Airtime: Thursdays at 10PM on USA
Tweetable Takeaway: #ColonyUSA takes a shaky step in its second episode.
The second episode of a series can usually make or break a show. The pilot, a single dot on a chart, can stand or fall on its own. But once the second episode, a subsequent dot, airs, lines must connect, and a clearer direction is plotted. Unfortunately I’m not so sure that this episode sends us in the best direction.
We open with Will’s old partner at the garage, Carlos, being taken away by the government as his wife and child watch, presumably for having cooperated with Will, helping him smuggle himself into the Santa Monica bloc. As we know this did not go as planned, yadda yadda yadda, and now Will is working for the oppressors to find a person leading the resistance named Geronimo, while, unbeknownst to him, his wife Katie works for that very resistance.
Katie informs her kids that they are going to be home schooled from now on. Having a husband working for this new government has its perks. She explains to them though that they need to stay at home, and be protected by the guards the government has provided, because there are certain people who won’t like the fact that their father has started to cooperate. What I don’t understand is why Will and his family aren’t just being relocated to the Green Zone with the rest of the cooperators? It seems safer, and Will would still be able to commute to work in the Los Angeles/Hollywood bloc, and he could probably even do it in half the time it takes in real world Los Angeles rush hour traffic. But Will mentions that he’s telling people he is the “new driver for the head of sanitation.” Something doesn’t add up here.
If it’s supposed to be a secret that Will is working for the government, then how is pulling the kids out of school and assigning protection going to keep people from figuring out what is really happening? If it’s not a secret, then why are they even still living in the zone where they may be threatened? Maybe I’m missing something, maybe I’m not supposed to understand yet, but this just doesn’t make much sense to me.
What does make a whole lotta sense is that Will’s new partner, a guy named Beau, is played by CARL WEATHERS. And he’s just the Carl Weathers you want him to be–the laid back, moocher he was in Arrested Development. Their first assignment is tracking down a guy named Andre Hines, who took money from the resistance to plant the bomb on the truck that got Will caught. When Will pinpoints exactly where the kid is, in classic Carl Weathers style tells him to slow down, “we can eat off this man hunt for a week or two.” Did this remind anyone else of Carl’s classic “Baby, you got a stew goin’!” line from Arrested?
Anyway, Will catches Andre after a short chase sequence and throws him in jail–and that’s that. He doesn’t get to do the questioning. Beau informs him there’s a special unit for that. I have a feeling we’ll be finding out what “questioning” is exactly under the alien government. But not this episode.
And that was a problem I had with where the series appears to be going. If episode two is any indication, it will be light on the sci-fi. Anything alien or futuristic besides that huge wall keeping them all in was rarely seen. One of the only times we saw any indication of our extra-terrestrial oppressors was one of their drones flying and spying on Will and Beau putting the perp they had just caught in their car. Even then it just stares and doesn’t do anything, then zips away.
Now I get that they can’t reveal too much too fast, but without this sci-fi element it’s just another insurgents fighting an oppressive government story, with nothing particularly original about it. The one interesting thing then is that Will’s wife Katie is working as part of the resistance he is trying to track down and I’m not sure I like where they are taking that storyline.
As promised, the government allows Katie to reopen her neighborhood bar, The Yonk (which I think may also might raise suspicions about Will’s true new gig). In the bar, she meets with her resistance contact Broussard who tells her he need to know how close her husband is to catching the bomber of the Santa Monica gateway. But there was something eerie about this scene. Broussard doesn’t have the same friendly demeanor he did last episode. He refuses to take in Carlos’ wife and child saying that’s now what the resistance does. Katie asks if it’s not to help the civilians being oppressed, then what is it? Broussard is looking at the long game, taking the aliens out all together. But it makes him seem unsympathetic. The resistance is in fact responsible for the deaths of some civilians, but Broussard doesn’t care. Are they setting the rebels up to be the true bad guys? Or are they just fudging the lines a bit to make things more interesting?
In a bafflingly unconnected C storyline, a waitress at one of the GZ parties meets an old friend from before The Arrival–a guy who was previously in film distribution, now in water distribution. He takes her back to his gawdy mansion, has sex with her, and sends her away with a care package of chocolates and wine–things they don’t often get in Echo Park, where the waitress resides. She is hurt when she realizes he has no intention of making the effort to see her again. How these characters will play into anything important, we have yet to see.
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
Paul Gulyas | Contributor