'Watchmen' Episode 4 fuels a wild theory about Adrian Veidt's plot

The evidence is really starting to add up.

watchmen adrian veidt theory spoilers episode 4 easter egg

In a show full of weird characters, the weirdest part of HBO’s Watchmen is easily Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias (at least, that’s who we think Jeremy Irons is playing in a series of scenes disconnected from the rest of the story). Theories abound, including the idea that Irons isn’t playing Veidt at all, but the most convincing theory so far picks up on some very subtle clues to argue that the Ozymandias plot could be happening in a totally separate timeline.

Confused? Well, basically, the first three episodes of Watchmen each showed Veidt receiving a yellow-and-purple birthday cake, and as one fan noticed, the number of candles on the cake keeps going up from one in Episode 1 to two in Episode 2 to three candles in Episode 3. So is it possible that each episode represents a year-long time gap in Veidt’s story? Episode 4 provides a huge clue that this is exactly what’s happening.

watchmen hbo theories spoilers jeremy irons ozymandias veidt
Two candles. in Episode 2.

The Adrian Veidt segment in the latest Watchmen episode, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own,” opens by revealing where those assistant clones are coming from — and it’s predictably weird. We see Veidt pull several babies out of a body of water near his manor before selecting two and tossing the rest back in.

He then uses a machine to turn the babies into full-sized assistants while at the same time eating more birthday cake. Unfortunately, we don’t see how many candles were on this cake, but there’s an even bigger clue coming soon.

It turns out Veidt’s latest plan involves shooting the corpses of his dead clone assistants into the air with a giant trebuchet, and as those corpses are loaded up, he gives a very revealing speech:

Four years, four years since I was sent here. In the beginning, I thought it was a paradise, but it’s not. It’s a prison. So, by your help, with your eyes, with your broken mangled bodies, one way or another, I will escape this godforsaken place.”

That’s right, Veidt just confirmed that in Episode 4 of Watchmen he’s been imprisoned at the manor for four years, which lines up perfectly with our current theory. It also seems to confirm that Veidt’s story could be taking place years before the rest of the show since we know the character went missing in the late 2000s but was only declared dead in the show’s version of 2019.

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But is he really?

By now, I’m pretty much ready to accept this Watchmen theory as fact, but that still doesn’t explain where Adrian Veidt’s plotline is headed. Presumably, it will continue leaping forward in time to eventually catch up to the rest of the show by the season finale. As for Veidt’s ultimate plan — assuming it’s anything beyond simply escaping — well, if it’s anything like what he did at the end of the original Watchmen comic, we should all be very worried.


Watchmen airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.

Media via HBO