With his tv adaptation of Alan Moore's best-selling graphic novel Watchmen, showrunner Damon Lindelof was able to create a narrative that was at once familiar and also brand new. The first season of the critically acclaimed show ended with lead character Angela Abar debating the question of whether she wanted to inherit Doctor Manhattan's god-like abilities to continue her fight against injustices. In an interview with Collider, Lindelof weighed in with his thoughts on the reasoning behind Angela's decision.
"What is clear is that she is willing to become a god, because why else would she eat an egg or step in the pool in the way that she does? So she is accepting the challenge. A challenge issued not from Jon Osterman or Cal Abar or Doctor Manhattan or whatever you wanna call him, but actually a challenge that is issued to her by her grandfather. The last thing he says to her, talking about Doctor Manhattan, is 'He was a good man but he could have done more.'"
In the original graphic novel, it was repeatedly emphasized that Doctor Manhattan's god-like abilities were a trap of sorts, preventing him from behaving like a regular altruistic superhero. For Angela, Lindelof believes the challenge is to be the hero the original Manhattan never was.
"Now we get the sense that Angela is at least signing up for doing more. So whether or not it works out, that's basically the call to action to all of us right now... That's what gives me optimism. That was the idea in Tomorrowland too. The future is not something that happens to you, it's something that you make happen. So by showing Angela is willing to try to do more, that's the clarion call for optimism. So if we're basically saying, 'I don't think that this moment is going to lead to a better future,' what I'm hearing is, 'So you aren't willing to do anything about it.'"
So while the season did not end with Angela becoming God and reigning down hellfire on the sinners of the world to create a better, more just society, Lindelof believes the ending is as hopeful as it was in the original Watchmen graphic novel.
"I would say that this ending is just as hopeful as the ending of the Old Testament, the original Watchmen, which is there's a single character who holds in his hands the ability to expose this plot of Veidt's. He's holding Rorschach's journal in his hands, and he doesn't know whether he should throw it in the kook pile or whether it should be published, and his editor says to him, 'I leave it entirely in your hands'. So that's the idea is it's just as hopeful as it is in the eye of the beholder. If you see it as hopeful, then it's an optimistic ending. If you think that she's just gonna sink to the bottom of the pool and it was a prank that Cal played on her, then that holds true too. It's a Rorschach test. It's a comment more on the person who's watching it or reading it than it is on what actually happens next."
This news originated at Collider.