Well, I see them as the same person. I just see Rorschach being Walter's safety cover he can hide behind, both literally and emotionally. If Rorschach didn't have Walter's conscience then he wouldn't have been 'forgiving' of Moloch's illegal meds or held back just killing anyone that gets in his way. The whole, "I'm Rorschach, I've ceased to be Walter" I don't know, the whole way he operates is directly influenced by Walter's experiences.
I think if I was that damaged I would have wanted to stop being Walter too. Hell, there are times when I wanted to be someone else in my life. (It's a long story that I won't go into though). I think of them as the same person, just layered, actually. Gosh it's hard to explain! LOL. But I do like what you said about he's an M&M, LOL.
Hehehe, if you bit down in him he crunches...
I get what you are saying and I agree with you (and, yes, it is hard to express!)
I think Walter is the moderating influence, the reason Rorschach seems to be a contradiction. Rorschach is black and white, except for this bit here, and this scene here.
Those bits when he wavers, leaves things be, changes his mind, I think that's Walter.
he’s still Kovacs underneath, just hiding behind a fictitious persona to distance himself from the horrors he encounters and exacts. What once was something empowering has now become essential: he's trapped pretending to be Rorschach all the time, now, whether in costume or not. But he’s still Kovaks underneath.
That's what I think too. It's clear Walter invented Rorschach for a couple of reasons. To allow him to hide his identity while he performed his vigilante duties and, also, as a buffer between himself and what he had to do. I think that buffer became more necessary and powerful after the Blaire Roche case. After he stared to kill and started to see things horrible enough he felt he needed that buffer (Rorschach) more.
By the end, though, Rorschach had served his purpose and in those last moments he just didn't need him anymore.
He gets less Rorschach-like as the story reaches its end. He’s as civil as he can be when Dan and Laurie rescue him.
Rorschach and Dan always seem to have had an effective working relationship but his changed attitude to Laurie speaks volumes and I LOVE the bit where he thanks Dan.
It's Walter who appreciates being treated like an equal, a person. Rorschach doesn't care about that.
In his final moments, did Kovacs finally (ironically) make a choice he could live with?
Yes. I don't think he could ever make any other sort of decision than one he could live with.
His integrity is at his essence (both as Rorschach and Walter. After all, there is a lot of Walter in Rorschach of course). I also think your speculations about his future are accurate.
A future full of lies? A future full of pretense? Oh, there is no way he could ever be a part of that.
He may not have been able to stop Veidt but there was no way he was letting him win a victory of him. Rorschach kept his integrity, his truth and his freedom. In the end Veidt and Hatty could take nothing away from him but his life.