As much as I feared that this series, which departs significantly from the Alan Moore canon, would be weighed down by the usual PC nonsense, I never imagined its very first episode would revel in visceral anti-white sentiment and Leftist Id-expression fantasies. If we extrapolate from this show’s first episode, HBO’s Watchmen may turn out to be the Left’s spin on the imagined future events of The Turner Diaries. At a minimum, the 2019 Watchmen series appears to be a continuation of what we have seen to an alarming degree in the past year or so: an acceleration of the cultural normalization of various Leftist positions which, cumulatively, form the new culture war against whites:
- The curtailing of free speech for non-liberal whites;
- The failure to distinguish white supremacy from White Nationalism and white identitarianism;
- The categorizing of White Nationalism as “terrorism,” from which constitutional due process will not be required;
- The notion that possessing certain thoughts and beliefs (not just acts) are sufficient to make one guilty of “terrorism”;
- The continuous, surreal rewriting of history to fit Wakandan-like fantasies;
- The framing of history as that of White Rage – that is, of whites perpetually victimizing and inflicting pointless violence upon non-whites;
- The depiction of black bodies as innocent, and relatively agentless, victims of the white patriarchy.
“‘Watchmen’ Is a Spectacular Assault on White Supremacy,” screams a review from The Daily Beast:
Unlike in Moore and Gibbons’ antecedent, it’s race, rather than sex, that’s warped the country and its masked inhabitants. That’s the biggest thematic alteration Lindelof makes to his hallowed source.Nick Schager, “‘Watchmen’ Is a Spectacular Assault on White Supremacy,” The Daily Beast, October 21, 2019.
That a Daily Beast writer, who like other critics appears to have seen the entire season in advance, finds the series a “spectacular assault” is a woeful clue of where this series is headed.
“Watchmen Is a Blistering Modern Allegory” is the title of Sophie Gilbert’s review in The Atlantic:
Watchmen is set in a world where there is no internet. But Watchmen itself is the internet. It’s a fictionalized manifestation of the things life online has begotten: polarization, anonymity, doxxing, red-pilling, weaponized nostalgia, conspiracy theories. The supposed imposition of cultural orthodoxy. A sense of victimization that’s twisted into racist resentment.Sophie Gilbert, “Watchmen Is a Blistering Modern Allegory,” The Atlantic, October 21, 2019.
In terms of how this series fits in with previous incarnations of Watchmen, as well as our contemporary times, Gilbert asserts that “the big cultural anxiety of the moment is an overdue reckoning with white supremacy,” the reckoning here being previous subcultural interpretations of Rorschach in particular. “The new HBO series is a stunning, timely departure from its graphic-novel origins,” reads the byline to Gilbert’s piece. The sentiment behind framing the show as a “timely departure” needs no explanation, but despite giving the series kudos, Gilbert worries that Lindelof may have laid on the liberal platitudes a bit too thick:
Almost as often as the show thoughtfully parses the legacy of racism, it digs at what it sees as liberal overreach. Watchmen is audacious enough to imagine sweeping legislation that tries to right historical injustices. It also portrays the ways in which such attempts at reconciliation force Americans even farther apart.
It is no secret that the traditional Watchmen fan base consists disproportionately of young white males, arguably (and much to the chagrin of the liberal Alan Moore) with a conservative slant to their worldview. It would stand to reason, then, that viewers of the series premiere were skewed towards this demographic. With this in mind, and after just one episode, it is worth noting that, at the time of this writing, Rotten Tomatoes’ feedback is showing an extraordinary discrepancy in ratings between critics and users:
Watchmen’s pilot episode begins with a small black boy alone in a movie theater, watching a Birth of the Nation-type silent film, with the hero Bass Reeves (“the Black Marshall of Oklahoma,” hooded, wearing all black, and riding a black horse) taking down a villainous white sheriff (dressed in all white and riding a white horse) for having – apparently – stolen the white, churchgoing townsfolks’ cattle.
We are then presented with a fanciful depiction of the 1921 Tulsa race riot, but with none of the details inconvenient to The Narrative. There is no hint that the riot began after 19-year-old Dick Rowland (who was black) was accused of assaulting 17-year old Sarah Page (white). Similarly, there was no intimation that the initial round of violence in Tulsa – which killed ten whites and two blacks – appears to have been initiated by blacks, this being the incident that sparked the ensuing riots. Instead, we are shown blacks (some with firearms, but not really seeming to use them) cowering in fear, as marauding whites – some in Klan robes – wantonly kill various black men, women, and children.
Cut to the present day. As this alternate-reality rendition of America has progressed, we have an all-black cast singing “Oklahoma!” to a largely black audience of theatergoers.
Robert Redford (who is not featured in the show) has been President of the United States for thirty some-odd years, his signature achievement having been reparations for blacks, a massive redistribution that some whites pejoratively refer to as “Redfordations.” Vietnam has become an American state. A new incarnation of ‘white supremacists’ called Seventh Cavalry (likely an allusion to the 7th Cavalry Regiment, formed in 1866, whose most famous commander during the Indian Wars was the “racist” George Custer) are a throwback to the KKK, but one can make the case that this group is a barely disguised impugnation of the Alt Right, or, to cast a wider net, white male MAGA types.Several online reviewers have used the spelling “Seventh Kavalry,” presumably due to this having been revealed in episodes HBO has not yet aired, but which critics have already seen.
The police, who appear to be majority black, are required to wear masks to cloak their identity and, we presume, to minimize anti-police violence and assassinations. An allusion is made to an incident called the “White Night,” when many police officers were killed by Seventh Cavalry in coordinated assassinations, which we will likely learn in a future episode were carried out by the dastardly white supremacists.
As policy, those who are employed as cops undergo a series of elaborate steps to hide their job occupation. Police sidearms are mandatorily immobilized in their holsters, unless and until the individual police officer (during actual individual situations, as they unfold) requests and then successfully obtains permission to gain access to the firearm. This process typically entails a blasé lawyer or sergeant on the other end of the phone reading through a canned script of questions: “What is the probability of drugs or alcohol in the vehicle? . . . What is the probability of firearms or explosives in the vehicle? . . . What is your overall perceived threat level?” And so on.
This hindrance is illustrated when a black policeman pulls over a white country redneck (complete with the American flag on the redneck’s baseball cap) driving a truck full of lettuce at night, while bopping along to ghetto rap on his truck’s stereo. With the masked cop at his window, he opens his glove compartment to retrieve his registration. The cop gets a visual on a Rorschach hood/mask in the redneck’s glove compartment, which causes him to tense up. Simple possession of this mask is sufficient evidence for being a “white supremacist terrorist.” (In a later sequence, we see Seventh Cavalry members donning the Rorschach masks, which appears to be a meta-level riff on the rather based philosophy espoused by the Rorschach character in Zack Snyder’s film Watchmen ).
With the redneck’s license and registration in hand, the cop goes back to his car and immediately radios in, requesting access to his firearm. Alas, while responding to the litany of questions from police headquarters, the black cop is shot by the white redneck using a machine gun – which we gather was hidden, likely with other firearms, underneath the lettuce.
The episode contains many other deliberate incongruities, particularly with respect to race. Against news footage of a building structure being demolished on Mars, and a chyron that reads “Dr. Manhattan on Mars,” we hear the voice of the episode’s black female protagonist – Detective Angela Abar (Regina King) – speaking before a class of young, primarily non-white, middle school students. She is in civilian clothes and, with eggs in a bowl, is giving a hands-on demonstration of how to make Mooncakes:
Egg whites are made of protein. When we whip ‘em, we get bubbles, and it’s the proteins that form the walls of those bubbles. If we don’t have walls, it all comes tumblin’ down. Now, those walls are strong, but they won’t stay that way if just even a little bit of yolk gets mixed in with the whites. So, that’s why we gotta separate ‘em.
That the police are supposed to wear yellow masks is a point that is not lost among the show’s many didactic allegories.
After the shooting of the black cop, the police are sent a video by Seventh Cavalry which begins with the main speaker (in a distorted voice) wearing a Rorschach mask. As his speech progresses, the video reverse-tracks, revealing about a dozen other Cavalry members, all wearing Rorschach masks, as well as the American flag and a cross behind them (subtle):
Cop carcass on the highway last night. Soon, the accumulated black filth will be hosed away, and the streets of Tulsa will turn into extended gutters overflowing with liberal tears. Soon all the whores and race traitors will shout “Save us!”, and we will whisper . . . No.
We are the Seventh Cavalry. We are no one. We are everyone. We are invisible. And we will never compromise.
Do not stand between us and our mission, or there will be more dead cops. There are so many deserving of retribution and there is so little time. And that time is near.
Tick-tock . . . Tick-tock . . .
After watching the video, Police Chief Judd Crawford (Don Johnson) declares an “Article 4,” emergency 24-hour release of the gun-locking regulation, as well as a relaxation of standard search warrant requirements. “So roll into Nixonville and round ‘em up,” he tells his police, “and drag their asses into the pod for interrogation. One of them’s gonna give up the shooter.”
Det. Angela Abar (Sister Night)
While future episodes are said to focus on other characters, the first episode clearly focuses on Angela Abar, a former cop who may or may not still be one, but who definitely assumes the persona of a vigilante known as “Sister Night” and who cooperates with the police when she feels compelled to. Angela is the Strong Black Female with a de-nutted, stay-at-home, Mr. Mom husband (which is itself a one-upsmanship of woke intersectionality fantasizing).Ever see a black couple raising a little white girl? Of course you haven’t. But you will see it in Watchmen, with Angela the loving, adoptive mother. Apparently, a future episode will convey that Angela adopted the white girl after her police partner (and his wife) were both murdered during the White Night incident. Naturally, despite her genteel nature, she is able to handily kick the asses of grown men twice her size (a now-standard cinematic archetype), and when in uniform adorns more black clothing than a Black Panther.
After seeing the Seventh Calvary video, Angela takes it upon herself to bust down doors, smack a trailer park redneck upside the head, and throw his ass into the trunk of her big black car. There he stays until she gets the green light to put the no-good, suspected white supremacist into “the pod”:
Angela: There’s a guy in my trunk. I knew you were gonna tell us to round up the likelies. I just got a jump on things.
Judd: You knew?
Judd: How do you know he’s Seven K?
Angela: I got a nose for white supremacy, and he smells like bleach.It is worth pointing out the little flourishes in the show that embody the disrespect black women have for white male authority figures, such as when Police Chief Judd Crawford enters his office to find Angela with her feet up on his desk, reprimanding him. “Wanna take your feet off my desk, please?” he says to her. She completely ignores his request and the scene continues.
Angela’s redneck is then brought into the “pod,” an interrogation chamber that monitors and measures one’s verbal and nonverbal reactions to a series of questions and on-screen images, a technique that harkens to both A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Parallax View (1974). An early exchange in this sequence serves as a possible harbinger of things to come for the Alt Right here in the US:
Redneck: I want my lawyer.
Det. Looking Glass: Yeah, we really don’t have to do that with terrorists.
As a series of images rolls by the large, encircling monitor screens, Looking Glass weaves innocuous questions (“What did you have for breakfast?”) with targeted questions designed to elicit certain responses (“If I took a shit on the American flag, how would that make you feel?”).
The questions that the show’s writers have Looking Glass ask this white male is an object lesson in liberal assumptions about flyover America, and also reveal how non-racial conservative positions (for example, about taxes) are construed by liberals as tantamount to “white supremacy”:
Det. Looking Glass: Do you believe that transdimensional attacks are hoaxes staged by the US government?
Redneck: I dunno, maybe.
Det. Looking Glass: Should all Americans pay taxes?
The associated images seen on the screen also provide an avenue into the paranoid liberal imagination, the sort of mind that sees “OK” hand gestures and milk as secret, party-membership communications between white supremacists. When, for example, the seemingly innocuous breakfast question is asked, we see an image of a milk advertisement from yesteryear, with a young white boy drinking a glass of milk next to the ad’s phrase: “The Perfect Family Beverage.” Other images flash by quickly: the Confederate flag; Mount Rushmore; astronauts planting the American flag on the Moon; cowboys on horseback; Grant Wood’s famous “American Gothic” painting from 1930; George Custer; Harriet Tubman; the Twin Towers; a KKK cross burning; a wholesome hot dog ad; a black power salute; blacks in American military uniform; a picture of Malcolm X; a swastika, followed by the American flag; and so on.
After the interrogation, Looking Glass leaves the pod to converse with Angela and Judd:
Looking Glass: He knows.
Angela: You sure?
Looking Glass: He’s not gonna talk sans motivation, but he was off the charts on the bias questions. Eyes dilated on all the Rorschachs . . . Yeah. I’m sure.
Angela (gesturing to Judd): Like I said . . . bleach.
And – presto! – just like that, between an interrogation method of dubious methodology and a black woman’s intuition, a white man is “proven” to be a “white supremacist terrorist.”
Judd then gives Angela permission to beat the shit out of the redneck in a basement cell, in order to extract information from him, which she does with zeal and no hesitation. (We see blood flow from underneath the door.) Another harbinger of things to come.
A nighttime police raid – led by Angela of course – takes place on a cow ranch with Seventh Cavalry connections. (Is the placement of cows with the bad guys a nod to #ExtinctionRebellion? Who knows. But would it really surprise you?) Upon realizing the police are raiding them, the dastardly Cavalry members prep themselves with suicide pills; one of them who is wounded by Angela promptly takes one with a smile, vowing silently not to be taken alive.
Remaining Cavalry members hastily board their hidden prop plane and proceed to escape, but not before Judd and a POC female pilot, helming a futuristic aerial craft, blast the plane to smithereens, to everyone’s glee. No calls for aerial backup, air traffic support, or satellite surveillance to aid in capturing them; just shoot the plane out of the sky and kill its passengers (it’s not clear what they did to deserve death) simply for attempting to escape.
Damon Lindelof as Showrunner
A natural question is: Who’s behind this crap? The showrunner for HBO’s Watchmen is Damon Lindelof, whose forte is science fiction, having been the co-creator and showrunner of Lost (2004–10), as well as having co-written Cowboys & Aliens (2011), Prometheus (2012), Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013), and Tomorrowland (2015). Lindelof’s sociopolitical views are no doubt shaped by the quintessential Hollywood content-creator arc of his family, upbringing, schooling, and residencies. From his Wikipedia bio:
Lindelof was born in Teaneck, New Jersey, the son of Susan Klausner, a teacher, and David Lindelof, a bank manager. He attended Teaneck High School, a school whose diverse student body he credits with expanding his horizons as a writer. Lindelof’s mother is Jewish, whereas his father was of Scandinavian descent.
Lindelof celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in Teaneck, where he attended synagogue for the Sabbath; he has stated, “I was a Jewish white kid growing up in Teaneck, but at the same time, I had African and Filipino and Asian friends and to have that experience all through high school while getting an awesome education was wonderful.” Lindelof attended film school at New York University, performing briefly in the band Petting Zoo, and moved to Los Angeles after graduating.
In creating and rolling out the show, very much on Lindelof’s mind was the cultural readings of the Rorschach character. In many ways, the show’s handling of Rorschach is a counterpoint of sorts to the liberal imagination’s interpretation of Todd Phillips’ Joker. On the eve of the latter film’s debut, liberal media outlets were practically salivating at the prospects of white incels being inspired to go on shooting sprees, something which did not materialize. Regarding this yin-yang of Joker versus Watchmen, one liberal film critic writes:
Rorschach is by far one of the most misunderstood characters in comic book history.
Plenty of fanboys have put the so-called hero up on a pedestal for sticking to his morals, despite the fact that these ‘morals’ include killing animals and terrorising people – not to mention his prejudice against women, poor people and the entire LGBTQ+ community . . .
Much of Rorschach’s incel leanings (for the want of a better descriptor) are captured best in the journal he writes throughout the original comic book arc, and even though three decades have passed within Lindelof’s show, the impact of these scribblings are still very much represented by the ideologies of the Seventh Cavalry.
Positioned as a modern-day successor to the Ku Klux Klan, Watchmen’s white supremacist group wear the same mask as Rorschach and directly quote the most frightening aspects of his manifesto.
In less-careful hands, the ideals spouted by the Seventh Cavalry could inspire viewers with similar political leanings, but Watchmen never glorifies their position in quite the same way that Joker does.
While the following cultivated by Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is accidentally established at first, he absolutely revels in this adoration by the end, drawing in angry, misogynistic men who feel like they’ve been wronged by society and are therefore entitled to fight back with violence.David Opie, “What Watchmen gets right that Joker got wrong,” Digital Spy, October 21, 2019.
In a Vulture interview that addresses the show’s inception, Lindelof notes:
Certainly, the first ten to twelve weeks that we spent in the writers’ room, where we started talking about the vision for the season, that was immensely challenging and not fun. It was work. And, obviously, we’re talking about white supremacy.Abraham Riesman, “Like It or Not, Damon Lindelof Made His Own Watchmen And he’s pretty sure Alan Moore put a hex on him for doing it,” Vulture, October 17, 2019.
In a nauseating Fellow White People move, the interviewer actually poses a question to Lindelof in the following terms:
Q: Given the racial and gender politics of the show, I didn’t want this to just be a conversation between two white men. So I reached out to a group of women of various ethnic backgrounds who wrote a series of essays called “Women Watch the Watchmen” to ask them what they’d want to ask you. The first question comes from Chloe Maveal: “Do you feel like this show is something that can help redeem Watchmen to literally anyone who’s not part of a straight white male audience? Do you, as both a fan of the comics and showrunner of the TV series, feel like the comic books here need redeeming in the first place?”
Note the unquestioned presumption here that, as a storyline and as characterization, Watchmen needs to be redeemed, that it somehow “sinned” in the past. Lindelof’s response to this question is simultaneously respectful of Alan Moore’s original work, but also genuflects towards requisite woke virtue-signaling:
A: I don’t think that the original Watchmen requires redemption on any level. In any way, shape, or form. I accept it in its totality as a staggering work of art. I also acknowledge that my relationship with Watchmen is that of a hetero straight male who read it as a 13-year-old, which may be the perfect sweet spot. I am not in a place where I can be critical of Watchmen. I am in a place where I can acknowledge criticisms of Watchmen. I will say that a number of the women who worked on Watchmen – wrote Watchmen, produced Watchmen, directed Watchmen – had found the treatment of women in the graphic novel to be less than ideal . . .
I get to have those debates in the writers’ room. Those other writers get to say, “Well, here’s how I feel about it.” Of course, in the writers’ room, there was a wide range of whether or not Rorschach was a white supremacist. I said, “That’s not relevant. He’s dead. What’s interesting is that you can make a compelling argument that he was and I can make a compelling argument that he wasn’t.”
Q: That gets to a question from Sara Century: “Why is it important to reimagine Rorschach?”
A: I don’t think that we are reimagining Rorschach. I think that we are interpreting Rorschach. The meta-ness of Watchmen was critical, I think, to its success.
Time and again, the interviewer returns to the theme of white supremacy. This is insightful in revealing not only liberal anxieties over Watchmen but also Lindelof’s liberal bona fides. How one today views the police seems to be the inflection point:
Q: I worry that the first six episodes, in some ways, can almost be read as a white-supremacist militiaman’s vision of America. Like, “Cops care too much about black people, and they’re cracking down on proud whites like me who just want to see a pure country.” But in reality, the much bigger problem is cops not caring enough about black people. Was that something you thought about? Was that something that worried you?
A: Yes. I’m not even going to use the past tense. What we’re really worried about, in my opinion, it’s not the television show. What we’re really worried about is a reflection of the real world. The paradox is: How do we feel about the police? When you say “the police,” you can mean it quite literally, which is just people wearing police uniforms. But how do you feel about authority? How do you feel about the law? Is the law just? The answer to the question, “How do you feel about the police?” Well, are you white? Are you a man? Are you a woman? Are you a person of color? What part of the country are you living in? Those are all questions that you should be asking.
We understand that being a police officer is a dangerous job. At the same time, we understand that there are police officers who are not following the law, who cannot be trusted, who do not behave in ways that are demonstrative of equality. This is demonstrated for us over and over again, to the degree where I think anyone who says that there is no issue in the United States in terms of policing and race is a crazy person. That isn’t to say that all cops are racist is any more ridiculous than saying all cops are not racist.
We’ll have to see how the series unfolds, and I’m not at all sure I’m going to stick with it, but the action will no doubt involve a second iteration of White Night events, a face-off between the police and Seventh Cavalry, and further caricatures of White Nationalists. The plotlines will likely focus on various competing interests within the police force as well as government. Also, given the show’s deliberate association of Rorschach with “white supremacy,” will the legacy of Rorschach himself be reframed within the show’s narrative?
The series might very well appropriate more plot points from The Turner Diaries. It’s worth noting that the first episode ends with a “Day of the Rope”-type incident for a key white ally, putting a rather quick end to Don Johnson’s involvement in the show.
In summary, if this first episode is any indication, HBO’s Watchmen will be a noxious brew of political correctness and Jewish Hollywood virtue-signaling, and will stand as an opportunity squandered.
 Nick Schager, “‘Watchmen’ Is a Spectacular Assault on White Supremacy,” The Daily Beast, October 21, 2019.
 Sophie Gilbert, “Watchmen Is a Blistering Modern Allegory,” The Atlantic, October 21, 2019.
 Several online reviewers have used the spelling “Seventh Kavalry,” presumably due to this having been revealed in episodes HBO has not yet aired, but which critics have already seen.
 Ever see a black couple raising a little white girl? Of course you haven’t. But you will see it in Watchmen, with Angela the loving, adoptive mother. Apparently, a future episode will convey that Angela adopted the white girl after her police partner (and his wife) were both murdered during the White Night incident.
 It is worth pointing out the little flourishes in the show that embody the disrespect black women have for white male authority figures, such as when Police Chief Judd Crawford enters his office to find Angela with her feet up on his desk, reprimanding him. “Wanna take your feet off my desk, please?” he says to her. She completely ignores his request and the scene continues.
 David Opie, “What Watchmen gets right that Joker got wrong,” Digital Spy, October 21, 2019.
 Abraham Riesman, “Like It or Not, Damon Lindelof Made His Own Watchmen And he’s pretty sure Alan Moore put a hex on him for doing it,” Vulture, October 17, 2019.