Notice to navigators: This article contains mansalva spoilers of the 'Watchmen' of HBO, so if you are not up to date with your viewing and do not want to ruin a few surprises, better read again once you have seen its seventh episode.
I recognize it; with the exception of his contribution to the restart of the film side of 'Star Trek' with J.J. Abrams in 2009 and 2013, I have never been a special admirer of Mr. Damon Lindelof. I have not been able to find that alleged genius or in his works for the big screen like 'World War Z', 'Tomorrowland' or 'Prometheus', nor in his celebrated cathodic magna – to date – 'Lost'.
But this 2019 seems to end marked by my great reconciliation with that of New Jersey. And, without even finishing the 9 episode plot that, presumably, will close his last work to date, the producer and screenwriter has already turned the exceptional 'Watchmen' into which we could catalog, without disheveled, as the television phenomenon of the season.
Since its spectacular start with 'It's summer and we are running out of ice' on October 21, the new HBO star series – Game of what? – has played hard all his cards to apply for sneak into the top of the list with the best of the year; and he has done it by taking a step beyond the archetypes and narrative mechanisms of whodunnit? or the murder mystery of manual.
Murder mystery to Lindelof
Despite the revolutionary of his proposal and the groundbreaking that was for the ninth art, the original 'Watchmen' of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons hid a much more traditional heart than it might seem at first glance.
During its first pages of its initial number, the iconic Rorschach, now converted into a symbol of the American supremacist alt-right, said his equally famous phrase "Tonight, a comedian has died in New York"; sentence that would give rise to a detective story that, in its foundations, does not involve major innovations.
Who is the aforementioned Comedian? Who could have killed him? What is the motive of the crime? These questions, which could have come out of any noir starring a detective with raincoat and fedora, evolve in an intelligent superhero deconstruction and in a much more complex plot; but Lindelof, aware of the need for a twist, has raised the stakes in regards to the main intrigue.
Once the first act of the cathodic 'Watchmen' is over, everything seemed to indicate that we were facing the nth unsolved crime story which would repeat the original material schemes, replacing Edward Blake with Judd Crawford. Who is really hiding behind the Tulsa police chief? Who could have killed him? What is the motive of the crime?
Of course, these questions are of vital importance for the development of the argument, but they are answered with a greater speed than expected – although not with great detail – because in 'Watchmen', the true mystery lies with its protagonist, Angela Abar, and in a past full of chiaroscuro on which the real reason for the show is underpinned: his study about racism and the political situation in current North America.
An uncomfortable truth
Soon, I can think of countless ways to label the 'Watchmen' of Damon Lindelof, but probably one of the first that comes to mind is that of "politically uncomfortable". After seven chapters, I can count a good number of occasions in which my moral integrity and my value judgment on certain voluntarily ambiguous characters have been compromised by the incisive of the libretto and its discuro.
During the first bars of the series, starting with the overwhelming recreation of the race riots of Tulsa occurred in 1921, these readings are more obvious in their intention. This is evident with less elaborate metaphors such as the Ku Klux Klan uniform that Crawford hides in his closet, justifying his possession by scrutinizing family memories and evidencing a whitening of racism that, although not proclaimed to the four winds, is a constant in our times.
But it is from the fifth episode, entitled 'Little fear of lightning', when 'Watchmen' begins to gain discursive complexity and to get more delicate if possible. In these magnificent 59 minutes, comic and series strengthen their embrace by revealing the enigmatic Looking Glass the great truth of the alternative reality in which he lives: The catastrophe of November 2, 1985 in New York was one of the greatest frauds in American history.
As the readers of the original knew, the tentacular alien that ended the lives of three million people in the Big Apple and left serious consequences to thousands of people affected was the work of Adrian Veidt, and influenced the political current affairs of the country – Ozymandias' message to President Redford in the series confirms this – transcending among the people a very different version of events to the real, which was recorded in the Rorschach newspaper.
The treatment Lindelof gives to all this does not stop adapt the paranoia post 11-S to the universe 'Watchmen', in addition to throwing a poisoned dart at the devouring and assimilating society of fake news In which we live. But when she believed that the commitment of the series with her subjects could not go further, Angela suffered an overdose of Nostalgia.
The inherited trauma
And then, Damond Lindelof shaped the sixty minutes that, insane twists apart, will be for those of us who remember his essential 'Watchmen' once he reaches his final point. A sixth chapter in which, by First time, we introduced ourselves fully in the researcher's point of view – Angela's in this case – to answer first hand the big questions raised so far.
In 'This extraordinary being', Moore's and Lindelof's creations merge into a sensational formal and narrative exercise by rewrite the origins of Hooded Justice; the first masked vigilante in history, who served as a source of inspiration to the Minutemen and who is none other than Will Reeves, Angela's grandfather and executioner of Judd Crawford.
Yes, Hooded Justice was a black man. A survivor of the Tulsa massacre who would not get rid of racial stigma in his life; neither during his troubled career as a policeman, nor on his journey as a masked vigilante, in which the color of his skin was decisive to make the decision to hide his face.
However, in addition to advancing the plot of the series explaining the origins of the Seventh Cavalry in the Cyclops supremacist organization – fantastic analogy with the only eye of the alien of Adrian Veidt -, Will's story finds its reason for being in connection with that of his granddaughter Angela; also a law enforcement officer and anonymous vigilante.
Far from being casual – it is clear that in 'Watchmen' little or nothing is – this repetition of patterns between grandfather and granddaughter obeys the legacy reading present at the HBO show. In 'Little fear of lightning', one of those attending the meeting affected by the Times Square catastrophe of 85 claims to be a victim of a kind of "inherited trauma"; He was not born when the alien arrived on our planet, but his mother gave him through his genes the terror and side effects of those affected by the psionic shock caused by the creature.
In the same way, trauma, anger and fear of Will, etched in his mind from his experience in Tulsa when he was just a child, they passed from generation to generation until they reached Angela. A sort of metaphor comparable to that of the Klan uniform in Crawford's closet that reminds us that Only by understanding the past, will we be able to understand the present.
After all, plot-twists head restraint like the one in the seventh episode of 'Watchmen' – which also leaves its discursive seal in the ambiguous relationship between Dr. Manhattan and the Vietnamese population or in the figure of Senator Keene – are the least of a series that, with an intelligence enviable, is representing with a chilling fidelity the reality of today's society and the mechanisms that articulate it.