Cal in HBO's Watchmen

OK, We Need To Talk About That Major Cal Reveal On 'Watchmen'

by Ani Bundel

Watchmen Episode 7, "An Almost Religious Awe," is a return to the present and a return to normality as well. The show goes back to the mystery of Chief Crawford's death. It gives an update on the Wade Tillman cliffhanger from the end of Episode 5. There's even a check-in with Adrian Veidt, who is on trial for his crimes against his clones. But then the entire show takes a hard left, and reveals Cal and Doctor Manhattan are the same person on Watchmen.

Warning: Spoilers for Watchmen follow.

Ever since the series began, fans have asked where Doctor Manhattan is. Supposedly, he's on Mars after a wave of cancer diagnoses to those around him suggested he could be a carcinogenic agent. News footage shows him building a castle up on the red planet.

But none of this adds up. The castle is not on Mars; it's on a moon of Jupiter, where Adrian Veidt is imprisoned. Moreover, the Game Warden who runs the simulation isn't Manhattan. Veidt has prodded him into admitting he has abandonment issues over Manhattan's disappearance.

Where is Manhattan? Fans noted Angela seemed upset when William Reeves suggested he could be Manhattan in disguise. She was very insistent that the Big Blue Man was on Mars, and "everyone knows that."


It turns out, that's because Reeves was right about Manhattan being on Earth, disguised as a black man. It just wasn't him; it was her husband, Cal. And Angela knew it.

In talking to Lady Trieu, Angela reveals Cal was in a car crash ten years ago and has no memory of his life before it. Trieu seems doubtful. Full amnesia never happens, except in soap operas.

But when Trieu reveals the 7th Kalvary plans to capture Manhattan and kill him, she also points out the thousands of Manhattan booths she owns and operates around the world are filled with unanswered prayers. Manhattan isn't listening, because he's not on Mars. He's right here in Tulsa.

When Angela asks if Trieu planted this idea in Reeves' head, Trieu says no. It was Reeves who told her. She then asks Angela if they are going to keep "f***ing around" or be honest with each other.

Shaken, Angela walks out. Trieu doesn't stop her, only noting, as she goes, that Angela hasn't asked who Manhattan is in Tulsa.

Angela already knows.


Manhattan is Cal. Or maybe he's inside Cal? When Angela walks up to her husband and tells him, "it's time to come out of the tunnel," she takes a hammer and breaks his head open. She keeps smashing away, shattering his skull to pieces, until she reaches inside his brain and pulls out:

A metal ring, in the shape of Doctor Manhattan's symbol.

Cal's brain contains a metal version of the circular mark that adorns Manhattan's forehead in the comics.

So this is Manhattan, and Angela knew to get him back, she had to open up Cal and pull this device out. Whatever happened was a total memory wipe (though probably not a car crash). Whatever it was, it must have been extreme.

But what happened? Why is he married to Angela? (How is Blake going to react when she finds out the ex she's obsessed with was here on Earth, married to another woman?) This twist has launched a million new questions, with only two episodes to answer them.