Throughout this, we’ll be breaking down one of the most enigmatic characters in comic book history. That is, Doctor Manhattan, the God Like being that found himself at the centre of both Lady Trieu and The Seventh Kavalry’s plans.
We’re gonna be going over the character’s entire history, his powers, abilities, how he views time and what we think may have happened to him at the end of the season.
There will be some spoilers here so if you aren’t fully caught up with the show and don’t want to know what happens then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
To avoid any confusion I’ll be sticking with the Graphic Novel timeline and the HBO show that follows it but we may be covering the Doomsday Clock timeline down the line so keep an eye out for that.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this, now let’s get into our breakdown of Doctor Manhattan.
Doctor Manhattan Biography
Jon Osterman was born in 1929 in Germany. The son of a Watchmaker, Jon quickly learned the skill of putting timepieces together and regularly he and his father went through the inner workings of clocks, dismantling them and putting them back together piece by piece.
In 1939 before the outbreak of the second world war, Jon and his family left Germany because apparently his mother was Jewish. According to the graphic novel when escaping the country, they were stopped at the border and during this Jon’s mother ran out from the wagon that they were using as transport to escape the country.
This apparently distracted the soldier’s long enough for his father to kill both of them but Jon’s mother was unfortunately killed in the process.
The show changes this up slightly and says that Jon’s mother actually ran off with an SS Officer and abandoned them. It is possible that this is the truth and out of shame Jon lied as the story about his father suddenly becoming a murderer that is capable of taking out two soldiers seems a bit far fetched.
We don’t have concrete answers for this but at least there is enough here so that you can draw your own conclusion.
Jon and his father ended up staying at a countryside castle on their journey to America that was a safe haven for refugees and those fleeing the war.
Mr. Phillips And Ms. Crookshanks
Whilst sneaking about, Jon hid in a cupboard and saw two people having sex. They found him and confronted the character about it, passing him a Bible and explaining the story of Adam and Eve, requesting that he returns to the castle as he’s created something beautiful.
These two would later become the Adam and Eve that he would create on the Europa moon.
After this stop off Jon and his Father moved to New York where he father, Josef continued his career as a Watchmaker however after the theory of relativity is discovered he abandons this profession.
Jon who was supposed to follow in his footsteps is then lead down a course of studying science and eventually this leads him to Princeton University where he studies between the years of 1948-1958.
Jon graduated with a PH.D. in Atomic Physics and in 1959 gained a job at a research base at the Gila Flats. This position included studying Intrinsic Fields, basically what holds matter together and stop atoms from shifting and falling apart. Jon would later learn how to manipulate intrinsic fields which is how he is able to deconstruct and reconstruct both himself and things around him.
At the base he meets Wally Weaver and Janey Slater who he vividly remembers buys him a beer. This is the first woman that ever did this for him and the two begin dating, eventually going to the Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey where they are photographed. This photograph becomes one of the most important images in Doctor Manhattan’s life and throughout the graphic novel, we see him obsessing over it at several points.
Also when they are at the Amusement Park, Janey’s watch strap snaps and it falls to the floor. A passing man stands on it and Jon picks it up, vowing to fix it using his skills as a watchmaker.
A month later during the conducting of an intrinsic field test, Jon accidentally leaves this watch in the chamber. Jon was repairing it to give it to Janey as a gift and he rushes back into the chamber, unfortunately becoming locked in there as the countdown to the launch of the experiment begins.
Unable to escape, Jon becomes trapped in the chamber and his colleagues including Wally watch on as he is torn apart in front of them. Janey can’t bear to watch this and she runs from the room, leaving Jon there calling out for her in what’s a really heartbreaking moment.
Jon is disintegrated and seemingly killed in the blast and a token funeral is held with only the photo there as an image of him as there is nothing to actually bury.
The Birth Of Doctor Manhattan
However, Jon is not dead and he slowly begins to reconstruct himself similar to the watches that he used to build. A nervous system appears and then later a circulatory system. Not long after a screaming skeleton materialises on the grounds before Jon does fully in the cafeteria on November 22nd, 1959.
The Superman is here, he exists and he’s American.
Jon now thrust into the limelight becomes a superhero, working for the American Government under the named Doctor Manhattan which is meant to strike up fear in the enemies of the U.S. due to it’s closeness to the Manhattan Project. However, instead of the atomic symbol, Doc marks his head with the symbol for Hydrogen.
He continues dating Janey even though he knows that they will eventually break up due to his inability to fully connect with her. Jon is immortal, standing still in time whilst those move around him and thus Janey will grow old whilst he never does thus eventually they grow apart which I’ll get into later.
Doctor Manhattan Explained
Under the name of Doctor Manhattan Jon acts as almost a PR campaign for the U.S. and ends up dismantling Tanks publicly as a show of the strength of the U.S. and he even visits the moon during the Apollo moon landing on July 20th, 1969.
Jon’s understanding of technology allows the world to advance at a much faster rate and because of this the Watchmen world is far more advanced than ours, containing electric cars and so on.
The advancements he comes up with actually tip the Cold War in America’s favor and because of this the rest of the world begins to dislike the country.
His relationship really comes under strain at this point and he and Janey argue and fight a lot.
Jon is then called on by Captain Metropolis in the hopes of becoming a member of a group known as The Crimebusters and here he meets the second Silk Spectre aka Laurie Juspeczyk.
The meeting pretty much falls but the group are all put into pairs with Laurie and Doc being teamed up. Janey says he made this happen and that it wasn’t done randomly but Jon says that he was always meant to be paired with her.
This kinda leads into our next point which is how Doctor Manhattan actually views time.
How Doctor Manhattan Views Time
Doctor Manhattan actually views all time within his life at once, he is able to perceive each moment at the exact same time and thus on the surface he appears to have the ability to see the future. However all that he is doing is looking at the moment and relaying it to a point in which it needs to be relayed to in order for it to make any sense. In Watchmen a Tachyon Device is used by Ozymandias that limits his view of the future and though he can’t see during its activation he can see around it.
It’s very confusing and I’ve tried explaining it multiple times and it’s extremely difficult.
Jon describes everyone, including himself as a puppet, however he is able to see the strings and because of this he has some knowledge of being controlled. This is why he appears to just go through the motions and why he doesn’t get out of the way of The Seventh Kavalry’s cannon as this was always meant to happen and therefore he needed to participate in it.
The way I’ve always looked at it is that the Watchmen graphic novel actually perfectly demonstrates how the character views time and it is actually fourth wall breaking.
If you read the graphic novel you can see the events play out in it. You can read it from front to back, back to front, choose any page at random but the events, the story, it always plays out the same.
Jon is basically a god because he is us, above the story, reading it, able to control what part of the story plays out at that moment for him and able to jump back and forth through it depending on what moment he wants to see.
However, he cannot affect it and this is why he must continue doing certain things.
Jon also has the ability to teleport, assemble and dissemble matter, levitate, fly, shapeshift, basically do whatever he wants to or rather whatever the story wants him to.
Laurie And Doctor Manhattan
When patrolling with Laurie the two gain an attraction for one another and he ends up kissing her. Janey finds out and leaves him and not long after his father Josef dies which is when he tells the world his true name.
Jon and Laurie move to Washington together and he is asked to intervene in the Vietnam war which he ends not long after.
In Vietnam he comes across the comedian who kills a woman that he got pregnant and Jon refuses to intervene, leading the comedian to say that he is losing his grip on his humanity.
Whilst the end of the War is great for the U.S. it also raises fear in the rest of the world which causes tension amongst the population of the planet.
Distrust for Vigilantes also begins to rise and riots break out against costumed heroes.
They too storm the White House but Doc teleports them all home though two die from heart attacks during this.
Not long after Senator Keene passes The Keene act which outlaws masked heroes though Doc continues working for the government, eventually moving to Rockefeller Military Research Centre where he lives with Laurie, though this is purely put in place because the Government wants to keep him grounded in some ways.
With tension at boiling point and the fear of a nuclear apocalypse right around the corner, Ozymandias creates a plan to trick the world into uniting itself and he begins working on a faking an alien attack.
During this, he infects Wally Weaver, Moloch, a previous enemy of Jon and Janey slater with cancer.
Jon Goes To Mars
Ozy too kills The Comedian and Rorschach goes to warn him that there is a costumed killer out on the loose but he pays this no mind and transports him out of the area. Focused heavily on his work he allows Laurie to go out with Dan Drieberg, the latest Nite Owl and not long after he attends The Comedian’s funeral.
Later, Doc is scheduled to go on a chat show but on this, he is confronted by a journalist from The Nova Express which is an Ozymandias owned Magazine. Here he’s accused of causing cancer to people that have gotten close to him and in anger Doc teleports everyone out of the building.
Fed up with the planet he returns to the Gila Flats and comes across the photo of himself and Janey and he teleports to Mars.
Tensions rise once more and with the U.S. no longer having it’s best defense, the rest of the world turn their arms towards the country.
The threat of Nuclear war looms ever closer.
Eventually he returns to Earth to see Laurie and together the two go to the Red Planet where she convinces him to help humanity.
Jon realises that Laurie very existence is an improbable miracle that had a billion to one chance of ever coming true and this restores his love for life.
Ozymandias Vs Doctor Manhattan
He returns to Earth too late however and Ozy has already launched his attack which wiped out millions of people. Together he travels to Antarctica to confront the character but Ozy has a contingency plan and he disintegrates Doc using an intrinsic field weapon.
Rorschach, Laurie and Nite Owl look completely defeated.
However, Doc has already put himself together several times and he returns once more, going after the character. Just as he is about to kill him, Ozy reveals that his plan to unite the world worked and if the hoax is exposed then everything will fall apart.
Rorschach cannot abide by this lie and thus Doctor Manhattan is forced to kill him after the character says that he won’t be silenced.
It’s a brutal moment in all adaptations and watching Rorschach scream ‘Do it’ never gets old.
With Laurie now happy with Dan and humanity saved, Doctor Manhattan decides to leave Earth in order to create life somewhere else. Ozy asks if his plan worked and if he managed to end it to which Doc replies ‘nothing ever ends.’
Doc On Europa
From the show, we learn that Doc actually traveled to the Jupiter Moon Europa in order to create life there. He rebuilds the castle and makes humans in the image of the two that he met at the castle, calling them Mr. Phillips and Ms. Crookshanks.
Whilst living on the moon he sent a decoy to Mars to robotically carry out motions that made it look like he was on the planet and thus he hid his true intentions on Europa.
However, this place is too perfect for him and he requires all of the flaws that humanity have, thus he travels back to Earth and in 2009 he meets Angela Abar at a bar in Saigon.
The Events Of The Watchmen TV Show
The two begin a ten-year relationship with Jon taking on the appearance of a dead man who doesn’t have any family members in order to raise no questions. Jon wishing to lead a normal life decides to travel to Ozymandias for help. In exchange for a tachyon device that will rid him of his memories, Doc transports Ozy to Europa where he can live on the Utopia that he was so desperate to create.
Before putting the device in his head he goes to see Will Reeves and together the two form an alliance to protect his and Angela’s children in the future.
Together with Angela the two travel to Tulsa and on an event known as The White Night in which The Seventh Kavalry attack police officers in their homes, he transports one of the attackers to the Gila flats on pure muscle memory.
This leads the Seventh Kavalry to discover that Doctor Manhattan is hidden in Tulsa and they begin to form a plan to capture the character and steal his powers, thus allowing them to rule the world.
Lady Trieu, made aware of the group by Will Reeves who used to be Hooded Justice, instead wants to save the planet and she too concocts a plan to steal the docs powers and wipe out the Kavalry in one fell swoop.
After Angela overdoses on Will’s nostalgia pills in order to find out the truth about him, Trieu saves her and reveals the Kavalry’s plan which makes her run home and unleash the Doc from the unwitting Cal.
Doc potentially puts his powers into an egg and makes sure that Angela sees him walking on water as a way to demonstrate his powers which I think plays into the ending which we’ll get into in just a bit.
The Kavalry capture Cal and go to transfer his powers into Joe Keene Junior, their leader but Lady Trieu transports them to the site of The Greenwood Race Massacre where she is waiting with her Millenium Clock which can take the docs energy and transfer it.
The Doc is sucked up into the machine and seemingly killed but Ozymandias launches another squid attack that destroys Trieu’s machine and her powers.
Angela returns home and finds the egg, eats it and then ventures out onto the pool which is when the season cuts to black.
Watchmen Season 2 Predictions
Now personally I believe that the Doc is alive and this is because Doc was able to see the importance of the pool and relay it from the future to Angela. The Doc can only see within his own life and not beyond it, thus in order to know that this would be an important place for Angela he would have to be aware of it.
The Doc doesn’t joke about and everything is absolute for the character so the significance of the egg and pool definitely means something.
I think Angela will gain his powers and be able to restore him as his energy was never absorbed by Trieu and thus it is still out there somewhere waiting to return for Season Two.
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on Doctor Manhattan and if you agree with my theories or not. Comment below and let me know!