Watchmen Episode 7's Big Twist Explained

Watchmen dropped a huge bombshell about a character's presence in the series. Here's how this big twist figures into Watchmen's endgame.

Watchmen Episode 7 Angela Abar Sister Night

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Watchmen Episode 7 

HBO's Watchmen shockingly revealed that Doctor Manhattan has been hiding in plain sight as one of the show's major characters: Cal Abar (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is Doctor Manhattan, and has been all along. Further, Cal's wife Detective Angela Abar AKA Sister Night (Regina King) has been keeping Cal's secret - even from himself.

Watchmen episode 7, "An Almost Religious Awe", filled in Angela's backstory of growing up in Vietnam, something only alluded to thus far. The granddaughter of Will Reeves AKA Hooded Justice (Louis Gossett, Jr.), Angela was orphaned when she was 10 years old by a terrorist attack on the anniversary of VVN (Victory in Vietnam, i.e. when Doctor Manhattan won the war in Watchmen's universe) that killed her parents - an origin story that eerily echoes her grandfather's. Angela also briefly met her grandmother June (Danielle Deadwyler), who came to Saigon for her, before June suddenly died as well. Meanwhile, Doctor Manhattan's presence in the background of young Angela's life foretold the fact that they would not only meet but become a couple when she grows up.

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"An Almost Religious Awe" laid many cards on the table that Watchmen had been holding close to the vest, especially when it comes to Doctor Manhattan, who everyone believes has been living on Mars since 11/2/85. This includes his ex-lover Laurie Blake (Jean Smart), who resigned herself to Doctor Manhattan "not giving a sh*t" about humanity anymore. But it turns out the blue super being has been a presence in Watchmen since the beginning - something several of the characters on the show not only knew but have been plotting to take advantage of.

Cal Abar Is Doctor Manhattan In Disguise

Cal Abar is Doctor Manhattan disguised as a human but with a twist - he didn't remember who he is (until Angela 'woke' him at the end of the episode), and this was actually his idea so that he and Angela could live a normal life together "for a while". Using a cover story that Cal was in a car accident in Vietnam that gave him total amnesia - a condition Lady Trieu (Hong Chau) doubted - Cal took on a human form and moved to Tulsa with Angela. As a willing amnesiac, Cal happily played house-husband to their adopted children while Angela fought crime as a masked police officer.

However, Watchmen had dropped contextual clues about Cal's identity since the beginning: Will Reeves insisted that Doctor Manhattan could take human form - an idea Angela quickly shot down and later, Cal also dismissed since Manhattan is blue. In fact, both Angela and Cal always held to the publicly accepted idea that Doctor Manhattan is on Mars. Meanwhile, Cal was quick to dismiss that Heaven and Hell exist to their adopted children, which is something Doctor Manhattan has always claimed. Laurie Blake also noted how "hot" Cal is when they met; as his ex, Laurie still yearns for Doctor Manhattan, hence the item in her briefcase that she doesn't part with. In fact, his very name, "Cal Abar", is a clue: "Cal" is reminiscent of Kal-El, Superman's real name, and Doctor Manhattan is the Superman of Watchmen's universe. "Abar" refers to the fact that he met Angela in a bar in Saigon (and "A God Walks Into A Bar" is the title of Watchmen episode 8).

The Seventh Kavalry/Cyclops Want To Steal Doctor Manhattan's Powers

Angela violently ended Cal's guise, retrieved the hydrogen atom icon from his forehead, and woke up the real being beneath - Jon Osterman (Doctor Manhattan's human name) - because she knows they're in trouble; Doctor Manhattan is the target of the Seventh Kavalry's master plan. 7K are actually the present-day incarnation of Cyclops, the branch of the Ku Klux Klan Hooded Justice fought in the 1940s. Will Reeves killed Chief Judd Crawford (Don Johnson) because he learned that Judd and Senator Joe Keene (James Wolk) conspired together to take over Cyclops.

Related: HBO’s Watchmen Mocks... Its Own Backlash

The "war" between the Tulsa Police and the 7K was a front for their true scheme: Cyclops knows Doctor Manhattan is on Earth and they plan to capture him, steal his powers, and give it to themselves, likely by using the teleportation device they showed to Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson). Despite Keene claiming that Cyclops aren't racists, he told Laurie Blake,"it is extremely difficult to be a white man in America right now so... I might try being a blue one." Meanwhile, Lady Trieu claims her Millennium Clock will "save humanity", ostensibly by stopping Cyclops from becoming an army of Doctor Manhattans. Whichever side will prevail in Watchmen's final episodes, the clock is ticking.

Next: Watchmen Rejects Superman's Influence On The World (For Something Much Darker)

Watchmen airs Sundays @ 9pm on HBO.

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