WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice," the premiere episode of HBO's Watchmen.
The series premiere of HBO’s Watchmen wasted no time in dropping viewers into the middle of a new conspiracy. Picking up decades after the events of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal comic, the drama depicts a world far different from the one we know. Richard Nixon's face is on Mount Rushmore, Vietnam is the 51st state, and being a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is so dangerous, they have to wear masks. But at no point did the series premiere leave viewers scratching their heads more than when the sky opens and begins to rain squid.
In the first half of “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” protagonist Angela Abar (Regina King) and her adoptive son Topher (Dylan Schombing) are driving home when a warning siren blares, forcing every car to pull over. Seconds later, thousands of squids are fall from the sky in a brief shower. When the so-called squidfall is over, drivers wipe them off of their windshields and continue on their way. A Tulsa city street sweeper, bearing the logo of a cartoon squid, is then shown making its way around a residential neighborhood. This isn't a localized phenomenon, either, as a newspaper headline references a squid shower in Boise, Idaho, that resulted in two deaths.
If you’ve read the original comic, then you know the squidfall is a nod to giant, squid-like creature that appeared in New York City, killing millions. Although the public was led to believe the "alien" monstrosity originated in another dimension, but it was actually created in a laboratory by Adrian Veidt, Ozymandias, as part of his scheme to unite the world powers against a common threat.
While Veidt achieved his goal, the comic ends with Rorschach’s journal, which detailed the scheme, falling into the hands of the New Frontiersman newspaper. The implication was that Veidt’s plan was exposed, and his work eventually undone. However, it turns out that’s perhaps not exactly what happened.
On the Watchmen television series, which functions as a sequel, it doesn’t appear as if the world is aware of Ozymandias’ twisted manipulations. In the scene in which Tulsa police detective Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson) interrogates a member of the white-supremacist group the Seventh Kavalry, he asks, "Do you believe that transdimensional attacks are hoaxes, staged by the U.S. government?" That would imply the contents of Rorschach’s journal are believed only by some, while the rest only see it as nothing more than a conspiracy.
Therefore, the logical explanation for the squidfalls is that they are, actually, manufactured by the U.S. government, which stages squid showers to keep the illusion alive. These events keep the public believing the government is keeping them safe from evil, alien squids from another dimension trying to invade the planet.
If that's the case, then the government is aware that Veidt’s squid attack was fake. But, like Doctor Manhattan, they might have seen its benefits, and chose to keep the lie alive by nourishing it.
Developed by Damon Lindelof, HBO's Watchmen stars Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tom Mison, James Wolk, Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, Lily Rose Smith and Adelynn Spoon. The series airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.