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The Ending Of Watchmen Season One Explained

In the fall of 2019, an ambitious and unpredictable new look at one of the most beloved universes in comics arrived in the form of Watchmen. Created by Damon Lindelof, the series promised a continuation of the acclaimed original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and in the process took us to Tulsa, Oklahoma in an alternate 2019, where a vast conspiracy was unfolding that went all the way to the top of the Watchmen universe.

In December of 2019, the thrilling first season came to an end with a series finale that actually seemed to deliver on solving just about every mystery the show had thrown at its audience. Secrets were revealed, questions were answered, plans were unfurled, and by the time the dust settled, even secret identities seemed to be changing hands. Now we're here to unpack it all. This is the ending of Watchmen season one, explained.

Laurie Blake, Looking Glass, and the ending of Watchmen season 1

Though Angela Abar was the clear main character for much of the series, at least in Tulsa, Watchmen also featured two other key law enforcement officers whose lives were forever tied to the events of the original comic. In the HBO series we meet an older version of Laurie Blake, the second Silk Spectre and Doctor Manhattan's ex-girlfriend, and Looking Glass, a Tulsa cop who happened to be near ground zero on the day Adrian Veidt unleashed his alien creature to save humanity.

As the season ends, both Laurie and LG find themselves in the same place, with the same agenda: Arrest Adrian Veidt for his genocidal crimes, and keep pushing their investigation as high as it needs to go until everyone has paid for what happened in 1985. Because, as Laurie explains, everyone always says the world is going to end, but it never seems to happen, so justice has to mean something while the world is still here. So what happens to them next? Well, it's easy to see them teaming up on the future of the Veidt investigation and following it all the way through. By the time it's all over, Looking Glass might even join the FBI, and Laurie might finally be able to move on from the last shreds of her superhero past. Doctor Manhattan is gone, so perhaps she can take care of Veidt and let go at last.

The second trial of Adrian Veidt

Watchmen the comic famously reached its climax with the reveal that Adrian Veidt was behind the death of the Comedian, and that it was part of his own massive scheme to "save" humanity by uniting the world behind a common, alien enemy. To do that, he teleported a giant squid creature into the heart of New York City, killing three million people.

Veidt's bounced around a lot since '85. He spent a lot of time holed up in his Arctic sanctuary, Karnak, then was trapped on Europa for several years, and upon finally returning to Earth he summoned all of his ego and intellect and stopped Lady Trieu from taking Doctor Manhattan's power. With that in mind, he was convinced he'd be worshipped as the World's Smartest Man yet again.

Laurie Blake and Looking Glass had other ideas, though, and armed with the video Veidt made for newly elected President Robert Redford in 1985, they decided to arrest him for the murder of the three million in New York, and the conspiracy that had continued since via intermittent squid rain engineered by Veidt. After a strange trial on Europa, Veidt is presumably headed for another trial on Earth, but this time he's likely to have plenty of defenders who hail him as a visionary who did what he had to in order to save the world. For all we know, Veidt won't even survive long enough for a trial, but that's what Laurie and LG are angling for.

Government turmoil at the end of Watchmen season 1

Adrian Veidt's master plan to save humanity was far-reaching and ambitious, but not just because he summoned a monster in the middle of New York City and used it as a rallying point for the entire planet. No, Veidt's plan was especially impressive because it went much deeper and further. Way back in 1985, Veidt recorded a video for future U.S. President Robert Redford, who wouldn't take office until 1993, explaining that he had set in motion the events that would lead to Redford's election. Veidt also used the video to explain his master plan, including the squid monster, to the new president. Because the truth remained a secret, Redford became a co-conspirator in Veidt's plan, and remained so in 2019.

Since Redford is still in the White House in 2019, when Laurie Blake and Looking Glass arrest Veidt for his genocidal crimes, Veidt declares that they may as well also arrest the President for his part in the conspiracy. Blake responds that arresting Redford would be fine with her, which means the United States government is about to be rocked by a lot of upheaval. At the very least we're looking at some truly must-see Congressional hearings about what really happened, and beyond that impeachment and even prison for Redford could follow. However it all shakes out, the United States is in for a wild few years even after the truth comes out.

Bian and Trieu Industries

Much of Watchmen's season finale is devoted to explaining exactly what was really going on with the mysterious Lady Trieu, and it turns out there's quite a history to mine. Lady Trieu, the Smartest Woman in the World, was born to a mother who stole a semen sample from Adrian Veidt's private vault, making her daughter his as well. Trieu inherited Veidt's intellect, ambition, and insatiable ego, and it all led to her belief that she was the only one in the world worthy of holding Doctor Manhattan's power.

As it turns out, Trieu was planning to kill Manhattan all along, and her Millennium Clock housed the device that would have allowed her to do it. Adrian Veidt was able to stop her at the last moment with a rain of frozen squid, but while Lady Trieu is dead, her legacy is not. Bian, the clone of Trieu's own mother who served as her daughter, is still alive, and her massive corporation and its many holdings will go to her. Will Bian learn the right lessons from her mother's hubris? Will she right the wrongs of Trieu, or will she in time adopt the same egotistical outlook on the world?

Cyclops and the Kavalry

Lady Trieu's plan to take Doctor Manhattan's power for herself nearly worked, in part, because she was using the Seventh Kavalry plan to also take Doctor Manhattan's power as cover. The Kavalry, an extension of the racist organization known as Cyclops that William Reeves spent nearly all of his adult life fighting, had been scheming for years to incite an overthrow of President Redford, and their fortunes shifted dramatically when they learned Manhattan was back on Earth. Armed with this knowledge and the resources of Joe Keene Jr., they developed their own plan to essentially take over the U.S. government via Keene stealing Manhattan's many gifts.

In the end, their plan failed, and Trieu used her own resources to vaporize all of Cyclops' key leadership, including Joe Keene Sr. The Cyclops is headless, but that doesn't mean it's dead. White supremacy has been shown to have a particularly insidious hold on this world, and it's doubtful that organized versions of it will vanish so quickly.

No more incursions after Watchmen season 1?

Most of the TV series Watchmen takes place approximately 34 years after the events of the original graphic novel ended. In the fall of 1985, Adrian Veidt summoned his squid monster into New York City to save humanity, and he's devoted considerable energy in the more than three decades since to keeping up the charade. As the series premiere showed, Veidt's squid creatures are still around in the former of miniature squid that rain from the sky at random intervals around the world, then dissolve in a matter of seconds. The phenomenon is so prevalent that there are support groups of people around the world who are working together to cope with the psychological anxiety it's caused, particularly since almost everyone believes it's a squid rain from an alien dimension.

With Adrian Veidt arrested, though, there's a good chance these squid rain incursions will stop very soon. It would be easy enough for Laurie Blake to find a way to shut down his pre-programmed machinery, and while explaining the truth to the whole world is harder, that seems likely to happen in time too. The world of Watchmen will no longer suffer from squid rain, making it at least a little less interesting in terms of daily life.

Who is 'Lube Man' during Watchmen season 1?

The season finale of Watchmen managed to pack a lot into its runtime, answering question after question in a very concise but also very compelling way. We learned how Lady Trieu fit into the whole narrative and what her plan was, why Jon visited William Reeves all those years ago, how Adrian Veidt finally made it back to Earth, and so much more. One thing the episode didn't address, though, was the identity of one of Watchmen's strangest new characters: "Lube Man."

The character — so named because of his skintight silver suit greased with oils that allow him to slip out of sight in seconds — appeared only once in the series proper, and made a very fast but unforgettable exit via a storm drain. Ever since, fans of the show have been wondering who exactly was under all that silver. The season finale didn't tell us, but HBO's canonical supplement to the series, Peteypedia, seems to have spelled it out. The compendium, named for Laurie Blake's FBI subordinate Dale Petey, hinted in previous entries that Petey himself may have adopted the Lube Man identity, and the entries added after the final episode aired all but confirm it. Petey was Lube Man, and he was snooping through the investigation via his secret identity.

Angela Abar's future after the ending of Watchmen season 1

Angela Abar's life was changed in a number of ways by the events of Watchmen's first season. She found out the grandfather she never met was Hooded Justice, and that he was still alive and still working as a vigilante. She found out the truth about her friend and mentor. She had to reveal her husband was secretly Doctor Manhattan, only to lose him hours later, and she had to figure out how to pick up the pieces after Jon died once and for all. With all this in mind, Watchmen season 1 approaches its final moments with the promise of a new beginning for Angela. With her children and her grandfather sleeping safely inside, she walks to her swimming pool with a miraculously unbroken egg, swallows it, and remembers something Doctor Manhattan told her.

The season stops short of visually confirming that Manhattan did imbue that last egg with his powers, therefore passing them on to Angela, but according to creator Damon Lindelof, there's no real ambiguity there. There's no reason to think all those things Jon said were leading nowhere, and after all... Angela was blue-skinned on the poster for the series. The message is clear: Angela Abar is the new Doctor Manhattan, whether we got to see her walk on water or not.

Will Watchmen season two happen?

Though its story often seemed to veer off in strange directions, Watchmen wrapped up its first season in a rather concise way in the end. The key conflicts were all resolved, the bad guys were defeated, and the good guys got to go home. Then, to cap it all off, we got that thrilling final scene, in which Angela Abar realizes her husband Doctor Manhattan left something behind for her: His power, ready for her to take it on and do some good.

With this rather definitive ending in mind, is a second season in the cards? Creator Damon Lindelof is open to the idea, but it all depends on whether or not a story arrives.

"Anything's possible," he said. "But I have to be able to answer the question: 'What's the idea for the second season?' I don't think I'm interested in, nor do I think the audience is interested in, 'Let's just do more of the same.' Because then it wouldn't be Watchmen. It requires a new idea. Maybe that idea is going to come from someone else. I would welcome that, one hundred percent."