[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the season finale of USA Network’s Colony.]
The truth is out there, and that truth comes in the form of masked alien menaces armed with enough spyware to make Big Brother blush.
In the final episode of its freshman season, USA Network’s Colony blended the high-octane ticking-clock energy of 24 with a more overt science-fiction story, as Will Bowman (Josh Holloway) races to stop extraterrestrials from eradicating Los Angeles. He succeeds, and even resumes his mission to reunite with his long lost son, but the victory comes at the expense of a growing divide with his wife Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies), a key figure in the resistance against the aliens — a role that’s no longer a secret, both to Will, and to unknown observers.
Colony co-creator Carlton Cuse spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the finale, what to expect in season two and the increased sci-fi component in the episodes ahead.
What did you and co-creator Ryan Condal hope to accomplish at the end of this season?
We really loved this idea of separating and exploding the dynamics of the main characters at the end of the season. We felt like episode nine was the emotional resolution of the show, and the finale was the setup for what the show would be in season two: Will is in Santa Monica, Bram (Alex Neustaedter) is arrested, Snyder (Peter Jacobson) is no longer Proxy, Maddie (Amanda Righetti) and the kids are in the Green Zone and Katie is alone. The decisions they’ve made has left this family fractured at this point in time, and the second season will be about what the consequences of that are.
Should we expect a jump in time between seasons, or will season two begin where the finale left off?
I don’t feel like I should answer the question about how much of a time jump there will be, but let’s just say we have a pretty cool idea of how to start the second season. I don’t want to say too much about it, but … you’re going to learn a lot more about what’s happening in this world, and you’ll learn it pretty quickly.
Will comes full circle at the end of the season, leaving for Santa Monica to find his son Charlie. What can we expect from him in season two?
It was important that Will accomplish something. He began the season setting out to find his son, and he got caught and went through this long and circuitous journey. At the end of the season, he’s through the wall, in the Santa Monica block, and now he can fulfill his mission. Early on in the second season, we’ll pick that storyline up and find out whether or not he finds Charlie. Everything Will has done is driven by his desire to get his kid back. He’s determined to finish what he started.
While Will searches for Charlie, Katie is further away from her family than ever. What’s next for her?
We wanted the season to end with Katie alone, torn between wanting to get her family back together and also her responsibilities to the resistance. Broussard tells her earlier in the season: “Once you’re in, you’re in.” It’s a little like Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III. Katie will find it hard to extricate herself from the resistance and the obligations she formed there.
You say Katie is alone, but we do see someone spying on her in the final scene…
One of the things we could have done better in the first season is explain how the characters in our story are watched. The notion of surveillance and how order is maintained in totalitarian society is something we want to explore in season two. We didn’t want to start the show in such a dystopic place. We wanted to build. We wanted to see how there are different circumstances between the blocks, and over time, even within the blocks things change dramatically. Surveillance is a big aspect of that. We’ll learn a lot more about that in season two.
What will it take to bring Will and Katie back together, both physically and in terms of repairing their marriage?
Clearly it’s going to take having a second season of the show. Thank God we do! [Laughs] That’s a lot of what we’re exploring in the second season: How do you put that relationship back together? We want to dive into the dynamics of what makes Will and Katie’s marriage work. Are their issues ones they can overcome? What’s their destiny, in terms of each other? All that will be explored in great detail in season two.
What appealed to you about taking Snyder out of the Proxy position, and who will be taking over his position?
When we first met Snyder, he’s smug and kind of a bad guy. But we develop sympathy for him over time. We liked changing the audience’s mind about Snyder. We want them to care about his fate. He’s fun and conniving in such an enjoyable way, and we felt we could tell some great stories this way. Needless to say, I don’t want to say too much about our plans for the new Proxy, because that’s very much on the train to spoiler-ville, but the new Proxy is very different from Snyder. That’s all I can say.
In the finale, we finally saw a host. Previously, we learned that the Factory is not on Earth. Are we moving into more overt science fiction territory as we head into season two?
Yes, very much so. Someone used the term “spy-fi” for our show, which is a good summation of what the show is going to be in season two. We always loved the idea of doing an alien invasion story where you see one alien one time in the first season, and he’s in a suit, and he’s dead. That was incredibly exciting to us, subverting genre expectations in that way. On the other hand, it feels like a cheat not to see anything, so we wanted to at least tell the audience that there isn’t some sort of giant mindf—k here; there are aliens.
What’s the post-mortem on season one, now that it’s finished?
I’m proud of the show. There’s a huge amount you have to accomplish in creating a brand new world. We did it in a way that wasn’t too didactic and expositional, which is always a challenge. We were really lucky to land two huge television stars in Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies to anchor our show. We did a really solid job of setting up their relationship and creating a show where there’s a mélange of espionage and science-fiction, but at its core, there’s a story about how a family survives occupation.
All that said, I am super excited about season two. We think the show is going to get even better. It feels like we can explore the concept of colonization in new ways, and amp up the science fiction quotient, while staying focused on this family and their fate. The show started well, and it’s on an exciting growth path.
Colony will return for a second season on USA Network next year. What did you think of the Colony finale, and what are your predictions for season two?