Photo: Isabella Vosmikova/USA

It had to happen eventually. Colony’s been riding such a wave of high-energy storytelling, backed by genuinely impressive narrative surprises, it was unlikely the show could sustain that intensity and quality for an entire season. “Company Man” gets Will Bowman back to work for the collaborationist police force, but even if it was necessary for the Bowmans to take a step back and act the part of a good, subservient family, that pause saps the energy that’s been built over the first part of the sophomore season. There’s a lot of table-setting—and a few gunshots to the head, if you live in a labor camp—but even Broussard’s hardy band of rebels can’t generate much spark this episode.

In large part, the letdown is structurally hardwired into the story itself. Will and Broussard both spend this episode telling their respective families (actual family in Will’s case, makeshift for the wanted soldier) to cool their heels and play it safe. Broussard and the team have a good moment this week, when they manage to temporarily disable a drone. Not only that, but Morgan (new Morgan, that is, who if you squint looks enough like Thora Birch to not make it too distracting) attaches a camera to it, giving the resistance its first peek inside the top of the wall itself. What they see isn’t reassuring: Thousands upon thousands of drones are sitting inside, little glowing red dots, waiting to be unleashed when needed. No wonder his team gets a little antsy.

But in addition to Broussard’s reintroduction to this season, we also get the first indication of his ties outside of the struggle. Current ties, anyway—we already saw his family drama in the flashback installment from the beginning of the season—and it’s a little odd seeing someone as tightly wound as Broussard engaging in a bedroom romp. Still, while his conversation reveals he’s never quite fully in the moment, always keeping eyes and ears open for any possible need to flee, the fact that he’s even willing to risk discovery for an intimate encounter shows the toll of this fight on his consciousness. He’s a little stir crazy, too; denying others the chance to get away and do what he’s doing might be necessary for his sanity and safety (he’s much better at covert actions than the rest), but it’s still a little selfish.

Homeland Security has been an even less pleasant place to work since Will’s been away, unfortunately. (Just ask Jennifer McMahon, R.I.P.) His new partner, Burke, is already proving to be less of a co-worker and more of a hall monitor, looking askance at Will’s every move and testing his abilities as an agent. Luckily, Will is very, very good at his job, and by the end of “Company Man,” he’s already gotten a glimpse at the massive surveillance center that houses the screens showing the camera feeds from his home. He realized the extent of the monitoring before, but now he might be able to do something about it.

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But he can’t do anything for Jennifer. Burke proves he’s as big of an asshole as he seems, brusquely informing Will that his old partner “didn’t have the constitution to survive in the new system.” The only lingering question is whether Jennifer actually went through with the suicide. It‘s likely she’s dead, but since we haven‘t seen a body, I don’t want to count her out just yet. Jennifer was one of the more compelling and conflicted characters thus far in season two, and it would be a shame if she’s gone for good.

The most significant change this episode comes on the homefront, as Katie finally loses her patience with Lindsay’s bullshit. Katie has never been good at sitting on her hands; she starts to crack anytime she can’t be active, engaged, doing something to help the cause or protect her family. The irony is that she’s spent the previous few episodes so determined to keep her family safe, and now that it looks like they’re in the clear for the time being—Jennifer obviously isn’t telling anyone—Katie is already pushing back against Will’s caution to play everyday mom. To be fair, Lindsay’s devout fanaticism finally went too far. It’s not even that the tutor sent Charlie to his room, so much as what she tells Katie when ordered never to do that again. “That child is a poison,” she proclaims. Sorry. Lindsay, but you don’t get to go around calling someone’s kid a poison and expect to continue your employment under them. At least we expect it from Lindsay; Madeline is outright obnoxious to her sister. Someone’s conversion to pro-alien devotion is turning them into kind of a jerk.

This was an uneven installment of Colony, as the show pivots back to following Will’s exploits as a member of Homeland Security. When the most intrigue is happening at the labor camp between Snyder and Bram, it’s a sign the other storylines aren’t up to snuff. Still, Bram is finally a little interesting. The position of triple-spy, reporting back to his crush while also squealing to Snyder with false information she provides him, makes him someone in a tenuous position, and that makes for effective drama. The sooner everyone else is back in situations as precarious as the eldest Bowman kid, and the more rapidly the unexpected charges and twisty moral dilemmas return to the fore, the less time we’ll spend having lackluster secret convos in movie theaters.

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Stray Observations:

  • Seriously, Maddie was so rude to her sister. The zeal of the newly converted isn’t looking good on her.
  • Really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Lindsay. We miss you, you insane little monster.
  • Even her response to Gracie was spoken with the demented crack of a true believer. “We see evidence of the Greatest Day all around us.” Do we, Lindsay?
  • Snyder’s low-key resentment of Jenkins, his head of security, is delightful. No one does swallowed irritation like Peter Jacobson.

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