The new HBO action-drama Watchmen sets up several mysteries in the premiere episode, not the least of which is just who Louis Gossett Jr.'s character is in the world of these masked vigilantes. Warning: spoilers for the premiere ahead.
In the first episode of Watchmen, titled "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice," the opening scene shows a dramatization of the real-life Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, in which, historians believe, over 300 people were killed, mostly African-American citizens of Tulsa, OK. Among the chaos and death, a little boy manages to escape in a wagon with a couple that his parents know. His parents are then presumably blown up when an airplane drops a bomb on the warehouse they were last seen in.
Later on, when the wagon presumably crashes and the couple are killed, the little boy finds their baby alive nearby and picks her up — the baby seems to be dressed in girl clothes, though there is no confirmation of the baby's sex. The only thing the little boy has with him is a note that reads, "Watch over this boy."
We don't yet know for whom the note was intended, but cut to the end of the episode and Gossett Jr.'s character has the note. Now, he never gives his name, but HBO's press release about the cast lists him as "Will Reeves." That may have been his original name or it may be the name he ended up with when he was taken in by whoever raised him.
It remains to be seen how exactly Will figures into the Watchmen universe, but he does seem to know about Angela's (Regina King) double life. Earlier in the episode, he sits outside her "bakery" and asks her if she thinks he can lift 200 pounds. That seems fairly innocuous . . . until he later calls her to come find the body of the chief (Don Johnson), who has been lynched, hung from a tree out in the country.
Was Will possibly referring to lifting the chief? Why is he at the site of the body? And how did he even get to the middle of that field? He is in a wheelchair, after all. Also, during the phone call when Will tells Angela to come find the chief's body, he tells her not to wear a mask, so he knows she's one of the masked policemen running around. He also seems to know that her father was Marcus Abar. What connection does Will have to Angela?
For now we'll have to wait and see until next week, when hopefully HBO will reveal how someone who is roughly 105 years old may have been involved in lynching the chief of Tulsa's police force. In the meantime, we'll be brushing up on all the Watchmen origin stories.