WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for the third episode of HBO's Watchmen, "She Was Killed By Space Junk," which aired Sunday.
Doctor Manhattan's presence looms large over Watchmen. Though not formally introduced in Damon Lindelof's sequel series to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal comic book, the all-powerful watchmaker's son has been far from absent. The series premiere saw a short news clip of an alleged Manhattan on Mars turning structures to dust. Episode 2 saw Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons) writing and mounting a production that told Manhattan's origin story, back when he was Jon Osterman. And "She Was Killed By Space Junk," the most recent episode, brought out a whole new use for the boy in blue.
The third episode focused on Jean Smart's Laurie Blake, a character from the original Watchmen. The former Silk Spectre is now working for the FBI to take down vigilantes, which takes her to Tulsa, Oklahoma in the midst of an investigation for the murder of police chief Judd Crawford (Don Johnson). When alone in her hotel room, Laurie pulls out a metal case that contains an issue of Esquire with her and Manhattan on the cover, as well as a large, blue phallic object.
"Yes. Well, it is actually… it’s a dildo, OK," Smart told TVLine. "I don’t know what people are going to think, but yeah, I thought, 'Oh God, OK.'"
It's clear that Laurie still holds an attachment, both sexual and emotional, to Manhattan. The framing device for "She Was Killed By Space Junk" shows Laurie in a blue phone booth reciting a joke she heard that alludes to several characters from her past. Eventually, it's revealed that she's been attempting to talk to Manhattan using the booth, having a one-sided conversation to the man she once had feelings for. Evidently, it appears he's still on her mind, in more ways than one.
"That was the first thing I asked Damon when I talked to him on the phone," she explained. "I said, 'Let’s get this out of the way right now before I say yes.' Because I’m just really digging this script, and then I’m going, 'Oh really? Is that where this is going?' He said, 'No. Don’t worry over it.'"
With Laurie camped out in Tulsa for the time being, it raises the question as to whether that Doctor Manhattan "cameo" will make another appearance. In any case, it's yet another way that the past looms over the present of Watchmen, in a big, blue way.
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.