Who doesn’t love a challenge?
When Watchmen’s take on Laurie Blake was introduced in the series’ third episode “She Was Killed By Space Junk,” she was initially presented as being a stone-cold, sardonic federal agent who’s long since traded in her Silk Spectre costume for a gun and badge. As one of the members of the second generation of masked heroes (and a legacy to boot), Laurie’s a superhero legend, but she goes to great lengths to distance herself from that period of her life.
To the outside world, Agent Blake is every bit the stone-cold hardass she wants people to perceive her as, but in moments when Laurie’s alone, we see she never fully let go of her nostalgic longing for the past—a past where she and Doctor Manhattan were the world’s most famous superhero couple.
In addition to periodically using Lady Trieu’s high tech phone booths to leave Doctor Manhattan voicemail messages that he never actually listens to, Laurie also keeps her former lover close to her in the form of a magazine cover featuring the both of them, and a massive, blue dildo/vibrator that looks more like a Jeff Koons art piece than a typical humanoid appendage. Because Laurie keeps the two objects locked in a special briefcase that she most likely never travels without, they’re obviously rather special to her.
In the wake of Watchmen’s most recent episode, though, the dildo gains an even, ahem, larger significance that connects it to the series’ story about how Manhattan became entangled in Angela Abar’s life and the future of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Soon after “She Was Killed By Space Junk” first dropped, HBO’s Peteypedia was updated with the prototype blueprints for MerlinCorp.-branded “Electromagnetic Lithium Powered Excalibur” that details a number of interesting things about the device itself. What’s most notable is that it was apparently built by MerlinCorp. CEO Dan Dreiberg, the second Nite Owl, who was known for his prowess as an inventor.
The blueprints describe the Excalibur as being drawn by “D,” measuring 13 x 4 inches, and including a number of “lithium transducers” that are built into the shaft of the device. Notes on the blueprints describe how the detachable, testicle-like appendage is actually the power source and that after an initial self-test, it was decided that a rubber coating along the device was not ideal. And if we’re being honest, the device’s built-in Faraday cage and the lithium transducers sound like odd components for a mere sex toy...until you recall that in the Watchmen comics, Laurie once likened the sensation of licking Doctor Manhattan’s finger to licking the battery of a flashlight, meaning that if Excalibur’s meant to be an approximation of his penis, Dan could logically have designed the device to have an electrical current running through its surface.
The idea that Dan would design a replica of Doctor Manhattan’s penis for the woman that dumped the blue god for him is eyebrow-raising on its own, but the device’s name has become much more fascinating after the most recent episode in which it’s revealed that Angela’s amnesiac husband Cal is actually Doctor Manhattan in disguise.
Throughout this entire season, there have been a number of subtle hints that Cal was not being his true self, like the moment where the man sits his children down to explain life and death to them with an uncharacteristically cold, objective demeanor. At every mention of Doctor Manhattan potentially hiding somewhere in the world masquerading as a human, Angela herself has stated that it’s not something he could have ever done, and in one of the first conversations that Laurie and Angela have with one another, the agent offhandedly mentions how attractive she finds Cal.
What’s most notable, though, is how “Excalibur” can be read out as the words “ex,” “Cal,” and “Abar,” which would have been purely coincidental (and rather on-brand) from Dan’s perspective given that he wouldn’t have had any way of knowing about Manhattan’s connection to Abars. But Damon Lindelof recently told the Hollywood Reporter: “If you’re looking for a cool Easter egg, check out what Dan called his gift to Laurie on Peteypedia.”
Even though Watchmen’s world is filled with all sorts of fantastical near future innovations like modern Owl Ships, Excalibur being packed with so much technology could point to the device being much more than a mere dildo. Watchmen’s a show that takes itself seriously, but Laurie seems like the type who would get a kick out of a Manhattan-themed sex toy that also functioned as a weapon.
Because of the way Doctor Manhattan experiences time, it’s likely that, at some point, he knew that Dan would end up building Excalibur and that Laurie would keep it in her possession long after she broke up with both men. One imagines that the blue god might have found this entire situation of little consequence or importance, but considering his storied history of being something of a petty horndog (see: his past relationship, and how he first met Laurie), there’s also a chance that he gazed into the future, saw his fate, and had a very human chuckle to himself.
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