Every Watchmen masked vigilante has to have an origin story. Even Lube Man.
Because Watchmen’s been busy focusing on its story about how white supremacists want to take over the world (how novel), the show hasn’t exactly had the time or need to say much more about Lube Man, the strange masked weirdo who made the briefest of appearances in episode four before sliding into the gutter, never to be seen again.
Though it’s unlikely we’ll see Lube Man sliding around Tulsa’s streets by the season’s end, this week’s entries into the Peteypedia very heavily suggest that the series has actually already introduced us to the hero in their civilian guise. What’s hinted at isn’t particularly surprising, but the way it’s laid out introduces some very fascinating information about the world Watchmen exists within.
In a memo dated after the events of Watchmen’s most recent episode, Agent Dale Petey details how Tulsa is under martial law, Laurie Blake is still missing, and no one knows what happened to Looking Glass after the Seventh Kavalry stormed his home. While reflecting on what Petey found in Looking Glass’ house, the agent begins to reflect on Fogdancing, an in-universe fictional novel that tells the story of a highly trained soldier who realises he’s being manipulated into carrying out the evil plans of the supervillain.
But in truth, Fogdancing’s story is much deeper and more complicated and the role that it plays in Watchmen’s world is profound. It’s a seminal work whose influence can be felt across a variety of different media and it’s known to be a book that a disproportionate amount of superheroes like Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian tended to fixate on. Petey’s memo describes how, before becoming an agent, he dedicated a fair amount of time participating in Fogdancing’s fandom and writing in to Nothing Ever Ends, a defunct journal dedicating to re-exploring the novel.
In addition to the memo, the Peteypedia also includes Petey’s 2005 entry to the annual recapping contest published in Nothing Ever Ends, and his description of the suit the novel’s hero wears suggests that it’s the inspiration for Lube Man’s costume. Petey’s memo goes into detail about just how much of an impact Fogdancing had on him and how, despite his not being a superhero, the book left him feeling as if he had a deep kinship with their kind.
It stands to reason that after travelling to Tulsa, Oklahoma with Laurie and being in the midst of a city filled with masked heroes and villains, Petey could have thought that it was high time for him to suit up himself, grab a few bottles of baby oil, and get down to the important business of freaking out super nuns. But what’s really interesting about Petey’s memo and recap is how they make it easier to understand why someone might come to the illogical conclusion that letting the police hide their identities might be a good idea. They speak to the power Fogdancing has over people and that it’s a product of a world where people put on ridiculous costumes in order to become symbols of something greater.
The finale of Watchmen airs this Sunday on HBO. Are you hoping for a Lube Man return?