HBO's Watchmen is very much a puzzle box. While the show has the primary mystery of who killed Tulsa Police Chief Judd Crawford (and why) to unravel, there are a lot of other mysterious threads and stories that create the fabric of the Damen Lindelof series. In a very real sense, it's hard to know what exactly is going on since there are so many moving parts. That's part of what makes the series so fascinating as well as so prime for wild, yet oddly plausible, theories that try to at a minimum explain or, at a maximum, solve the story. This week, with the introduction of Lady Trieu, viewers got a bit more of the pieces to the puzzle though how they all fit remains a question -- and one fan theory thinks the answer to that is a time machine specifically that the Millennium Clock doesn't tell time, it's a time machine.
In Sunday night's episode, "If You Don't Like My Story, Write Your Own," we not only meet Lady Trieu (Hong Chau) in a weird baby-for-farm-and-home exchange in the episode opening, but we also make our first visit to her Millennium Clock. Laurie Blake (Jean Smart) and Angela Abar (Regina King) go there to follow a lead regarding Angela's "stolen" car. While there, Trieu's daughter Bian (Jolie Hoang-Rappaport) tells them the function of the clock -- "It tells time". But what if it's more than that or, at least, more specific than that? On the r/Watchmen sub, user "waytoomuchcoffee" suggests that the clock is actually some sort of time machine -- one that may not necessarily let you travel through time (though that is possible) but allows you to see time in perhaps a nonlinear way and interact with it accordingly.
The main theory itself is kind of light and is based on just a few observations from this week's episode and the previous ones. For starters, Trieu knew exactly when and where a mysterious object from space would land and, in the previously mentioned land deal from the opening, took measure that ensured she would own the property the mystery item landed on. How would she know that if some sort of advanced knowledge of the future or past wasn't in play? They also cite the continued references to Will Reeves' (Louis Gossett Jr.) age, suggesting that he really isn't as old as believed and that Trieu plucked him from the past instead. They also note that the title could be a hint that Trieu is trying to "write her own story" in defiance of how time has played out and cites the use of the song "Time Is On My Side" in the episode.
Comments to the original base theory don't necessarily agree with the idea that the clock might allow one to travel through time, but there seems to be a fairly strong consensus that something is up with that clock, particularly that it does tell time, by letting Trieu see time -- past, present, and future. It's a concept that is certainly not impossible. Doctor Manhattan can do exactly that so it's possible that Trieu has created a way to do it for herself. Her reason may not be clear, but one could guess that she might be wanting to use what she's seen to rewrite the past -- which might be what Trieu and Will are working towards.
Of course, fans have a sub theory for that as well, suggesting that by looking through time Trieu knows the truth about the Dimensional Incursion Event and may be preparing to reveal it to the world, potentially with catastrophic consequences -- an act that would in a sense bring the story right back to a minute before midnight.
What do you think? Is the Millennium Clock a time machine of sorts? What is Trieu up to? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Watchmen airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.