Study Guide

Watchmen Chapter VIII

By Alan Moore

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Chapter VIII

Old Ghosts

  • Hollis Mason calls up Sally Jupiter to reminisce and share news of Dan and Laurie’s tenement rescue. They banter back and forth and we learn Halloween’s almost here.
  • We head to the newsstand, where the older half misses his late wife Rosa, sells a paper to Dr. Long, and realizes his best customer is actually Rorschach.
  • All the while, the younger half reads T.B.F. There, the marooned sailor believes his wife and kids are already dead.
  • Cut to the Nite Owl workshop, where Dan and Laurie are knee-deep in conspiracy theories. This one company, Dimensional Developments, employed all the folks that Dr. Manhattan allegedly gave cancer to.
  • Suspicious? Absoshmooply.
  • Dan thinks someone wants Jon out the equation in order to start World War III. He discovers that Dimensional Developments owns two other companies: the Institute for Extraspatial Studies and Pyramid Deliveries.
  • Because Veidt’s all goody two-shoes, Dan suggests they free Rorschach before bringing him into the mix.
  • Back in Sing-Sing, our jailbird Rorschach has a visitor: his old nemesis Big Figure (a little person, get it?) and two lackeys. They promise to do dastardly deeds to him, very very soon. The clock’s ticking.
  • At the Dreiberg residence, one of the detectives (Steve) pays Dan a visit, and warns him not to play any more dress-up.
  • Now, it’s Halloween night. Coincidence? Not with Alan Moore at the helm.
  • For the first time, we head to the offices of the New Frontiersman, Rorschach’s favorite right-wing newspaper.
  • Mr. Godfrey, the editor, and his pudgy assistant Seymour (of course) lay out a defense of masked heroes for the cover story. On the back page, they run a piece about Max Shea, the missing writer.
  • The scene shifts to a tropical island with said writer and an illustrator, Ms. Manish. She continues to sketch this monstro-looking alien for a movie project they think they’re working on.
  • Remember our old pal Hollis Mason? He carves a jack-o-lantern and watches the news.
  • The important snippets: Nuclear war is coming. Doug Roth of the Nova Express (a left-wing paper) calls out the New Frontiersman as fascist claptrap. In prison, Rorschach’s hot oil victim has died and a riot is about to break out.
  • Cut to the newsstand where a gang of knot-tops is hassling the older half of the Odd Couple. They’re ready to flip out, what with nuclear war on the horizon.
  • The younger half carries on with T.B.F. The marooned sailor is starting to lose his mind, making chitchat with his dead crewmates.
  • You think the New York City streets are wild? Let’s head to Sing-Sing.
  • Big Figure & Co. have taken over the prison and are about to cut through the bars of Rorschach’s cell. Unfortunately, one of Big Figure’s goons gets in the way.
  • Up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s a bird-plane! Archie swoops in over the prison, impervious to the prison guards’ gunfire.
  • Rorschach electrocutes Big Figure’s other goon, and the little crime boss runs away.
  • On foot, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre track down Rorschach, who flushes the Big Figure before heading off with them. Once they’re safely aboard Archie, Dan voices solidarity with Rorschach. Laurie still thinks his theories are insane, and wishes Jon were here to fix everything.
  • The trio returns to the Dreiberg residence to freshen up and reload. Presto change-o, Jon is waiting for Laurie in the living room. Well, some of Jon. The rest is on Mars.
  • Jon reveals Laurie’s purpose: to convince him that humankind is worth saving. They teleport away.
  • Dan and Rorschach fly off in Archie seconds before the two detectives and SWAT bust down the door.
  • To the newsstand once more, where trouble’s a-brewing. In T.B.F. the marooned sailor attempts to jump into the ocean to his death, but touches down on dry land. Curses!
  • The knot-tops are wound up and looking for blood. They blame the costumed heroes. One of them thinks he knows where Nite Owl lives.
  • But it’s sweet old Hollis Mason who answers the door, expecting trick-or-treaters. The jig is up (again with the jig, huh?). Mason fights valiantly, but succumbs to their numbers.
  • After the knot-tops flee, several kids show up in costume, hoping for candy from Mr. Mason. None is coming.

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