Today, rather than giving you an actual review of episode 311, Disposable Heroes, which you’ve already seen and don’t need to rehash, I’d rather talk about the turns that the show has taken. Specifically, let’s talk about what, really, is collaborating? Or resisting? Has the reason for these positions flipped, given what we’ve learned this season?
It was pretty clear in Season 1 – collaborators = bad guys, Resistance = good guys. One group worked with our alien oppressors, feeding fellow humans to their Factory, jamming guns in the faces of those just trying to survive. And the other group pushed back, disrupting the system, trying to find a way to make the aliens sorry they came here, and get them to leave us alone. Season 2 didn’t change our minds much. People were still rounded up, in huge numbers, and shipped off, mistreated, killed. The humans giving in to the aliens’ demands didn’t seem to care too much that their fellow humans were being treated this way, as long as they weren’t caught up in it themselves. The Resistance was dwindling – most people seemed to just be trying to survive, without the energy or will to push back. It really seemed hopeless. We had no idea why the aliens came here, what they wanted, when or even if they would leave… and maybe to be able to get through this, none of that mattered any more. Even our Resistance family, the Bowmans, had given into the survival instinct. They had done all they could, they weren’t willing to risk their children any more – another generation had to survive.
Season 3 – GAME CHANGER!! The RAPs have come here fleeing a bigger, badder alien army, and are using humans to build their defense. Why did they come here in the first place? Out of any sense of concern that the Enemy would wipe us out, and that they could protect us? No, it was all still a self-serving reason, that we had a large population that could do the work they couldn’t. So now, we’re not only in danger from the RAPs, we’re in danger from the aliens that they’re fleeing from. The reasoning there is that if we don’t help them now, the Enemy will wipe them out, and we’ll be collateral damage. So we should help the RAPs so that we’re not destroyed. But hell, what do we care if they’re destroyed, as long as we’re not caught up in the middle? Should we all be rising up to find a way to rid ourselves of the RAPs, make them haul off somewhere else so the Enemy doesn’t come here?
Collaborators. . .
In light of the new information about the Enemy, events in past seasons start to make more sense. In the face of superior technology, which the RAPs obviously have, it was hard to see that we could have won against them. But the enemy, as most of the human population saw it, wasn’t the RAPs – it was the humans who took advantage of the situation and used it to their own personal advantage that were the most dangerous.
There are several characters, though, whose motivation may have been misunderstood. This season, Snyder has said more than once that he’s been working within his limits to save as many people as possible – I can see that! The LA colony was managed so that people could stay in their homes, had jobs, food, school – as long as they were careful and didn’t push back. Snyder had (and has) bosses who don’t really agree with how he ran the colony – he was removed in season 1, after all. Snyder felt that he had to clamp down on any Resistance activity because it jeopardized the rest of the bloc’s population – if the Hosts saw enough chaos, it was entirely possible that they’d rendition everybody. I think Helena falls into this category – sometimes the way to do your best for the people under you is to bow down to the people (or aliens) above you.
Another character in this collaborator/protector category was Phyllis, the woman that Will first started working for, and whom Broussard killed. She obviously knew things about people that she hid from her superiors. She had access to what we can now assume was Kynes’ algorithm – her mysterious “Rolodex.” But she would also look the other way when she thought it was the better idea. What could she have done, both good and bad, had Broussard not determined that she needed to be removed? Without better information, she sure looked like a collaborator, rather than a protector. And therefore, she needed to be out of the way.
Of course, a lot of the Collaborators weren’t in this for humanitarian reasons – they wanted the status, the perks, the homes that they had envied but never would have acquired. They wanted the power that came with that uniform. Some were thugs excited to be able to have a legal way to show their true colors.
But now, Snyder seems to have turned to more of a hard line. His willingness to take a huge leap and plant a bomb in Seattle, and deliberately kill some of the precious Outliers just to uncover what Everett Kynes is doing and get rid of him, signals a change in his somewhat tenuous commitment to doing anything toward keeping more humans safe than not. If he really had that thought in mind, don’t you think he’d be playing both sides, and seeing what he could do to work WITH Kynes, rather than AGAINST? Or is there something bigger in play?
The Resistance. . .
In Season 1, we asked – well, I did – if the aliens were real, or if it was possibly a case of putting forth a hugely convincing story in order to shift power. Sure there were signs pointing to some larger intelligence – the walls, the drones – but we never saw the aliens. And that’s the point – neither did those pushing back against the Transitional Authority. All they saw were people being locked up for non-crimes, oppression, shortages, loss of freedom. And so there were larger numbers of resisters, as there are in any society.
But as things became more serious, and the show’s writers took us farther and farther into the story, we got a glimpse of the Hosts behind the curtain, so to speak… the desperate and unfeeling Oz leading us down a yellow brick road of war. Resistance became more difficult and deadly. Stakes got higher with the introduction of the Enemy, the ultimate reason for the invasion. And now, the question becomes, what is a resistance fighting against? What can they accomplish?
In Kynes’ case, he knew, early on, exactly what was happening, and had a jump on any ground-level Resistance fighters. He knew about the Outlier program and made plans to use that to humanity’s benefit, rather than its demise. He knew who the leaders of the IGA would be and how they would be chosen, and knew how to play to and against that. He had time to develop, in secret, a “safe haven” for many of those who would otherwise be grabbed up by the greedy Hosts to use as their own supersoldiers. Obviously, this is being done in a local setting rather than worldwide – he can’t protect Outliers in other parts of the world. But he put pieces in place that let him gather and protect Outliers and others, even while he had to sacrifice others so that his larger goal of saving as much of humanity as possible wouldn’t be discovered.
I loved his contempt for Snyder and Helena in this episode, when he encountered them outside of his office building. They’ve begun to figure out what he’s up to, and he just doesn’t care that they know. “If it isn’t the Ice Queen and her evil little sidekick,” he says. “Do you know the difference between intelligence and cunning? Of course not. Because if you did, they wouldn’t have picked you. When do you pay the price for selling out your whole species? I can’t even blame you. This is what happens when you give large power to small people. They knew you were the kind of crabs who would always drag the others back down into the bucket.”
So where do our heroes fit into this? Having stumbled upon the plan indirectly, of course they want to be involved. They have information that the rest of the Outliers they find don’t know anything about – except for Harris, now deceased, and his partner Ford, nobody else seems to know that they’ve been identified as a special and protected group. Nobody else knows about the Enemy, and from the Outlier that Will, Katie and Broussard found in that shop, they don’t really know the extent of what they’re caught up in. But as trained military people, they’re ready to take orders and fight for a cause they believe in. THIS is a group that can do more damage and make more headway for resistance than the kids and housewives that Broussard had hooked up with in Season 1. But – has Kynes done enough to prepare Seattle for the fight?
And True Believers
Seattle is a very small colony in a very big world. It’s obvious that the Hosts have somehow taken over the entire planet, although if you think about it, how? We’ve already been told – by Snyder – that there are only a couple hundred Hosts. How have they been able to make enough giant Walls, and convince every government that this was GOING to happen, without any kind of public fight beforehand? I guess we just have to accept that it DID happen. But our story is centered now in Seattle, and we have to believe that it will be here that the fight for humanity will happen – and have any chance of succeeding. WE have to be the true believers. I bet you thought this was going to be about the devoted followers of the Church of the Greatest Day, didn’t you? As much as I think that was an odd storyline, dropped into the overall narrative and just as quickly stepped on and killed, no, it’s not about Lindsey and her fellow acolytes.
What does Kynes have to have set up? We know he’s already established secret armories, as one of the Outliers discovered. He had a plan in place to notify his new army – by shutting down the system. Kind of a reverse signal, actually. He’s been somehow grabbing technology from the Hosts – what else do you think that bulletproof material can do? What other kinds of bits and pieces has he been able to take away from the technologically advanced aliens? And merge with his own developments, like the Walkers recognizing Outliers and not killing them?
But how many Outliers has he NOT been able to protect and bring into Seattle? From the very beginning of the series, we knew that one of the first things that happened during the Occupation was that military and government people disappeared and/or were killed. How many of them were actually grabbed for the beginning of the Outlier program? And remember in the beginning of Season 2, in a flashback, Will and his former partner found an engineer hiding in his home? He said that he was part of a group who were designated to “reboot” humanity if a crisis happened. Were they all killed? Or were some of them taken to be used by the Hosts? We weren’t given any more information about this.
Kynes’ algorithm – was that used worldwide? If so, does he have inroads into other colonies across the planet, with some way of protecting and now contacting trained soldiers everywhere? Without being able to raise an army beyond Seattle, I’m afraid we’re looking at the city being turned into a glass landscape. And I know we’re not promised any kind of happy ending – and at this point, not even promised a Season 4 – but the fight should be exciting!
So, True Believers, if you want to find out what happens to Will, Katie, Bram, Gracie, Broussard, and the possibly treacherous Amy (I know we haven’t discussed her, but I still don’t trust her – maybe we’ll talk about that next week) – or, if you like, Snyder, Helena, Kynes, and Kynes’ assistant (played by the very cute Sergio Osuna), you need to make some noise, watch the episode several times, convince your friends to watch!!! I’m getting very concerned about S4 possibilities – ratings rose for a couple of episodes, but have dropped again.
And we just CAN’T STOP HERE!!! Keep tweeting – using #RenewColony, to @USA_Network – WE WANT SEASON 4! Nica Johns, one of the members of my Colony group (Colony: The Resistance) made these memes that you’re welcome to grab and use in your social media campaigns. Just remember to shout it out!
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