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TV Review: Colony (Season 2, Episode 1)

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Colony is back for a new season, but the opening episode is not what I expected from a season premiere - especially after how things were left in last season’s finale.

No-one would expect any less from a show like this, which never seems to serve the expected or overdone. Instead of diving back into the action after the last episode left the Bowmans’ lives in pieces and family members torn apart from one another, the story jumps back to pre-occupation Los Angeles - back when their lives were normal and content.

‘Eleven. Thirteen’ is full of soft, understated moments that develop our perspectives of the core characters we thought we knew, and ropes the viewer in intimately close. Considering the world is unravelling and reshaping itself as the first stages of alien invasion develop, this feat is impressive and perfectly executed.

If Colony had been following the beaten path of dystopian-themed sci-fi TV shows, this episode would have been the series’ pilot episode. Instead, in the first season, the writers were smart enough to thrust the viewers into the thick of the occupation world, enabling us to experience the confusion, the fear, and the loss that the characters felt without a cold, linear, and frankly predictable transition from normal modern life to a present-day, alien-invaded world.

Having watched season one unfold in all its mysterious and nebulous glory, the viewers are invested in the Bowmans; we care for and are curious about what the characters’ lives looked like pre-arrival. The new perspective lent by ‘Eleven. Thirteen’ give the characters new depths and a new context, presenting a before and after picture of how the events that shape their present have transformed them into the conflicted antiheroes we know and love.

The season premiere is full of hints as to the scope of the conspiracy that led to an alien-controlled world administrated by collaborators. It is revealed that an organisation - the forebodingly-named Institute for Global Advancement - knew about the arrival before it happened. Snyder, even then an unassuming middle-aged divorcee/embezzler, is approached by the IGA to become one of the proxies in the future new world order. The existence of a list of 1200 people is also revealed to Will and his FBI partner Davon by an engineer who evaded kidnapping. They are the names of the people in the US who, in the event of a major catastrophe, are to be sequestered so that if society were to end, they would be responsible for rebuilding it.

It could very well be that this list was created with the alien occupation in mind, though at this stage nothing is certain. This sets up a possible new path of inquiry for the season, as the previous assumptions made about the motives or timing of the arrival come under question. In any case, viewers can now appreciate that life in the LA and Santa Monica blocs were merely glimpses into a conspiracy of a far larger, likely global, scale.

Through the flashbacks, a new character is introduced: Davon, Will’s old FBI partner who Will suspects has been involving herself with the Armenian gang. Introducing a new character through flashbacks, with no previous mentions of her in season one, may seem lazy. However, it can be excused when considering that Davon had been trapped in the Santa Monica bloc when the separation walls came down from the sky - meaning there could have been no contact between her and Will since.

Her introduction makes sense now that Will has found safe passage to the Santa Monica bloc to search for his son Charlie, and he needs an ally in his quest now that he is separated from everyone he knows back in the LA bloc. Already she has been given some depth through the ambiguity of her morals – if allegations were true – and her complicated relationship with Will, all of which promises a new reconnection and insight into Will’s old life.

‘Eleven. Thirteen’ emphasises more than ever everything that was lost on that day of the arrival, and reminds viewers, after a long hiatus, of everything Will and Katie are trying to get back, both with their families and with their marriage.

As all good season premieres should, this episode sets up many big questions, in regards to both past and future events, to be answered as the season continues.

Colony airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on Sky One.




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