"You ain't gonna get justice with a badge, Will Reeves. You gonna get it with that hood. And if you wanna stay a hero, townsfolk gonna need to think one of their own's under it."
—June to Will as he puts the hood for the first time
Two agents named Art and Jerry, question Hooded Justice and express their admiration towards him. They note that the Minutemen put away dozens of super-villains, and Hooded Justice was the first. In this latest episode of American Hero Story, he gets taken into custody, at first The agents call Hooded Justice and the Minutemen true American Heroes. But then the agents ask him about what the story is behind the noose around his neck. One theory is that it’s connected to how executioners used to dress. The other is that it’s related to sex stuff. He gets told they know that he’s gay and bring up Captain Metropolis. They mention that they need him to bring them a film that Captain Metropolis has hidden away in his home. The agents tell him to take his hood off so they can take a photo of his face. Hooded Justice refuses, and the agents note that Captain Metropolis has a roll of film with sex stuff on it, and Metropolis is blackmailing J. Edgar Hoover. Jerry tells Hooded Justice that he's going to bring them the film, and they'll tear up the photo of Hooded Justice they're going to take in return for the vigilante's cooperation. Hooded Justice finally removes his mask, and Jerry starts to take a photo of him. But just as he’s told to say cheese after he has complied in unmasking himself, he punches one of the agents and beats them up to the point that he kills them. In the episode of AHS, the voiceover from Hooded Justice mentions how he’s really angry that Nelson is cheating on him with Hoover no less.
As American Hero Story plays in the police station, Laurie Blake comes in and tells the cops to turn that shit off. An officer tells Laurie that Angela Abar needs treatment before she goes into a coma. Undeterred, Laurie confronts Angela in her cell and asks where Will Reeves is. Angela says nothing, and Laurie explains how Nostalgia makers harvest memories and put them into pills. According to Laurie, they insert little chips into your brain, and they harvest your memories, and then they put them in a little pill and you pop one, and you get to experience that shit all over again. It was supposed to be for older folks and as a treatment for those with dementia. But that limited the market. People eventually got hooked on them because who wants to be in the present, when you can live in the past? So as more people got hooked and dependency, as well as the number of overdoses, increased, Robert Redford and the FDTA outlawed it. But as it just so happens, Lady Trieu owns the company that made those pills.
Meanwhile, Angela fades in and out of consciousness, and Laurie warns her that the pills are bad. She tells Angela to sign a release so they can get her stomach pumped, and Angela sees memories of a police officer playing a drum. More memories flood her mind and she collapses.
Angela finds herself in Will's body in 1938 as he graduates the police academy. The chief gives a speech and then pins a badge on each graduate's jacket... except Will's. The black officer, Lt. Sam Battle, does it instead, and tells Will to beware of the Cyclops and shakes Will's hand.
Later, Will has drinks with his wife, reporter named June. He admits that the police in New York City kill black people and that the police department just hired him for the good publicity it would bring them. June says that he's an angry man, and most of them are. Will wonders what he should be angry about, and June tells him that his parents were murdered in front of him. He says that he doesn't want to live in the past, and June tells him that's why he's angry.
Will's mother plays the piano in his memories as he goes on foot patrol. He sees a white man, Fred, throwing a Molotov into a Jewish delicatessen. The man walks away and Will goes after him. Fred suggests that a rat chewed through a wire, setting the place on fire. Will arrests him and takes him to the station, where Fred denies starting the fire, saying he was on a stroll and that it must be a case of mistaken identity. Fred asks the other officers who they're going to believe. One officer takes offense when Fred calls Will a "spook" and tells Fred to apologize. Once Fred does, the officer leads Fred away.
Will goes to a newspaper stand and the vendor shows him a copy of Action Comics #1. Will seems to identify with Superman because like him, his parents shipped him away from the destruction of their home, to hopefully give him a better life. Fred bumps past Will and smirks when Will calls him out for it. Will goes back to the station and asks the desk sergeant if he let Fred go. The desk sergeant tells Will to let it be, warning him that the others will kill him if he doesn't drop it. Will is on his way home, when three officers pull up and offer him a ride home and then invite him for a beer. When Will refuses, they drive off and Will pictures them dragging two bodies behind them on the police car. Just like during the Tulsa riots all those years back. The officers drive back, cutting Will off as he walks through an alley and then beat him up.
Later, the officers drag Will to a tree and string him up. They cut him down at the last moment and tell him to keep his black nose out of white folks' business or the next time they won't cut him down. Once they leave, Will looks at the hood they put over his head before they strung him up. He walks home, the noose still around his neck, and hears a woman scream. Tearing eye holes into the hood, Will puts it on and attacks the men attacking the woman and her husband. He viciously beats the robbers unconscious, and the couple thank him before running off.
Later, Will returns home and tells June that he's angry. She hugs him, crying. The next afternoon, June tends to Will's injuries. She says that the newspapers are calling the masked Will a hero. June asks why Will put the hood back on, and asks what the name of the movie was that he watched as a boy. Will remembers that it was Trust in the Law!, and says that it ends with Bass Reeves in a hood lassoing a crooked sheriff. He says that eventually the theater was burned down in the Tulsa race riots, and June tells him that he'll get justice by wearing the hood and letting people believe he's a white man. She puts white makeup around his eyes and asks if he really wants to do this, and Will says that he's sure.
That night, the new Hooded Justice figures that Fred is involved with the Cyclops. He watches as Fred and his friends go into the back of a grocery store, and then breaks in and takes out the KKK men inside. Once Hooded Justice has taken them down, he finds a book on Mesmerism titled Mesmerism for the Masses. A man attacks him and they burst into the grocery store that Fred owns. Fred fires a shotgun at Hooded Justice, who dives out the window.
In the present, Laurie examines the unconscious Angela and tells her that she swallowed a lethal dose of Nostalgia and they gave her a shot of adrenaline to wake her up. Angela's eyes are wide open but she's not moving, and Laurie has Cal read something to Angela to get her out. Cal reads Angela's history and says that he's her husband, and reminds her that it's 2019. He asks her to wake up and come home, but Angela ends up slipping back into the memories of her grandfather.
The next memory of Will shows him and June eating at home when Nelson Gardner arrives and introduces himself. June refuses to leave them alone. Nelson tells Will that he's there on behalf of a costumed adventurer named Captain Metropolis. Metropolis would like to form a team of patriots and heroes, with the name being The New Minutemen. When Will wonders what any of this has to do with him, Nelson says that the team needs Hooded Justice. Metropolis has concluded that a cop is feeding Hooded Justice information on criminals, and believes Will is that cop. June correctly deduces that Nelson is Captain Metropolis by pointing to the same blonde hair, build and height that Nelson and Captain Metropolis have. Will asks him what "Cyclops" means to him. He says that the KKK is Cyclops, and Nelson figures it's a job for the Minutemen. June says that Hooded Justice shouldn't join the Minutemen, and Nelson tells Will that Hooded Justice can have true companionship among fellow humans with the same goals as his. Nelson gives Will his card and leaves. Once they're alone, June tells Will no, and Will says yes.
Later, Nelson and Will end up in bed. Nelson lies that he realized Will was Hooded Justice when they met. But Will points out that he knows Nelson that the Hooded Justice was a white man. Nelson goes onto say that the Minutemen will be thrilled to have Hooded Justice alongside them. That they know with him on their team, it legitimizes the whole operation. He does warn Will that the others can't know Will's secret identity, because some of them aren't as tolerant as he is. He then gets up from the bed, and goes to fetch his mask. He suggests that they wear their masks the next time they have sex. Nelson admires Will's beauty and says that it's a shame the others can't see it.
Later, Will and June lie in bed. Will admits that he needs a team to take down Cyclops, and he talks about how he found June in the grass after he escaped Tulsa. June tells him to never make her start crying again, and when he agrees she reveals to him that she's pregnant.
Will puts on his white makeup and looks at clippings of Nazis in the U.S. and his own exploits. He then joins the other Minutemen and Metropolis presents him to talk with the press. Hooded Justice says that he has evidence of a secret conspiracy, and Metropolis intervenes and says that a crime wave is being planned by Moloch. Will goes back to his room and removes his hood and makeup dejected.
In a montage June is seen raising their son Marcus, who watches Will put on his makeup one day. Will reads stories about the continued Negro lynchings. As an officer, he gets summoned to a movie theater. They send him in and bring out black patrons, and talks to a woman named Lorna. Lorna says that there was a flicker when the picture started. Later they told her that she hurt people, but Lorna doesn't remember. Will figures that it involves Cyclops and the book on mesmerism that he found, goes out, and sees men loading projection equipment into a truck that's going to a warehouse.
Later outside the warehouse, Will calls Nelson and tells him what happened. Nelson dismisses it as nothing serious and doesn't believe the Klan is using mind control. He tells him that Will’s mission just isn’t the Minutemen’s cup of tea. Nelson says that the Klan using mind control sounds so ridiculous and to hear himself at how crazy it sounds. Thus, Will is just going to have to solve black unrest all on his own. Instead, he invites Will to come over and talk about it, and refuses to bring the Minutemen to help. Will hangs up and then smashes the receiver into the phone. Fred is outside watching, and says that Will doesn't walk a beat there. He offers Will free steaks, and Will realizes that Fred owns the warehouse and doesn't remember their first interaction. When Fred casually insults Will, Will shoots him in the head; instantly killing him. Will then puts on his hood, goes into the warehouse, and finds the other Klansmen and the police working on the projection equipment. He shoots them as well, looks at the projector plans, and goes into the next room where the officer from the station is preparing a subliminal film about how blacks should only attack each other and never harm whites. Will's gun is empty so he strangles the officer with the microphone cord. Will then gathers the bodies, pours gasoline on them, and burns them. He takes one projector, goes outside, and watches the warehouse burn down.
Will returns home with the projector and sees Marcus putting on his white makeup and wearing a noose around his neck. The boy says that he's like Will, and Will says no. When June comes out, she tells him that he can't ever take it off because he can't stand to see himself now. She thought it would help him get rid of his anger, but being Hooded Justice just fed his anger. June says that she's going back to Tulsa, tells him to stay away from them before leaving with Marcus.
Decades later, a now-elderly Will holds the noose in his hand and sits by the side of the road. When Judd Crawford's car hits Will's tire ripper, Judd gets out and Will shines a flickering flashlight in his face. He mind-controls Judd to push him to the tree, turns off the light, and says that he's justice. Judd insists that he's trying to help them and they don't know what's really happening, and Will points out that Judd has a Klan robe in his closet. The police chief says that it belongs to his grandfather, and says that Will doesn't know him. Will says that he does and motions a single eye on his forehead, the sign that other Cyclops members used to identify one another. Will then shines the light in Judd's face and tells him to hang himself. Unable to resist, Judd does so.
In the meantime, Angela wakes up gasping, a tube hooked up to her arm. Trieu is there and welcomes Angela back.
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- New York City, New York (flashback)
- Saigon, Vietnam (mentioned)
- American Hero Story
- Action Comics 1
- Trust in the Law!
- Mesmerism for the Masses
- Solar Mirror Weapon (mentioned)
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
- Cyclops Projector
- The Fountainhead
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Tulsa Police Department
- Food, Drug and Technology Administration (mentioned)
- Trieu Industries
- New York City Police Department
- New York Amsterdam News
- New York Gazette
- Ku Klux Klan
- F.T. and Sons
- National Bank (poster)
- Moloch the Mystic
- Captain Axis
- King Mob
- J. Edgar Hoover
- Robert Redford
- Uncle Tom's Cabin
- Amos 'n' Andy
- Bass Reeves
- Topher Abar
- Emma Abar
- Rosie Abar
- Franklin Roosevelt
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- The historical events surrounding Hooded Justice in this episode both aligns and deviates from Hollis Mason's accounts in Under the Hood.
- Will Reeves is assigned to the 113th Precinct in the southeast part of Queens. This lines up with the chapters of Under the Hood which place the first two Hooded Justice sightings in Queens.
- The details of Hooded Justice's first appearance are consistent with those of Under the Hood, with the only exception being that the witnesses saw Will Reeves ran into the alley, rather than "drop" into it "from above." However, this is explained in the book by pointing out that "the witnesses' recounting of the event was confused and contradictory," a nod to how tricky eyewitness accounts of traumatic events can be.
- The first full costume Hooded Justice appearance that made the news as recounted in Under the Hood is the supermarket incident, also dramatized in an earlier episode of American Hero Story. This one is drastically different, however, with Hooded Justice leaping out through the window rather than in it, and the attack having nothing to do with a supermarket stickup gone wrong. The most likely scenario here is that since so many of those involved in Cyclops were police officers, it was easy to change the official story by the time it made it to the press, and there's no reason that Hollis Mason would ever know any details about this that weren't in the papers. This illustrates just how well the Order of the Cyclops is able to cover up events and twist narratives to their advantage.
- It’s noted in Hollis Mason’s memoir, Under the Hood, that Hooded Justice said complimentary things about Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. The Hooded Justice in HBO’s Watchmen is depicted as being vehemently against racism, fascism, and Nazism. Damon Lindelof and his team justified this by looking at how Will Reeves' costume doesn’t just cover his identity, but his race. “Part of Will Reeves’s camouflage in terms of hiding his true identity required making statements like that in the presence of the other Minutemen so as to throw off the scent of who he truly was,” Lindelof said.
- This is the first episode to receive a viewer discretion warning due to the strobing effects.
- The episode is also largely shot in black and white.
- The man who pins a badge on Will Reeves as he graduates from the police academy is Lieutenant Samuel J. Battle, a real life figure who was New York City’s first black police officer.
- Will Reeves’ makeup under the Hooded Justice mask is an echo of how his granddaughter, Angela Abar, sprays a mask onto her face as Sister Night.
- The romaine lettuce seen in the supermarket is a nice callback to the first present day scenes seen in "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice".
- Fred’s “what the fuck are you supposed to be?” when he sees Hooded Justice for the first time mirrors something that Hollis Mason noted in Under the Hood, about how the costumed heroes felt more at home when they had someone else larger-than-life to fight. “You see, if you’re the only one who’d bothered to turn up for a free-for-all in costume, you tended to look kind of stupid. If the bad guys joined in as well, it wasn’t so bad, but without them it was always sort of embarrassing.”
- In the previous episode, when Looking Glass was following members of the Seventh Kavalry into an abandoned mall, what is spotted is some graffiti on the walls of a large red eye. This appears to be the same logo used by the KKK's Order of the Cyclops.
- With the exception of Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis, the other members of the Minutemen, Nite Owl I, The Comedian, Silk Spectre I, Dollar Bill, Mothman, and Silhouette, are mainly seen as blurry background characters.
- At the press conference where Hooded Justice officially joins the Minutemen, Moloch gets another namedrop when Captain Metropolis cuts off Hooded Justice before he can talk about the Cyclops conspiracy, and then transitions to promoting National Bank. This is the fictional bank chain that employed Dollar Bill, and it features the very same racist poster that was featured in the present day in Episode 1.
- Will Reeves calls Nelson Gardner to inform him of his discovery of Cyclops' plot to hypnotize the residents of Harlem into killing each other, and demands him to come get the other Minutemen to help him fight them; Nelson casually dismisses his plea saying that Harlem is a violent neighborhood anyway and that "black unrest" is not the Minutemen's problem. In Adrian Veidt's flashback scene in Chapter II: Absent Friends, Nelson hosts the first Crimebusters meeting at his home and presents a map of the United States displaying the various problems in the country that need to be tackled. One the societal issues listed that can be seen before the Comedian burns it down is "black unrest" that just so happens to be pinned onto the Southern United States, where Oklahoma is located. This indicates that in his later years Nelson's views on race changed and he regretted the way he treated Will, and that his failed attempt of starting the Crimebusters was his way of making amends.
- The 2014 film Birdman influenced the making of this episode. From the long recurring takes, to the recurring appearance of a music player.
- In real life, as depicted in American Hero Story, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was believed to be homosexual. However, Hoover reportedly hunted down and threatened anyone who made insinuations about his sexuality.
- Lady Trieu is seen reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Alan Moore famously wrote Rorschach to criticize Rand and Steve Ditko who had Objectivist views.
- In recent years, the OK gesture, as depicted by members of the Cyclops, has become a white power symbol in real life and has been used by members of the alt-right.
- The Madison Square Garden rally was a real life pro-Nazi event that happened in 1939. Over Twenty-two thousand attended the event, and is one of the biggest white supremacy rallies in history.
- The Nazi rally of Long Island was also a real event.
- June Abar wrote for the New York Amsterdam News, a real life newspaper for the African American community in New York City. It's one of the oldest newspapers in the United States, starting in 1909.
- While not fully confirmed by the show's staff, the character of Fred, the racist white supermarket owner played by Glenn Fleshler, appears to allude to Fred Trump, the father of Donald Trump, based on both appearances and the fact that both owned supermarkets in Queens. In 1927, Fred Trump and six other men were arrested at a KKK rally, but he was the only one not to be held on charges and was set free. The same thing also happens to Fred in the episode, he is arrested for burning a Jewish deli, but is set free the next day.
- Action Comics #1, which features the first appearance of Superman, is released on June 1938 the same year when Will Reeves becomes Hooded Justice. There are many parallels between the two characters. Both of whom were sent away from their homes after it was destroyed along with their parents.
Behind the Scenes
|Watchmen (TV series)|
|01. It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice • 02. Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship • 03. She Was Killed by Space Junk • 04. If You Don't Like My Story, Write Your Own • 05. Little Fear of Lightning • 06. This Extraordinary Being • 07. An Almost Religious Awe • 08. A God Walks into Abar • 09. See How They Fly|