Watchmen had a lot of loose ends to tie up after Episode 5, and the sixth installment, "This Extraordinary Being," didn't disappoint. The hour reveals why we've been in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this whole time as well as expands the backstory of the comic book's most mysterious costumed hero, Hooded Justice, allowing the HBO adaptation to tell his story from an entirely new angle. In the episode, Angela Abar (Regina King), having just downed a near-lethal dose of memory pills created for her grandfather, Will Reeves, relives the major moments of his past, and she learns that he is none other than Hooded Justice, the very first masked hero, in a sequence (guest-starring Jovan Adepo as a younger version of Will) that will surprise both show-watchers and longtime comic fans. The episode's co-writer Cord Jefferson, who wrote "This Extraordinary Being" alongside creator Damon Lindelof, talked to Thrillist about creating a new character out of an old one, the show's bold examination of American racism, and the costumed hero appearance that surprised him the most.
Thrillist: Are you excited for the reaction to this episode? I feel like this is the big one, so far.
Cord Jefferson: Yeah, I'm excited. I'm a little nervous because this is one that I think we're taking a big risk with. Hooded Justice wasn't necessarily a main character in Watchmen, he's more an ancillary character, but he's important, he's big. He's the first superhero ever, he's sort of the one on which everybody else molded themselves afterwards. So, despite the fact that he's kind of an ancillary, smaller character, his presence looms large. I wouldn't say that he is beloved amongst Watchmen fans, but we're taking a big risk with a character that I think a lot of people who had read the source material looked at one way, and we're looking at it in a completely different way.
I think that when you do that, when you interpret the source material differently than maybe other people interpreted it, I think that you're bound to upset some people. So, I'm a little nervous about that. But, overall, I'm really excited about what the response is going to be. I think that the story's great. I was talking to another journalist, actually, about this, who's black, and he said that after he watched the episode, he went back and reread the book, and he felt closer to the book in a way that he had never felt before. It really thrilled him, the idea that the first ever superhero was black, and he said that it recontextualized the entire story for him in a way that he really enjoyed. We took this big risk, and if it brings a new audience to Watchmen and opens up the world to a lot of people who might have otherwise not felt as close to the material as they would, I'm super excited about that.