“Colony” Review: In “Blind Spot,” Trust and Truth Are Hard to Come By
What’s a day in the life of a Red Hat like? That’s a question that this week’s episode of Colony, titled “Blind Spot,” is a little too happy to answer for us. As the episode opens, we are given a first-person account of what happens during a typical Red Hat raid. This time, the target is a schoolteacher who foolishly decides to discuss Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 with her grade school class–and don’t you just love all the shout-outs to classic dystopian novels? Two weeks ago, it was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and this week it’s Fahrenheit 451; let me just say that I anxiously await the moment when they can weasel George Orwell’s 1984 or Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon into the story, because it sure makes my English major heart happy!
Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. Before the Red Hats storm into the classroom, we get a taste of their happy, testosterone-fueled chatter in the locker room as well as in the transport vehicles, which makes me wonder if there are any female Red Hats at all. By the time they arrive at their target, they are hyped up and ready to put the fear of the Authority into these rebels. In a heart-stopping burst of action and violence, they take the teacher into custody, bashing her head against a desk for the fun of it and physically assaulting several of the students who attempt to help her.
And then, the anvil drops. As it just so happens, the aforementioned first person who we’ve been following throughout this whole thing isn’t some no-name Red Hat; it’s Broussard (Tory Kittles), one of the big shots of the Resistance.
That’s not the only big reveal that happens in this episode, either. “Blind Spot” is rife with shock and awe, with many of our favorite characters forced between a rock and a hard place. The driving force in this episode is Phyllis (Kathy Baker), Will’s cunning and observant boss. In this episode, we get a chance to get to know her a little better. We learn that Phyllis is shrewd. Phyllis is smart. Most important of all, Phyllis isn’t blind. She’s well-aware that the Transitional Authority isn’t the good force that Proxy Governor Snyder is trying to sell it as, and she knows that they are using smoke and mirrors to deceive people. However, she also knows that the Resistance is hiding secrets of its own.
In order to get Will to trust her, Phyllis volunteers to tell Will everything that she knows about Geronimo and the Resistance. Despite what Snyder and the others think, Phyllis insists that it’s not a cohesive movement; instead, she says that it’s made up of several isolated cells who’ve all rallied around this “Geronimo” figure. She also lets Will in on an unfortunate truth. “If this Resistance miraculously managed to do anything meaningful,” she says, “do you have any idea as to the kind of retribution that would rain down upon us? There’s no version of an effective Resistance. There’s just misguided idealism that leads to death and despair.”
This statement is even more meaningful considering Katie’s actions later on in the episode, in which she intentionally firebombs her own house in a sloppy attempt to gain intel about the Occupation. This ultimately backfires, because not only is Katie a terrible liar but she’s also already been caught red-handed by drone cameras working for the Resistance. Moreover, her actions result in agents of the Authority discovering Bram’s collection of Geronimo recordings, which puts Bram in quite a lot of danger.
Lucky for Will, Phyllis offers to bury the tapes if he’ll continue working for the Occupation. Will agrees, and from that point on, the two of them have a much easier alliance. Sadly, this doesn’t last long. Apparently, Katie’s attempt at infiltration succeeded in giving the Resistance the location of one of the Transitional Authority’s key leaders: Phyllis. In a truly tragic moment, Broussard descends on Phyllis’s home, assassinating her and her husband and cutting short whatever plans Phyllis had for the future.
In regard to the show, this is an unfortunate loss. There was so much more to Phyllis that we had yet to learn, so many layers that hadn’t yet been explored. We got a glimpse, sure. We saw that Phyllis didn’t drink the company Kool-Aid and was sympathetic to the perils of the people living under the Occupation. We saw that she was savvy and perceptive, especially in regard to what was going on between Will and Katie. She wasn’t afraid to confront Katie about her double-crossing activities, nor was she afraid to take advantage of Katie’s vulnerability to essentially force her into being a triple-agent for the Occupation. And we also saw that it was possible that Phyllis was working for someone other than the Transitional Authority, if that last phone call was any indication. I have no doubt that we’ll find out some of her secrets in future episodes, but, sadly, she won’t be allowed to tell us them herself.
All in all, this episode spawned a slew of new questions for me. Is Katie off the hook now? Is Will getting wise to Katie’s ruse? Is Geronimo really in the Green Zone, and if he is, what does that mean for the Resistance? And what role will Katie’s sister, Maddie (Amanda Righetti), play in all of this? I was grateful that this episode allowed us to spend more time with Maddie, giving us a detailed picture of what she’s doing while her sister and brother-in-law are caught between these two enormous forces. To make a long story short, Maddie takes a temp job in the Green Zone with a wealthy couple, Charlotte (Kathryn Morris) and her unnamed husband (Adrian Pasdar), who are “collecting” pieces of great art around the area. In the process, she uses her previous knowledge regarding art dealing to secure a better position for herself and to guarantee that her young son will have access to unlimited supplies of insulin. It’s an intriguing new storyline for her, and one that I’m excited to see develop more as the series progresses. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t get cut short like Phyllis’s!
The next episode of Colony airs on Thursday, February 11 at 10:00 pm ET/PT on USA.