HBO’s Watchmen TV show has come to an explosive conclusion. Here are all the comic book easter eggs and references you m
We made it. The finale of HBO’s Watchmen is here and the show has officially come to a close. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every question has been answered–but that’s an issue for another time. Right now, we need to try and piece together just what, exactly the ending means, and how many important details were hidden throughout.
- HBO's Watchmen: 13 Easter Eggs And References From Episode 6
We’ve cataloged 25 different comic book references, callbacks, and Easter Eggs to help you sort out your mind-bending feelings before you ultimately loop around for a full rewatch. Tell us which ones you caught, which ones we missed, and which ones were your favorites in the comments below.
1. Ramses II
Ramses II was the Egyptian name for Ozymandias. Veidt isn’t exactly creative with his passwords. This is also the password Nite Owl uses to crack the same computer back in the Watchmen comic.
2. Untie Knot?
To unlock the vault, Veidt’s computer prompts “untie knot?” A reference to the mythological Gordian Knot that Alexander The Great was able to undo, but also to the Gordian Knot Lock Co, an in-universe lock making company that created highly secure locks for doors. In the comics, Dan Dreiberg had them out to repair his front door after Rorschach broke in.
3. Alexander The Great
Adrian Veidt’s personal hero and constant source of inspiration, Alexander The Great, gets a place of honor in his office, looming large over his desk and guarding a vault of his frozen semen. (Gross.)
4. To Ride the Strong Winds
The quote Bian says as she carries out her plan is a re-jiggering of something the real Lady Trieu–the historical figure on which Watchmen’s Lady Trieu based her name–allegedly said: “I only want to ride the wind and walk the waves, slay the big whales of the Eastern sea, clean up frontiers, and save the people from drowning. Why should I imitate others, bow my head, stoop over and be a slave? Why resign myself to menial housework?”
5. “Some Cowboy Actor”
Veidt doesn’t believe Robert Redford could have become president without his help, stating that “some cowboy actor” couldn’t have done it without him. This is a meta joke about real world president Ronald Reagan, who served from 1981 to 1989. During this time in the Watchmen universe, first Nixon and then Redford were president, after Nixon abolished term limits. This can also be interpreted as a joke about Trump (a reality TV star who is now president).
6. Veidt’s Sexuality
Veidt tells Trieu that it’s impossible for him to have a daughter because he’s never “given himself to a woman.” While this may indicate that he’s a virgin, it may also confirm something loosely insinuated in the source material. Adrian Veidt may, in fact, be queer. The coding is subtle at best in the original comics–several of his advertisements loosely imply he may be bisexual, and Alexander The Great, his personal hero, famously had male lovers.
7. Squid Rains
The squid rains plaguing the world were randomized to be untraceable and unpredictable and sent directly from Karnack–but perhaps, more importantly, designed to dissolve so that they wouldn’t cause any real damage (unless you count psychological trauma, of course.)
8. Veidt catching a bullet
Ozymandias may be, functionally, just a normal guy with an above-average IQ, but he really can pull off some superhuman feats of his own. We see him catch a bullet with his bare hands when the Game Warden tries to stop him from leaving, a talent he also demonstrated in the original Watchmen comics when Dan Drieberg and Laurie confronted him. How can he do it? Thanks to some extreme comic book logic, of course. Veidt went on a tour of the world learning all sorts of secret martial arts and spiritual techniques, not unlike Batman during his pre-Caped Crusader days.
9. The statue
It turns out Trieu’s statue of Veidt looked old because, well, it wasn’t a statue at all. It was literally just Veidt, frozen in bronze carbonite.
10. Angelic headwear
Trieu’s hat evokes an angelic halo–appropriate for someone who plans on becoming a god.
Remember all the way back to the very first episode. We met Judd Crawford during a performance of Oklahoma! At the Dreamland theater–the same show that is now wrapping up its run here in the finale.
12. The Newsstand
Our good friend the newsstand man is back, this time to hand the papers over to Lady Trieu herself. The comics featured a recurring plot device involved a newsstand operator who opined about current events to basically anyone who would listen; this character is a nod to that subplot.
13. Quoting Rameses II
Veidt’s speech here is allegedly quoted from Rameses II: “Canaan is devastated, Ashkelon is fallen, Gezer is ruined, Venoam is reduced to nothing. Israel is desolate and her seed is no more, and Palestine has become a widow for Egypt.” Veidt delivered the same overdramatic monologue at the end of the comics, too.
14. The End Is Nigh
Veidt gets to say one of the Watchmen comics’ most iconic lines: “The end is nigh,” previously seen on the sign Rorschach carried around in his civilian clothes. It’s since become emblematic of the Watchmen story.
15. Senator Keene Senior
A surprise appearance by Senator Keene senior, Joe Keene’s father, marks one of the most unexpected comic book cameos of the show. Keene Sr. was the man responsible for the Keene Act, which outlawed masked vigilantism and, effectively, set the plot of the Watchmen comics in motion.
16. Thermodynamic Miracles
Laurie’s favorite way to describe coincidences just happens to be “thermodynamic miracles,” which she first explained back in Episode 4 when she was telling Angela about the surprising return of her stolen car. In this episode she uses it to explain the shocking way the 7th Kavalry was able to figure out that Jon was Cal–a one-in-a-million encounter on the White Night that no one could have planned for or expected.
The phrase originally comes from the comics, when Jon uses it in a conversation with Laurie to describe the unlikelihood of her birth. It makes sense that it would be on Laurie’s mind now.
17. Keene’s DM shorts
Keene’s fashionable speedo is modeled after the “costume” Doctor Manhattan wore in the comics before eventually deciding he’d rather go nude. And yes, they always looked that ridiculous, even on Jon.
Much earlier in the show, the 7th Kavalry was shown harvesting watch batteries for lithium–non-synthetic lithium, to be exact, which has the power to stop Doctor Manhattan. Here we finally see what they’ve been doing with it: Building a cage to keep Jon contained.
Just in case you missed that Trieu has a god complex, there’s a massive crucifix in the background of this entire scene.
20. Miss Juspeczyk
Laurie didn’t always go by “Blake.” During the comics, she used her mother’s surname, Juspeczyk, which is what she’s called in this episode for the first time in the show.
21. Comics Quotes
The nonsequiturs Jon utters throughout his time in the lithium cage this episode are all lines from the comics. “All we ever see of stars are their old photographs” is from the fourth issues of the books, when Jon is on Mars. “Janey, are you cold? I can raise the temperature” is from a flashback to Christmas 1959, when Jon was still with Janey Slater. Jon said, “As far as I know, there is no situation in Afghanistan currently requiring my attention” on a talk show just before he teleported to Mars. And Jon told protesters outside the White House to “return to your homes” before teleporting them away.
We felt the same delight Laurie did upon recognizing “Archie,” Dan Dreiberg’s owl ship from the comics, at Karnak in this episode. Veidt also revealed why the Tulsa police have their own owl ships: They used Dan’s designs to make them. The NYPD raided Dan’s apartment in the comics after he and Laurie broke Rorschach out of prison, which is probably when they confiscated the design.
23. You Can Walk On Water?
In Episode 8, “A God Walks Into Abar,” Jon said it was important for Angela to see him on the pool. Now we know why: to remind her of the conversation they had decades earlier in Vietnam, during which he hinted to her that he could transfer his powers via food, conjured an egg from thin air, and chugged it raw in a beer.
24. I Am the Walrus
The song that plays over the episode’s credits is the Beatles’ 1967 track “I Am the Walrus,” famous for its deliberately somewhat nonsensical lyrics. Maybe Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof put the song here as a wink to fans who over-analyzed the show.