This Colony review contains spoilers.
Colony Season 2 Episode 12
Colony continues to do two things while it scurries towards its second season finale: 1.) Evolve into a full-blown genre series where spending intimate moments with central characters takes a backseat to telling an overarching story that has a few too many disparate threads, and 2.) Defy my expectations as it burns through all the fresh plots, characters, and other components that were shiny and new this year.
Take the Red Hand for instance. Remember last week’s wooden yet critical episode that established Bram as the faction’s latest bloodthirsty flying monkey? The extremist group has become a very real threat over the past several episodes in more ways than one, so much so that they could have been a Big Bad.
But their attack on the Green Zone must have been their swan song, because this week we witness their (presumed) downfall when Will, Katie, Broussard, and Noa raid their secret headquarters in a theater so our heroes can finally have their precious gauntlet from outer space back. Yes, that gauntlet. The one that killed BB. Who would’ve guessed that alien glove of doom would turn out to be our go-to MacGuffin this time last year? Not me, that’s for sure. Yet here we are. Mowing down a building full of people for a old prop that was most likely recycled from Captain Power.
This incursion on the Red Hand’s evil lair is yet another long-take/one-shot action sequence that’s become a pillar of Colony‘s cinematic lexicon this season. (See: Will’s one-man assault on Solomon’s base in the Santa Monica Bloc in “Somewhere Out There” and Will and Katie’s first person shooter campaign to save their home in “Good Intentions“.) I’m not complaining one bit, as these scenes are typically well done despite their minimalist (okay fine, low-budget) nature. This attack is the centerpiece of “Seppuku” and it deserves to be, even if it’s mostly put there to liven up a talky episode that is more interested in navigating through Machiavellian intrigues than rehashing the third act of some microwaved sci-fi blockbuster.
Within ten minutes or less, we wave goodbye to the Red Hand once and for all. (I think? Who knows. I’m probably wrong again.) And guess what? Crazy-eyed leader Karen is taken down by Katie with just two shots. “No!” You gasp. “Not the unofficial Emperor Palpatine of the LA Bloc. She’d only just begun to lure Bram to the dark side! She can’t just die. We need her brand of seductive evil around for contrast!” Reminiscent of Lindsay the annoying evangelical tutor’s sudden death during a Red Hand attack, Karen’s demise happens so suddenly and anticlimactically that even Noa (the Michelle Rodriguez of Colony) has to protest.
But after how fanatical (and bratty) Karen acted at the secret rendezvous with the Bunker Bunch earlier in the episode, are you surprised? I am. In my mind, Karen was a promising character, a villain who was set up to be Katie and Will’s dark reflection. But…nah. Forget what could have been. Mama Bowman enacts some poetic justice here by busting a couple of caps in Karen’s ass. (It was getting too big for her britches anyway.) “That’s for manipulating my angsty teenage son into assassinating a public figure you crazy b*tch!”
Okay, so Katie didn’t actually say that. But if she knew Bram shed Ambassador King’s blood in the name of former ER star Laura Innes and lied about it, she probably would have said something along those lines as she pulled the trigger. But she doesn’t – I think? – so the shooting is more of an ironic comeuppance than an act of maternal vengeance, though that is still most definitely a motivation here. My guess is this news will not go over well with Bram. Not one bit. I see a lot of sulking in his future… Say, maybe he’ll start his own Red Hand splinter cell group or something. It’d give him something to do besides mope, at least.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I get a kick out of seeing Will, Katie, and Broussard working together as soldiers in the trenches. Watching these three watch each other’s backs in urban war zones after all the melodrama they glared their way through during Season 1 is strangely satisfying. He’s basically a member of the Bowman family now. Then again, maybe Broussard always has been an honorary Bowman in a way. He certainly has the balls for it.
Speaking of Eric, where the f*ck was he during the big Green Zone attack last week?! You’d think he’d stop by the bunker towards the end to say what’s up at the very least. It’s his home for crying out loud!
We’re (almost) successfully faked out when Broussard orders Will and the others to keep moving while he stays behind to hold back the Red Hand goons in a desperate gun battle. When he finds himself thoroughly outnumbered, he uses a tracking device found on the gauntlet to summon a fleet (flock?) of drones. The flying alien robots swoop down and make all the bad men with guns go splat everywhere. But when they set their sights on ol’ Brou, they fire no shots. The drones just hover and stare. The same thing happened to Will and Charlie when the drones caught them scaling the wall back in “Sublimation”, remember? Jeez, that feels like two seasons ago already.
When Broussard meets up with the fam at the bunker later on – dressed up like a Red Hat no less – he tells them about what happened. Katie speculates that maybe the drone’s hesitation has to do with the dossier profiles that Broussard found on the tablet display in the Black Jack’s vehicle in “The Garden of Beasts”. There were files made for both his girlfriend (or FWB) and Will, so why wouldn’t there be one for the leader of The Resistance himself? Maybe it was how Tory Kittles was playing this scene, but I was under the impression that he didn’t tell them everything that happened. Or maybe it was just the Red Hat disguise that was making me think that? I don’t know.
Moving past the white-knuckled spectacle of the raid on the Red Hand’s base of operations, “Seppuku” can be nicely summed up by its last line of dialogue: “Just the usual politics.” Helena Goldwin says this to Snyder after she takes a disturbing phone call from the IGA announcing that the LA Bloc is scheduled for something called Total Rendition. (You know it’s extra ominous when its name is all sanitized like that.) Instead of breaking the bad news to her favorite pet, she responds with those four highly appropriate words.
“Seppuku” is an hour of TV where most, if not all of the drama revolves around political maneuvering, strategical backstabbing, and well-mannered pissing contests. Snyder carries on his silent crusade to reclaim the old throne by making direct moves against Nolan and Proxy Alcala with the power he’s been given as Helena’s lapdog. Guess what? He succeeds, and irreversible damage to both of their positions in the Occupation’s power structure is made. The smoking gun he used was the file that Katie “illegally downloaded” from Nolan’s home office computer while Maddie stepped away during a dinner party in “Fallout”. Wow. They just won’t let the file thing go, will they? Small moments that have far-reaching consequences: Colony never met one it didn’t like, that’s for sure.
In the process of efficiently yet humbly disarming his rivals, Snyder winds up doing what he does best: bailing out the Bowmans – again. This time around, the little devil/closet guardian angel/get-out-of-space-jail-free card saves Maddie from being sent to The Factory thanks to another one of Nolan’s treacherous attempts at self-preservation. Instead, Snyder works his bureaucratic magic and convinces a desperate Maddie to sell her now ex-fiancee down the river. So Nolan’s the one who gets shipped off to the scary place instead. This is entirely justified, but why doesn’t this twist feel like much of a twist? Maybe because we saw it coming since the end of last season?
We want Nolan to go to The Factory. Some of us are iffy about Maddie, but I’m fairly certain the majority of us don’t want her to. Forget that she put her sister’s life in danger just because she was like, sooo in love with Nolan and chose him over her family. Maddie was getting pretty deep into that Greatest Day thing, too. In “Seppuku”, she does a 180 and doubts the “religious movement” she once clung onto for dear life all of a sudden. But what about those weird visions she had during her initiation? Were they legit? Are we going to get a follow up on those anytime soon? Or was she just being a total crazy pants for a minute there?
Maddie might have escaped a horrible fate thanks to Snyder’s divine intervention, but she did lose her son Hudson in the process. Looks like he was shipped off to some alien survival training camp built for the elite’s offspring, so her regained freedom comes at a price. But he’s coming back. You know how Colony loves kids that go missing for multiple episodes at a time and come back all mean and distant. I’m looking at you, Charlie. And Bram? You too, Bram. I know what you did last episode. I was there. Expect a creepy anonymous note in your mailbox. Wait, do top secret sewer lairs even have mail service? Hold on. I’ll text Master Splinter and ask.
Meanwhile, Helena puts Proxy Alcala in his demeaning new place when she announces that since he sucks a lot, he’ll now serve as proxy of the LA Bloc in name only. Those whom Helena trusts will run everything behind the scenes. (Go Go Alan Snyder!) Guess that makes Alcala a Proxy-Proxy now, huh? Good. I hope it stings.
As a penultimate episode, “Seppuku” does an adequate job at bringing underlying conflicts that’ve been simmering on the hot stove of this season to a boil before the finale drops. Even so, there’s something routine about its flavor that I can’t ignore. I’m not very shocked by the developments it sets in motion. My reaction is either, “Oh finally, that happened!” or “Is this intentionally trying to be reminiscent of x moment from y episode?” In other words, this week’s installment has a complacent aura of “same ol’, same ol'”. It’s just another day at the office, basically
Colony’s greatest strength is that it’s unpredictable from week to week, sometimes even unrecognizable as it takes whatever shape it needs to so the boundaries of sci-fi TV are contorted around the ambitious stories that Condal and Cuse want to tell. But after sitting through two seasons of this show now, there’s one thing I know I can expect on a regular basis: there will be episodes that play out like a collection of scenes that are written to echo more effective moments that Colony has already wooed us over with. Despite the major events that happen here, “Seppuku” falls under that category. But it’s still a fun ride.
Okie doke. Finale?! Now please.