It is fair to say that Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen has managed to surpass every expectation. The odds were truly against this show, but not only is it a poignant and relevant superhero story for 2019 that carries on the themes and plot threads of the original comic, it even adds to the established characters and canon.
Lindelof has referred to his adaptation as a “remix,” which is fitting given that the show is both a sequel and a prequel that also mirrors the format and even the characters of the original Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel. One way the show mirrors the original is by taking a page of the graphic novel’s use of supplemental material at the end of every issue, which offered additional information about the history of the comic’s world and its characters. The show Watchmen takes this idea and updates it to 2019 via the companion site “Peteypedia”, named after FBI Agent Dale Petey, who recollects relevant information that is released after each episode airs.
Some of this information has proven to be essential to the Watchmen experience and some is just fun facts. With that in mind, let’s look at the 10 funniest, weirdest, and maybe most relevant things you need to know about Peteypedia before the Watchmen finale airs this Sunday.
Major spoilers for the first eight episodes of Watchmen follow.
Calvin/Doctor Manhattan is 33 Years Old
After episode 7 revealed that Angela’s husband Calvin was actually Doctor Manhattan, Peteypedia uploaded a file with Calvin Jelani’s medical report. The report reveals, among other things, that Calvin was 33 years old by the time Angela came up with the amnesia plot and the two became a couple.
This would make Calvin the same age Jesus was when he was crucified, which alludes to the supplemental material at the end of issue #4 of Watchmen where one professor Milton Glass remembers saying “God exists and he’s American” after witnessing Doctor Manhattan materializing following his accident at Gila Flats. That it was at 33-years-old that Doctor Manhattan basically came back to life by becoming a mortal after spending decades as a super-being only adds to this comparison.
Howard Hughes is Alive
Arguably the most mysterious character in Watchmen other than Lube Man (more on him later) is Lady Trieu. On the contents of File 6 (released after episode 6), there’s a clipping for an article aptly titled Lady Trieu: Fact or Fiction. In it, there’s a Q&A from a gossip journal trying to find the truth behind the biggest questions surrounding Lady Trieu. One is about the identity of the father of Lady Trieu’s daughter, Bian. Among the speculations listed in the article are rumors that Lady Trieu was romantically involved with the late Carl Sagan… and also Howard Hughes, who is not only alive and well, but is now a “life extension guru” in the Watchmen universe.
Howard Hughes, of course, was an aeronautics magnate and film director, though he’s perhaps best known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle.
Johnnie Cochran Helped Pass the Reparations Act
You remember Johnnie Cochran, right? The guy who helped get O.J. Simpson off the hook? Well, according to a file titled “The Road to Reparations” included in File 2, Cochran was part of a legal team that sued the state of Oklahoma and the city of Tulsa on behalf of 200 survivors and descendants of survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
According to Peteypedia, the lawsuit made it all the way to the state court, which actually happened in our reality, but thanks to Johnnie Cochran’s efforts, the case made it all the way to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals before the Victims of Racial Violence Act was passed and reparations began in the late 2000s.
Nite Owl Came Up With the Big Blue Dildo
Episode 3 of the show was all about bringing back Laurie Blake, aka Silk Spectre II. In the episode, we see Laurie carry a briefcase around and being protective and secretive of it…until the show reveals that inside the briefcase is a giant blue sex toy.
File 4 of Peteypedia includes a transcription of an interrogation the FBI conducted with Laurie wherein she discusses the last time she saw her former partner in crime-fighting and lover, Dan Dreiberg (aka Nite Owl II). Towards the end of the interrogation, she explains the contents of her briefcase and reveals that her ex-boyfriend Dan was the one who gifted the dildo to her after noticing that she was holding a candle for her ex (Doctor Manhattan). It was “a f####-you. Literally.” The name of the dildo? “Excalibur” which sounds a whole lot like Ex-Cal Abar.
Elvis is Alive and Rocking
One of the best parts of Watchmen is seeing the little differences between our realities. From electric cars in the ‘70s, to the pirate comics being the biggest thing, it offers a cool little “what if.”
Maybe the weirdest of these tiny differences comes in a memo written by agent Petey in File 1, where he summarizes the content and the legacy of Rorschach’s journal, as well as Adrian Veidt’s disappearance. Towards the end of the memo, he argues that the bureau shouldn’t declare Veidt dead without being sure so as to avoid another “Presley debacle.” According to Petey, two decades earlier, someone saw Elvis Presley walk into a nightclub in Hanoi on VVN Night to perform “every one of his songs with ‘Blue’ in the title.” Was this actually Elvis, or did Doctor Manhattan spent his pre-Calvin years as an Elvis lookalike?
Superhero Movies as Blaxploitation Cinema
Episode 7 of Watchmen, and File 7 of Peteypedia, gave us a treasure trove of interesting tidbits about the world of the show, particularly when it comes to cinema. In a memo titled “The Origin of ‘Sister Night’”, Petey writes about his investigation into Angela Abar’s vigilante persona. He starts by revealing that home video isn’t really a thing in the universe of Watchmen, as Hollywood is just now trying to re-introduce home entertainment technology to the public sphere after the entire world went technophobe (more on that later). But a quick glance at the Ebert’s Guide to Practical Filmgoing (which sounds like the show’s version of the Leonard Maltin Guide) revealed more about the VHS tape of Sister Night that Angela picked at a video store in Vietnam as a little girl.
According to Petey, Sister Night belonged to a subgenre called “Black Mask”, which was basically Blaxploitation but aimed at the African American population who migrated to Vietnam after the war. These movies were responses to or parodies of masked vigilantes, critiquing the largely white phenomenon of vigilantism. Other such movies were The Black Superman (apparently about Doctor Manhattan). There was even a Batman movie that was a spoof of Nite Owl.
What Happened After the Giant Squid Destroyed NYC
The world of the original Watchmen was a dark and depressing one, but it was also one of technological marvels, such as widely accessible electric cars. Though the HBO show has things like cloning becoming easily accessible, there is no internet, no phones, and no home video entertainment.
In the very first file of Peteypedia, we see a document titled “The Computer And You”, which refers to the widespread issue of technophobia in the world caused by fear of the interdimensional door that allowed the squid to pass through. The memo explains in the simplest of terms how a computer works, implying most people have never seen one, to the point where the government is now regulating the re-introduction of technology into the public sphere via a law from 1993. But still, every kind of wireless network technology was destroyed after 1985. Oh, and for some reason Dr. Oz is now Surgeon General of the U.S.
Lady Trieu’s Plan Does Not Involve Time-Travel
This is more of a meta nod to fan theories than actual world-building, but after episode 6 came out, Petey released a clipping from a newspaper article basically listing a bunch of gossip theories about Lady Trieu, revealing which ones were real and which ones were fiction.
After many people wrote theories that Lady Trieu was actually The Comedian’s daughter, the Peteypedia article specifically includes that very question, with a resounding “NO” for an answer (though it does appear that Trieu’s mother did encounter The Comedian in 1971). The article then ends with a very clear NO to the question of whether the Millennium Clock is actually a time machine.
Lube Man Was Inspired by a Secret Military Group
The latest Peteypedia file has a whole lot of interesting, and potentially vital information for the season finale. The craziest, most bonkers tidbit involves the book Fogdancing, written by Max Shea and seen several times throughout the season. The novel is about a former “Fogdancer”, basically a member of a special forces group who were “braver than a Ranger, deadlier than a SEAL.”
These Fogdancers wore skin-tight silver suits shimmering with SPF-666, made to withstand the intense heat of Watchmen’s version of napalm, Sunset Haze. This sounds a hell of a lot like Lube Man. And the summary of Fogdancing involves a plot that sounds very much like the Veidt and the Cyclops storylines so far, while also mimicking the story of Jacob’s Ladder. In a second article in Peteypedia, Dale Petey himself reveals that he came in last in a competition for the best summary of Fogdancing, crediting this as the point at which he turned away from fiction and stood with the facts, calling it his “origin story.” Very interesting indeed…
There Will be a Calamity in Tulsa
This is probably the most relevant piece of information going into the finale, as last week’s File 8 included a memo titled “Fogdancing” which begins with the statement “The morning after the calamity in Greenwood, the dust has settled but our nerves have not.” It makes mention of two unidentified bodies, one of which Petey believes is Laurie Blake.
What’s interesting is that the memo is dated September 26, four days after the previous memo, which took place just before the events of episode 7. In comparison, episode 8 takes place mere moments later that very same night, so this means that the memo and the “hail of destruction that rained down on Tulsa” is most likely referring to the final episode. If only Lube Man were there to save them…
The post The Best of Peteypedia: Everything About the ‘Watchmen’ Universe Revealed on HBO’s Companion Website appeared first on /Film.