Warning: SPOILERS for HBO’s Watchmen.
HBO’s Watchmen has confirmed that Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons) is being held in a kind of prison – but where is he? Ozymandias and his predicament have been the most mysterious – and increasingly bizarre – aspect of the TV series created by Damon Lindelof. At first, Watchmen played coy with Veidt’s identity until last week’s episode, “She Was Killed By Space Junk”, affirmed that Jeremy Irons is indeed playing the villain of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel.
In Watchmen episode 4, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own”, Veidt has now made clear that he’s a prisoner and that his strange actions have been geared towards engineering his escape. We know that Ozymandias is surrounded by clones of his only two companions, his butler Mr. Phillips (Tom Mison) and his maid Ms. Crookshanks (Sara Vickers). We also know that he has a nemesis of sorts who watches over him in his incarceration, an enigmatic figure called the Game Warden. By Veidt’s count, he has been held in captivity for four years (although in Watchmen‘s outside world, Ozymandias was missing for 7 years before he was officially declared “dead”). By Adrian’s own admission, he thought his prison was “a paradise” at first but now he’s desperate to find a means to freedom. But Veidt is called the World’s Smartest Man for a reason and he’s been utilizing whatever resources are available to him to escape – including the bodies of his cloned servants who he slaughtered.
So, the trillion-dollar question – which is the net worth of Lady Trieu (Hong Chau), who purchased Veidt’s company – is where is Adrian Veidt’s prison? Since this is Watchmen, a universe where Doctor Manhattan exists, even the most outlandish possibility isn’t necessarily out of the question, but the first and most obvious option is that Veidt is being held somewhere on Earth. Adrian’s country manor and its surrounding environment, which looks like the United Kingdom, certainly resembles Earth. Veidt rides horses, grows tomatoes, and he has all of the comforts of home (except the freedom to leave). It’s possible Veidt is somewhere on Earth but isolated by a kind of invisible barrier, one that he has now proven he can catapult cloned corpses through.
But then again, it’s also possible Veidt’s prison is an artificial environment that’s only made to look like Earth. There are a few clues pointing to the fact that Veidt isn’t actually on the third rock from the sun. The first subtle indication is that in Watchmen‘s premiere episode, Doctor Manhattan is shown on Mars demolishing a construct that looks exactly like the castle Veidt lives in. This could point to the blue super being as Veidt’s jailer. There’s also the fact that Veidt has been designing a makeshift environmental suit he needs to withstand extreme cold – could it be a jerry-rigged space suit that Veidt plans to wear himself that he tested on the hapless Mr. Phillips?
So, if Ozymandias isn’t on Earth, then where is he? Veidt might be held on the moon, given the way the scenes transition by rising on Earth’s satellite. But if Doctor Manhattan and outer space are involved then it’s quite possible that Adrian Veidt is imprisoned somewhere on Mars, where Manhattan resides. When he grew his replacement clones of Phillips and Crookshanks, Veidt lamented them as “flaws in this thoughtless design” and admitted that he’s their master but “not their maker”. At the end of the Watchmen graphic novel, Doctor Manhattan indicated his intention to create life of his own – Veidt could very well be surrounded by Manhattan’s experiments at playing God and he’s simply not impressed by these so-called human replicas.
A final possibility is that Adrian Veidt is imprisoned in another dimension. The world still believes that they were attacked by a giant squid in 1985 and that the squid rain that has been happening since comes from a separate dimension. However, the giant squid was a hoax by Ozymandias so there may not actually be other dimensions in Watchmen‘s universe. And yet, it’s most likely that Adrian Veidt’s prison is somewhere not on Earth – yet somehow escape is just within catapult range. While this sounds absurd, anything is possible in Watchmen.
Watchmen airs Sundays @ 9pm on HBO.