Former Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof has opened up on the show’s season 1 cliffhanger, and whether Angela did indeed inherit Dr. Manhattan’s powers. HBO’s TV continuation of the Watchmen comic book, that took Alan Moore’s original characters in an unexpected and often surprising direction, was a triumph of storytelling.
The show teased fans by ending the season on a pivotal moment, as the main character, Angela Abar (Regina King) eats an egg which she believes contains Dr. Manhattan’s powers. However, we don’t find out if she did in fact inherit them, as the finale ends on a shot of Angela’s foot hovering above the surface of her pool, ready to walk over the water, as she had seen Dr. Manhattan do the night before.
Now, Lindelof, in an interview with ComicBook, has spoken more about that moment. Rather than revealing exactly whether she inherited the powers, Lindelof says that Angela was open to the possibility of that happening by eating the egg. He goes on to elaborate that the pull of the story for him wasn’t whether she acquired the powers, but rather her journey to the point where she is willing to take them on.
“I don’t want to confirm or deny that she did in fact get Dr. Manhattan’s abilities other than to say that she definitely opted in for them by eating the egg. But I think that, again, to kind of come back to the idea of not just comic book myth, but also very specifically Watchmen, that we get these origin stories. We want to know why these people put on the mask. Some of the most memorable parts of the original text are what we call the Old Testament where explaining how Rorschach became Rorschach or how Doctor Manhattan became Doctor Manhattan. We wanted to do the same thing for Angela. If this entire season is basically a conduit leading up to a choice that she is going to make to become divine, to potentially have omnipotence, we wanted to show her kind of go through a journey and primarily a journey of understanding herself.”
Lindelof went on to explain that for him, the character of Angela was one who had always been drawn to justice and becoming a law enforcement officer. During the series, we see how she inherited this from her grandfather and father, and Lindelof felt that focusing on that part of her journey was more interesting than seeing whether she actually becomes omnipotent or not.
While Lindelof’s answer won’t satisfy most fans, the ending of Watchmen season 1 is still the most suitable for the series. Much like the original comic book, the main point of the story is to delve into what type of person would want to become a superhero. The plot mechanics are there to entertain, but they are in service of the character study, rather than the other way around. When looked at from this perspective, the ambiguous ending becomes far more satisfying. Watchmen season 2 has not been confirmed, but season 1 is available to watch on HBO Max now.