Colony: Blind Spot Review
Who can you trust? According to the fourth episode of Colony, nobody. Not even your own family. Here's our review...
This Colony review contains spoilers.
Colony Season 1 Episode 4
The teaser of “Blind Spot” is — pun intended — arresting. It features a police raid on a public school in the LA bloc from a POV cam attached to one of the red caps. At last, we finally get to see what these men are like underneath all that body armor, and their behavior is just as reprehensible as we expected.
We watch from their shakey perspective as they take a frightened teacher into custody for discussing Fahrenheit 451 in her classroom, bashing her head into her own desk (and knocking out an innocent grade schooler) in the process. This may be “on the nose” storytelling, but is nevertheless a perfect hook, simply because it’s shocking and tonally appropriate. Colony is showing the horrors of what happens when one culture invades another and wipes it out, treating it as inferior and incompatible with their own agenda. And what’s even more shocking is that this scene reminded me of so many tasteless viral videos that would leak online from the conflict in the middle east. But the real surprise is in how it ends: we’re shown that the red cap wearing the camera was Broussard, Katie’s main Resistance contact. (Whoa.)
This signals a more prominent use of the Iraq War as a motif to further emphasize the series’ main theme of cultural apocalypse and civil brutality. Just moments after the beginning credits roll, Phyllis, Will’s boss at Homeland Security, even makes it a point to directly acknowledge this comparison in a weird meta moment that feels more like a statement of the show’s political views from the writers themselves:
“A million people died in the Iraq War, and for what? Is the life of the average person better or worse?”
Don’t hold back, Dre Alvarez & Anna Fishko. Tell us how you really feel.
Anti-war messaging aside, the season’s major storyline gains significant propulsion in “Blind Spot.” Katie takes a bold step for the Insurgency in this episode, and it immediately backfires in an nasty way. She stages a firebombing on her own home in order to get inside Homeland Security to spy for the Resistance. There she is cross-examined by Phillis who doesn’t buy her story one bit. In fact, she sees right through her facade as the naive wife and starts dissecting her relationship with Will in what might be Colony’s 51st uneasy moment this far.
And what would be number 52? When Will confronts Phyllis about said interaction a few minutes later, only to have her pull the rug out from underneath him by revealing that his son Bram has been secretly recording Geronimo’s broadcasts. This leads into number 53, the moment in which Will storms into Bram’s room and scolds him for doing so. But this event culminates with an important bit of info droppage that gives Will with the clues he needs to track the mystery (wo)man down during his next broadcast. When Will does successfully capture “Geronimo,” aka the homeless man we saw in “98 Seconds” he can tell he’s not the real deal, just as I intuited last episode. The person they’re actually looking for is in The Green Zone, a more privileged section of the LA bloc that we’re still learning more about.
Again, we ask oursevles who is Geronimo? Is he or she someone who is close to Will and Katie? Is it somebody that works for Homeland Security? When I watched Phyllis do some serious expositing about this mysterious cypher in the show, I had a sneaking suspicion that she might be the fugitive revolutionary’s true identity. Wouldn’t that have been a twist?
But no. A better twist occurred in the episode’s final moments when Phyllis was promptly executed by Broussard in her own home. Convenient timing, that, seeing as how she just got done blackmailing Katie into working for her, using her Insurgent ties as leverage. I bet Katie’s glad she pointed out what Phyllis looked like to Resistance leader Quayle during their secret meeting earlier on. Nicely played.
So now we’re already down one supporting character, and oddly enough, I’m going to miss her. We may have only known Phyllis for two episodes, but good lord, it feels so much longer than that. I can’t yet imagine what binge watching Colony will be like in the future. It’s a dense enough show that spreading out its layered events on a week to week basis gives us some necessary time to breathe.
And what does Colony do when it needs to do its own breathing? It indulges in moody, slower B-stories centering on Katie’s sister Maddie. This time, we follow her quietly unsettling adventure of getting employed by an art preserver named Charlotte who is so impressed with her job (and her ties to a rare art collection in the keep of her friend-with-benefits David from a couple episodes ago) that she offers to hire the struggling young mother full time. I like that we’re given some idle time with a character who’s caught in the middle of the Resistance and the Occupation. It gives us a clearer picture of what living and working in post-invasion Los Angeles when you’re not an ex-FBI agent or a depressed bar owner looks like, and gives us a better view on the economic tyranny that’s occurring instead of just experiencing it through disposable characters.
The biggest takeaway from “Blind Spot” is, again, trust. Or, rather, doubt. Thanks to Phyllis’s cold insights and his own son’s duality, Will is starting to wake up and realize that trust in the Age of Occupation is both an illusion and a commodity. He is not yet aware of Katie’s “treason,” as he is probably not ready to accept it. But it’s there now, in his peripheral vision, waiting to be noticed. All he has to do is turn and face it head-on. Now that we’re approaching the halfway mark of Colony’s top-tier first season, he may finally start doing so.