Study Guide

Watchmen Chapter XII

By Alan Moore

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Chapter XII

A Stronger Loving World

  • The doomsday clock has struck midnight. Millions are dead in New York City and giant tentacles are draped over the wreckage.
  • Newspapers blow around with the following headline: War?
  • Jon and Laurie take a walk through the destruction. He figures out why he couldn’t see this coming back in Chapter IX. Something about tachyons and static. Sure, let’s go with it, why not?
  • He traces the tachyon signal back to the South Pole. Laurie could care less in the wake of such devastation.
  • Let’s head down to Karnak, shall we? Nite Owl can’t believe what Veidt has successfully pulled off. Not only that, but anyone who helped carry out Veidt’s plan is already dead.
  • There are no loose ends, except two, as Jon and Laurie appear outside in the snow.
  • Jon teleports inside, but it’s a trap. He walks through an Intrinsic Field Subtractor and gets vaporized along with Bubastis, Veidt’s mutated pet lynx. Collateral damage.
  • Laurie runs up and shoots Veidt; however, he is so well trained he catches the bullet.
  • Veidt thinks victory is his.
  • Nuh-uh, not today. Jon comes back with a vengeance.
  • Veidt turns on a wall of TVs, each playing the news from around the world.
  • Because of what happened in New York, Russia has agreed to withdraw its troops.
  • Checkmate, game over. There will be peace on Earth, unless…
  • The thing is, Jon agrees with Veidt. He admits that humanity’s best chance of utopia depends on the U.S. and Russia uniting behind one cause.
  • The Silk Spectre goes along with it, as does Nite Owl. Rorschach, though, won’t compromise. He heads back to the hoverbikes, ready to tell the world the truth.
  • Before Veidt heads off to meditate, he asks Dan and Laurie to make themselves comfortable. Heartbroken over the loss of three million innocent New Yorkers, Dan and Laurie console each other.
  • With newfound gratitude for being alive, they make love by a fountain.
  • Out in the frozen tundra, Jon stops Rorschach, warning him not to ruin the precarious new world order.
  • Rorschach never surrenders, and so demands that Jon kill him, which he does.
  • Jon heads back inside, and stands over the naked, sleeping Dan and Laurie. He smiles, at peace.
  • Upstairs, Jon and Veidt have one last tête-à-tête, one last meeting of the minds.
  • Veidt seeks validation that Jon won’t give him. Instead, Jon decides to leave the galaxy, to head out and build new life from scratch.
  • But Watchmen’s story isn’t over.
  • Christmas, 1985. An unnaturally-blonde couple by the name of Hollis pays a visit to Sally Jupiter. Hair aside, they bear an uncanny resemblance to Dan and Laurie.
  • Sally goes to look for presents, and Laurie tells her mom that she knows Blake is her real father. They hug; all is forgiven.
  • After Dan and Laurie leave, Sally picks up her iconic Minutemen photo, and kisses the Comedian. She cries.
  • Back to New York City, inside the office of the New Frontiersman. It looks like Mr. Godrey and Seymour have both survived the blast.
  • Seymour’s in charge of picking a piece to run from the crank file. He reaches out.
  • There, in the stack, is Rorschach’s journal. What happens next? Only one man, Alan Moore, knows for certain.
  • Chapter Postscript: It would be a stronger world, a stronger loving world, to die in. —John Cale
  • Postscript: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the watchmen?) —JuvenalSatires, VI, 347, Quoted as the epigraph of the Tower Commission Report, 1987

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