Justice Must Sometimes Go Hooded

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Big reveals on the most recent episode (that would be the sixth) of HBO’s Watchmen. Some thoughts coming up right after the spoiler space…

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The first episode of the series opened with the Tulsa Race Riot. There had to be a reason for this. By the end of that first episode, I had the Louis Gossett, Jr. character pegged as both the boy that survived the riots in the opening scene and as the real Hooded Justice. I thought I was pretty smart; then went online and discovered I wasn’t the only guy with this thought. So maybe I’m not so smart.

In either case, my initial instincts were proven correct with Sunday night’s sixth episode (titled “This Extraordinary Being”). For all the questionable moves made up until now, I feel Lindelof hit a home run with this one. First, it opened up fresh territory from the original comic for the television series to explore. Second, it doesn’t alter the comic source material one iota—because even though it was heavily suggested that Rolf Müller was Hooded Justice in the original comic, it was never explicitly confirmed. (They even maintained the sexual relationship with Captain Metropolis, which I found to be a bold choice—as well as the correct choice.) This left the door open for Lindelof to make this wonderful extrapolation. Third, the Hooded Justice costume, really the whole gimmick, takes on so much more symbolic power now that we know he’s African American.

This doesn’t guarantee the series won’t still shit the bed by the end, as there are still many ways it could go off the rails, but this was a creative choice that earns Lindelof some well-deserved praise.

As the TV reviewers get these episodes well in advance, they were able to expound on many of these points more immediately (and probably much better) than I could. Here are some excellent pieces worthy of further consideration:

Alan Sepinwall currently writes for Rolling Stone, but I’ve been a fan of his since he was working for the Star Ledger back at the turn of the millennium. He has some great observations on Hooded Justice’s parallels with Sister Night, plus the Darwyn Cooke New Frontier vibe evoked by the episode, here.

Another great Rolling Stone article here, demonstrating how this reveal of Hooded Justice’s true identity is actually rather Alan Moore-esque.

A Salon article on how the episode served as a great troll job on racists here.

Co-writer Cord Jefferson offers an inside peak on the episode to Polygon here.

AV Club discusses Watchmen embracing its noir roots and genetic trauma here.

A piece from The New York Times looks at Hooded Justice as a “righteous vigilante” and how the HBO adaptation is “critical of a society shaped by profound injustice” here.

A Gizmodo article on how Captain Metropolis tried to make things right here.

If you want to get spoiled regarding what’s likely to happen in the upcoming final three episodes of the season, Nerdist has the likely scoop for you here.

And finally, for all the good accomplished with Hooded Justice, we shouldn’t forget that the show is really screwing up Veidt (and to a lesser extent, Rorschach), as AV Club illustrates here.

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