I saw a tweet today saying that they hoped Bram didn’t do anything stupid in tonight’s episode of Colony. It depends on your definition of stupid, I guess, and how you see the Resistance, teenagers, and the role of the Global Authority, but … Bram did do something – but was it stupid?
This was really an interesting episode. It centers around a Red Hand attack in the Green Zone, but isn’t told in a linear fashion, as are most of the show’s episodes. Instead, it’s told in several character-based chapters, which ping pong in time before, during, and after the event.
We are under attack. But our enemy didn’t come from the skies; our enemy was already here. The Raps only needed one resource in order to maintain control, and we surrendered it to them without a fight. Make no mistake, our occupation is rooted in moral compromise. Men and women who have told themselves that the only way to survive is to join the enemy. That the treasons they have committed against their own kind are justified. That they had no choice. Without this resource, without the human collaborators, the Raps would be powerless. We are the architects of our own oppression. But we all have the power to disarm them, to starve them of the collaborators they need. We only need to unite behind the wall of our bloc. If you collaborate, you die.
This was Karen’s episode-opening speech, her manifesto to be distributed around the bloc. It justifies, to her followers, the attack on those who have taken advantage of the power and privilege that being high-level collaborators gave them. Coming on the heels of several other high-profile Red Hand attacks – on the Rap spaceship, inside the headquarters building, on the Red Hat applicants – this group has made a big impact on the oppressed citizens of the bloc, on the leaders of the Transitional Authority, and, we have to assume, on the global government, whose actions are most likely directed by the aliens.
There’s some truth – and some falsehoods – in Karen’s speech. Would the aliens really have been powerless without the humans bowing down and cooperating? Would they have turned around and left, or would they just have obliterated the entire population and taken what they wanted? Well, that’s a question – because we don’t yet know what it is they want! Do they need slaves to build things for them? Or are the things they’re building only a way to enslave, like the pods we saw last week, and on the explode-o spaceship? There must be something they need, or else they would have just taken the planet. Unless they have a really sick sense of humor. If humans refused to cooperate, it’s not like there’s another similar race on a similar planet within a couple of light years’ travel. So if they wanted something that we have to provide to them, a human lack of assistance probably would have resulted in even harsher methods to make us do their evil bidding, not an exodus.
So with this attack, and the others, what will be the result? It probably won’t be a “gee, sorry, we didn’t realize you felt that way, we’ll head home then.” It’s more likely to be a crackdown, making it even less possible to escape the heavy hand. But the fact that so many people, so quickly, decided to give in and do whatever they had to do to survive under the new regime did make things so much easier for the invaders.
So given Bram’s experience and age, Karen’s fanaticism and persuasiveness, and his parents’ preoccupation and understandable overprotectiveness, was his participation to be expected? Can you really call it stupid? From near the beginning of Season 1, he’s wanted to be involved in the fight. His family has been directly affected – as has everyone else’s to some extent – by the alien invaders. He’s been locked in a brutal labor camp for a small act of defiance and curiosity, seen his new friends killed by zealous guards, and participated in a supreme act of resistance. And then he comes home, psychologically scarred but already inducted into the Red Hand. Katie and Will want to push him back into a dependent, non-participant role – and who can blame them? But he knows, first hand, what organized revolt can do, and what the stakes are. He’s not willing to be a kid again. He thinks of himself as a soldier, and he sees a way to continue that action, with or without his parents’ permission, and he takes it.
But he can’t tell his parents, or anyone else obviously, the truth of what he’s doing and what has happened. When he’s at the target’s home with Patrick, he does seem reluctant – hiding behind the tree as a car passes, startled by the screams and shots. But as the episode progresses, we realize that he’s ducking behind the tree because Snyder is in the car – and Snyder would obviously recognize him, and know that he doesn’t belong there. We don’t see in the first chapter how far into all of this Bram is – we don’t learn the extent of his involvement until the very end, after he’s lied about it to Maddie and his parents. Did you catch the clues in the Bram chapter about who was, or at least had been, in their target house? The mugs on the counter – we see Ambassador King serve Snyder in those mugs later on, in the Snyder chapter.
I don’t quite understand why the attack happened when it did – wouldn’t you think that most of the people they were able to kill would have been the families of the government officials? Unless that was part of the plan – to show the officials that they aren’t the only targets, that their servants and loved ones are also collaborators and must die for their crimes.
Why was there no team at Maddie’s house? Where were Maddie’s household employees? She accepted his story – such an easy liar at this point, Bram is – that he had tried to go home after “being released,” but that there was nobody there. Obviously, she and Katie haven’t been on good enough terms that Katie would have contacted her to celebrate Bram coming home – but Bram didn’t know that. And he really risked Nolan being home – Nolan would have known that Bram hadn’t been “released.” But where else was he to go, with Red Hats killing Red Hands for killing Green Zoners?
After the events of last week between Katie and Maddie, where they were both turning on each other, not realizing that the other was betraying them as well, but they were both upset about the necessity of having to do it, I’m not surprised that Maddie turned on Bram. She had no evidence that he was involved in what she now knew was an attack, but she knew he didn’t belong there. And he was the son of her Resistance-affiliated sister, which tainted him no matter what he had done.
The view of how far Snyder has fallen was fascinating. But the jaunty music, and his happy attitude as he irons and prepares for the day tells you that he thinks he’s back on the road to the top. The way he kept his promise to get Bram out of the labor camp almost makes me like him, and you know that he does have some concern for the people of the LA bloc, which obviously, Alcala doesn’t. So he’s not the worst of the TA, and his partnership with Helena, who also hasn’t yet abandoned her humanity, could possibly signal a bit of hopefulness. Maybe. He was smart to run into the woods as soon as he heard shooting.
Katie and Will are going to have to understand that their oldest son is no longer a child, and accept that, like it or not, they can’t shield him from the war against the aliens. Will may think that their ultimate goal is to stay out of it, but can they? “This isn’t a war we can win,” he tells Bram. “We resist by surviving.” But to what end? To be one family amid only a handful left?
I can’t help but make a comparison with Falling Skies’ Mason family – Hal Mason was about the same age, and was accepted quickly as a fighter. (Hal was maybe a bit brighter than Bram, but you can’t keep teenagers from deciding for themselves when they’re grown up.)
I can’t help but make a comparison with Falling Skies‘ Mason family – Hal Mason was about the same age, and was accepted quickly as a fighter. (Hal was maybe a bit brighter than Bram, but you can’t keep teenagers from deciding for themselves when they’re grown up.) (if you’re not familiar with Falling Skies, FIND IT! It’s on Amazon. Watch the first three seasons. I take no responsibility for your feelings about seasons 4 and 5.)
So we still have to resolve: getting the gauntlet to Noa; finding a way out of the bloc; what the hell are those pods, and are the Blackjacks human or pod people; what kind of reprisals will the bloc face for Karen’s attack; and SO much more! With two episodes left, do you really think we can get it all in? I don’t, which is why a Season 3 renewal is so vital! If you haven’t yet, please sign the petition to USA network that you can find here, tweet with the hashtag #RenewColonyNow, and share your love for the show with all your friends, virtual and otherwise!
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