This Colony review contains spoilers.
Colony Season 2 Episode 7
Resistance member Edison sums it up best when he looks at Bram and says “there will be consequences.”
That’s the big theme here in “Free Radicals,” a pivotal installment of Colony that forces our lead characters to be accountable for the actions they’ve taken, both big and small, in recent episodes. It’s another reminder that the Bloc is different now than it was last year. Things don’t go unnoticed. But for us to understand what the consequences mean, we first must know what the stakes are.
Take Will’s adventures transitioning into the new and more oppressive offices of Homeland Security for example. This storyline was the most problematic for me thus far since it followed the sloppy X-Files logic of “Special Agent Protagonist is such a pain in the a** (not to mention a liability) but we’ll keep him hired on anyway just for his looks. Oh, and because the story requires it, too.” The new regime at Homeland has a zero tolerance policy towards shifty behavior from any agent on staff that suggests instability and information leakage. As I’ve mentioned before, their leniency towards Mr. Bowman given his eyebrow raising circumstances were a bit hard to swallow.
Naturally, I was delighted to see this plot point was touched on immediately after the opening teaser this time around. “They’re gonna wanna know where I was yesterday,” Will says to Katie during one of their covert dog walking rendezvous, referring to their misadventure looking into Resistance member BB’s mysterious Host-related radiation sickness. And so a short conversation begins about how he will cover it up, which bridges us to the next scene, where Will is chastised for his “lackluster” performance by Bennett and Burke before being goaded into investigating the latest procedural subplot du jour.
And while he does, Will is confronted with how his investigation tactics aren’t ruthless (aka “effective”) enough to heed the sort of results The Occupation is expecting. In fact, his sense of compassion for fellow human beings is a hindrance to the operation. The rest of Will’s storyline this week compares and contrasts his and Burke’s methods of rooting out Resistance members in a sadistic version of Goofus and Gallant. It’s disturbing to see how far the Hosts will go to locate those who refuse to follow along with their carefully planned invasion. It’s even more disturbing to see how the humans who work for them are so quick to surrender their humanity in the name of duty. That itself is more frightening than any alien life form could be.
Working for the Homeland office alongside psychopathic bureaucrats enforcing rules he doesn’t believe in is taking its toll on Will Bowman, even if he hasn’t had his job back for very long. Much like Jennifer McMahon before him, Will questions whether or not he has what it takes to keep working in an environment that can be both literally and figuratively described as cutthroat. How far is he willing to go to maintain the charade and keep his position there? Is it far enough to appease Director Kersh — oops, I mean Dan Bennett? Even he is verbalizing these concerns by the end of the episode.
After teaming up with her husband for The Power Couple Adventure Hour last week, Katie zips back to her own corner of the Colony universe to do some damage control. Much like Will, Katie faces the music that her own risky behavior caused. “Company Man” was a busy episode for the Bowman matriarch, as it saw her steal top secret info from Nolan’s home computer and give psycho Sunday school teacher archetype Lindsay the boot.
Here, Maddie confronts Katie about the former and advises her on the latter. Katie denies being the information leak because she doesn’t want the surveillance cameras in her home to record her saying anything about it. But she does agree to apologize to Lindsey and ask her to come back and continue indoctrinating Gracie. When she does, she immediately regrets it, because like Will, she’s reminded of why she is unable to assimilate to the Occupation. She is sickened and horrified by the Greatest Day movement as it another form of violence and she knows that dogma can be a dangerous weapon.
Maybe that’s why Katie decides to take up Broussard on his offer of joining his Resistance cell again. On the flipside of that, maybe Will’s challenges throughout this episode are what motivate him to agree to let her do it again. Either way, having Katie doing undercover work for the rebellion will bring back a flavor from the Season 1 palette that’s been missing for a while.
Meanwhile, Bram learns the delicate art of double-crossing his allies and playing them against each other. Snyder and the Resistance cell within the labor camp both think he’s on their side and he tries to work it to his advantage. What winds up happening is he aids in Mya’s suicide bombing of one of the Host’s spaceships. Oh, and Piscatelli dies. Er, I mean Sgt. Jenkins. Darn. We find out from Katie’s snooping that he is scheduled for release, though … in six months.
Outside of these plot threads, Colony does something unusual in “Free Radicals” that it hasn’t done before: it goes out of its way to help us understand its world better. Broussard’s investigation into the recording taken from the drone hive within the Bloc wall leads to a big discovery: the audio matches that of the mysterious Apollo 10 recording we witnessed in a flashback a few episodes ago. Both of these have a “degrading time signature embedded in their audio spectrums.” The Apollo recording’s time signature counted down to the date of the Hosts’ Arrival, so when does this one run out?
Two years, three months, and nine days apparently. That’s how much longer the LA Bloc has left before all of the humans living inside of it are either sent to the factory or disposed of in some other fashion. Is this what the Greatest Day really is?
“Free Radicals” is the most info-dumpiest Colony has aspired to be yet. It even has visualizations and graphs to help you, faithful viewer, begin to comprehend what’s really going on here. In that respect, it’s an episode that serves as a connector piece for all of the major story arcs that are in play right now. Now I’m just wondering when and if they’ll be resolved.