This Colony review contains spoilers.
Colony Season 2 Episode 3
Colony might be one of the most brutal shows on television right now. It also might be one of the bleakest. But even if its atmosphere is as suffocating as it is magnetic, even if it leaves you feeling slightly oppressed and more than a little violated after you watch each episode – and even if it is hard to sit through and it’s hard to explain why – Colony just might be one of the most life-affirming series that has ever aired on cable or network TV. That’s what makes it so important.
We’re only three episodes into this show’s second season and it feels like the plot has been burnt through twice already. We’ve gotten Charlie back, we’ve witnessed “The Arrival”, we’ve met Devon, we’ve seen Will go postal on a bunch of unsuspecting goons in the Santa Monica Bloc, and we’ve observed Katie scrambling around trying to save her other son now that he’s locked up in a labor camp. But what we haven’t seen is the Bowman family reunited together at last, in one place. It warms my heart to say that this does indeed happen in this episode’s final moments, for better and worse. And it’s so f**king worth it.
Not gonna lie. “Sublimation” is one of the greatest episodes of sci-fi TV I’ve seen in a over a decade. Not because it focuses on extraterrestrials doing creepy alien things. Not because its storyline is so mind-bending and twisty that its plot contorts itself into a rough pretzel shape like that of a Moffat era Doctor Who adventure.No, this episode is noteworthy because it does something dead simple yet startinglty profound: it dares to show a parent (Katie) explaining to their young child (Gracie) the concept of comparative religion and the importance of thinking for yourself. This may sound dull and mundane to some of you (especially since it didn’t take place on a spacecraft of some sort), but this scene is perhaps the most thrilling sequence I’ve seen peformed on a scripted drama in quite some time.
And although it sneaks up on you, you know it’s coming. Early on, Katie has a moment with a spiritual teacher that hosts an underground religious study group. I’m assuming that it’s underground because of how “The Perfect Day” movement seems to be so prominent in the harsh world of the Los Angeles Bloc. We haven’t spent much time with this side character (if at all), so it’s jarring to see her in his presence again, opening up to him about the trials and tribulations of her life. But then I remembered that Katie really doesn’t have anyone she can open up to at the moment. She has no one to confess her sins to in order to receive or be guided to an epiphany of some sort. All the people she knows have their own stakes in the broader “Occupation” dilemma that she really must hide her innermost thoughts from most everyone in order to keep functioning.
So Katie needs someone to bounce her ideas off of, to reflect her turmoil and help her gain a new sense of perspective on it. This spiritual teacher character is good for that, but she still holds back so much of her life that opening up to him only gets her so far. Even so, it’s enough to get her wheels turning.
Will, on the other hand, has Devon to vent to at the moment. But as we’ve seen in “Sublimation”, her character is killed off as quickly as it was brought on. At the end of the episode, she is killed by one of the Occupation’s drones while Will and Charlie and their guide try to scale the wall in order to get back to their home with Katie and the others. Now that Devon is gone, I can’t help but wonder why Colony has a boner for offing Will’s professional partners who also happen to be African-American. I don’t want to be that guy, but…it’s difficult not to notice, am I right?
What about Bram? Despite surviving every single prison movie cliche ever, Bram is navigating his way through the forced labor camp with the help of former proxy governor Snyder. Their scenes together echo that of Snyder’s introduction to Will last year, except “funnier.” But now Snyder really does need the Bowman’s help to navigate through the perilous minutiae of his new position. I’m interested to see where Bram’s story arc is taking him, and if they’re prepping him to become a villain or an antihero of some sort. What if he becomes a member of The Occupation itself?
If anyone on Colony’s cast deserves more praise, it’s definitely Kathleen Rose Perkins (Jennifer McMahon). I wasn’t expecting her presence on the show to last this long, but I’m happy it did. Watching her try to keep her role at Homeland Security through any means necessary (i.e. exploiting Katie as her Resistance contact) is equally as thrilling as the intrigues the main cast are dealing with at the moment, if not more in a corporate way. Who knew behind her sweet demeanor she was secretly ruthless when her ass is put on the line.
Speaking of which, Katie is ready and willing to put her own ass on the line and turn herself into Homeland just to keep whatever family she has left safe. This is what make “Sublimation” so hard to watch besides that violent deaths of Devon and that one guy that was a pretty nifty plot device; you watch Katie realize she’s at the end of her rope. You see how she responds to that fact with as much dignity as she can muster – and it’s soul crushing. That’s why seeing an unexpected Bowman family reunion at the end feels like such a victory within our hearts. But judging from the uneasy look that Katie and Will shared before the end credits rolled, this happiness will be shortlived (as if there was any doubt).