It was only a matter of time. Will Bowman is a very smart federal agent, but he’s not a world-class superspy. Katie Bowman is a determined woman, with a good head on her shoulders, but her ill-considered actions in season one were always a sword of Damocles hanging over the family’s head. As it turns out, deciding to join the resistance for good doesn’t matter much when there’s already evidence of your behavior just waiting to be found. Will and Katie weren’t trying to stay ahead of the authorities so much as they were living on borrowed time. The end of their double lives wasn’t a question of when; it was a matter of past due already.
“Tamam Shud” definitively shifts the structure of Colony permanently, and while it’s too soon to tell if the consequences of the change will be to the long-term good of the series, it should again be commended for its bold and audacious storytelling. This installment doesn’t hold anything back—for the first half of the hour, I was wondering how Will was going to turn the tables on Burke, to somehow save his job, steer attention away from his family, and convince his boss that the investigation against him was a dead-end. Instead, the show plunged irrevocably into the end of the entire world the Bowmans have been living in for the past two seasons. Will doesn’t get away with it; he’s forced to go on the run. Katie and the kids go into hiding with Broussard and Morgan, and nothing will ever be the same. Their free lives are over.
After the first part of the episode gradually tightened the noose around the Bowmans’ collective neck, the second half saw them shoot their way out of it. Both Will’s escape from the snare to capture the pilot and the rescue of the kids by Katie and Broussard were well-executed sequences, tense and nervy. Both benefited from the show’s often brutal and unpredictable narrative—it’s much easier to believe something could go horribly wrong when we’ve just seen bad things happen, and unexpectedly so. The minute Will realizes the authorities no longer have his kids, he smashes the soda bottle and shoves it into Burke’s gut, a violent and deeply satisfying payback for his sadistic former partner. Will knows there’s no reasons left to try and play nice, so he embraces his new status as an outlaw and bolts.
Similarly, Katie, who has shown revulsion against the violence necessary to the resistance in the past, stops giving a fuck the instant her kids are in danger. Watching Broussard and her methodically take down the red hats stationed at their rundown apartment returned some intensity to a character who spent the first half of the season trying to atone for like behavior in the past. Once again, the show highlights how our choices so rarely are the product of deliberation. They’re forced upon us by circumstances beyond our control, and all we can do is act, retroactively justify our behavior, and hope that it feels right in the long run.
The pilot storyline is a bit strange, and not just because someone who is supposedly smart genuinely thought they would just steer a noisy old propeller plane into the colony, pick up a piece of alien tech, and fly out again—simply because the outdated model doesn’t contain any digital equipment. The notion of a woman somehow running to safety and waiting by a shortwave radio day and night for the resistance to make contact is a little more far-fetched than this show usually plays it when it comes to the all-too-human machinations of humans on both sides of the fight. Still, it made for a fun visual spectacle, and while it wasn’t necessary to have someone from outside the walls altogether be the messenger of the news that the “real war is about to begin,” it does point to a possible way forward for Will and his family: outside the walls of the L.A. bloc.
If the show chooses to go that route, it’s going to make the nature of the overall story a little more bifurcated. There was already a sharp distinction between the several worlds swirling around within the series. There’s Snyder, who spent this season connected to the action only by dint of the labor camp where Bram helped to bring about the destruction of an alien ship. Hearing that he’s about to be called back up to the big leagues was welcome news, as Peter Jacobson excelled in his position of power last season, and while watching him get irritated by lunkheaded prison security was always fun, it felt like treading water for the character. Now that Helena needs an ally in her struggle to keep the colony from being liquidated, his presence will bring a renewed focus to those running things, hopefully for the better. But with the Bowmans as fugitives, the show loses any connective tissue between these worlds.
Except for Nolan and Maddie. The new converts to the Greatest Day are flesh and blood relatives—well, Maddie is, anyway. And this will force her to make a choice between her sister and her cause. She’s wavered all season long, toggling between support of her status-seeking man and feelings for her desperate sister. Either way she chooses, it will finally inject some stakes into Maddie as a character. Someone who’s been on the sidelines might be about to come into the spotlight. Just in time, too—the Bowmans are going to want to stay out of the light for awhile.
- When Katie tries to explain how she needed to kill the red hats at their apartment, Charlie immediately gets it. No confusion there.
- Bram is apparently too stupid and self-centered to even understand when his mother just sacrificed their entire lives to save him. That guy is the worst.
- Actually, there was a moment tonight that reinforced how maybe it’s not just Bram, the character, who might be a little out of his depth. When Will arrives at the safe house underground, he gives two long looks—one to Bram, the other to Broussard. Alex Neustaedter, who plays Bram, silently returns the look, and conveys blankness. Tory Kittles (Broussard), gives a motionless look back, too, but communicates volumes in that silence and stillness.
- Gracie’s “I think Lindsey’s dead” provided the only moment of levity with Charlie and Bram.
- R.I.P. Hennessey, who dies as he lived: Sitting around in a movie theater waiting for cooler people to come talk to him.
- Tamam Shud, the title’s episode, refers to an unsolved case of a dead man who washed up on the shores of South Australia. In his pocket was a note reading just that, which means “ended” or “finished”, a nice doubling of both Will’s life, and that of the mysterious co-pilot Will and Burke find hanging from the tree.