COLONY REVIEW: “98 SECONDS”

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Airtime: Thursdays at 10PM on USA

Tweetable Takeaway: USA’s “Colony” improves as it drops more bread crumbs in its third episode.


This week’s episode of USA’s new series  was a step back in the right direction after a mostly “meh” second episode. I’m tentatively back on board. Don’t mistake me, I wasn’t blown away, and have yet to be blown away by this show at all. But they planted some interesting story seeds this episode that have me curious enough to keep following.

We open on a narrator, somebody speaking over the radio, telling us a story about a man named Tom. Tom lost his wife in The Arrival. Tom’s daughter was expelled from school when she was overheard suggesting that the new authority were responsible for her mother’s death (the truth). Now all of Tom’s daughter’s friends are afraid to talk to her. So Tom planted a bomb in a truck that exploded in the Santa Monica gateway, taking out members of the enemy (which we saw in episode one). It turns out that the voice speaking over the radio is none other than Geronimo, the infamous resistance leader Will has been tasked with finding and taking out. While he speaks, we see the Red Berets gathering coordinates and when they finally bust in to where they have pinpointed the radio signal, Geronimo is already gone.

But the damage is done. Geronimo always got this word out. He called for all of the people to rise up together. What if Tom wasn’t one in a million, but “one OF a million?” Geronimo, whoever he is, seems to have potential for an interesting character, but I have a feeling that he is being used as a sort of straw man–not who this story is really about. Either he will die soon, or be revealed to be someone–or something–other than we thought.

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The episode moves to the resistance members we are familiar with–Katie and Broussard–kicking off an intelligence gathering operation. They hijack an authority truck in order to monitor the exact response time of the authority’s drones, and then the arriving Red Berets. Of course this goes wrong when some enemy combatants leap out the back of the truck, picking off one of the resistance’s key members in the operation, young Justin Kim. Katie tries to save him but Broussard himself puts a bullet through the injured Justin’s head (to be fair, it did not look like he was going to make it anyway). The drones arrive in 98 seconds (the title of the episode) and gun down almost two dozen bystanders, which is the worst (maybe ONLY) violent act against innocents we’ve seen the alien forces commit thus far.

Katie is terribly shaken by all this. When she returns home she rushes upstairs to wash the blood from her hands (literally and figuratively) and is stopped by the… nanny? Tutor? Housekeeper? I wasn’t clear who this woman hanging out in Katie’s house and asking if she was alright was, but I knew the authority had given her to Katie and Will in some capacity, and don’t trust her. She notices Katie is acting strange and later in the episode calls her out for it, making promises that anything she sees or hears stays within those walls. Which means she’s lying and is going to screw them over sooner or later. Just you wait and see.

Anyway, Katie’s husband Will also ALMOST notices how weird she’s acting, and so Katie distracts him with some very spur of the moment sex. Will of course does not protest.

We also get to spend a little more time with Will and Katie’s son, seeing him in school learning about “Pillar Four of the Transitional Authority Code of Conduct.” I was wondering what kind of teacher would actually subject their students to this in 2016, even under an oppresive alien regime, but the teachers turns out to be pretty cool, even harboring his own illegal telescope at home and looking into the sky at night. Apparently something’s going on “up there.” What that could mean, we have yet to see.

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After the random sex, Will is out on the investigating the very slaughter his wife was a party to. We see Justin Kim’s parents get taken away, used as an example more or less of what happens to the families of people who join the resistance. This doesn’t sit well for Will, as it shouldn’t, but there’s nothing he can do about it, and if there was I’m not sure he’d do it. He is still thinking of his son trapped in the Santa Monica block so he’s pretty obedient. Katie on the other hand is not so with her resistance friends. When asked to follow up with Will on what he or the authority may have found from the search of Justin’s home or his parents, Katie at first refuses to do it… Why? If she wasn’t going to do it, why did she even offer up her services in episode one?

Things get worse for Katie when Will and Carl Weathers actually manage to track down a resistance target practice. Though not live, they had left moments ago and Will gets in a shoot-out with one or two. Broussard notes to Katie that if he had arrived moments earlier, everyone would have been caught. Will’s contribution, unconscious as it is, needs to outweigh the damage he does to the resistance OR…. Katie doesn’t like the sound of that. Either she needs to get better intelligence, or Will has to not be able to be so good at his … Both undesirable. It’s an intriguing set-up.

This combined with the revelation that a young girl friend of Will and Katie’s son has actually found a way outside the walls (and that there are no people out there) made for an episode that hopefully was a lot of good set-up for some solid payoff down the line. Stay tuned.

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 Paul co-created and writes for SHOWoff, a game that lets players predict what happens next on their favorite TV shows, earn points for what they get right, and see where they stack up against friends and the world (free in the iOS App store).  Check out the SHOWoff app at playSHOWoff.com

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