COLONY Review: “Zero Day”

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Airtime: Thursdays at 10PM on USA
Episode: Season 1, Episode 9 (S01E09)

TB-TV-Grade-B

Tweetable Takeaway: Storylines begin to come to a head in #ColonyUSA’s penultimate episode


We’ve come to the second to last episode of the first season of USA’s . There are still many questions, but a couple storylines did come to a head in this episode, leaving me wondering what surprises are left for the finale next week.

We open in Chinatown on the one year anniversary of The Arrival, where people let floating lanterns fly into the night sky in remembrance of those that were lost. However, this beautiful ceremony is cut short as the Red Hats arrive and start pointing their guns. It seems unprovoked and I’m not sure why they were there to begin with. Perhaps the floating objects are forbidden. At any rate a riot breaks out when the civilians start fighting back. We cut away to the lanterns floating high above the occupied city.

Just a sidenote, one thing I appreciate Colony is trying to do is represent the melting pot that is Los Angeles. They seem to have made a point to insert Latino, black, and Asian characters/cultures into the mix. The floating lanterns was just one example, and a beautiful one–not only did it make things feel more real, but it hit home the enormity of the fact the entire human race, all creeds and cultures, are oppressed by the Visitors. Yes, a white family is at the center of it all. It would have been interesting to see something different. But hopefully if the show continues more ethnic characters will step to the foreground. End sidenote.

We soon find that there were riots all over the city for the anniversary of the arrival. “You should have seen Korea Town,” one soldier says. Snyder is of course upset with the impending visit of the Chief Minister. He even upped security to avoid all this. Will and Carl Weathers figure they can use this to their advantage and play Snyder. They tell them that they believe the terrorist cell is operating OUTSIDE of the walls, somewhere in Downtown L.A. They ask permission to step out. Snyder grants it but of course doesn’t trust them completely, telling them he can’t send his two star investigators out there alone–he assigns them an armed guard.

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Meanwhile Broussard and Katie are still meeting with the other cell that is planning on capturing the VIP they got intel on coming into town. They plan to stop him on the incoming metro by blowing the train off the rail and capturing him. Broussard trains Katie beneath the Yonk on how to shoot, and makes sure that she is as void of emotion as she can be. And it’s almost scary how emotionless she is when the plan is actually enacted. She and Broussard take out Red Hat after Red Hat, shooting them straight in the face. It’s an exciting sequence that ends with the resistance infiltrating the exploded car–and finding a Visitor!

Will and Carl Weathers, now outside the block walls and in a downtown skyscraper, enact their plan: a fake shoot-out with the “bad guys.” They then plant fake evidence–a map proving that the Arrival anniversary attacks were coordinated. When brought to Snyder, he informs them that they also found a tunnel underneath the wall. He says they’ll have to seal it up, but Will tells him they can use it to catch the perpetrators. (Is this the same tunnel Will’s son Bram has been using to get in and out of the bloc? Is Will being set up to catch his own son? This would be an interesting turn). Anyway, what Will really wants is regular access outside the walls in order to get he and his family out. Where? To Carl Weather’s cabin up in Big Bear. After Katie, Bram, and his daughter are safe, he’ll return to the Santa Monica bloc to get their remaining son.

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However, when he brings this up with Katie, we finally get the confrontation we’ve been hurtling towards all season. Will finally calls Katie out to her face about working with the resistance right under his nose. He even brings up the death of Phyllis. She calls B.S.–she was responsibly for many more deaths than Katie. Will insists that doesn’t make it right. Fundamentally, these two have very different ideas about what the right thing to do is–for themselves, for their family, for the human race–in regards to the Visitors. Will thinks cooperating to protect them is best. Katie thinks fighting to end the oppression is. This is the heart of the show, and this scene, while not as explosive as I’d imagined, was executed well on all fronts–writing, acting, directing. I thought it would come next week, but it came a week early.

With Katie and Will at odds, a Visitor captured, and, as we see in the preview, the entire bloc being destroyed as repercussion for what the resistance did, I think we’re on our way to an exciting conclusion.

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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2 Comments

  1. “…while not as explosive as I’d imagined, was executed well on all fronts–writing, acting, directing.”

    I think that comment applies to the entire episode, for as good as it was, it couldn’t help but be slightly disappointing after last week’s outstanding episode.

    Regarding the side note, I agree regarding showing the diversity of Los Angeles, and about how great the laterns were. But I don’t agree with your apparent asssertion that it would have been better if a non-white family was at the center of the series. (“It would have been interesting to see something different.”) It might have worked (though I suspect with two white male creators/show runners it would have seemed forced and/or PC-pandering), but even if so it would have just been different, not (necessarily) better. In any case, it’s hard to imagine the show being as popular, or as good, without Josh Holloway. (Or getting on the air in the first place.)

    Having said that, however, I’ve been so grateful for “Carl Weathers” (as you like to call him), and was very upset that he (apparently) is leaving the show (going to Big Bear before all hell breaks loose). I hope this is just a red herring, that he doesn’t leave after all (despite the hug!). (BTW, what does “watch your six” mean?)

    I think, next to Josh’s character, that he is my favorite character on the show… as is the bond between the two of them. In fact, when you think about it, the “bromance” between them often seems stronger than the romance between Will and Katie! (Be honest… weren’t you more torn up by the big goodbye scene with “Carl Weathers” than you were with the possibility that Will and Katie might go their separate ways?)

  2. Hey Paul — I’ve been anxiously awaiting your review of the season finale for over a week… what gives?

    As for me, I was abit dissappointed in it. Expected more major stuff to happen, or more major reveals, or something. For instance, I was very disappointed that instead of Will’s son and the teacher getting a glance at the moon (something spectacular to end the season with), they get arrested — meaning that all Will has done, even if he succeeds at finding his other son, is trade one for the other.

    In fact, all Will and his wife (and kid) have done for the whole season is MAKE THINGS WORSE. I feared this was happending from early on, but never expected the season to end with things in such a bad state (Will and Carl Weathers out of a job, second son mising, wife home alone, and proxy Snyder to be replaced withs someone far worse).

    The lesson seems to be “dont’ resist tyranny, it will just make things worse.” Hardly encouraging.

    On the other hand, I agree with Will that Katie’s approach (and the underground in general) was stupid. They should have focused on intelligence gathering, not trivial (in terms of getting rid of the occupiers, not in how much it pissed them off) violence.

    The thing is, I can’t believe they didn’t know this. So I’m left with the (unpleasant) notion (barring some major revelation early next season) that they behaved this way only because it made it easy for the writers. (That is, classic bad writing. Which makes me kind of angry I devoted so much time (and emotional committment) to the show.

    I’m still hoping that something early next season is going to make me realize it all really does make sense (such as the old guy that Katie andBroussard reported to actually wanted LA to be destroyed for some reason. But I can’t think of any reason that could be true. (“Making it easy for the writers” doesn’t count.)

    So all in all a very downbeat, disappointing ending to the show. Especially since the new proxy will probably be far worse (making life difficult for many people, even if Will’s family goes to Big Bear or whever). Plus sorry to see Carl Weathers is apparently gone (unless his new show doesn’t work out maybe?)

    So, Paul, what did you think?

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