There are a lot of mysteries that are set up in ‘Watchmen’, the TV series, and they are growing increasingly bizarre. None, however, quite match the bizarreness of Episode 1’s raining squid, especially alongside characters reacting to it as if it’s a completely normal thing, with an alarm set up in place to deal with it. While the answer to why the squid rain is happening now is still a mystery, its origins go back to November 2, 1985, when the original comic was set. It was an event that changed the world of ‘Watchmen’ forever.
The original comic looms under the shadow of nuclear war. Tensions between the US and the USSR are at an all-time high, in the midst of the Cold War. In the real world, the Cold War ended in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, but in the comics, the hero known as Ozymandias — real name, Adrian Veidt — wasn’t willing to wait that long. Maybe it was because the threat of war was higher in the ‘Watchmen’ universe, maybe it was because Veidt would rather have been safe than sorry, or maybe it was just because Ozymandias had no faith in people. Whatever the case, he took it upon himself to orchestrate the end of the Cold War by introducing an even greater threat — that of an extradimensional incursion.
Veidt’s plan is long and meticulous. He seeded fears of alien incursions into people’s minds, with subliminal imagery in advertisements for products owned by his company, and by producing science fiction movies about invading aliens. In the meanwhile, he poured much of his attention in carrying out research into genetic engineering, working towards actually creating a monster to terrify the world with.
To make sure the monster was as terrifying as possible, he had a team of artists secluded on an island, each working to conceptualize the most terrifying horror possible. Based on their designs, Veidt created a giant squid, enhanced with the cloned brain of a deceased psychic. This gave the squid a certain level of psychic ability as well. On November 2, Veidt teleported the squid onto New York. The teleportation process was unstable, and the squid exploded. The real damage, however, came from the squid’s psychic backlash, which was responsible for the death of half of New York’s population.
The event has since been referred to as the Dimensional Incursion Event (D.I.E.) and it worked just as Veidt intended — the US and the USSR dropped all hostilities in order to combat this extra-dimensional threat. The squid itself was referred to as E.D.B.E, most likely standing for Extra-Dimensional Biological Entity. According to a memo from Agent Dale Petey, the squid’s remains dissolved before it could be completely examined; most likely designed that way by Veidt to cover his tracks.
It is not known why it continues raining squid to this day, or where they come from. They’re certainly connected to D.I.E., and serve as a constant reminder to people of one of history’s most devastating attacks. It is possible that the dissolved remains of the squid evaporated and seeded rainclouds with genetic copies of the first squid, especially given that the tinier squid also dissolves before too long. A background image from the first episode shows that even schools teach children how squids are part of the rain cycle.
Another theory is that Veidt is perpetuating people’s fears of dimensional incursions by having the squid rain periodically happen on purpose. There is little evidence for this theory, but it’s certainly not beyond Veidt to attempt to influence the population that way. It should be noted that Rorschach’s journal, revealing Veidt’s hoax, is seen by and large by the public as the ramblings of a madman — with the exception of the Seventh Kavalry.
The promo for the next episode of ‘Watchmen’ seems to promise a closer look at the effects extra-dimensional occurrences on the populace, and possibly some answers about the squid rain itself.
The next episode of ‘Watchmen’, ‘Little Fear of Lightning’ airs November 17 on HBO.