Colony: “Tamam Shud” / “The Garden of Beasts” (S2, E9 & E10 review)

Will turn out to have a natural talent for the 100m Run For Your Freaking Life From Alien Collaborators race (image courtesy USA Network)

 

  • SPOILERS, DRONES AND VINTAGE PLANES, OH MY AHEAD 

It’s time to dig out all your analogue antiques everyone!

While you may love your smartphone, adore your tablet computer and feel joined at the hip to your Netflix subscription, the truth of the matter is that, come the alien apocalypse, all any of those shiny electronic toys is going to do (apart from being a great inert doorstop) is paint a great big red target on your back, stomach and wherever else the Raps decide to shoot you.

It is a sage lesson learned when two resistance fighters outside the Los Angeles Bloc, where life resembles a less than triumphant John Wayne Western and humanity has been “scooped up” for god knows what nefarious purpose/s, decide to fly into the walled-off colony in a bid to fly under the extraterrestrial radar and grab the gauntlet held by Hennessy (William Russ), after Broussard, who looks like he could really do with a ration kit or two handed out by the Church of the Greatest Day’s most photogenic couple Maddie (Amanda Righetti) and Nolan (Adrian Pasdar), gave it to him for safekeeping.

Naturally, as is the way of things in this unpredictable new world, things do not go to plan, with the plane exploding, one of the pilots dying, the other pilot Noa (Meta Golding) on the run, the gauntlet stolen by Red Hand (and Hennessy now sporting a fashionable new corpse), and Will (Josh Holloway) up to his neck in all kinds of trouble.

So much for the best laid plans of digital mice and men huh?

The reality is that no matter how well you plan ahead, and there are people planning everything with the ruthless concentration and efficiency of a dieter trying to slim down for a big event (or even the Greatest Day perhaps? No, not you Gracie, Lindsay is dead and you were being brainwashed!), sometimes things simply don’t work out.

Take a look, for instance, at Helena Goldwin’s (Ally Walker) plans to rise further ever further up the ranks of the Global Authority, which looked great on paper but keep being imperilled by the arrogant joie de vivre of people like Proxy Alcala (Tony Plana) who ridiculously blithely believes that a good spin campaign and everything bad will go away.

Helena knows better, that no matter how well you plan, plot and scheme, or how smartly you think you’re out-thinking the Raps, our unseen alien hosts, that you could still very well find yourself in the firing line.

They don’t think like we do, and are, at heart, remorseless fascists at heart who care only that things happen and happen well; not for them idiosyncratic plans that don’t quite reach their goals; knowing this Helena, far more savvy than Alcala, understands that a happy-go-lucky approach to ruling the Bloc will only result in everyone ending up very much like Hennessy.

 

Meanwhile back at Collaborators Central … (image courtesy USA Network)

 

Or take Will, who after trying to play it both ways as a semi-loyal-ish member of the new SS-like order, where lately he had been at odds with new partner Bob Burke (Toby Huss) and boss Dan Bennett (Christian Clemenson), and aiding wife Katie (Sarah Wayne-Callies) in her on again/off again/on again resistance efforts, found himself very much on the outer.

To be fair he wasn’t exactly planning up a scheme, being more of seat of his pants type guy, who reset a found resistance radio there to throw the alien collaborating stooges off the scent here, or pretended to throw the pilot to the ruling wolves there as he saw fit, but there were plans of a kind in play, if only to stay alive long enough to get the family, now cosily reunited in a dank sewer with Broussard and his offsider Morgan (Bethany Joy Lenz), out of the colony and off to wild and crazy outside-the-Bloc land.

Playing fast and loose with all the limited possibilities at his disposal true, but planning nonetheless, and forced like pretty much everyone else in these two episodes, to make it up merrily (or not so merrily if you’re Dan Bennett and afraid to look at your own shadow lest the Raps shoot it down) as you go along in the hope that it will all work out in the end.

The thing is it very nearly doesn’t work out at all for Will who finds himself captured thanks to some seriously snarky sleuthing by Burke – who says he doesn’t have friends because it interferes with his work but c’mon already, you’re basically a grade-A douchebag and no one likes you anyway, Raps stooge or not – but thanks to the the ability to spot an opportunity to escape and the knowledge that Katie and the kids (great name for a band btw) are safe, romps to find a way to leave the Bloc once and for all.

Or will he? Unfortunately when he, Katie and Broussard try to steal a car from the Black Jackets, a group of leather coat-wearing lemon-faced enforcers who sit a rung or two above the proxies and Governor-general – this hierarchy thus proves that everyone in the galaxy suffers from bureaucratic inertia; leave the Raps alone for long enough and they’ll fossilise in place with committee gridlock surely? – things go massively awry and it’s back to the sewers for the latest poster family for the Resistance.

This, naturally, frustrates Bram (Alex Neustaedter) who dreams of bigger and better things and so, with very little planning I would surmise, stomps to join the Red Hands under Karen Brun (Laura Innes) who does a might fine (and creepy) job of playing the role of cult leader/mother substitute. You know it’s all going to end in tears, or worse, but then to be fair, all that planning isn’t working for either the resistance or the collaborators, so who can blame Bram for going off half-cocked?

 

The Resistance had high hopes for their new album Screw the Raps ((image courtesy USA Network)

 

The reality is, and Colony is exquisitely good at that bringing this grim truth to bear on every nuanced moment of its finely-realised narrative, that the proverbial is getting real for both collaborators and resistance.

This is not the noble idealistic stuff of romanticised resistance nor the exultant uber-power of the overwhelming invader; rather it is the gritty messiness of war, of standoffs and strikes and counter-strikes where no one side really has the advantage.

The cost in human terms in vividly on display, most touchingly as Katie and Maddie dance around each other, the former eager to save the later who despite her partner’s proven track record of being willing to throw anyone under the bus if it saves his well-dressed hide wants to stand by her alien-collaborating man (what would Tammy Wynette say?).

There’s no real winner in their agonisingly difficult situation, which is emblematic of the horrific choices facing everyone on planet earth right now, no matter where they sit on the Raps-loving spectrum.

War is never easy nor clean or straightforward, and despite appearances, there are no real victors, especially when the escalating tit-for-tat nature of the conflict, on full evocative display in Colony, consumes everything in sight, leaving its participants beleaguered and worn down and uncertain whether their best-laid plans will ever be realised.

  • Coming up in “Lost Boys” is a clarion call for humanity to expel the treasonous collaborators within but is it too little, too late or …?

 

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