After a long wait, the highly-anticipated Watchmen series from Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) premiered tonight on HBO and revealed some shocking twists. The first episode followed Detective Angela Abar (Regina King) in an alternate future where vigilantes are outlawed and cops keep their identities hidden beneath masks. The show features a star-studded cast and one of the biggest names on the roster was already killed off in episode one.
Warning: Watchmen Season One, Episode One Spoilers Ahead...
At the end of the first episode, Judd Crawford, the chief of police played by Don Johnson, was found hanging to death by Angela. While this death might seem like a complete surprise, it was heavily foreshadowed throughout the episode.
The show revealed that three years earlier, the "White Night" occurred in which a white supremacist group, the Seventh Kavalry, sought out and killed cops in their homes, which is what led to the police taking up masked identities. Towards the beginning of the episode, a cop is shot by a member of the Seventh Kavalry, halting the three years of peace. This prompts Chief Crawford to evoke “Article Four,” which gives the police easier access to their firearms. When Angela questions this decision, Crawford proclaims, “It’s my funeral.”
The biggest clue to Crawford’s demise was actually right in the title of the episode, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice.” This is a lyric from “Pore Jud Is Daid” (or "Poor Jud Is Dead"), a song from the musical Oklahoma!, which played as the credits began to roll.
Not only do we see Crawford for the first time attending a production of Oklahoma!, but during a dinner scene at the Abars, Crawford’s wife reveals that Judd once played Curly in a production of the show. In Oklahoma!, Curly is the hero competing against the villainous Jud for the affections of Laurey. During dinner, Crawford even sings “People Will Say We're in Love,” a song performed by Curly and Laurey in the show.
During Oklahoma!, “Pore Jud Is Daid” is sung after Curly suggests that Jud, who is feeling under-appreciated, should hang himself so everyone would realize how much they care for him. However, the character doesn't die until later in the show when he attacks Curly and falls onto his own knife. Considering Johnson's character is named Judd, the clues are pretty glaring. Check out all the lyrics to the song here.
The fact that Watchmen’s Judd is being heavily paralleled to Oklahoma!’s Jud makes us question his moral status on the show. He’s shown as a friend and ally to Angela throughout the episode, but his use of drugs during dinner suggests there’s more to him than meets the eye (although, both Angela and Mrs. Crawford don't seem too surprised or bothered by the drug use).
It’s also worth noting that the mysterious old man played by Louis Gossett Jr. was found next to Crawford’s hanging body. At that moment, it was revealed that Gossett Jr.’s character is the little boy who was seen escaping the Tulsa race riot of 1921 in the show's opening scene. While we don’t know if the old man is good or bad, his possible involvement in the death of a police chief who claims to be fighting white supremacy leaves us with many questions.
What do you think Crawford's death means for the series? Tell us in the comments!
Watchmen airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.