Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre, Night Owl and Rorschach all discover Adrian Veidt was behind everything, killing the Comedian and hiring the assassin for the attempt on his own life (of whom he then forced the suicide). He was working through a subsidiary of his called Pyramid Industries - Moloch and Janey Slater also worked for that company, without knowing its secret, and that's how he gave them cancer, in order to make Dr. Manhattan fear he was causing it and leave the planet.
They confront him and he explains it's all necessary in order to prevent the Watchmen interfering in his plan to prevent nuclear war and save humanity. The reactor he was working on with Dr. Manhattan generates enormous power - he plans to use that power to cause massive explosions in cities worldwide, killing millions in order to save billions. Because the reactor is based on Dr. Manhattan's abilities, the world will believe he caused the destruction in order to prevent nuclear holocaust, and unite in peace. They tell him he can't do such a thing, whereupon he reveals that it's already happened - we then see the final explosion in New York.
Although horrified, they realise that they can't reveal the secret without destroying the peace that does indeed emerge - except Rorschach, who refuses to compromise, even in the face of Armageddon. He knows this will force Dr. Manhattan to kill him, but sticks to his position, so is killed in the snow outside Veidt's base. Night Owl and Silk Spectre return home, while Dr. Manhattan decides to see other galaxies, and says he may try creating life.The final scene reveals that Rorschach sent his journal, which details Veidt's guilt, to a newspaper - debating what to fill the space with, the editor tells a journalist "run something from the crank file - I leave it entirely in your hands", and the journalist's gaze falls upon the journal...
Trivia: When Dan and Hollis hear a TV news report referencing Rorschach, they glance at the screen in time to see grainy black and white 'file footage' of Rorschach walking quickly away and to the right of the camera position, glancing back over his right shoulder momentarily. That footage is intentionally designed to precisely mimic the infamously-disputed film of Bigfoot (known as the Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967). (00:17:50)johnrosa
Question: I don't quite understand why Dr. Manhattan had to kill Rorschach. That is, I don't quite get why that was the only solution. Rorschach was a valuable member of the Watchmen, and in the type of world they were in (chaos, corruption, murder, etc) one would think that they would want to keep as many of themselves banded together as possible. Couldn't some sort of negotiation or compromise have been reached/agreed to by Rorschach instead of him being killed?
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