TV Review: Colony (Season 2, Episode 4)
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‘Panopticon’ once again blows up the scale of the Occupation, but in a manner that flips the narrative genre. As any semblance of privacy in the LA bloc becomes a thing of the past, the viewer’s perspective is transformed from experiencing the world as the oppressed, to becoming Big Brother, through the eyes of Jennifer McMahon. The first scene sets the tone for this, and while it’s exempt from the narrative style that dominates the rest of this week’s episode’s, it does much to demonstrate the reach of the Hosts’ absolutist power and autocracy. Governor General Helena Goldwyn is seen speaking in front of the Vorlaufige Globale Autoritat about the situation in the LA bloc. World leaders and representatives are asked to take a vote on whether the bloc should face ‘total rendition’, which is inferred to be a means of termination. Thankfully for our heroes, the summit votes against this measure, but promise a re-evaluation of the situation in the close future. Thus far this season, Colony’s rising star has been Will’s old team member Jennifer, and this is truly exemplified in ‘Panopticon’, as the entire hour is spent seeing the world through her eyes, thanks to the surveillance cameras installed by Homeland. She keeps walls up that make it difficult for other characters or viewers to understand her motives, so instead this episode takes a different approach in uncovering her psyche. Through the metanarrative format, viewers experience her living vicariously through the Bowmans, alone in her surveillance room where all pretences can be dropped and she is finally vulnerable. The Bowmans represent everything she’s lost since the Arrival, and her obvious longing for their close ties gives insight into what drives her. Jennifer fools herself into believing that her attentive omniscience is about protecting them, when in fact it's escapism for her from the emptiness and loneliness of her life, as the episode sets up constant reminders of her isolation.
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