Watchmen Recap With Spoilers: It's a Long, Strange Trip Down Memory Lane In "This Extraordinary Being"

watchmen this extraordinary being
(Photo: HBO)

Last week’s episode of Watchmen shared with viewers the origin story for Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson) but also ended roughly where tonight’s episode begins: with Angela (Regina King) taking the entire bottle of her grandfather’s pills which just so happen to be the old man’s memories in capsule form and they send her – and the viewer – on a very wild ride.

Spoilers for tonight’s episode of Watchmen, “This Extraordinary Being,” below.

The episode opens with the Watchmen logo changing to the purple Minutemen logo and we find ourselves watching the police interrogate Hooded Justice before they expose him for homosexual activity and blackmail him. That goes poorly and while Hooded Justice does unmask, he also beats the crap out of the officers in a bloody, sensationalized fight fitting for the show-within-a-show being watched in the police station. Agent Blake then goes to check on Angela who took all of her grandfather's Nostalgia last week. As Blake explains how it works, Angela collapses and falls into her grandfather's memories.

Please note, for the duration of the episode we will refer to Will's life experiences, though the episode shifts back and forth between presenting Will as experiencing them and Angela living them instead.

We're transported to the swearing in ceremony of brand new police officers in New York City 1938. Angela's grandfather, Will, is young and appears to be the only black new officer in the class. When they go to pin on the badges, the white Chief skips him while a black officer does it instead and warns him to "beware the cyclops." He later has a drink with a woman in a club who tells him that he's an angry man because of his experiences in Tulsa as a child. In Will's memories, flashes of that incident occur, and we transition to the next scene with his mother playing the piano.

On patrol, Will sees a man using a Molotov cocktail to destroy a Jewish deli. The man just walks away and ignores Will's attempt to stop him, but Will ultimately arrests him and takes him into the station. The man makes racist comments at the station and the other officers in the station stand up for Will and haul the racist off after making an unusual hand gesture. The next day the man Will arrested bumps into him. He goes back to the station to find out what happened, but the desk sergeant acts like he has no idea what he's talking about. Will asks about that hand gesture and the desk officer pleads with him to just let it go. At night, Will is approached by some of his fellow officers in a car and offer to give him a ride. He refuses. They circle back and corner him in an alley, beating Will up and, then, lynch him, though they cut him down after a few moments of struggle. This was his warning.

On his way home, still bound and with the noose still around his neck, Will puts the hood back on, tears eyeholes, and saves a white couple from a robbery and worse. Hooded Justice, the real one, is born. He goes to the woman from the club's apartment and she comforts him and tends to his injuries. He wakes up much later, his exploits having made the paper though his identity remains a secret. The woman asks him about the film "Trust in the Law" from his childhood. She later helps him disguise himself further by painting his eye area to be white-skinned and tells him that this is how he will get justice. He starts with Fred, the racist he arrested and discovers that in the back, Klan activity is going on with his fellow officers. Hooded Justice beats them all up, though the fight carries into the store itself.

It's dinner. He's married to the woman, named June. Nelson Gardner shows up to pay Will a visit -- Captain Metropolis wants to form a team, The New Minutemen, including Hooded Justice. June tells Will no about joining, but we cut to Will and Nelson having a sexual relationship. Nelson tells him that Will will still have to wear the makeup and costume to hide his identity from the team, though. The New Minutemen cause some stress with Will's home life and it's revealed that June is the baby young Will found in the first episode of the season following the car accident after the Tulsa Massacre.

Later, Hooded Justice officially joins the team, though Captain Metropolis prevents him from going after the racist Klan crimes as they play for the press. Time moves forward. June and Will have a child, a son. Will continues to be Hooded Justice and continues tracking Klan crimes, though nothing is really done about them. In his police life, Will responds to a riot at a black theater. Turns out some sort of mind control was used to cause the theater patrons to turn on each other -- reminding Will of the book on mesmerism he saw in his first outing as Hooded Justice. Will calls Captain Metropolis, but he dismisses him. Will then encounters Fred again and kills him before moving onto the warehouse where he kills the other Cyclops members, sets fire to the warehouse, and takes the mesmerism device.

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Ultimately June takes their son and leaves him, returning home to Tulsa. We then cut forward to the night Judd Crawford died. Will waits for him by the road and when his truck stops, Will uses mesmerism to essentially hypnotize Judd into hanging himself. Suddenly, Angela wakes up, covered in sweat, no longer in her costume, hooked up to some sort of IV with Lady Trieu watching over her.

Watchmen airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.