Colony Recap: Yonk If You’re Thorny


98 Seconds
Season 1 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating *****
Colony - Season 1
Josh Holloway as Will. Photo: Jack Zeman/USA Network

Katie knows she’s in over her head, but the last person she can confide in is her husband, Will. “I know what I’m doing,” he insists, trying to calm his panic-stricken wife, who rues the day they ever encountered Proxy Snyder. Problem is, Will doesn’t know what Katie does while he’s off playing cops-and-insurgents with the occupation.

They share common goals: finding their son Charlie and, at all costs, avoiding Carlos’s fate in the Factory. They’ve merely chosen wildly different means to those ends. Will feels confident that they can infiltrate the authoritarian regime at his pace. He’s discovered that his boss, Phyllis, relies on a pre-Arrival database she calls the Rolodex (referring to simpler times and all), which helps snuff out members of the Resistance. He also successfully sabotages the rebels’ armory and confiscates half their weapons.

Suffice to say, Katie has a much less uplifting day. Her first operation with the Resistance — meant to time how quickly drones respond to Red Hats — goes terribly wrong. In the wake of their botched dry run, officers and civilians lay strewn on the asphalt. More disconcertingly, a young Resistance pledge named Justin Kim (Jay Lee) gets hit in the leg and chest, making him dead weight, at which point he is promptly executed by Broussard. It’s Justin’s corpse — and the telltale signs that he was with the Resistance, which justifies a search of his home — that ultimately leads Will and his team to the armory. If Katie’s man stormed in a few hours earlier, he would have caught the entire rebel cell dead to rights. Katie probably wishes he had, because now Broussard gives her an ultimatum: Either provide better intel from Will, or risk him being considered “a hazard.”

Ever a man of the people, Proxy Snyder knows that Katie and Will are just two of many worried, stressed citizens prone to subversive behavior … if they’re not begged off with some simple pleasures. Thus, he sanctions the Yonk’s official reopening. Or, as he giddily enunciates it upon bursting through the door, the “Yonk-Nah-Paw-Tafa.” (He’d been practicing.) Katie need not worry for now; Snyder’s not there to kill the buzz. He’s on hand to explicitly encourage this bit of reverie while implicitly reminding the Encino throngs that he can both giveth and taketh away. So it’s shots of Kentucky bourbon and chargrilled oysters all around, though not on the house, especially not for Broussard.

Will doesn’t realize what a threat Broussard is just yet, but he’s starting to size up the occupation’s staff and determine who else might be working within the system to undermine it. While tossing back an umpteenth glass of whiskey with running mate Beau (let’s hear it again for Carl Weathers!), Will wonders aloud about goody-goody Jennifer’s ulterior motives. Beau doesn’t see it. Then again, Beau pretty much keeps his head down and tries to get through the day. Hell, he wasn’t even supposed to be in L.A. on the day of the Occupation. He was just passing through town to get an O-ring for his dishwasher. Some guys have all the luck. He can laugh about it now, though it’s hard to imagine how. Things have become that surreal in the 341 days since those enigmatic Raps besieged Los Angeles and divided the city in two.

For the kids stuck studying from propagandized textbooks — and the educators who’ve been mandated to instill an Occupation-approved curriculum — there’s not much to do with free time but ponder what (or whom) is divining all this from above. Who is responsible for the “launches” that light up Los Angeles’s skies? Are the drones man-made tools, or some extraterrestrial auxiliary force? Bram doesn’t want to wait for answers. Nor does his science teacher (Adam Busch, late of TBS’s Men at Work), with whom he trades tapes of an enigmatic DJ in the vein of Do the Right Thing’s Mister Señor Love Daddy, who takes and articulates the pulse of the people from his traveling pirate frequency. And, naturally, he leaves no trail for frustrated Red Hats, aside from cryptic notes announcing, “I am Geronimo.”

Is this insurgent in panhandlers’ rags actually the Resistance’s almighty? Or given that he espouses the tale of radical Tom, who detonated the bomb inside Santa Monica’s gateway, is he the voice of an even more extreme minority? Who is it, exactly, that Bram and a growing underclass are following down the philosophical rabbit hole? Bram may find bigger answers before too long, now that his girlfriend Pia and her friend Pedro (Erick Lopez) have made him privy to their little secret. Pia’s dad used to work for the Department of Water and Power, and she still holds the key to an abandoned station with a tunnel that wends its way directly underneath the wall. Out on the other side, Pia and Pedro have yet to encounter a soul. They just grab whatever supplies they can and bring them back to Encino. Their mission has become so routine, though, that they seem nonplussed by the inhuman noises echoing around the tunnel as it intersects with the wall above.

Nearly one year after the Arrival, their unperturbed attitude seems like it’s spread throughout the city. People cope by clinging to new obsessions, or some semblance of the daily grind. But there are signs of stress everywhere you look: Housemaids keenly tuning in for the mobile DJ’s sermons, looters eager to pounce on cargo being moved to and from the Green Zone, an anxious Resistance inching closer toward a perilous uprising. Something momentous seems to be looming as day 365 approaches, and everyone knows it. Maybe Katie had the right idea. At least she gets laid.

Apart From All That:

  • With all the religious allegory abound in Colony (which is perhaps a thread for another time), can we agree Geronimo is likely an idea?
  • And if it’s not, it better be a good reveal.
  • Some serious mayhem is gonna go down on day 365.
  • Per the episode title, it takes about 98 seconds for the drones to respond. This show loves numbers.
  • Was the John Wirth Community Center named for this guy?
  • What young guy doesn’t read Joseph Conrad and porn?
  • Harsh on Katie to let Will feel responsible for Justin’s parents being Factory-bound.
  • As soon as Broussard says, “No one gets taken. No one gets tortured. If I were ever in the same situation, I’d hope you’d do the same for me,” you just know he’s not making it past this season.
  • Are we supposed to wonder about Madeline’s backstory?
  • I love Erin Way’s creepy Lindsey.
  • Snyder’s no-terrorism-or-train-delays platform sounds pretty good, but what about single-payer health care?

Colony Recap: Yonk If You’re Thorny