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As a sequel to the most over-analyzed comic in history, HBOs Watchmen is predictably full of Easter eggs. Some are callbacks to the original canon, some are sneaky little worldbuilding details, and others will remain a mystery until later episodes (hopefully) explain whats up. A list of every Easter egg would probably fill a book, so weve narrowed it down to the most satisfying examplesthe clever details that will deepen your appreciation of the show once you understand what they mean.

This post includes spoilers up to episode 4.

Watchmen Easter eggs

Nite Owls legacy

So far, the only crossover characters between the comic and the show are Laurie Blake (aka Silk Spectre) and Adrian Veidt (aka Ozymandias), with Dr. Manhattan lurking offscreen on Mars. However, there are still plenty of other comic-TV connections, like the Seventh Kavalrys Rorschach masks. Nite Owl is a particularly interesting example because hes actually still alive, although according to Peteypedia (HBOs site of supplementary files), hes currently in federal custody. He and Laurie Blake were arrested for illegal vigilantism in 1995, but while Blake joined the FBI, he stayed in jail.

Nite Owl (specifically the second Nite Owl,Daniel Dreiberg) was a central character in the comic and is roughly analogous to Blue Beetle or Batman: a vigilante who relies on self-made gadgets. His signature vehicle is a flying ship with windows resembling an owls eyes, and we see something very similar in the shows first episode. (Thanks to Peteypedia, we now know that Dreibergs company Merlincorp directly supplies the police with Owlships.) Later we see Angela Abar wearing a familiar pair of night-vision goggles, and there are a couple of background references to Nite Owls impact on pop culture,like Angela drinking from an owl mug, or one of her kids wearing an owl costume.

The most eye-opening Nite Owl revelation is that he designed Laurie Blakes now-infamous blue dildo. In a (very funny) interrogation transcript from Blake and Dreibergs arrest, she says,Dan was convinced I was still holding a candle for my ex, so he made me a big blue dildo as a f###-you. Literally. The ex is, of course, Dr. Manhattan.

Sons of Pale Horse

Pale Horse was a (fictional) death metal band in the 1980s, beloved by a youth subculture known as knot tops, roughly akin to skinheads. Theyre a recurring background detail in the comic until their final concert in Madison Square Garden, where they live up to their apocalyptic name by dying in Adrian Veidts alien squid attack. HBOsWatchmen pays tribute to them with a 1990s band called Sons of Pale Horse, who became popular among the Rorschach crowd. In fact, when you order the first volume of the shows soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, it arrives in the form of a Sons of the Pale Horse re-release called The Book of Rorschach.

In the vinyl LP edition, the albums liner notes reveal a whole backstory for the band and its cultural impact. Apparently, their music was intended to satirize the idea of worshipping toxic vigilantes like the conspiracy-obsessed Rorschach, and the band was shocked to learn their audience was full of people like the Seventh Kavalry. In other words, Sons of Pale Horse are a direct reference to the way characters like Rorschach attract an unwanted fanbase in real life. The bands in-universe role even extends to a fake review published inRevolver magazine,which incidentally reveals that hero rock became a popular subgenre in the Watchmen timeline, with David Bowie dressing as the Silk Spectre, and Iron Maiden releasing a vigilante concept album.

Elsewhere in the show, we see more obvious Pale Horse imagery, like Adrian Veidts white horse, and Chief Crawfords Comanche Horsemanship painting.

Real-world crossover characters

Much like how Sons of Pale Horse was inspired by Nine Inch Nails (ie. the real band who recorded that fake album),Watchmen is littered with real-world references highlighting differences and similarities with our own timeline. President Robert Redford is the most obvious example, but there are plenty of others with more subtle roles. Ezra Klein (in real life a political journalist who co-foundedVox) is a Redford administration spokesman. Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. has an onscreen cameo as theTreasury Secretary, acting as the face of Redfords reparations campaign for survivors of racist violence. And Elvis Presley is apparently still alive, resurfacing in a Hanoi nightclub in the 90s, tying intoWatchmens ongoing fascination with conspiracy theories.

Laurie Blakes twisted sense of humor

Episode 3 uses a long and bizarre phone call as a framing device, cutting between the main action and Laurie Blake having a one-sided conversation with Dr. Manhattan on Mars. She tells a series of elaborate and rather unpleasant jokes about god, mortality, and superheroes, while Dr. Manhattan (if hes even listening) fails to reply. The scene works perfectly well on its own, but it makes a little more sense if you know two facts about Lauries backstory: her father was the vigilante known as the Comedian, and (as we learn from Peteypedia) Laurie later adopted the superhero moniker Comedienne, after retiring the Silk Spectre pseudonym she inherited from her mother.

That last part is a rather puzzling choice fromWatchmens writers because its unclear why Laurie chose to follow in her fathers footstepsboth by taking his surnameand by continuing his legacy as the Comedian. Edward Blake raped Lauries mother when they were both in the Minutemen superhero team, and in later years we see him shoot a pregnant woman, and generally behave like a colossal asshole who represents everything bad about vigilantism and American imperial power. Hes a cross between the Punisher and the more conservative iterations of Captain America, with a sadistic streak and no moral code. So, why did Laurie decide to acknowledge him in later life, even adopting the name Blake?

TheNew Frontiersman newspaper

TheNew Frontiersman is a far-right tabloid in the comic, prone to printing conspiracy theories and stirring up trouble. At the end of the comic, we see Rorschachs journal in their office, leaving things open for his notes to be published, revealing the truth of what happened with Adrian Veidt and the vigilante murders Rorschach was investigating. HBOsWatchmen makes it clear that the journal was indeed published, which is why characters like the Seventh Kavalry are so dedicated to Rorschachs memory.

And as we see during a scene at a newspaper stand, the New Frontiersman is still going strong. Peteypedia reveals that the paper is owned by Roger Ailes, who once attempted to sue Veidt Enterprises for harassing him because he published Rorschachs journals. (In public, Veidt was politely dismissive of Rorschachs accusations, and most people were satisfied to believe Veidts words over the ramblings of a dead weirdo in a mask.)

Senator Joe Keene Jr.

The Keene Act was the first law outlawing masked vigilantism in 1977, and HBOsWatchmen continues its legacy withJoe Keene Jr., an up-and-coming GOP senator whose father introduced the original Keene Act.

Joe Jr. is the man behind the Defence of Police Act (DOPA), making Tulsa cops wear masks and hide their identities. On the surface, this might feel like a weird reversal of his fathers ideology, until you realize thatboth policies are designed to benefit the police. The Keene Act was introduced in response to police strikes over vigilantes taking their jobs, while DOPA (which supposedly protects police from reprisals) gives the Tulsa PD an alarming amount of freedom to be as violent and aggressive as they want. The Keene family also has a history with the KKK, which we examined in detail here.


There are plenty of recurring motifs inWatchmen, including smiley faces, clocks, eggs, and pirates. InWatchmens timeline, superhero media is limited to things like Sons of Pale Horse and that corny-lookingAmerican Hero Story TV show. Superheroes are real, so theyre not really suitable for the kind of blockbuster escapist entertainment we enjoy from Marvel and DC. Instead, people in theWatchmen universeseem to prefer swashbuckling stories about pirates and cowboys, harking back to the pre-superhero days of American comics.

The comics best-known example is the serialized pirate horror storyTales of the Black Freighter, which the show references on a couple of occasions: a Black Freighter Inn in Tulsa, and the egg farmer in episode 3 reading the novelFogdancingby Max Shea, who wroteTales of theBlack Freighter. We also see Angela Abars kids playing dress-up as a pirate and an owl, and one of Angelas coworkers uses the pseudonym Pirate Jenny, named aftera song fromThe Threepenny Opera.Episode 1s Bass Reeves cameo illustrates where the superhero/swashbuckler timelines diverged, depicting him as the kind of Zorro-esque masked vigilante who would become real and commonplace in later years.

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