Watchmen’s thought-provoking finale is a work of perfection that provides the type of closure other HBO shows have failed to achieve in the past.
When the announcement came that a sequel series of the iconic graphic novel Watchmen was in the works at HBO, fans had no idea what to expect. The premium cable provider was heading into unfamiliar territory with a property notoriously known for being un-adaptable, and yet somehow, they delivered one of the best series of the year that actually stuck the landing.
HBO has had issues in the past with providing its loyal subscribers closure when it comes to some of their heavy-hitters. The one that really sticks out is The Sopranos finale that simply cut to black. Fans were not happy with the ending, and it continues, for some, to tarnish the series overall. It just begs the question, “What is the point of starting something if you can’t finish it properly?”
This goes double for the HBO phenomena Game of Thrones. What was once one of the most talked-about shows ever made has quickly faded from grace at an unprecedented rate. This is very evident by the fact that Game of Thrones received only one nomination from the Golden Globes, where in the past, the show has seen multiple nominations every year they’ve been eligible.
Game of Thrones’ issue wasn’t just the finale, but the entire final season on a whole was, to say the least, extremely disappointing and well below the standard the show had previously set. How a series that big with that much of a following can both sprint and stumble to the finish line will be something TV historians debate about for centuries. There are too many things to name that went wrong on the HBO’s series final run, but the overall experience has left many fans with a bad taste in their mouths.
These are just two examples of how important it is to finish strong. A show’s final season should always be the best season of the entire series, no question about it. Take Breaking Bad, for example. Its fifth and final season, which was split up and released a year apart, is regarded by many as the show’s best. And in most conversations, little criticism is given. The AMC series continues to be revered as a great show from start to finish as all shows should be, especially if the HBO static starts off the program.
But like a buzzer-beater at the end of a basketball game, the premium cable powerhouse pulled off its most impressive finale to date, proving closure is entirely possible for those paying $15 a month. The last iteration of Watchmen was a shocking affair on several fronts, including the fact that the ending wrapped everything up so nicely when many thought it had gotten too big to finish.
There were a lot of loose ends to tie up, heading into the final chapter of Watchmen. From the white supremacist conspiracy to capture Dr. Manhattan and steal his powers to Lady Treui’s secret plans involving Hooded Justice and her mysterious Millennium Clock.
Then there was also Looking Glass, Angela Abar, and Ozymandias’s complex storylines that needed to be finished off as well, all in the matter of an hour or so. That’s a lot for any series on any network to cram into one episode.
Besides the fact that there was an ample amount of happenings going down toward the end, the other big concern involved showrunner and creator Damon Lindelof when it came to how triumphant Watchmen’s finale would be. Lindelof hasn’t had the best reputation in this department.
His previous works include Lost, whose finale has been considered by most not to be a successful affair. Then there was The Leftovers, which was his first collaboration with HBO. While it had a better ending then Lost, several questions still lingered to the dismay of some fans. That is why it was such a pleasant surprise to everyone that his Watchmen finale was superb in every way imaginable.
If the Watchmen saga is all about holding people accountable for their actions, then the finale made sure to honor that legacy. Ozymandias will finally be tried for his genocide, despite having saved the world from annihilation for a second time. Dr. Manhattan, if he is dead, received some significant payback for his mistakes in Vietnam, all at the hands of Lady Trieu. And after years of planning, the white supremacists are wiped out with ease showcasing their efforts resulted in a rather embarrassing anticlimactic manner.
Lori Blake gets to bring in Veidt as her biggest catch as a vigilante hunter for the FBI, and Looking Glass gets justice for years of trauma resulting from Ozymandias’s attack. And while Angela does not get much closer, she is left with something much bigger.
Dr. Manhattan’s egg play makes a comeback in the final moments, and after Angela eats whats she believes to be Manhattan’s powers, she goes to see if she has his abilities. Right before she steps on the water, it cuts to black leaving it up to the audience to decide. Most of the time, these ominous endings can be frustrating for some, but Watchmen’s is absolutely perfect, allowing the viewer to come to their own conclusion, thus enhancing the overall experience.
Every moment of the thrilling final installment of Watchmen was utterly unexpected, including how well the last episode has resonated with fans. Whether or not they do a followup is still up in the air, but it will be hard to top the perfection attained the first time around.
This is one HBO show that has done so well it really doesn’t need to go any further; an accomplishment other shows are unable to achieve. This type of satisfaction is such a rare thing that it should definitely be appreciated when it does occur. Like the graphic novel, HBO’s Watchmen will be revered as a classic for many years to come.