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When the resistance reaches out, Colony steps back from the action

Photo: Isabella Vosmikova/USA
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So the alien tech is radioactive. That seems like the kind of data that would’ve been useful to know before you spent three weeks sealed up in cramped quarters with it, no? BB’s poisoning and eventual death are the kind of frustrating, pointless deaths that Will references during his final conversation with the dying man. “There’s no glory in any of it,” he says, which seems even more true when your demise involves repeated vomiting and bleeding from every orifice. It was a mercy killing, shooting BB, but that’s cold comfort to someone who’s done his level best to keep even these people, who could threaten his entire family’s security, safe. Will knows there’s no good end to this for anyone; either he and everyone he loves gets shipped to the factory, or these well-intentioned people fighting for the good of humanity are put to death, one by one.

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That mournful sense of inevitability may be why “Fallout” feels like a less successful installment of Colony. From the first moments of BB coughing up blood, there’s little impression anything can be done to heal him. The entire operation—smuggling in the doctor, traveling in secret to the abandoned medical facility, returning the good doctor to the Green Zone, and finally bringing BB to his rubble of a home to die—felt like way stations en route to the unavoidably fatal conclusion. Yes, it was the right thing to do, but it also didn’t move the story forward, outside of making the remaining fugitives even more jittery, and in the case of Eckhart, prompting him to flee the safe house altogether, only to discover his mother was being used to flush him out. If only we’d spent enough time with these characters, we might care more. But it took over a season for Jennifer to develop an inner life. A few episodes sporadically checking in on a headstrong Brit doesn’t make for much of an emotional connection.

It was all treading water at Will’s workplace, too. We already know Burke is a rotten guy, thanks to his blithe dismissal of Jennifer’s (possible) death last week. So having him summarily fire Betsy, whom we just met two episodes ago, does nothing to further our understanding of the man or his motives. We do see him hit a new low in his treatment of Will, though, so maybe the show is just playing a game of Limbo with Burke, seeing how low he’ll go. ”You’re a bloodhound…There’s no point teaching a dog to use a computer.” The only reason to make him so despicable is what I call the King Joffrey rule: The bigger the asshole, the more satisfying it is to watch them get their comeuppance. By that standard, when Burke’s uppance finally comes, it’s going to feel quite good, indeed.

Which leaves the real intrigue of this episode to Snyder and Deputy Proxy Nolan. For someone so concerned about appearances and not pissing people off, Nolan takes an awful risk coming to the labor camp and prying open the special shipment scheduled to head off planet. The pods contained inside seem to validate something inside him, however. “This is proof,” he says, of his faith in the aliens, Maddie’s newfound zeal apparently having rubbed off on him. It appears he’s willing to take chances only if it helps him get what he most wants, since any talk of helping Bram gets shot down by him immediately. “We’re so close to getting everything we wanted,” Nolan assures Maddie. We’re still completely in the dark about what those desires are, however. The show will have to stop playing coy soon, if it wants us to continue being intrigued by this subplot. Luckily, Snyder is there to throw a wrench in Nolan’s machinations, calling the colony’s Governor-General and letting her know just what the deputy what up to at the labor camp. It’s unusual to see Snyder playing politics like this, but if it means Peter Jacobson gets to do more scenes of double-dealing and political maneuvering like last year, it can’t happen soon enough.

Speaking of double-dealing, Bram took a step backwards as a character this installment, after last episode did so much to finally give the eldest Bowman child something interesting to do. True, the episode ends by revealing the bomb Bram’s new friends have been hiding in the camp, but all he does is stand there and gawk at it. In his one real scene in “Fallout,” he turns back into a whiny and sullen adolescent, blaming Maddie and his parents for not having somehow moved heaven and earth to get him out of there. Sure, there’s no reason to not spurn her misguided gift of food, knowing the danger it would expose him to the minute others in the camp learned about it. But she tells him she’s doing all she can, and he just storms off. Bram, it seems, would rather retreat than move forward.

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And that was the problem with this episode of Colony, despite some strong work by Josh Holloway in showing the ways Will is being pulled multiple directions at once. It took a step back from moving things forward, in order to treat wounds. And while Broussard’s reappearance hopefully means the resistance can get moving again, the season would be better served by pushing forward with everyone’s story, not just that of an ambitious Deputy Proxy and the unknown offworld goals of his alien overlords.

Stray Observations:

  • If you’re feeling bad about having to put a bullet in the head of a dying man, you can do worse than cheering yourself up by tossing the man responsible the shell casing and saying, “This belongs to you.”
  • In addition to Snyder’s deception, it was interesting to hear that he’s been colluding with Helena for awhile. “I showed him the empty ones,” he says, referring to the shipment.
  • Bye, Keiko Agena as Betsy! We hardly knew ye. No, really—we had no idea who you were outside of being a useful plot device.
  • At least the Yonk is camera- and microphone-free. Our protagonists need somewhere to talk openly.
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