Tonight, we received two episodes to help usher in the very loose adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s work, The Watch. In the series premiere, we met the unconventional police force in charge of protecting the city of Ankh-Morpork. We last left Sam Vimes after he confirmed the identity of the newest crime boss, an old associate from his past, but is in a precarious position. So precarious, that he’s currently talking with Death at the crossroads recollecting those previous events.
It was all a tease because it’s not Vimes time to go. The cavalry arrives in time to save the day but at a great loss. Sergeant Detritus sacrifices himself and absorbs the crossbow shots intended for his boss. The death of their comrade emphasizes the danger in their latest case but only galvanizes the Watch into stopping Carcer Dun. They soon learn his master plan when a noble dragon briefly attacks the city. Lucky for them, Carcer isn’t strong or skilled enough to control the behemoth for an extended amount of time yet.
The groups only lead is the missing book from the Unseen University library, the site where Vimes and Carcer last fought. They hypothesize someone on the inside is working with Dun and hope to smoke them out and follow them to the criminal. Unbeknownst to them, they are walking right into a trap.
“Ook” is paced well providing answers to some questions while opening the doors to more mysteries in a satisfying way. We discover the what and how of Carcer’s devious plot in using the dragon to raze Ankh-Morpork but he also has some mystery co-conspirators whose intentions are still unknown and he cryptically references life outside of Discworld. The story has been easy to follow so far and it doesn’t waste any time with deviations from the plot.
The relationships between the members of the Watch are already being developed. Though he had limited screen time, the loss of Detritus was built from his interactions with the other members and the flashbacks on how he helped save Vimes’ life. In addition, Cheery and Angua are growing closer now that they know each other’s darkest secrets. How Cheery finds her colleague after reverting back to her human form shows they are more than coworkers. The normally gloomy, Vimes, is starting to believe in the group as the investigation proceeds and the camaraderie grows.
Carcer is assembling his own team. In addition to his hired goblin mercenaries, he gains the services of his former gang member and powerful wizard, Wonse. Unlike the professors at the Unseen University, her magic has no ridiculous side effects and she even manages to cure the Archchancellor’s profanity curse as a show of her competence.
The Room of Truth in the library serves as a helpful tool to advance the friendship between Cheery and Angua, but it also has some drawbacks. Since it allows the characters to read each other’s thoughts, it also functions as a convenient (or lazy) method to quickly convey plot points, particularly during the ambush. Moreover, in that fight scene, we didn’t even see Angua kicking ass as a werewolf. She’s mid turn when it cuts to a commercial break.
The second episode of The Watch has great character work and satisfyingly balances new plot reveals with adding new mysteries.
The Watch airs Sunday nights on BBC America.
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