Colony recap: 'The Garden of Beasts'
Maddie makes a devastating decision
If the title of this week’s Colony is any indication, we may be looking at a change of heart for our girl Maddie. “The Garden of Beasts” most likely refers to Erik Larson’s revelatory World War II non-fiction book of a similar name, which chronicled the relationship of the former American ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, and the Nazi government. Dodd, according to Larson’s account, initially hoped that that the inflammatory regime would cool off its persecutions and, alongside his daughter Martha, became entangled in the glitz and thrills of the ruling party’s lavish affairs and defended them to others. Eventually, though, the true menace of the party ripped away those rose-colored glasses, and they realized who they’d gotten into bed with, so to speak.
Before this week’s events, Maddie has been willingly puppetized by the Greatest Day players and has become convinced by whatever she saw in her proselytizing visions that they are the light and the right. But now that Homeland, and by extension agents of the Global Authority, have figured out that she’s the sister of a “terrorist,” the occupation is coming down hard on her and Nolan Burgess.
Maddie swears to Nolan that she’s willing to write Katie and her family off completely for their crimes and comply with the Authority’s demands, and she does so. But her heart isn’t completely chilled to the Bowman Five, so after she’s forced to send her sister up the river (albeit, with an ambush effort that’s both foreseen and thwarted), it’s pretty clear that she’s starting to realize just what she’s signed up for with this cushy Green Zone quartering with Nolan & Co.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
As with a lot of episodes this season, we pick up outside of the Los Angeles Bloc with another Resistance sect at the San Fernando Bloc. Chances are, these are some friends of the pilot Noah, because they have the means and smarts to prepare for an authority infiltration, thanks to night vision goggles and turret guns. Unfortunately for them, the redhats were even more prepared and gun down everyone but the mechanic, Chui, who’s thrown into a shipment tube and cryogenically frozen as he thrashes for escape. Is this how they transport people to the Factory? If so, why the big fuss about the VIP shipment of these tubes from the labor camp? Still TBD.
Back in L.A., Maddie and Nolan are doing their best to weather the storm Katie’s brought down on their house with her little download. Their Greatest Day church has a line out the door of people wanting to receive the good word — and their free rations boxes. Katie shows up during a potty break to offer Maddie a means of escape; she can tie a shoestring around the light pole near the Yonk to give the signal she needs help, and they’ve got eyes on the site down below, so she’ll know. Maddie doesn’t seem very interested in living like a sewer rat quite yet, though. Not when she’s got supplies to spare up there for herself and, more importantly, Hudson, who needs insulin access to survive.
Katie reminds her that, whether she betrayed her trust or not, she’s still family and that Nolan’s the kind of guy who’s willing to have his own wife whisked away to the Factory, so her reliance on him is dangerous. But Maddie blames Katie for all the extra attention her new family’s getting right now because if it weren’t for her allegiance to the Resistance, things would be just peachy. She’s… not exactly wrong, but knowing what we know about that looming countdown, we know she’s in trouble if she stays anyway.
Meanwhile, as expected, Broussard’s got his own eye on the exit sign now that his Resistance ranks have been decimated and all of his above-ground contacts have either been killed or are taking up residence with him now. He believes that the redhand faction is responsible for the death of Hennessy and the lifting of their precious gauntlet, and he wants to help Noah retrieve it and escape the Bloc, on the condition that she takes his new crew with her to her “lawless and empty” area. He’s got one lead on who might know a possible way out, now that the tunnels are a no-go thanks in part to Will.
This entails shaking down a man, with his husband and daughter alarmed at the intrusion, about what he knows of the transit system. Will, Katie, and Broussard don’t take a Burke approach to threatening his quivering family, exactly, but their very presence sets the tone that he won’t want to report this meeting to his bosses. Thanks to that implicit threat, they’re able to glean some important information about how the tunnels work now; these leering Blackjacks are the only ones who can get through without extreme redhat interference, and Katie suspects it’s got something to do with a device in their cars. New plan: set up an ambush and lift one of these vehicles and GO. Of course, that would be too easy, then, wouldn’t it?
With the Authority leaning hard on Maddie, she’s got no choice but to comply. They’ve got her son in the next room, surrounded by heavily armed men, after all. They want to know why she didn’t report on her sister right away, and she says it’s only because she wasn’t sure of her guilt at first. Reasonable enough, right?
Nolan’s outside pacing away, helpless, as this is going on, and he gets a visit from Proxy Alcala. Alcala thinks their Greatest Day achievements are too important to risk over some “piece of tail” (his words, not mine), so he wants him to walk right in and disavow Maddie and everyone she knows to save face. To Nolan’s credit, though, that’s not what he chooses to do. Maybe he actually does love her, despite everything. Instead, he tells her that they’ve got one option, which is to participate in setting up a sting on her own sister.
She might not like it, but she dutifully ties that string around the pole, which Broussard sees on his surveillance, which gives Katie the signal to reach out. They already know that there’s a serious chance, an almost certainty, that Maddie’s signal will be an effort at collaboration, but Katie seems to be holding out a fragment of hope that her call for help is legitimate.
So, while she’s not surprised to hear that an Authority vehicle is racing to her location as soon as she makes a call from a payphone — their whole carjacking scheme depends on it, even — she is still completely disappointed. She gathers her emotions quickly enough to work with Will to take down and/or escape the guards that pursue her, just as Broussard executes the Authority driver and seizes the car. He has enough time to scroll through their digital most-wanted list and sees Will’s name pop up before Will eyes an Authority member centering a red dot target on the car. He urges Broussard to abandon ship right before the drones vanquish the vehicle, and with that, they’re back to square one.
Well, except for the fact that they now know Will’s name is on a special manhunt list and that there is a piece of tech that can control the drones — maybe they can get hands on that now? Not if Broussard has his way. He wants to press pause on all their above-ground activities for a while, smelling the danger and futility of it all, and he nearly comes to blows with Will over it, too. Will’s just itching to get moving and get his family outta dodge, but Broussard’s seen too many losses of late to chance it. The pilot will not be pleased by his new attitude, that’s for sure.
Maddie’s reaction to the news that the sting failed is devastating. Not only does she not know what it means for her, Nolan, and Hudson that the Authority failed to capture her sister, but she’s now betrayed the woman who took her in during her grimmest hour (that is, her husband’s death in an airplane crash on occupation day) for nothing. Would it have been better if they succeeded? Her sad slink up the stairs while Nolan’s talking to her doesn’t exactly make it clear what result she might’ve preferred here, which makes me wonder if she, like the Dodd family in the book the title refers to, might be second-guessing the man she’s gotten into bed with.
While all of this is going on, Bram’s terribly disappointed that he isn’t as instrumental to the Resistance outside of the labor yard gang, and after he finds no sympathy in Morgan, who’s happy to wait for her turn to play with the big kids, he pulls a Simon and steps out on his own little reconnaissance mission. Charlie sees him hit the door and seems to wear an empathetic expression; he, too, knows how difficult it is to try and do normal kid stuff in this climate, but he seems to stay put because somebody’s gotta look out for Gracie.
Bram first pays a visit to Mya’s mother, who’s not exactly comforted to hear that while her daughter’s dead, she stuck true to her beliefs all the while. Her moment of silence to grieve gives Bram a chance to check out his late girlfriend’s room, which is filled with emblems of angst, and he finds a book of sketches tucked away.
This reminds him of something Mya told him, which was to pay a visit to a nightclub where he should ask for the Cardinal. The Cardinal, it turns out, is Frankie Bloom’s mother, whom Will let escape Frankie’s safe house before, and she’s all too happy to accept a strapping new recruit like Bram into her ranks. There’s nothing for him at home, he says, and he needs to make a difference in the world. Her words about the importance of self-sacrifice seem pretty harrowing right now, don’t they? Will she send Bram on some suicide mission, like the Green Zone bomb boy before?
Alan Snyder’s also back in business, thanks to Helena and her disastrous relationship with the reigning Proxy. He tries to make nice with an agent combing Will’s house, whom we’ll later identify as a Blackjack a.k.a. VIP agent of the Global Authority, but he’s not biting. He’s even a little suspicious of Snyder for being the one to hire Will in the first place, but Snyder waves it off as a simple mistake in judgment and walks away. He has much better luck convincing Bennett to cooperate with him above the sitting Proxy. He wants more information on Will Bowman than Homeland’s report provided, and what’s more, he wants Bennett to report to him first. “You don’t want to bet on a loser,” he says of Proxy Alcala. “I have returned from the dead, Mr. Bennett. Do you really want to bet against me?” ‘Nuff said. But what does Snyder want to know about Will that he doesn’t already? Is he really that fierce about protecting Will (or Bram?) or is Helena somehow interested in him, too? Curious stuff, guys.