Watchmen Episode 4, If You Dont Like My Story, Write Your Own introduces the mysterious Lady Trieu, played by Hong Chau. She invites herself into the home of a lovely and loving Oklahoma couple and offers them an outrageous deal. Since the two have never been able to conceive a child of their own, even after visiting her fertility clinics, she will gift them a child and $5 million if they sign over their family farm right there on the spot. The wife is skeptical, horrified even by the offer. However, then Lady Trieu reveals that shes not going to make them a baby; she already has created a child that is biologically theirs. Should they decline her generous offer, the baby will grow up in an adopted home, never to know who their real family was or what legacy they were apart of.
Impulsively the couple signs the contract and takes the swaddled infant into their arms. Immediately Lady Trieu leads them and her own daughter to the porch to watch something fall from the heavens and land on their land. When asked what that is, Lady Trieu says it is hers now since its on the land she just bought.
Its a spectacular start to the episode, introducing us not only to a fascinating new character and instigating a whole new mystery, but also complicating what has become a bigger thematic element in Watchmen: cloning.
Yeah, we need to talk about all the clones in tonights episode of Watchmen.
Its a disturbing sight to be sure. Even Veidt has to drown out the clones pained screams with pop music and a bite of cake. He wont even take responsibility for them, confiding that he is their master but not their maker.
If Veidt has managed to create a makeshift cloning facility on his manor grounds, then what could a trillionaire like Lady Trieu pull off with all the literal resources in the world? Its worth noting that in HBOs supplemental Peteypedia files, its revealed that Veidts genetically engineered lynx Bubastis from the comics helped pave the way for cloning pets in this timeline. Theres nothing said about human cloning, but we know from the Veidt vignettes that it is possible.
Its also heavily hinted that Lady Trieu knows how to clone humans. First, she can use the genetic material of the infertile couple from the episodes cold open to create a child that is biologically theirs. Then theres the issue of Lady Trieus own daughter, Bian (Jolie Hoang-Rappaport).
Weve seen Bian a few times before on the show, but its her last scene in tonights episode that raises alarm. She wakes up with a start and it seems shes hooked up to an Trieu Industries IV. Unsettled, she goes to her mother and recounts a visceral nightmare where she was in a village, but men came and burned it down. She was then forced to walk for miles. Most hauntingly, she says her feet still hurt.
So, uh, given that Lady Trieu can make babies using a parents specific biological code and Ozymandias is straight up creating clones out of a lagoon, is it a stretch to askis Bian a clone?
Legacy isnt in land, its in blood, passed to us from our ancestors and by us to our children, Lady Trieu says, noting that if you have no children, when you die, your legacy is extinct. Thats true, but if you could perpetually clone yourself (or your children), does that mean your legacy could last forever?
Then again, it cant be overstated how the two characters most associated with cloning Lady Trieu and Adrian Veidt are obsessed with the figure of Ozymandias. The irony is the historic ruler inspired a famous Percy Bysshe Shelley poem wherein Ozymandiass great works are reduced to ruins in the desert. The only words left on his great statue? Look on my works ye might and despair!
Shelleys point: even the greatest men and women cant ever truly preserve their legacy.
So again: Whats with the clones on Watchmen?
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