In 1992 there was a silly little movie called The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag. It was a bit of fluff about a librarian that gets into trouble. Somewhere near the end there is a scene of the bad guy having dinner with a man and his wife. He offers the wife a bit of food on the end of a knife. She take the food into her mouth nervously-and then the bad guy scrapes the blade across her teeth and slices through her cheek. This was one of the most shocking bits of violence I have ever seen in a film, not because it was up there with Bonnie and Clyde or Robocop or Gladiatorr, but because it was so unexpected and out of place.
Colony is a basic bit of mindless sci fi dreck. The Earth has been taken over by mysterious alien forces and the world has been turned into an occupied zone where humans have been forced to play along or die. There is a Resistance that goes about the usual resistance business of killing collaborators and sabotaging whatever they can sabotage. Our story focuses on one man and his family trapped in a bit of former Los Angeles.
In Colony Season 2 Episode 3:Sublimation, there is a shocking bit of business near the end. Colony is a violent show, but it is violent in usually meaningless ways. Billions are dead, so what? Random people who work for the Aliens are killed in every episode. Yawn. Occasional Resistance fighters die here and there. Shrug. To the last, these are deaths that mean nothing. Deaths of faceless, nameless people.
Then we get to Sublimation. In the grand tradition of Game of Thrones, the writers of Colony introduced a new character, Devon, and gave her some backstory, made her a friend of our hero, made her a key player in his escape from his problems-and then they murdered her. Wow. Not only do they kill her, but they drench our hero and his son in her blood. This was just as shocking as that scene with the mobster and the knife. Here was a death of someone we cared about, someone we thought was going to be around for at least the rest of this season. To see her liquefied by an alien drone was a hell of lot more shocking than the deaths of two no names in similar fashion moments earlier.
For the most part, this is still par for the course in Colony. Our hero did commit murder last episode after all. It’s a show about the death of humanity. There has never been even a glimmer of hope that our heroes will win this battle. The Aliens are too advanced, too powerful, too omnipresent to ever be beaten by humans armed with well, nothing. The bulk of the story-lines deal with petty human problems. It’s never been made clear why the Aliens need any humans at all.
I still like Colony, but I’m not a fan of the total downer direction of the story. Not that it was ever exactly happy, but it’s downright grim now.