Last night episode five of HBO's "Watchmen" series premiered. Titled, "Little Fear of Lightning," the episode explored the background of new character, Looking Glass, to finally ground the new television audience in the apocalyptic events of the original graphic novel on which the show is loosely based. That raining squid incident from the pilot? Well, it turns out that ridiculous incident took place because of the interdimensional squid that crashed into New York at graphic novels end, killing millions of people, and uniting the planet against a common and alien enemy.
The Graphic Novel
Written by Alan Moore and David Gibbons, Watchmen was first published in 1986, almost paralleling the the year of the opening flashback shown last night. The book ends with the exact incidents suffered by Wade during the flashback sequence and is also explained to readers by the same man who explains the real origin of the giant squid to Wade at the end of the episode, Jeremy Irons' Adrian Veidt/Ozymandius. Basically, Veidt threw down the squid on purpose, to unite the world around a common tragedy. Congratulations, viewers and readers are now on the same page.
Tim Blake Nelson, of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" fame, plays Looking Glass, the Oklahoma cop who, in his early life, was just Wade Tillman, religious zealot. Religion went out the window when Wade survived the appearance of the one-eyed squid in New York City, though paranoia, fear, and nightmares would plague him for the rest of his life. Hoping to make a difference and fight anything that might have had anything to do with his psychological suffering, Wade joins the Tulsa police force after the "White Night" when all of Tulsa's original police force was gunned down. This is all new to readers and viewers alike.
Tim Blake Nelson
As Wade Tillman/Looking Glass, Tim Blake Nelson has owned every scene he's taken part in since the HBO series premiered. Here in the fifth episode, Nelson is finally given the opportunity, and the time, to display every skill at his disposal as the episode revolves around him. He does not disappoint, and one only wishes we were given even more of "Looking Glass," before. It remains to be seen if there will be more to explore later.
While most of the episode worked to explain remaining backstory to new viewers, there was still a lot of Jeremy Irons working with his weird clone servants to offer up some new scenes, and new questions, for everyone. We've now confirmed Adrian Veidt is not on earth, and that's new territory for the audience as a whole as we move into the second half of the season.