This Colony review contains spoilers.
Colony Season 2 Episode 6
I ended my review of last week’s episode wishing there were twice as many episodes of Colony this season. This week, I was given a prototype of what the show would look like it if its story had to stretch past its condensed episode structure. And it works much like a latter day X-Files episode does: with a power couple, reunited after a long struggle, working against the heavy governmental forces that threaten to split them apart again. That’s the shape that Colony shifts into this outing, and it’s overly familiar yet refreshing at the same time – just enough to appeal to our sophisticated genre TV palate.
The plot of “Fallout” brings to our attention two peripheral characters with whom the series hasn’t spent much time developing: Resistance cell members BB and Eckhart. The former is the one on which story hangs on for the most part, although the latter’s importance bookends the episode itself. While working on the Host gauntlet that was procured back in “Gateway”, BB is stricken with a mysterious illness that no one can seem to identify. So they turn to Katie for help without Broussard’s knowledge to seek medical assistance, who in turn leverages Will’s influence at Homeland Security to arrange an old colleague of his (Dr. Weisman) to give him a diagnosis. Why? Because if BB goes to a hospital, he risks implicating Katie and endangering the rest of the Bowman family.
Thus, out of the kindness of their hearts and the safety of their own asses, Will and Katie Bowman are coaxed into solving other people’s problems that they had a hand in creating in the first place. It’s impressive that Colony has amounted this much lore to play with and base filler-y plots on during its brief run. If anything, though, this hour is indicative of how the show will function when Will and Katie work cooperatively instead of at cross purposes with each other. I’d speak more on their dynamic, but that would require more X-Files comparisons than I’m willing to make at the moment.
Except…never mind. Let’s make one more! Now that Will has his old job back at Homeland, he really is living the Agent Mulder lifestyle, circa 1994. He might not have a basement office, but he does have overbearing bosses that are slaves to secret government conspiracy that involves aliens. And they’re keeping their eye on him. Especially Burke. Pretty sure they want him around for a reason at this point. But, again, this plot thread requires that “suspension of disbelief” thing I mentioned last time. So what if Will is on a restrictive leash now and is under constant observation? That doesn’t stop him from running around the Bloc all hours of the day – and even visiting the Green Zone – just to help The Resistance. Especially with the thousands of the surveillance cameras the increasingly thorough Occupation has installed across the city. Yeah. Okay. I totally buy that.
(Yes, I get that there may be repercussions for this later on and I don’t know it yet but in light of some of the other hard-to-swallow things related to Will’s return, but this is still a wee bit hard to swallow. By the way, since he’s clean shaven here, does this mean that most of the pre-Arrival flashbacks in “Eleven.Thirteen” were filmed midway through this season’s production? )
What that? You want another X-Files allusion? I was thinking about making another one when discussing the whole Snyder/Burgess subplot anyway. Nolan stops by the labor camp to check in with the former Proxy about the secret shipment that came in. This isn’t allowed about the Global Authority, but Snyder agrees anyway and we get to see that one of the crates carries a space pod of some sort. But like most of the sci-fi window dressings, that’s not what’s important here. What is is that Snyder calls Helena Goldwin (now Governor General) to inform her of the discrepancy in a strategic move to somehow (maybe?) get his old job back.
But until then, he’s going to get by with manipulating Bram Bowman using the hope of escape as collateral so he can look like he’s being an efficient work camp commandant. Again, their sync-ups are a reflection of Snyder and Will’s meetings straight from a funhouse mirror. Except Bram is not much like his father. True, they both have a certain admirable sense of resiliency that any TV protagonist should possess. But Bram is an anarchist and a junior revolutionary. Will works within the system and plays by the game’s rules – or he used to, at least. That’s because he wasn’t raised underneath the harsh circumstances of The Occupation. The establishment was different when he was younger.
Bram spent most of season one exploring the forbidden fruits of radical freedom and it got him incarcerated. When Maddie comes to visit him here and offers him nothing but a basket of food and polite sympathy, it’s a catalyst moment. He realizes that he’s on his own and his family won’t save him. This devastation can only create a stronger character or a more unstable one. Poor Bram!
Close to the end, we get a brief exchange between Will, Katie, and Broussard outside of The Yonk. Will informs his romantic rival that he mercy killed BB per his request (spoiler) and Katie quietly berates him for not taking better care of his group. “Get your house in order before it falls down on all of us,” she says. Too late, Katie. Looks like his house has already been condemned.
“Fallout” is as close to the case-of-the-week format as Colony has gotten in quite some time, if ever. I wouldn’t call it filler because the events that it portrays is the gust of wind that knocks over the Resistance’s house of cards. But I would call it an entry point for the casual viewer who is just now tuning into the series to see what all the buzz is about. Not that it would make a ton of sense to the uninitiated, but it’s structured far more like a conventional episode of television (i.e. procedural) than the rest of this season’s offerings have been. Watching Will and Katie investigate and be proactive together as a unit is fun, but how will having this “new” dynamic in place influence the direction of the show from here on out? Maybe a more realistic question to ask is: how long will it last?