Last episode of The Watch, Carcer summons a noble dragon to attack the city of Ankh-Morpork. Fortunately, he doesn’t possess enough strength to maintain control of the menacing beast but significant damage is done. Vimes and company try to track down the criminal but arrive at his hideout a bit late. They also learn of a powerful artifact, Gawain, that is needed to fully command the noble dragon so it’s a race between the Watch and Carcer on who can find it first.
[Slight Spoilers Ahead!]
We flashback to Lady Ramkin’s youth and the point of her origin story. Much like Batman, her parents were murdered before her eyes. When she contacted the authorities, she was shocked to hear the slayings were legal since a proper receipt was left behind from the Assassin’s Guild. Since that day, she’s worked hard to clean up the city by her own means. She has no qualms helping out the Watch, but she can never bring herself to wear a badge.
The crew’s next clue on the whereabouts of Gawain leads them to the Assassin’s Guild headquarters. Lady Ramkin goes undercover into the building to sneak the rest of the gang through a hidden entrance in the building next door. The plan goes awry when Ramkin recognizes her parents’ killer and pivots to seek her revenge. All the while, Carcer monitors the Watch’s every move after Wonse performs a surveillance spell.
This is a fun episode that includes a surprising amount of suspense. The tension is high while Ramkin is undercover trying not to be caught but you can also feel her emotional apprehension as she faces the childhood trauma the Assassin’s Guild caused. In addition, she encounters a moral dilemma whether to execute her parent’s killer in cold blood. Her taking him into custody allows Lady Ramkin to not stoop to her enemies’ level and gives the Watch a victory by arresting their first criminal, albeit for tax evasion rather than murder.
“The What?” continues the wonderful worldbuilding as well seeing the inner workings of one of the most influential guilds in Ankh-Morpork. The porcelain doll-like Alice, the leader’s right-hand woman, is quite the character and adds to both the comedy and the creepiness. We also see the political machinations of the guilds and Lord Vetinari and how a fragile peace is kept. It could be more a testament to Terry Pratchett, the author of the source material that created the framework, but the show still has to successfully bring the story from the pages to TV.
Visually, the effects of the surveillance spell are amusing, particularly when Wonse’s face pops through. It additionally feeds the narrative with Carcer receiving a head start at finding Gawain. Furthermore, you can’t ignore the brief glimpse into the future Vimes receives about him and Lady Rankin when the connection is severed. It is a fascinating scene drop that the series should go back to.
As mentioned before, The Watch has a very punk attitude and the episode even manages to incorporate a rock musical number. Although the group manage to look the part of a rock band but the performance is a little underwhelming. It’s still enjoyable but you wonder why Cheery’s being recruited by a pair of goth ghosts if she doesn’t have exceptional stage presence during the audition.
“The What?” is an entertaining, suspenseful episode that dives into Lady Ramkin and continues to build the extraordinary world of Ankh-Morpork.
The Watch airs Sunday nights on BBC America.
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