'Watchmen' Episode Four Began to Unravel the Mystery of Will Reeves

Matt Miller, Brady Langmann

From Esquire

When we first met Louis Gossett Jr.'s Will Reeves, he seemed innocent enough, joking with Angela about whether or not she thought he could lift 200 pounds. But not even a half hour later, he was camped out under the hung police chief, Judd Crawford, trying to convince Angela that he was the one who murdered him.

And when Angela takes him back to her bakery, hoping to get some answers from him, she only gets another strange revelation, when the Greenwood Center for Cultural Heritage calls and tells her that Reeves is her grandfather. Shortly after that, a flying vehicle swoops in, uses a magnet to take Will away from Angela, and in the episodes since, the puffy-vested old man has only raised more questions.


First, let's take stock of what we know about Reeves and his origins. The first, first time we meet Will Reeves, he's a little boy living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the premiere's cold open, we see Reeves saved by his parents from the carnage of the Tulsa Massacre of 1921. He's given a note that says "Watch Over This Boy." In the closing moments of the episode, when we see Will near Crawford's body, he still has the note on his lap.

In Episode Four of Watchmen, we actually see young Will again—but this time, in the present day. Angela visits the Greenwood Center again, hoping to get more answers about her apparent relation to Reeves. Using the fancy "Ances-Tree," Angela learns that Reeves is her paternal grandfather, married to a woman named June. Her great-grandparents—Will's mom and dad, whom we meet in Episode One—are Obi and Ruth Williams. The former, the Ances-Tree tells Angela, was a World War One hero who fought in Germany. According to the Ances-Tree, the entire family died in the Tulsa Massacre—which we know isn't true, because Will Reeves is still alive.

At the end of Episode Four, we finally figure out where Will has been. He's with Lady Trieu, Hong Chau's mysterious entrepreneur who takes the Watchmen spotlight this week. The two talk about how Will should go about revealing his origins to Angela. Lady Trieu says, "When family is involved, judgement gets cloudy, feet get cold. Deals get broken. You're not in." Suddenly, Will stands, and responds, "My feet are just fine." So Will is not wheelchair-bound, apparently, and he has some deal worked out with Lady Trieu—which, in the episode's closing moments, we learn will involve Will betraying Angela somehow.

While they wait to see how the plot between Angela, Lady Trieu, and Will Reeves unfolds, Watchmen fans already have a theory that Reeves is potentially Hooded Justice, the original masked vigilante whose identity was never revealed. Reddit fans point to his claim about lifting 200 pounds, but also to the film shown in the opening moments of the episode, which appears to be an inspiration for Hooded Justice. While it was rumored that Hooded Justice was a German circus performer named Rolf Müller, it was never actually confirmed.

Photo credit: HBO

What we do know is that this character's connection to the Tulsa Massacre in the opening provides interesting context for this show's central theme of combating white supremacy.

“In order for this to be Watchmen, we have to start with an unsolvable problem, a problem that the most well-intentioned superheroes and vigilantes actually cannot solve,” Damon Lindelof told me of the thesis at the heart of his series. “And now we’re in 2019 instead of the ’80s, where it feels like you can’t tell a story about America in any kind of real, historical context that doesn’t talk about race.”

It seems like this show is already showing us how the lingering effects of racial violence and greater white supremacy in America still echo in horrible ways a hundred years later. And certainly, Reeves's identity will be explored further throughout this season.

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