trieu would put it, this episode was “passive-aggressive exposition.” It’ll probably be the key to unlocking the season when we look back on it.

Lady Trieu and Adrian Veidt

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The episode opens on Clark Farms. The Clarks can’t seem to sell any of their eggs. But, their marriage is strong. When Katy (Christine Weatherup) falls on a few crates of her eggs, one rolls off the stairs, but Jon (Robert Pralgo) catches it. They eat a quiet dinner together. They even cuddle in bed like a couple that has each other’s backs. All this quaint serenity is interrupted by a knock on their door. It’s Lady Trieu. The Clark’s recognize her. She cuts to the chase. Lady Trieu breaks out an hourglass and tells the Clark’s that she wants their house and the 40 acres (and a few mules) that come with it. They have three minutes to decide. Why on Earth would they agree?

Well. Lady Trieu informs the Clark’s that she came up through big pharma and owns a fertility clinic that the Clark’s had used 10 years earlier. In a savagely Watchmen way, Lady Trieu explains that no one wanted Katy’s eggs back then, either. Hers were harvested, but produced no babies. But Lady Trieu can make a biological heir to their legacy. Her proof? She calls in her own daughter, Bian (Jolie Hoang-Rappaport), who’s holding a baby. The Clark’s baby.

Lady Trieu went ahead and made the Clark’s their own biological child. She tosses in a $5 million bank account to cover moving expenses and diapers. If the Clark’s refuse, the baby will be eliminated. Just kidding. Lady Trieu will give the baby to another couple. But I think she might have killed that kid. It’s a moot point. With seconds to spare, the Clark’s sign on the dotted line.

Watchmen Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Watchmen Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images /

When we catch up with Adrian this week, he looks like he’s fishing. But not for fish. There are submerged cages attached to glowing, floating orbs. He takes something out of one. It looks like a gaunt baby. But, no, right? He whips it back into the lake. As the camera pans on him, we see that those really are gaunt little babies in cages. He takes another one out, clears its airway, and listens to it cry. Then, in disgust, he whips the baby back into the lake. Yikes. Just, yikes.

That lake must act as some kind of gestation chamber like a human amniotic sac. When Adrian gets home, he takes out two babies that he’s carried in a messenger bag. He places the struggling babies in a chamber. It reminded me of blood test machines that rotate at high speeds. There’s a microwave element to it, as well. The camera follows Adrian as he sits down to eat some of that day’s anniversary cake. When we pan back to the machine, there are a fully formed Mr. Phillips (Tom Mison) and Ms. Crookshanks (Christie Amery). He wishes them happy birthday and tells them they won’t be able to talk for a few hours.

Just when you wonder what the hell is happening, things get way more Adrian-ey. He’s aged these clones to help clean up all of the other Mr. Phillips and Ms. Crookshanks that had staffed the manor. In what Adrian calls a rough night, he’s killed all of them. Is this what he really did after he put on his Ozymandias costume in “She Was Killed by Space Junk?” He confirms that he’s really a prisoner in the manor. He has been for three years. Maybe the confrontation with the Games Warden made Adrian confront his reality. That reality included these clones. So, he catapults their maimed corpses into space one by one. You read that correctly.

Watchmen -- Jeremy Irons. photo: Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen — Photo: Mark Hill/HBO /

I guess the bigger question here is, who put Adrian here? Was it Lady Trieu? Was it Dr. Manhattan? Was it both? Did Lady Trieu acquire Veidt Industries because of the cloning capabilities? So many more questions.


Angela (Regina King), fully Sister Knighted, breaks into the Cultural Center and confirms that the old man in the wheelchair is Will Reeves (Louis Gossett, Jr.), her grandfather. This takes place during the events at the end of “She Was Killed by Space Junk.” We know this because there is a loud crash outside of the cultural center. It’s Angela’s car falling from the sky. Laurie (Jean Smart) is still laughing at her near-death experience when Angela comes upon her. Angela doesn’t hide the fact that this is her car. Before allowing it to be towed, she removes a red bottle of Will’s pills.

The Cultural Center and Angela’s bakery-lair are on part of the land that used to be Clark Farms. As soon as the Clarks signed, something came flying from space to crash on the Earth. Lady Trieu doesn’t know what is, but she knows that it is hers. That’s likely why she needed the Clarks to sign so hastily. She knew this crash was happening.

In the present day, Laurie, Angela, and Agent Petey (Dustin Ingram) go to visit Lady Trieu. They are greeted by Bian and invited up, except for Petey. No men allowed. We learn that the car was picked up and dropped by one of seven repulsor lift crafts. In Vietnamese, Lady Trieu asks Angela if she has her grandfather’s pills. In Vietnamese, Angela tells her to have her grandfather come ask himself.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Jolie Hoang-Rappaport 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 /

Later, Bian has a nightmare. She comes for comfort from her mom. She describes what sounds like an American attack on an innocent Vietnamese village during the war. It sounded like something the Comedian would do. Bian said that she was made to walk for miles and miles. Her feet still hurt outside of the nightmare. But, Lady Trieu refuses to walk her back to bed. She does it in a loving way, though. It was the saddest part of the episode for me because Bian has been so confident in both episodes we’ve seen her. I wonder if Bian is actually a clone of Lady Trieu.

Either way, Will was in the room the whole time. He can walk and seems a lot healthier than the last time we saw him. It’s clear that his friend in a high place is Lady Trieu. She has something big happening in three days time that will change everything. Now that Will has meet his family, and since family muddle decision making, Lady Trieu wants to know if Will is still down to play his part. He says that he is. Uh. Oh.

Meet Me in the Closet

Angela goes to Wade’s (Tim Blake Nelson) place. They both friend-drag each other for being peculiar. Wade takes pictures of the poor squid in the moments after they fall from the sky, but before they die. He laments how they have so little time to live and that it’s all spent dying. Meanwhile, Angela wants Wade to have his ex analyze the pills. Wade thinks this is weird, but agrees. I’m wondering if his ex is Lady Trieu. Hey. It’s Watchmen. Also, Angela shares news of Judd’s (Don Johnson) KKK robe. She even has it with her. They both ponder whether or not the Chief of Police was Seventh Kalvary.

Meanwhile, Angela knows that Laurie is closing in on her connection to Judd’s murder. Laurie interviews Cal without Angela knowing. He doesn’t like to lie, but he held strong against questioning. Angela was mad at Cal for not mentioning it and tries to pick a fight. But Cal’s essence is diffusive. We get a hint that he has more of a backstory. Apparently, he had an accident before that no one wants to mention.

Also, when Angela dismantles Will’s wheelchair (aka evidence that he’s a murderer) and disposes of it, she’s watched by some spy in a silver metallic hentai suit. As he runs, he sprays himself with lube and slides into a sewer. Who is this guy? Angela wants to know. Red Scare (Andrew Howard) and Pirate Jenny (Jessica Camacho) were more grossed out than anything else.

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Not as much music this week.

  • Islands in the Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. This opens the episode on the ride-or-die Clarks.
  • Your My Thrill” by Billie Holiday. This plays in Laurie’s car as she, Angela, and Agent Petey head to Lady Trieu’s. Laurie has Petey tell Angela that her childhood trauma was finding out that her father, The Comedian, tried to rape her mom, Silk Spectre before they got together and had her. It also played in Zack Snyder’s 2009 Watchmen when Nite Owl and Laurie rescued people from a burning building.
  • Do Your Thing” by Leroy Sibbles. This plays when Adrian is harvesting his clone babies. What a sentence!
  • Symphony No.7 in A major op.92 – II, Allegretto” by Ludwig Van Beethoven. This plays as Adrian introduces his new clones to their dead counterparts. It continues as he uses a catapult to launch them into space.
  • Time is on My Side” by Irma Thomas. This plays us out of the episode and into the credits. Lady Trieu is convinced her plan is too close to fail.
  • Watchmen Vol. 1” by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. This plays throughout. It rules.
  • There’s one other song that plays while Angela and Cal make breakfast for the kids. I couldn’t make it out. This is the scene where Cal explains that we come from nothing and die into nothing. Yep.