Tonight the third episode of season two of Colony
, "Sublimation," aired on USA Network. In the episode, Will (Josh Holloway) finally brings Charlie (Jacob Buster) home, but in the meantime, Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies)'s time may finally be up.
Last month when I talked to co-creator and executive producer, Ryan Condal, about the series, we talked specifically about tonight's episode and about what's to come this season. **Interview contains spoilers for episode 2.3**
In LA, now that Snyder's been removed from office, and as we move forward, there's a heavy implication that there will be big changes coming to the Los Angeles bloc. Is there anything you can kind of tease about that, specifically?
Yeah, it’s a much darker version of the occupation this year. Snyder has left office, and we know from his own mouth, that he thought there was a way to rule with a more gentle hand, and that the people would appreciate it and realize how good they had it and not take advantage of it. But as we know from human nature, that is not usually the case, and that’s come into practice now. And the guy who replaces him has a different philosophy. He’s a much colder political animal than Snyder is, and you see that as the season unfolds.
Because LA now has now put a target on its back, because of the activities of the resistance during season one, there’s been a crack-down. So the police state has risen and the surveillance state has risen. You’re going to see themes and allegories that start digging into that part of the world - the kind of Stasi state - of the lives of others, spying on your neighbor, and never knowing who’s watching and who’s listening, and the psychology of what that does to somebody, what it does to society and to people. And we were fascinated with that, and you can see a lot of that explored particularly in, I would say, the first half of the season. In the first season, a big part of the show was about people doing things and keeping it private and not getting caught. And this year, I feel like a lot of it is about choosing your own safety above others or vice versa. Because we have a lot of that with different people in the first few episodes. We have Maddie (Amanda Righetti), who now doesn’t want to jeopardize where she’s at, Jennifer (Kathleen Rose Perkins), who’s struggling with similar decisions, and we have Bram (Alex Neustaedter), who’s trying to decide if he’s going to help Snyder (Peter Jacobson), and even Katie, who now is saying she is willing to give herself up. Can you talk about the characters’ motivations in that respect and of those choices that they’re making?
I think you’ve hit on the core dramatic thesis of why I was attracted to the show and what enthuses everybody creatively behind it. I mean, we all love science fiction, that’s why we’re doing this, but we love science fiction that has a nutritional value to it. And this is the nutritional value. It’s the thematic impact of what happens to a society under the crushing boot of authoritarianism and how that puts people under moral dilemmas that they would not otherwise face in our free and democratic society, and how normal people - the kind of people that you see in the first episode of the season - react to a situation versus how they react to a situation when there’s a 300-foot wall surrounding their city, and there is an all-powerful police force that can act as judge, jury, and executioner on any given day.
And when those pressures are applied to human beings, we’re fascinated to see how they squirm and react, and they react in very human ways. And they’re not just black hat/white hat or good guy/bad guy; it’s shades of gray, all the way through the people that you think are villains and the people that you think are heroes: the so-called heroes of the resistance, and how they are and how they react to things, and the so-called villains of the occupation, and how you’ll see little moments of humanity from them throughout this year. Those are all the things that fascinate us about the show, and, frankly, is what we wanted to dig much deeper into in season two, and I think we have done it rather successfully. Speaking of the resistance, is there going to be kind of a big change within the group, considering what happened at the end of season one, or are the rest of them, aside from Katie, still strong? [laughs]
I can’t say much. You will see. We will revisit that story, but generally in season two, what we wanted to do, is we wanted to expand out the world geographically, but also on the ground here in Los Angeles, and I thought it was important to show that there are different philosophies behind the resistance, and that even though that was the resistance group that we focused on in season one, because that was the story we were telling, there are other resistance movements going on, both inside the Los Angeles bloc and outside.
And I think this season is going to delve deeper and further into that, and we can see how the different philosophies amongst resistance groups interact and collide - and sometimes violently - and how this isn’t the Independence Day
version of the alien invasion story. It’s not just humans vs. aliens; there are humans that hate the aliens and hate the occupation, but they have different ways of going about it, and there's going to be conflict and disagreement, even within the resistance. Talking now specifically about the Bowman family, it seems like everything is going wrong for them, one thing after another. Before Charlie was missing, and now Will finally finds him and gets him back home, but then Bram now has been taken away, and even Katie may be giving herself up. Can you talk about how they’re keeping hope and if there is a way through this, a light at the end of the tunnel? Colony
will always have moments of humanity within the bleakness. I mean, despite the show you’ve seen, I do not believe in the undying bleakness of storytelling. I think there has to be rays of sunshine that come through the clouds. But that all said, the best description I’ve ever heard of dramatic writing, is that when a piece is broken, whether it's a television show or a movie, it’s broken into three acts. In the first act, you get your main character caught in a tree, and then in the second act, you throw rocks at them, and then in the third act, you help them down out of the tree.
Television lives in second act. So we've helped the Bowmans up into the tree, and we’ll now be pelting them with rocks for this season and many seasons to come, and then hopefully, if we do get to plan our own conclusion, there will be a helping them out of a tree in some way, at some point, at the end of all this. But I believe that the power of dramatic storytelling comes from putting your characters under crisis and pressure and watching how they react, evolve, and change amidst that conflict. In tonight's episode we learn more about the Red Hat recruitment, and I have a fan question, somebody was asking, the fact that the RAP execute all the law enforcement, but then once the authority recruits them, they become untouchable. Why is that?
I’ve heard versions of this question before, like “where did all the red hats come from?” and we were attempting to answer that question with the teaser in episode three, when you see the recruitment center. And look, in times like this, the citizen soldier is a very popular and very in-demand job, and there’s going to be a lot of just general LA citizens that have to go and sign up at Homeland Security to get rations and to have a job to do. But these were not people who were necessarily military or law enforcement before the occupation. Most of those people were combed out of the picture, and the guys like Will Broussard, who manage to go below the radar and survive, tend to be the really skilled and effective guys. So now you have this interesting milieu going on, where the command and control structure was wiped out, but you do have these guys with a particular set of skills who are running around in the little places that the occupation kind of missed, because it’s an imperfect process. And then, on the other side, you have an occupation that suddenly needs a full army of red hats in order to be able to command and control the bloc as it currently stands. So they just go and recruit people from the public, and you don’t know who you’re going to get. And they train them up, and they hand them a rifle, and they put them on a street corner and tell them to enforce the law. And in the episode, we find out that not everyone is happy with that, and it’s kind of brutal when they attack them.
Yeah. I mean, those guys are humans too. They’re behind masks, not to dehumanize them, but that's meant to show the intimidation factor of what that does to the public. But know that, again, in a show that’s about the human reaction to an alien invasion. All those guys behind the masks have their own stories, and, sure, some of them are probably bad people that took advantage of the situation and signed up because they want to smash skulls and oppress people, but a lot of them are guys that just needed rations for their families. Lastly, this is just more of a comment, but I was really shocked by the scene towards the end of three when they are crawling up the wall and get blown up by the drones.
That's probably one of the big surprises of the first four episodes. More to come on that too. I will say that that seems like an isolated event, but it's not, so stay tuned.**Be sure to check out part one of this interview to hear more from Ryan Condal!**