This week’s Watchmen episode, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” nearly threw me for a loop. It took me a while to figure out what the big connection was this episode, and it all starts with those eggs. This episode gave us some major keys to figuring out how this series is going to shake out: something’s going on with cloning. We still don’t know how cloning figures into Lady Trieu’s Millennium Clock, or how Will and Angela play into Lady Trieu’s master plan. But somehow, cloning will take precedence. Here’s a deeper dive at what we learned this week.
Lady Trieu’s Plans
Lady Trieu is a strange woman. She’s also exceedingly scary, seeing how she must be the mystery person keeping Veidt captive and isolated. While I thought he was in complete control of his situation and was going to once again try to make the world in his image, I was shocked to realize that he’s not who I should keep my eye on. He might have succeeded in causing the squid disaster in the ‘80s, but this time around, he is just as out of the loop as we are. The land he’s the “lord” of must all belong to Lady Trieu, since Veidt is surrounded by clones. And not just Mr. Phillips and Ms. Crookshanks, who are all members of the same creepy clone baby farm Veidt has to mine from the bottom of the lake. In an earlier episode, Veidt was trying to shoot some buffalo, which aren’t natural to the English rolling hillside. When I was of the mindset that Veidt was the one behind the cloning of his servants, I thought he had also cloned those buffalo. But no — those buffalo must be from Lady Trieu as well.
It’s hard to narrow down the most terrifying part about Veidt’s captivity — the fact that Lady Trieu is obsessed with cloning to the point of leaving cloned babies in a lake to tend to Veidt’s whims, or that Veidt doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on or how to escape. He’s not focused on trying to remake the world in his image; he’s focused on trying to get out of his captivity. This is putting me, and perhaps other viewers, in the weird position of pitying Veidt, which means that Veidt must be small potatoes compared to whatever Lady Trieu has cooked up.
This paves the way for us to learn a little more about Lady Trieu’s overall plans. She loves cloning, she wants to change the world in some horrific way for some version of “the common good,” and she’s going to use her cloning technology and the Millennium Clock to do it. Looking back on it, we’ve been getting hints about the importance of cloning in prior episodes. We have Mr. Phillips and Ms. Crookshanks, of course, and we have the buffalo. But we also have one of Laurie’s “jokes” to Dr. Manhattan.
Remember when she was making her joke about Veidt, and said that if he talked to God about what he’d done, he’d say that to make a cake you have to break a few eggs? That joke plays directly into the opening scene of this episode featuring the farming couple. The wife is trying to bring their unsold eggs back to the house, but she trips and falls, breaking most of the eggs except for one, which her husband catches. Those eggs are a symbol of this couple’s inability to have children, and Lady Trieu takes it upon herself to use her cloning technology to create a child for them. In turn (and with the help of millions of dollars), they have no choice but to give over their farm to her. But while she used her technology to help that family — for her own selfish ends, of course — she is clearly going to use that technology to wreak havoc on the natural order of things, possibly in a worse way than Veidt himself ever could. Whereas Veidt used death to try to shape the world to his own vision, Lady Trieu is going to use life to shape the world to hers.
From what I can think up, it seems like her plan is either to clone younger versions of people or clone copies of people who can act as vessels for memories people want to otherwise forget from their daily lives. Case in point, Lady Trieu’s daughter, Bian. Bian is too young to remember anything about the Vietnam War, yet she has horrific memories from it. Either these are Lady Trieu’s memories, possibly making Bian Lady Trieu’s clone, or they’re the memories of Lady Trieu’s mother. The latter would certainly make this situation a thousand times creepier than things already are. Why do I say Bian could be Lady Trieu’s mother? Well, why else would Lady Trieu’s mother be mentioned in this episode? Also, why else would Bian wear such old, ’70s-era glasses? Something’s amiss here.
Threads for the Future
Bian isn’t the only thing amiss. There’s the entire Millennium Clock business. We don’t know exactly what the clock is going to do, but we know the fact that “it tells time,” as was said in the episode, isn’t the only thing it will be used for. While cloning will be part of Lady Trieu’s plan, what’s still unclear is what Will’s got to do with it. Will, who actually doesn’t need a wheelchair, says he’s slowly revealing who he is to Angela in a way where she can come to conclusions herself. Otherwise, she might not want to seek him out. He also says Lady Trieu is doing the same thing to Bian, even though she denies it. If we go by the theory that Bian is a clone of someone in Lady Trieu’s family, then does that mean Angela is a clone as well? Could she be a clone of the baby girl left in Will’s care after the Black Wall Street massacre? Probably not, since the baby belonged to another family. Could she be a female clone based on Will’s DNA? Will says in this episode that, like Angela, he also was a police officer. Could the fact that they both have backgrounds in law enforcement be a clue? I don’t know. Could she be a clone of Will’s family? I don’t know that either. Could Angela be a clone?
If Angela is a clone, then does that mean that she, like Bian, has buried memories? Could this mean that the Mr. Phillipses and Ms. Crookshankses have buried memories too, if they’re based on real people? Will this Millennium Clock activate all of the clones’ memories somehow?
The final worrisome thread is that Will said something about there being three days left before Lady Trieu’s plan goes into effect. Whatever will happen will potentially destroy Angela’s family forever. If three days are all that’s left before the plan happens, does this give Laurie enough time to find out what’s going on? Does it give Angela enough time to figure out who she is?
I’m throwing stuff at the wall right now, but this is what I’ve been tossing over in my mind ever since viewing this episode. What I do know is this: Lady Trieu’s plan is going to be hard to wrap our minds around once we know all of the facts. I, for one, am very apprehensive to know the truth.
Rewriting the Story
Something that has been brought up in several articles this week, including this one from the Daily Dot, are references to how the episode’s title could be read as both a direct response to fans not liking the more diverse tone of Watchmen as well as a clue to what Lady Trieu could be doing with Veidt’s company. As fans are sure to realize, this is a woman of color who has taken over a white man’s company. And not just any white man, but the white man who symbolized athletic and intellectual prowess. However, unbeknownst to most, he was a man capable of genocide. Perhaps the show will make the argument that Veidt’s homicidal tendencies were shielded from the masses because of how race played into his outward persona. Why wouldn’t the America of the ‘70s and ‘80s trust a blue-eyed blond statuesque billionaire to keep them safe?
Lady Trieu is most definitely capable of crime on an unfathomable scale herself. Clearly, she’s no innocent in this story. But there is something else that is a wrinkle in the conversation. Lady Trieu is a woman who is set to overtake Veidt’s image with her own, a Vietnamese woman who grew up as a product of the Vietnam War. She is, indeed, writing her own story because she doesn’t like how Veidt wrote his. But what exactly is she changing if the ending will potentially be the roughly the same, i.e. the potential deaths of thousands?
Nerdist suggests both she and Will are devising a plan to go against “the country they both hate.” To be fair, both characters do have legit reasons to hate America, the country that attacked Vietnam and screwed over its own black citizens. But it’s going to be unfortunate to see how this righteous anger gets turned into an excuse for another moment of genocide at the hands of someone with immense power and resources. Again, though, this is another way of rewriting the story of racial and social power. Are Lady Trieu and Will trying to take back what was stolen from them, taking Malcolm X’s phrase of “by any means necessary” to an illogical and extreme conclusion? Are they attempting to subvert the power structure in America with their plan? We’ll have to wait and see.
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