'Watchmen' Ending Explained: What Happened at the End of the HBO Series?

HBO has now aired the finale of its "remix" of Watchmen, which brought to an end the arcs of a number of characters from the original like Laurie Blake (played by Jean Smart) and Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons) while suggesting a way the show could continue with a potential new Doctor Manhattan. But in order to explain that end scene, which sees Angela Abar (Regina King) trying to walk on water, we must first look at the events that led to the ending of the series.

What happened at the end of Watchmen?

Angela's attempt to walk on water is a reference to a conversation she had with her husband Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in Watchmen Episode 7, which also revealed that he is Doctor Manhattan. In this conversation, he said that he theoretically would be able to transfer his powers into an inanimate object which, if another person consumed that object, would transfer the powers into them. The object that Cal used to demonstrate this is an egg.

In the finale of the HBO series, after we think Doctor Manhattan has been vaporized and his energy destroyed, we see Will Reeves (Louis Gossett Jr.) tell Angela that she cannot make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Returning to the family home, she cleans up some broken eggs and finds one unbroken. Is this an egg that Doctor Manhattan has transferred his energy into, allowing Angela to become the hero? She eats the egg and heads towards the swimming pool in order to try and walk on water, another reference to the conversations she had with Manhattan in Episode 7.

However, the episode ends before we see whether she manages to walk on water, which could be a set-up for Season 2 of the show.

As for how Doctor Manhattan gets vaporized, it is revealed in the Watchmen finale that the 7th Kavalry had melted down a bunch of lithium batteries to create a cage for Doctor Manhattan, who they trapped by using a tachyonic cannon to teleport him into the cell. Their plan is to absorb his power to allow Joe Keene (James Wolk) to become the new Doctor Manhattan. However, Lady Trieu then appears to stop their plan so that she herself can become the new version of the superhero.

watchmen hbo ending explained
Could Angela Abar (Regina King) become Doctor Manhattan after the ending of "Watchmen"? HBO

Though Lady Trieu does manage to kill Cal and is almost able to absorb his powers, she endures the nasty end of being crushed in a building that collapses after it is compromised by a rain of frozen baby squids. After the events of 11/2/1985, where Veidt killed three million people in New York with a giant squid, he has every so often rained baby squid down in order to keep people vigilant about extraterrestrial threats, distracting them from potential nuclear arms races between different countries by making everyone more focused on the (fake) threat of an alien attack.

However, after Doctor Manhattan uses some of his powers to teleport Adrian, Jean and Wade (Tim Blake Nelson) to the former Antarctic fortress Karnak, Adrian realizes that if he freezes these frozen squid and rains them down of the 7th Kavalry building where the lithium cage holding Doctor Manhattan is, they will destroy the machine and stop Lady Trieu.

Trieu is not the only person to die in the building. Joe Keene gets turned into goo trying to absorb Doctor Manhattan's powers because he does not realise he has to filter the radiation before absorbing it, and Trieu murders a number of Kavalry members as a demonstration of her megalomaniac power.

Speaking of megalomaniacs, Adrian may finally be brought to justice for killing three million people after Jean and Wade finally arrest him, before bringing him back to Tulsa in "Archie," the owlship built by Dan Dreiberg in the original Watchmen comics.

Watchmen is streaming now on HBO Go and HBO Now.