Photo: Isabella Vosmikova/USA

“We resist by surviving.” Will Bowman says this to his eldest son in the midst of one of their most vindictive fights. It’s a hard point to argue with, because you can’t do anything, let alone resist, if you’re dead. But it’s also only half the story. Bram’s crush/manipulator sacrificed herself in order to blow up the alien ship, and that’s about the most impressive form resistance can take. It’s the suicide bomber argument, and while it’s easy to ethically spurn, it’s harder to claim it doesn’t have the desired impact on both the targets and those it is meant to inspire. Knowing the aliens are vulnerable, that they can be resisted, is easy to ignore when daily life reinforces the sense of powerlessness. But now, they can be blown out of the sky. That’s an act that gives hope.

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Tougher still, Will knows that his son’s argument isn’t necessarily wrong, even if Bram again delivers it in a bratty and self-serving manner. The countdown clock exposed the fate of everyone in the bloc, unless something changes, and Will knows that fighting the aliens is no longer merely a nobler alternative path, but the only route to survival in the long run. Still, their position inside the colony is too precarious, and the possibility of capture too great, to stick around. So he makes the smart case: They run for now, in order to live and fight another day. Little does he know, the younger Bowman has already been doing more than bearing witness to rebel attacks. He’s a murderer.

Bram’s duplicity was a much-needed jolt of energy for the family dynamics on Colony, and a possible way to rescue the character from the doldrums in which Bram has largely been stuck. Best case scenario, this twist animates not only the character but the performance. Much like Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Grant Ward, a character who was dull as dirt (and portrayed in like manner by Brett Dalton) until he was given some dodgy morality and juicy secrets, this could lead to actor Alex Neustaedter developing a more compelling and nuanced take on Bram. Anything is better than what we’ve been getting, but the realization that Bram had lied to his parents, and actually killed a man (admittedly, Ambassador King pulled the trigger first), is a great dramatic curveball. He may act sad and remorseful with Katie, but he doesn’t even bat an eye when rubbing his hand in the pooling blood of the body and leaving the mark of the Red Hand on the door. That’s some cold-blooded shit.

On the surface, “Lost Boy” looks like it’s going to be a Rashomon-style episode of Colony, with each act following a different character through the day’s events, but that turns out to be a fake-out. Instead, each person gets the focus on them in a completely different place (and different time of day for most of them, too), revealing a different part of the story with each subsequent reveal. Will, for example, has his story take place almost entirely prior to the events of the day for everyone else. Charlie lets him know Bram has been sneaking out, and Will does his best to be the caring dad, working to make his son see that their best hope lies elsewhere, not in the L.A. bloc. He chalks up the stress to the need for “a hard reset,” a change of location for all of them that would also ease the strain of being wanted fugitives, and it plays a little too generic in the moment. Only at episode’s end, when we revisit Will’s intervention in light of what we know about Bram’s role in the Red Hand’s attack (not shown in the preceding act, which followed Bram and his youthful partner as they carried out their assault), does it take on an electric edge of danger.

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Snyder’s day, on the other hand, is all about his increasing involvement in the Govern-General’s machinations to have Proxy Alkala removed from the equation. Sure, he may have spent the better part of a day cowering in the trees, but his visit to the ambassador, and later conversation with Helena, point to an intriguing wrinkle—namely, the effort to dig up dirt on Nolan, thereby driving a wedge into his normally stable support of members of the Bowman family.

And Maddie: Poor, poor Maddie, I take back the nasty things I said when you were newly converted to the Greatest Day cause and acting like a zealot on steroids. Katie’s sister turns out to be loyally devoted to family, even when she learns they are liars and possible killers. The look on her face when the red hat tells her about the attack, and how it was orchestrated by these young adults, tells the truth: Maddie never really doubted her family before. Even when she was looking at Bram warily in the home, and calling her son away from him, she obviously fundamentally loved and trusted her nephew. That look was one of hurt and betrayal. She risked her own life for him—again—and he was gunning down her neighbors. It’s going to take a lot of magical alien mind tricks to erase the memory of this grief.

As the end of the season draws near, the question is no longer whether the Bowmans will escape the bloc. They have to, if the series doesn’t want to end up feeling as closed-off and claustrophobic as Broussard and Morgan do. No, the question now is what will happen to Bram—and what choice the Bowmans will make when they depart. They’ll want him to come, but Bram might kill for the chance to stay.

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Stray observations:

  • Karen’s opening monologue, developed via a clever bit of meta- camera placement, was potent mostly for how it made the Red Hand seem like the most sensible option around, which is what a violent revolutionary group should strive to resemble. “We are the architects of our own oppression.”
  • Katie in supportive mom mode with Bram was good, but not as good as saucy one-liner-delivering fighter Katie from recent installments.
  • The Red Hand’s plan was unnerving and effective. Hearing the pops of gunfire all around was a creepy tactic, and the direction this episode really played up the paralyzing uncertainty of not knowing what to do in those situations.
  • It’s about time to check in with our pilot, no?

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