Hooded Justice is given the spotlight in this week’s episode of Watchmen. It does, nevertheless, pick up from the end of the previous episode, in which Angela Abar (Regina King) got arrested by Laurie Blake (Jean Smart), and swallowed a bottle of Nostalgia pills.
Nostalgia, as a product, appeared in the Watchmen comic book, but was not defined in the way it is in the tv show. Here we learn that it is a now-outlawed drug that was originally designed for aging people, to restore their memories. The pills are designed for specific individuals, and actually contain their memories, drawn out by computer chips. Angela swallowed her grandfather’s pills, and spends the episode re-living his life.
In the brief clips we have seen from American Hero Story, Hooded Justice’s identity and background have remained a mystery, so many years after the hero’s apparent death. But through the Nostalgia memories, the viewer gets to see the truth. And what a truth it is.
This is one of the most powerful and disturbing episodes of the series so far, and vast credit for that is due to Jovan Adepo, who plays the Hooded Justice, Angela’s grandfather, in flashbacks.
William Reeves was a black police officer in Oklahoma at a time when such things were a rarity. He has to deal not only with criminals on the streets, but also with racists in the force. The origin of the hood and noose from Hooded Justice’s costume are revealed to have been left over from cops almost lynching Reeves when he has the gall to arrest a white man.
As the story unfolds, it is both inspiring and soul crushing. Hooded Justice inspires a wave of imitators, who form the Minutemen. Captain Metropolis (Jake McDorman) comes to recruit Reeves for the team, and yet when Reeves needs the aid of the other heroes to deal with a white supremacist group, he finds that such things are considered not worthy of their attention.
And though Reeves’ wife knows of his double identity, and supports it at first, he has further secrets that he is keeping from her, and their marriage slowly tears itself apart over his double identity.
This episode is also notable for its superb use of colour and black and white, skillful editing that cuts between Adepo and King, both experiencing the same events, and a great musical score.
A lot of questions are answered, and a lot of questions are raised.
This show is just so much better than I ever dared hope for.