When it comes to “Watchmen,” you have to watch closely.
The new HBO series takes a lot of care with its details. For instance, the big twist in Episode 2 comes when Angela Abar/Sister Night (Regina King) discovers that her dearly departed boss, Chief Judd Crawford (Don Johnson), had KKK robes hidden in his bedroom closet. However, Crawford’s true leanings were seemingly hinted at several times in the premiere.
At the end of the first episode, when Crawford is supposedly heading to see a police officer in the hospital, he listens to far-right radio on his drive, signaling he’s perhaps not the progressive, happy-go-lucky police chief he seems to be. “Jud” is also the name of the villain in “Oklahoma!,” the musical Crawford and his wife are watching when he first appears on the show. And, as the citizen-detectives on Reddit point out, a picture in Crawford’s room of one of his relatives looks like an older version of one of the people shown participating in the 1921 Tulsa Massacre.
Image from the Tulsa Massacre sequence:
Image from Crawford’s bedroom:
But does this twist with Crawford indicate another happening before our eyes?
So far in the show, it appears that the popular “Watchmen” comic book character Rorschach has been represented by the white supremacist group Seventh Kavalry, which has appropriated his inkblot mask for its own use.
While it’s caused some backlash among fans, a white supremacist group taking on Rorschach’s image isn’t that much of a stretch. Though he’s a protagonist in the original story, he’s also a misogynist and fan of right-wing conspiracy newspaper New Frontiersman.
However, taking into account Abar discovering Crawford’s costume, it seems she’s also a stand-in for the character: Her storyline directly mirrors Rorschach’s journey at the beginning of the 1986 comic.
In Episode 2, while looking into a murder, Abar discovers Crawford’s hidden costume in a compartment in the back of his closet. In the comic, Rorschach, also investigating a murder, discovers a costume in a hidden closet compartment.
Additionally, Rorschach is a moral absolutist. And as Reddit user Mr_Rekshun points out, one of Abar’s lines in the second episode shows she has a similar philosophy.
“You and me, Topher, we don’t do lollipops and rainbows, because we know those are just pretty colors that hide what the world really is: black and white,” she says while revealing Crawford’s murder to her adopted son Topher.
Black and white also happen to be the colors of both Sister Night’s and Rorschach’s costumes.
Moral gray areas are the M.O. for “Watchmen,” and having two polar opposites — a white supremacist terrorist group and a Black, female police officer — representing different aspects of the same character seems par for the course.
Rorschach’s discovery of the secret costume not only begins the comics but ultimately leads to a vast conspiracy being revealed by the end of the story. Will Abar’s arc be similar? Only time will tell.
For those who are still confused about “Watchmen,” check out HuffPost’s Episode 1 explainer.