In 'Colony' Episode 5, Geronimo Is a Red Herring and Human Frailty Reigns

How does one -- and Josh Holloway -- gauge morality in the vertiginous world of Carlton Cuse's show?

USA Network

The following article contains spoilers.

With its strongest character yet dispensed of, and this week’s episode a mess of betrayals, twists and atrocities, Carlton Cuse’s Colony digs its thematic heel in harder than ever. We get it — this is a universe without a clear moral compass. More than that, in most or all cases, everyone is doing what they think is right. There are scared, human faces behind every brutal act coming from authority or resistance (The only exception: the Red Hat Soldiers, whom Cuse has so far left goonish in the extreme.) The sense of “control” being a sham, and the strings are being pulled by faceless E.T. leaders watching over Earth from somewhere in the sky. In this context, anarchy is a certainty, not just a possibility.

The primary reveal of the episode is that “Geronimo” is simply the Resistance’s unofficial PR team, and not the actual terrorist leader or leadership. Will and Beau follow a tip from one of the many teenagers who slaps up Geronimo-touting street art all over the colony, and find a “graphic artist” of the stock hippie variety and a bearded, timid ad man in a backroom with screen printing equipment. They are doing something for the people — to give hope, rather than to actually precipitate violent insurgency.

They are just two of many people in the episode whom we discover doing what they think is right, or trying to decide on it. Will’s coworker Jennifer fights the Resistance because she lost her fiancé (a doctor) in one of their bombings. Will’s face fills with regret when the graphic designer, strapped to a chair in an interrogation room, says: “How are you doing what they’re doing, you are not one of them … you are one of us.” In the next scene, he comes back to Earth after his anger about Phyllis’ disappearance, and asks Snyder when he’ll get his son, as promised.

But Cuse pushes the uncertainty of that claim ever being followed up on. Is that a hint of regret we see crossing Snyder’s face as is he is sending a “patsy” to which he promised a deal to a public hanging (what is this, The Crucible, am I right?)? Will he ultimately screw Will over as shamelessly, once his usefulness has been exhausted? After all, the rest of the episode spends time showing up that he is at the bottom of the totem pole, comparatively, struggling to earn his place like everyone else — desperate and alone. That is the M.O. on this increasingly bleak show, which inches ever closer to the dissolution of every relationship we hold sacred on the show — especially Will and Katie’s.

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