Colony: Maquis (S3, E1 review)

Behind you! BEHIND … YOU! Ha — just kidding (image courtesy USA Network)

 

  • SPOILERS AHEAD … AND DUPLICITY, RESISTANCE AND GREAT BALLS OF FIRE (NO, REALLY, ACTUAL BALLS OF ALIEN FIRE)

There’s no such thing as a quiet moment (or six months for that matter) in the apocalypse, alien or otherwise.

But goddamn it, the Bowmans, plus Snyder (Peter Jacobson) who’s supposedly seen the light and wants a life away from the Hosts and their Vichy-like hold on collaborative humanity – SPOILER ALERT! He’s LYING! See that smoke? That’s his pants most definitely on fire – are giving it a red-hot go.

As “Maquis” opens, we find neatly-shaven Will (Josh Holloway), rebel-to-the-end Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies), restless elder son Bram (Alex Neustaedter), taciturn, eternally-resentful Charlie (Jacob Buster) and Treasure Island-reading Gracie (Isabella Crovetti-Cramp) living it up deep in the forest north of now-renditioned (aka destroyed in its entirety) L.A. with a bucolic je ne sais quoi.

They have chickens, home-cooked meals (by Snyder), water fetched for them (by Snyder), a log cabin that looks like something you’d have a relaxing weekend in … and oh yeah, a crushing sense that the other jackboot is about to fall and leave back where they started.

But they ignore all that – well, mostly; Bram is monitoring broadcasts by rebels which have a Lost-like numbered sequence being read out by a woman and nothing else and despite toeing the official Bowman line that everything is hunky-dory, Katie is uncomfortable being way out on the sidelines – and to build a life way out on the margins of the world.

The only problem with that avowedly chilled lifestyle? The world, which remains in the grip of vice-like alien control, enforced by compliant, ambitious humans all too eager to sell out their fellow Homo Sapiens for a rung on the galactic ladder, doesn’t want to play along.

Just as they’re beginning another day in make-believe paradise, a crashing ship, that looks nothing like anything the RAPs fly around in – meaning – ta-dah! – that they have enemies, emboldening Will to declare the enemies of earth’s invaders as humanity’s friends, a bold leap of hopefulness that Snyder quickly quashes (has Will not seen Falling Skies? Everyone wants a piece of us, even the alien good guys!)

 

Nice day for a wander in the woods … just watch out for the drones (image courtesy USA Network)

 

While Will and Snyder go off to check out the downed ship from a look out – Snyder a whole lot less willingly than Will – Katie and the others make ready to flee the cabin if the RAPs deploy their usual protocol and start sweeps of the area.

Certainly there are drones aplenty and weird ATAT-like creatures – so clearly the RAPs are Star Wars fan which is a good thing; on the bad side of the equation, they are clearly Vader, not Skywalker, devotees – one of which catches Will and Katie mid-gallop across an open sunlit meadow (yeah, so pretty that you just know death awaits them) and bizarrely, just like when Will was clambering up the Wall into the L.A. colony, DOES … NOT … SHOOT.

I mean, at all. Not even the teensiest-tiniest move to turn the two lovebirds into so much bloody red mist.

It’s hard to tell what they’re most shaken by , almost dying, or NOT almost dying,  but either way, it weirds them both and raises all kinds of questions – why is Will being spared? How did he make it onto a protected list when many others Helena Goldwyn (Ally Walker) further up the collaborative foodchain haven’t been so blessed? What’s his ultimate fate?

Of course, we got no answers on that front, but we did get to see inside a downed RAP craft to see a sluggy, blobby creature who looks not unlike a Dalek, which could explain why they don’t show themselves too often, or at all, really, and rely on their human proxies to be the bright, shining face of brutal oppression.

Not the most momentous of the revelations – think we’ll hand the blue ribbon for Best in Revelatory Moments to the fact the RAPs have extraterrestrial enemies – but still pretty cool.

 

What was that noise? The quiet of the woods disturbed by humanity going down the gurgler (image courtesy USA Network)

 

The most interesting dynamic in this episode though was the artfully-explored idea that the fight is never really over when you’re fighting against tyranny.

Think about it – the chickens and bucolic tree change lifestyle aside, you can ever really stand aside and hide away if you have any kind of sense of morality and yearning for true freedom?

Granted, only a fraction will take the risk that comes with active resistance, with the majority attempting a variant of head-in-the-sand getting by-ness, but the Bowmans are mostly definitely in that minority, especially so when you remember that they are still in possession of the gauntlet they purloined last season off some RAPs.

This gauntlet, which they leave buried in the forest until they’re forced to flee the cabin when a strike team, not the expected recon team, goes in for the kill, is physical testimony to the road they have taken, and temporarily stepped off of, and to which Bram and Katie, the former more urgently than the latter, want to get back to as quickly as possible.

They do get some schtick from the Resistance when they get back in contact and reveal they have the gauntlet, but you can well understand why they chose, for six months at least (all the while with a conniving collaborator still in their midst; yeah leopard, spots, not changing) to try and live a normal life.

But as Charlie archly reminds his mum – he says everything archly, his face locked in a lemon-faced rictor of disdain for everything – the old world is gone, and whatever results from the battle they are now back in, it won’t look anything like the wold they once happily inhabited.

Once again, Colony excels are going deep and gritty into the heart of resistance to tyranny, illustrating time and again that there is a great cost to being part of the non-collaborative minority, that you can never step away, never stop, never press pause, no matter how much you’e like to do so.

Hashtags are easy, demonstrations easy too, but really resisting with last fibre of your will and life? It costs everything and Colony delivered a tightly-told episode in “Maquis”, in which the Bowmans and battle are once again intrinsically and irrevocably rejoined, that underscored this truism in graphic fashion, a lesson that no doubt will be repeated again and again as the season goes on …

  • Coming up next week on Colony in episode 2 “Puzzle Man” …

 

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