So, if you’d asked me even as late as ten years ago if I could see actress Jean Smart as someone who could do a lot of superhero stuff, I might have been skeptical.
But since then, I’ve seen her get a nice, meaty role in FX’s Legion (a show I really should finish one of these days), and now in Watchmen, well, she might just steal the whole show.
Yes, Smart is FBI agent Laurie Blake, and she basically owns everyone. Interwoven throughout the episode is a phone call she’s making to Dr. Manhattan where she tells a long brick joke. A brick joke, for those not in the know, is a joke where someone tosses a brick into the air, often metaphorically, and then seems to forget about the brick until it comes down again later for the punchline. Laurie’s joke literally is about a brick coming down, so yeah, good joke.
But mostly, she just owns. We first see her in the field arresting a Batman-like vigilante with a fake bank heist. And when she shoots the guy to stop him, someone asks how she knew the guy’s body armor was bulletproof. Her silence says she didn’t and didn’t care.
And then she goes down to Tulsa to look into Judd’s murder, mostly as a favor from Senator Joe Keene Jr. And if that guy isn’t crooked, I’ll eat someone’s hat because I don’t much wear hats. Her only companion, because she has to take one, is randomly selected Agent Petey, who seems like a starstruck rookie but is actually a historian who knows exactly who Laurie is and what she did.
Hint: she keeps a pet owl, and Keene suggests helping out in Tulsa might get another owl a presidential pardon should he defeat President Robert Redford in the next election.
Once in Tulsa, she takes no BS from anyone, knowing who Looking Glass and Sister Night really are, shooting a Seventh Kavalryman who invaded Judd’s funeral in the head before anyone could blink, and fortunately Abigail is there to drop Judd’s coffin on top of the guy before the bomb went off.
And as she’s leaving the episode, someone drops Abigail’s car right in front of her.
She takes all this with style. I am loving this character.
Oh, and it turns out the Lord of the Manor is, to no one’s surprise, Ozymandias, and some dude named the Game Warden may be something of a nemesis for him. So long as all that goes somewhere, we can be more or less satisfied.