No one knows everything about everyone. Katie had no idea that Snyder was a provost at Stanford when the Authority recruited him as L.A. County Proxy. Snyder, in turn, hadn’t realized that former New Orleanian Katie was a Navy brat who grew up all over (thus explaining her lack of a distinctive Cajun drawl). Neither Will nor Katie realized just how limited Snyder’s influence was in the Hosts’ master plans. Hell, it was news to Snyder that every landline in greater Los Angeles wasn’t up and running. But these are the sorts of details shared when you’re trapped in a bar, waiting anxiously to find out whether trigger-happy rebels or armed Homeland Security squads get there first.
“Yoknapatawpha” deepens our understanding of how far and wide the Arrival spans beyond California, let alone Katie’s humble Encino pub. Helena Goldwyn (Ally Walker, now firmly filling the cast void left by Kathy Baker) answers to some higher authority in New York, sort of like how Major League Baseball umpires handle instant-replay procedure. Snyder even confides in Katie that the Pacific Northwest harbors seven colonies, a notion underscored by an earlier visual of the dreaded wall expanding infinitely offscreen. Relationships among main characters are becoming more complex as the tension mounts, while everyone grapples existentially with the Hosts’ grandiose, mysterious intentions.
No one exemplifies this better than Quayle, who’s sufficiently convinced Katie’s a double agent, and conspires with Will to back-channel Resistance missives up the Authority ladder. How else to explain the insurgency’s succession of tantalizing near-misses since Mrs. Bowman came on board? And after this latest failure to entrap and kidnap Proxy Snyder — an effort that was the culmination of so many dry runs and resulted in several rebel fatalities — he tells Broussard in no uncertain terms that Katie and Will are on his shit list.
Truth is, Quayle’s paranoia has more to do with Broussard’s apparent softness than the Authority’s unexpected strength. Broussard’s commitment to the cause is beyond reproach (see: this episode’s brutal executions of oafish Red Hats, killing the buzz of their Deftones-headbanging sesh), but there’s no doubt that he’s starting to struggle with the human cost. He didn’t exactly relish plugging Phyllis in the head, and showed mercy by following through on her last request to kill her ailing husband. And now, he forgoes a clear shot at Will — the only person standing between Broussard and Snyder — not so much because he promised Katie, but because of the line it would cross. “You know it’s okay to feel something,” one of Broussard’s fellow Resistance fighters assures him, as he gazes on yet another dead body of a fallen soldier. And that may be, but it also makes you dead meat.
This is the quandary Will and Katie find themselves in, as a married couple and parents of a missing teenage son. The utterly human desperation to reconnect with Charlie has driven them to volatile points of no return, deep inside the Authority and Resistance, respectively. Yet they’re just as compelled to protect the other and, somehow, make it out of this mess together. That’s what a radical like Quayle has overlooked — that if Katie’s a double agent, it’s because she’s working to protect her husband’s life while helping the Resistance stymie him at every turn. She doesn’t want a coup; she wants her family back. But however it’s interpreted, her paradoxical actions put she and Will in even greater jeopardy. Then again, Will’s inexplicable backslide into obliviousness about her competing interests isn’t helping.
It would behoove them to get back on the same page right quick, now that Snyder has revealed that Charlie is definitely alive. Lord knows Snyder can’t be trusted when he promises an imminent mother-and-child reunion, and who knows what Helena’s capable of doing? Not to mention that Quayle makes it clear he all but wants Will and Katie drawn and quartered. And Snyder conveniently fails to note that Charlie could be living in some Green Zone orphanage for wayward kids thousands of miles away. Or whatever else he means by being caught up in “inter-colony politics.” The notion of team Bowman, with Bram and Gracie in tow, venturing out Truman Show–style in search of what’s beyond the wall is certainly appealing. But for now, appropriately, they have to reckon with the “devil we know” (i.e. the battle for L.A.) before finding out — to once again invoke the ever-quotable Snyder — how “insignificant we all are in the universe.”
Apart From All That:
- Prediction: Broussard is so dying … but his being algorithm-defying will be key to upsetting the Hosts’ status quo.
- Anyone else wondering if Quayle might be the double agent?
- That opening newscast of Luis’s hanging had to have been a nod to Starship Troopers.
- I know it’s a high-stress situation, Katie, but how do you not stash that walkie behind the bar?
- So can we assume Snyder snuck out back, then came in the front and got behind the bar?
- Thumbs down for Snyder’s Authority chaperone, who didn’t even make an attempt to lunge toward the gas when the driver was killed.
- Now that Will’s shirt said “Yonk,” can we agree the phonetic shorthand is an appropriate spelling?
- The Yonk shootout was very Banshee-esque.
- That Quayle sure knows how to find a smoky alley.
- I liked the detail of dialing 0 for Homeland Security. It’s a reminder that there’s no conventional police force to protect these people.
- And incidentally, even in post-Arrival L.A., you can still dial 1-900-Mix-a-Lot and kick them nasty thoughts.