Warning: SPOILERS for Watchmen Episode 5
HBO's Watchmen series has only reached its fifth episode, but it's already proving to be a treasure trove of references and inside jokes. Knowing just how many Watchmen Easter Eggs have been found already, the fifth chapter shows there is no real sign of stopping any time soon.
Revealing the origins of Looking Glass and huge reveals, "Little Fear of Lightning" has plenty of references and Easter Eggs for fans to enjoy. Here are some of the cleverest, best concealed, or most easily missed references that we could find.
9. One Minute To Midnight
The episode begins with young Wade Tillman in New Jersey in 1985, trying to convert the masses after the Doomsday Clock is moved up to one minute to midnight (reported over the radio). For those who don't know, the Doomsday Clock is a real conceptual clock that counts down the minutes until a man-made doomsday. In the Watchmen universe, the Doomsday Clock was one minute from midnight the day Veidt unleashed his giant squid on New York in order to unite the world and prevent nuclear annihilation. Since he was present in nearby New Jersey during the attack, Wade is psychically affected, but survives with lasting trauma and paranoia about a second invasion.
8. The Veidt Method
As young Wade walks down the street try to convert people at a carnival, he passes a man who can be seen reading a comic book, with an advertisement for "The Veidt Method" on the back cover. The name was given to a workout routine created by Veidt himself, famous as the peak physical specimen even aside from his superheroics. The same advertisement can be seen on the back of a comic book in the original Watchmen story.
7. Knot Tops
When Wade finally approaches a group to try and convert, they are revealed to be members of the Knot Top gang. It's evident they are Knot Tops due to their hairstyles as well as the word "Katies" all over one of the member's shirts. "Katie" is a nickname for KT-28, a drug the gang was fond of using in the original Watchmen series (responsible for more than one run-in with Nite Owl).
6. Looking Glass' Literal Tin Foil Hat
Going back to the present day, Looking Glass is interview by Agent Blake. During this interview, it's revealed that the material of Wade's mask is made from Reflectatine, a material reported to be able to block psychic attacks -- like the ones that came from the original alien Squid. The obvious parallel is tin foil hats, with both materials hinting that someone is not quite mentally stable. When Wade returns home, it's shown that he never takes his mask off. When he's not working? His baseball hat is lined with the material as well.
5. Smiley-O's Keep The Smiley Faces Going
Returning to his cover-job at a marketing firm, Wade watches a test group of children trying a sugarless cereal called Smiley-O's. Of course the box features yet another yellow smiley face, which feels like another obligatory Watchmen comic Easter Egg calling back to the Comedian's iconic smiley face badge. It wouldn't be Watchmen without them.
4. Pet Replication
When Wade visits his ex to move forward with the plan to analyze the pills Angela found on her recently-discovered grandfather, another strange science fiction concept is introduced. Wade's ex works at an animal clinic promising to replicate pets, "so you never have to say goodbye." It appears as though genetic pet replication/cloning is now a common practice available to anyone, while in the original series in 1985, it was something only Adrian Veidt had achieved with his genetically modified lynx Bubastis.
The pills themselves are revealed to be Nostalgia -- a name that should be familiar to Watchmen fans, as a line of perfume and cosmetic supplies from Veidt's company, looking to evoke pleasant memories of the past. However, it's revealed that these pills go further, with their consumption actually containing one's past memories. It's implied that these particular Nostalgia pills contain the memories of Angela's grandfather.
2. Pale Horse
After Wade leads a support group for people with extra-dimensional anxiety, he meets with a woman named Renee for drinks. She tells him about a film by Steven Spielberg made in 1992 entitled Pale Horse, named after the band that was playing at Madison Square Gardens when the giant squid attacked. Renee describes the film as being in black and white, save for a little girl wearing a red coat, wandering the destruction and tentacles looking for her mother. The description implies that in this universe, Spielberg made this film about the squid attack instead of his actual 1992 film Schindler's List about the Holocaust, also in black and white save for a little girl with a red coat.
1. Portals and Screens
Lastly, when Wade discovers the location of the Seventh Kalvary and is captured by them, it's revealed that the Kalvary are experimenting with a portal. It's the same portal that was being experimented on by scientists in New York the day of the giant squid attack (a perfect cover for its arrival). Secondly, Senator Keene reveals the truth about "The Squid" to Wade in an attempt to gain his assistance in getting Angela Abar out of the way of his plans for the portal.
The way the truth is revealed (that Adrian created The Squid in order to unite the world) is via a film Keene pirated from the government. Wade watches on a bay of monitor screens not unlike the bay of screens Veidt used to watch his plan unfold from his arctic fortress back in 1985. Veidt also shouted his famous "I did it!" in front of those very screens, which gets a similar callback from Veidt elsewhere in the episode.
Expect to see plenty more Watchmen Easter egg breakdowns with each new episode! And if there are any we've missed, be sure to let us know in the comments.