COLONY REVIEW: “Yoknapatawpha”

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Airtime: Thursdays at 10PM on USA
Episode: Season 1, Episode 6 (S01E06)

TB-TV-Grade-B+

Tweetable Takeaway: #ColonyUSA gives us its heartiest episode yet in this week’s episode


Last night’s episode of USA’s  gave us a lot to chew on. In ways, it was the heartiest episode yet. I’ve been feeling quite “meh” about the series, to be honest, waiting for them to present me with something I can really sink my teeth into. The premise always intrigued me, but their execution of it just seemed… bland. First, we never get to really have a sense of the characters and their relationships to one another. Who they were before the Visitors came. What these new alien (pun intended) experiences mean to them emotionally. I mean, they told us but didn’t make us feel it. From episode one, we know Will is trying to get his and Katie’s son back from the Santa Monica bloc, and that Snyder promised to help him do so in return for Will catching the resistance. We knew, logically, that was the set-up. It wasn’t until last night that we felt the stakes.

The episode opens with new character Governor General Helena, who Proxy Snyder reports to and who appears to be in direct contact with the Visitors themselves, on the phone. It’s hard to catch on to exactly who she’s speaking with, but she does eerily mention how something will give them “the justification to make a change.” What that change may be is anyone’s guess, but it does not sound like something us Earthlings will enjoy. At the end of the scene she looks west off her balcony to the Santa Monica beach and crashing ocean waves below, the tall iron wall extending as far as the eye can see into the water. Where does that end?

We then cut to Will and Snyder in an armed escort discussing the recent public execution of resistance figurehead Geronimo–only he wasn’t really Geronimo, just an actor and radio broadcaster posing as him. Geronimo is the resistance itself–the human spirit. And Will is concerned Snyder’s made a martyr out of this one unimportant guy for people to get angry about. Snyder argues what he’s done is bought them time with the Visitors (who were demanding tangible advancements in the fight against the resistance) to find the real terrorists.

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Speak of the devil… The resistance ambushes the armed escort, trying to either grab or take out Snyder. However, due to a deal that Katie cut last week with Broussard, the resistance fighters (all dressed in the authority’s Red Hat garb) are under orders to not harm Will at all. Because of this, Will is able to save Snyder and escape. Katie is actually present during the ambush and rushes back to her bar, the Yonk (actually Yoknapatawpha) to hole up until the commotion dies down. What she didn’t anticipate is Will showing up with Snyder to do the same. She makes an excuse for being at the bar so early–doing inventory–and Will explains what has happened. He believes the resistance infiltrated the authority somehow. Snyder thinks it was some sort of coup. Ironically, Will tells Katie “The last thing I wanted was for you to get caught up in this.” Little does he know, she essentially helped coordinate that ambush and is still working to seal Snyder’s fate.

Will needs to call for authority assistance, but the phones are dead in the Yonk. He rushes out to find a payphone. This is when Katie radios Broussard letting him know that Snyder is alone with her at the Yonk, and as long as he assures her her husband will not be hurt, she will give Snyder to the resistance. But they have to act fast.

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Of course the second she directly puts Snyder on a path to doom, she (and the audience) start to have some sympathy for him. In the downtime hiding out, she interrogates (in a friendly manner) Snyder. Turns out he served as Provost of Stanford University and when the Visitors first arrived, they came to him saying he was a perfect candidate for the Proxy position. She asks him a little about his life. He’s originally from Long Island (“Go Jets,” he exclaims in somehow his most humanizing moment yet). She shares with him that her family is in New Orleans (the Yonk is a NOLA themed bar)–if it’s even still there. He offers up that he knows there are seven colonies on the Pacific Coast Region, but beyond that he does not know. When she asks what’s going on with all the land between the colonies, all Snyder says is “that is somewhere you do not want to be.” (Remember, Katie’s son Bram’s new hobby is escaping the walls and making supply runs outside them).

When Will comes back, he says he’s made the call to the Authority. So now the Authority and the resistance are on their way to the Yonk for Proxy Snyder. One to save him and one to terminate him. Before either of them do though, Snyder gives an update–a crucial one. He has confirmed that Will and Katie’s son, Charlie, IS in fact alive in Santa Monica. As for getting him reunited with his parents, that’s another matter entirely involving Inter-colony politics and red-tape they wouldn’t understand. But it is clear that in order to keep the ball rolling on it, Snyder needs to get out of this alive.

Now Katie is in the awkward position of having to condemn the one man who can get her her son back to probably death at the hands of her resistance cohorts.

These are the types of emotional, meaningful situations we need to see these characters in. The episode was probably my favorite yet. In the end, Snyder does escape with the Authority and Broussard and hard-ass resistance leader Quayle determine that Katie herself must be a double-agent. Only four episode left this season, and hopefully the Colony creative team makes them all more like this episode.

TB-TV-Grade-B+

 

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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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1 Comment

  1. “Now Katie is in the awkward position of having to condemn the one man who can get her her son back to probably death at the hands of her resistance cohorts.”

    While I liked the episode a lot too, I found it (that is, the teleplay) had a near-fatal flaw in that there is no way Katie would have called the resistance so quickly precisely because the only person who has ever said he is trying to get her (and Will’s) son back. I was shocked that she didn’t think about this until after her friendly visit with Snyder. My TV screen started boldly blinking “Cheap writer’s contrivance!” (Well, in my mind anyway.)

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen a character do something overtly contrary to their situation and character, just to make it easy on the writers. (That is, if she hadn’t called the resistance then some other more organic reason would have been necessary to keep things dramatic until Snyder’s people got there to rescue him. What that organic reason might be I don’t know, given that I am not privy to the show’s bible, including how the season ends, but I suspect if I was I could come up with something.)

    This also is a red flag because it reminds me of how in the fifth and sixth season of LOST Carlton and his co-writers started having characters do thing that didn’t make sense, just to serve the plot.

    So I sure hope Katie’s nonsensical action (remember, the resistance had NO IDEA that Snyder was at the bar, so there was no reason for her to let them know) is just an abberation — in which case I can give Carlton a “mulligan” — and not a trend that will be oft repeated during the rest of the series.

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