Watchmen season 1, episode 6 recap: This Extraordinary Being

Watchmen -- photo: Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen -- photo: Mark Hill/HBO /

Watchmen ties itself directly to the original comic in “This Extraordinary Being.” Angela feels the effects of Nostalgia. We’ve got the recap!

“This Extraordinary Being” felt a lot like the movie Birdman. After downing all of Will’s (Louis Gossett, Jr.) bottle of Nostalgia during her arrest at the end of “Little Fear of Lightning,” Angela (Regina King) relived her grandfather’s past. This Watchmen episode wasn’t all meant to look like one take as Alejandro González Iñárritu’s movie was. But, Angela morphed in and out of Will’s younger self as his memories replayed. And there were kinetic drum riffs leading the viewer from one memory to the next.

The episode was directed by Stephen Williams from a script by Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson (The Good Place). It doesn’t just tie Will and Angela into the original Watchmen comic. It makes them central figures. Dude-bro fanboys are going to get a lot of views on YouTube for their hot takes on “This Extraordinary Being.” I personally loved it.

The episode starts with Watchmen’s show within a show: American Hero Story. It’s developed into a fun take on American Horror Story that also features the visual feel of Zak Snyder’s 2009 direct adaptation of Watchmen. Hooded Justice (Cheyenne Jackson) has a personal truth. He wouldn’t be able to recognize himself in the mirror without his mask.

light. More. Watchmen season 1, episode 5 recap: Little Fear of Lightning

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That’s been cleverly manipulated to reflect Angela and Looking Glass’ (Tim Blake Nelson) view of themselves. But this episode makes it clear that the real reason American Hero Story won’t identify Hooded Justice is because in the world of the show, they straight up don’t know who he is. If they did, they would have cast a black actor to play the part because the real Hooded Justice was Will. Temporary mic drop.


We see a dramatization of Hooded Justice being interrogated by two FBI flunkies in the late 1930s. They know Hooded Justice is gay and that he’s carrying on a relationship with Captain Metropolis. But, the real reason he’s being interrogated is because Captain Metropolis is also carrying on a relationship with J. Edgar Hoover and has pictures to prove it. The FBI wants Hooded Justice to get those pics before they’re used in a revenge porn blackmail situation. The FBI also wants a picture of Hooded Justice’s actual face. When they take the pic of him unmasked, Hooded Justice snaps and kills both men.

Watchmen -- photo: Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen — photo: Mark Hill/HBO /

Before they were killed the agents were speculating as to why Hooded Justice wore a hood with a noose around his neck. Did it mean hardcore justice? Or was it a sex thing? Cheyenne Jackson stares blankly into the camera because he doesn’t know why his costume is the way it is. Again, this was a cleverly stylized way of avoiding the fact that the fictional writers of the show didn’t know who Hooded Justice was or how he came to be. Creative license was there for the taking.

Laurie (Jean Smart) walks in the squad who has been watching American Hero Story along with us. She tells them to turn it off and visits Angela. Laurie needs her to sign a consent form to allow her stomach to be pumped. Apparently, she’s taken a lethal dose of Nostalgia. They need to act before the memories kick in, but it’s too late. All of a sudden, Angela is her grandfather at his police academy graduation.

Hooded Justice

Young Will (Jovan Adepo) is graduating from the police academy. His white police chief passes him up and has a black captain pin his badge on him. He warns Will to beware of the cyclops. In the audience is June (Danielle Deadwyler). We find out that this is the baby that Will woke up next to and saved in “It’s Summer and We’re Running out of Ice.” They’ve grown up to be more than friends. The relationship builds subtly in front of us from happy audience member, through courting, to being married.

Watchmen -- photo: Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen — photo: Mark Hill/HBO /

June warns Will to be wary of his white counterparts. His world changes when he arrests Fred (Glenn Fleshler) after he lights a Jewish bakery on fire in front of him like it’s no big deal. When Will brings Fred in, the desk sergeant warns him to let Fred go. Officer Borquin (Jordan Salloum) comes to Will’s aide. As he walks away with Fred, he makes a circular gang sign on his forehead and says beware the cyclops.

Days later, Borquin stops Will on the way home and asks if he wants to come for a drink with the other officers in the patrol car. Will turns him down a couple of times. As the patrol car pulls away, we see two black men, already dead, being dragged by the patrol car. We know why Will was turning down the drink. As he turned into an alley to walk home, Borquin pulls up and kidnaps Will. They take him to the tree where Judd (Don Johnson) lynched himself. They put a hood over Will’s head and lynch him. Borquin and his cyclops crew cut him down as his wind-pipe starts to get crushed.

Will survives. This was a warning to stay in his lane and out of the cyclops’ way. On his way home, Will sees a couple being attacked. Will has quickly come to the realization that no one will respect or listen to a black cop, so he puts the hood on and ties it down with the remaining part of the noose. He kicks the trash out of the bad guys and is hailed a hero. This is the birth of Hooded Justice.

Super Heroes are Racists, Too

In a total flip of Sister Knight’s makeup, Will puts a basic white foundation around his eyes so that he appears to be a white man under the mask. Hooded Justice has inspired a wave costumed-adventurers to take to the streets and dish out street justice. In Snyder’s 2009 Watchmen, the original Nite Owl reminds Dan that the original masked heroes were cops. That hasn’t been sorted out here. Captain Metropolis (Jake McDorman) shows up at Will and June’s looking for help using his regular identity of Nelson Gardener. He thinks that Will is providing intelligence to Hooded Justice, but he realizes that Will is, in fact, Hooded Justice.

Watchmen -- photo: Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen — photo: Mark Hill/HBO /

Nelson convinces Will to join the Minutemen during pillow talk after some steamy sex. There’s a mutual attraction that’s real. But Nelson is clearly one of those dude-bros who would refer to someone who isn’t white as “exotic.” He wants Will to wear his white makeup while he wears his mask. This isn’t as depressing to Will as the fact that he can’t reveal his true identity to the Minutemen because some of them are racist and wouldn’t tolerate him. Even though, you know, he inspired them. Will does join the Minutemen and we see blurred Silk Spectre and The Comedian.

Will is most troubled by the fact that the Minutemen believe that Cyclops is real. Hooded Justice was born of their white supremacist ways. But, the men inspired by Hood Justice just don’t care. Even after Will stumbles upon KKK/Cyclops at the back of Fred’s grocery store and finds a book on Mesmerism, the Minutemen pass. Going after white businessmen would be bad for their cause. Things reach a tipping point at a riot in a movie theater. It’s in a segregated area where black people just started attacking each other. The police write it off as natural for black people. Will investigates and finds that victims saw weird flashing and then felt compelled to riot.

While on his beat, Will encounters Fred. He follows him under the guise of accepting a steak bribe. Once Will gets to his warehouse, he sees other men in KKK robes. Will executes them all with his gun. He finds Borquin in the back of the warehouse making a special film with subliminal messages to kill black people while splicing in Mesmerism light patterns. Cyclops was brainwashing black people and creating stereotypes for white people to fear.

Beware the Strobe Lights

The last we see of young Will is the day he catches his son, Angela’s dad, putting on the Hooded Justice makeup and hood. Will gets a bolt of fear and rage and wipes the makeup off of his son a little too vigorously. It scares him. June takes the boy away.

Watchmen -- photo: Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen — photo: Mark Hill/HBO /

We then see wheelchair Will on the night of Judd’s death. He uses a strobing flashlight to get Judd to hang himself on the same tree he was lynched on so many years prior. It was payback. And, Will knew that Judd was a descendant of the KKK members who perpetrated the Tulsa Massacre. He also knew that Judd was a part of the modern-day version of Cyclops: The 7th Kalvary.

Angela had been morphing in and out of these memories the whole episode. She finally wakes up at Lady Trieu’s compound. She gets a very deadpan, “Oh. You’re up” from Trieu. Laurie figured the best person to help reverse the lethal overdose of Nostalgia was the person who created it. I can’t wait to see what Angela’s reaction to all of this newfound knowledge is in the next episode if she even remembers it. There was no Adrain (Jeremey Irons) this week. We’ll see what hijinks he got into next week, as well, I suppose.

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This Week’s Music

Well, my mom would have been happy. There were three The Ink Spots songs splashed throughout in the episode.

Did you enjoy This Extraordinary Being? Where do you think Watchmen is headed? Let’s discuss in the comments!