No one ever said having aliens surreptitiously invade Earth under the guise of a secretive coterie of powerful collaborating human overseers would be easy.
Actually to be fair no one said that at all, but in “Company Man” and “Fallout” we witness the complexities of life under the Raps, the colloquial name for the more-euphemistically termed The Hosts – kinda cheeky since it was our planet to begin with, ahem – not just for the Resistance, who let’s be honest are not ever going to get Christmas cards or invitations to dinner in The Green Zone from the alien overlords but also for those who have thrown their lot in with the new regime in town.
There are varying degrees of accommodation of course, with everything from outright obsequious and scarily ambitious (Snyder played by Peter Jacobson, and deputy L.A. proxy Nolan Burgess and Maddie Kenner, played by Adrian Pasdar and Amanda Righetti respectively) to no-choice-but-to-comply types like Jennifer McMahon (Kathleen Rose Perkins) and to a lesser extent Will Bowman (Josh Holloway) to the outright resistors like Broussard (Tory Kittles) and his crew and Katie Bowman (Sarah Wayne Callies) who is technically retired from outright opposition.
See not easy or simple at all, and as we begin to explore the dog-eat-dog merciless nature of life in the occupation, for that is exactly what it is despite all the warm and fuzzy motherhood statements and promises of The Greatest Day – for proof check out the near-starvation level doling out of food and the omnipresent surveillance by the drones – it’s becoming increasingly apparent that what we have is an inherently zero sum game.
No one, despite appearances, is really winning, and you can help but suspect that everyone who has thrown their lot in with the aliens is going to get right royally galactically screwed along with the rest of humanity.
Exhibit A is Jennifer, who came to a enormously sad, self-inflicted end in “Panopticon” when she realised that for all her efforts, she would not succeed in winning over the brutal powers-that-be, represented by Will’s new boss, Dan Bennett (Christian Clemenson) and the snide Bob Burke (Toby Huss) who becomes Will’s new partner post-Jennifer.
But her demise, and the ongoing labour camp internment of Bram Bowman (Alex Neustaedter), are simply the most obvious falls from grace.
In ways large and small, every single character in Colony is beginning to realise or will soon realise – hello Burgess getting ratted out by Snyder to L.A. Proxy Governor Helena Goldwin (Ally Walker) after the former pays an authorised visit to look at Super Secret Alien Stuff at the labour camp – that no one is really pulling ahead in the musical chairs death dodgem that is life under the global government, the VGA (Vorlaufige Globale Autoritat).
In fact, everything looks like it is about to deliciously, dangerously and precipitously fall apart on an epic scale for a number of people, someone of whom are well aware of their possible fate, others blissfully not.
These two episodes brought into sharp relief something that has been evident from the word go with Colony – that Carlton Cuse and Ryan J Condal have gifted with a deeply-nuanced, thoughtful reflection not so much on authoritarian rule – in that respect the Raps are following the Dictatorship 1001 rulebook to the letter – but on how people react to its imposition.
While the more idealistic among us would wish fervently that humanity would rise to the occasion and defy the removal of liberty and human rights in exchange for some vague promises of salvation on the Greatest Day.
Unfortunately reality is way more complicated than that and humanity significantly more flawed, and Colony is doing a sublimely good job of giving us the various gradations all the way through from absolute, blind faith servitude and compliance to bitter, sweat-soaked rebellion
Granted you have the obvious true believers on one side such as Maddie, who shocked sister Katie with the fervency of her new set of beliefs, and Lindsey (Erin Way), the tutor to Will and Katie’s daughter Gracie (Isabella Crovetti- Cramp) who have happily drunk the Kool-Aid and accepted a spurious promise of goodness to come.
And yes there are the obvious resisters such as Broussard and his followers such as BB (Victor Rasuk) who paid with his life in a touching scene with Will in the ruins of his home, and Simon Eckhart (Charlie Bewley) who finds someone he loves is in mortal danger, and to an extent Katie, whose heart remains with the Resistance even if self-survival demands she keep her distance (something she does very poorly, as does Will, in “Fallout”).
But truth lies in the grey areas and it’s there that people like Will and Bram exist, playing both sides of the equation, through circumstance more than ideology or choice, and it is they who represent the true heart of humanity’s reaction to the occupation of Earth.
Sure most people want to take it to the Raps and then some, with deathly bells on, but the grim truth is that life is never that simply, choices never so easy, and reality never so bending to our hope springs eternal will.
There’s no doubt that Will and Bram and countless others want the Raps gone, and everything they had before restored, but that is wishful thinking, for now at least; it doesn’t mean they won’t try and they are, but Colony is wise enough to acknowledge that there is a land mine field of potential hazards between where they are and the promised land, and no one can predict what this great sometimes Quixotic tilt at the alien windmill will cost them.
All that can be guaranteed is the dealing with evil and authoritarianism will expose a great many faultlines in the the collective soul of humanity, with each and every one of them getting a brilliantly nuanced airing on Colony, a show which understands how mercurial and messy life can be, even when it is poised on the edge of an existential precipice.
- Life ain’t getting anymore complicated in the next episode “Free Radicals” with time ticking away and the options narrowing at every turn …