USA’s Colony begins the idealistic way any dystopian alien-invasion drama might begin: in a suburban Los Angeles kitchen, where Will Sullivan (Lost’s Josh Holloway) is making breakfast. Because eggs are good, and also because showrunner Carlton Cuse understands it’s many people’s dream to see Sawyer domesticated and off the Island, however many years later. Will and his wife, Katie (The Walking Dead’s Sarah Wayne Callies) appear to be the epitome of an idealistic couple, down to the quaint house and the two kids and the orange tree in the backyard. But as we find out in the first ten minutes or so, like the world of The Others, appearances can be deceiving. (Fun fact: It’s kind of fun to see Holloway and Callies working together again: Both starred in the 2007 horror film Whisper. Didn’t see Whisper? It’s okay. Most of the world didn’t.)
Despite the couple’s seemingly charmed life, things seem to be a little off: There’s a barbed wire fence around their house, and Katie and Will’s relationship is definitely strained for reasons we’re not aware of just yet. Will goes off to work at the garage, where the strange, edgy atmosphere follows him. We soon get a little more insight into what will end up being one of the driving points of the series: Will and Katie’s third son, Charlie, was taken when the “arrival” happened, a.k.a. when the aliens came. Their son is now separated from them via a giant, impenetrable wall that blocks off their part of California. Will embarks on a daring mission to break through the wall get him back. And naturally, this mission goes horribly awry thanks to an explosion from a resistance group that destroys the truck carrying the storage unit Will’s hidden in.
Whereas most shows would try to use aliens in the “alien invasion” story line to drive the series, Colony is interesting because it essentially picks up in the middle of the action. When we meet our characters, not only has the invasion already happened, it’s happened so long ago that society has already acclimated to its aftermath. Because of this, the pilot kind of gets away with giving us a lot of exposition by using its main characters as windows into how badly fractured this dystopian society really is. As Katie bikes through town (there are many “luxuries” in this world, and cars seem to be one of them), we see a wall of photos depicting people who have gone missing and military men taking people away. Katie arrives at the house of a woman who makes insulin, and through Heloise (Deidrie Henry), we learn that the barter system is in effect for these types of “luxuries.” Katie attempts to trade a bottle of wine for the medication because apparently insulin is one of those things that isn’t readily available anymore. When she realizes the medication might be tainted, she rescinds her offer, forcing Heloise off with a gun. As drones hover in the sky and Katie backs out of the house, threatening to shoot, we start to understand what kind of a world we’re living in.
When Will fails to return home later, Katie immediately worries because Will is never late. More breadcrumbs are dropped (their oldest son, Bram, is worried about his mom going out “this close to curfew” while the insulin is apparently for Katie’s sister, played by Amanda Righetti, who has a son who is diabetic) before Katie leaves to try to find her husband. She bikes to his co-worker’s house in the hopes of getting information, but the only thing Carlos knows is that he went on a delivery earlier. He’s also equally terrified of Katie being out after curfew, mentioning that if the drones catch her, she’s in big trouble. As Katie hurriedly leaves, the drones do appear, forcing Katie to drop her bike and hide under a huge military van. One drone lands on top of the van, and for a moment, it seems like we’re going to find out exactly what happens if you’re caught after dark…but it turns out that the drone is there because someone else is being taken away. Katie escapes, unharmed.
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