Season 1 Episode 1
It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice
Starting with the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, Watchmen makes some strange and interesting narrative choices.
I don’t really know how to sum up or explain the first episode of Watchmen and that is both a good and bad thing.
The good is that the story is interesting and kept me interested beyond the Watchmen Easter eggs sprinkled throughout. Don Johnson is entertaining as the Chief of Police in a world where the cops wear masks because of a dark moment in recent history. Regina King is fantastic as a former cop/masked vigilante who is balancing home life and hero work. The supporting cast including Tim Blake Nelson is compelling and there are some interesting mysteries being presented in a world that is unfamiliar and seemingly on the brink of collapse.
The bad (well, not that bad) is that there’s no sense of direction for the series from the first episode. Does the Tulsa tragedy have something to do with the overall story or is it part of a smaller, more personal side story? The introduction of Louis Gossett Jr’s character and the reveal of his identity would seem to suggest so. Does this series connect to the Watchmen series or does it just take place in a world shaped by those events? Will Jeremy Irons’ character have an impact on the Tulsa story or is his story separate? You don’t get much of a sense that there is an arc developing that will connect these characters in a story that will sustain the entire season.
There are some impressive visuals throughout and some moments that stand out for fans of Watchmen. Hopefully those elements will stay in the background and allow this story to unfold on its own. If anything, I am intrigued with what I saw enough to convince me to see what comes next, but it’s hard to say whether I liked the first episode or not.