(Warning: The following story contains MAJOR spoilers from the sixth episode of “Watchmen” titled “This Extraordinary Being.”)
Well, “Watchmen” just went there.
Sunday’s episode was dedicated entirely to unraveling the mystery behind Will Reeves (Louis Gossett Jr.), courtesy of Angela Abar (Regina King) ingesting the entire bottle full of her grandfather’s “Nostalgia Pills.”
And what we found out about Reeves included a pretty major change to Alan Moore’s original graphic novel: Reeves was none other than Hooded Justice, one of the founding members of The Minutemen and the first costumed vigilante in “Watchmen’s” alternate universe.
“I know it’s a scary choice and very radical. To me when I see it, it’s like ‘Oh, of course that would make sense.’ That’s the one character that would never reveal his identity,” Nicole Kassell, who directed a handful of episodes and serves as an executive producer on the series, told TheWrap.
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Hooded Justice was one of the few characters from Moore’s work whose civilian identity was never before revealed. In the world of “Watchmen,” it was believed that Hooded Justice was East European strongman Rolf Muller, who disappeared in the mid-1950s, around the same time that Hooded Justice left the public eye.
Kassell explained that the mystery surrounding the real identity of Hooded Justice made it ripe to ask the question of why, in a world full of masked vigilantes, would that be the one character that we never saw unmasked? “Why was Hooded Justice never revealed? You take that period and you think of the issues in our country. Why would someone hide who they are, forever?” Kassell continued.
The reveal that Hooded Justice was actually a black man, who would put makeup around his eyes so the rest of the world would assume he’s white (in the in-universe TV series, “American Hero Story,” he is portrayed by Cheyenne Jackson), dovetails with Lindelof’s intent to have race relations at the center of his story. Reeves gets the idea for putting a hood and a noose over his face from the fact that as a young police officer he was lynched as a warning from his fellow white police offers to stay in line.
During the Television Critics Association press tour in July, Lindelof said he expected “Watchmen” to have a divided response among fans.
“Whether or not the show feels like it’s ‘Watchmen’ is in the eye of the beholder,” he said. “Some people who have an intense relationship with the source material might say, ‘This feels like ‘Watchmen’ to me,’ [while] others might say, ‘This is an aberration and I wish it never existed.'”
We wonder if he had this specific episode in mind when he said that.