Let There Be Light (The Colony, 2.2)

5 Aug

There are a couple routes to go when it comes to constructing the New World Order.  The yellow armband gang prowling the neighborhood around the Colony opted for the might makes right sort of society (the 30-against-7 fight at the end of the season premiere was absolutely insane).  But when it comes to self-government, the colonists have a better idea: meritocracy.

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Artist/Inventor George met with some serious social pressure for napping last episode, but it’s a new day and everyone in the Colony has a project.

Top of the list is security.

While getting food, water, shelter, and fire in the first three days is an accomplishment worthy of the survivors of Oceanic 815, Discovery Channel’s survivors had to face hostile Others a lot sooner than Jack, Kate, and Hurley.  In three days, the colonists got down to fisticuffs twice, the latter fight being more of a rout, with over a score of violent outsiders attacking the Colony and successfully looting all their precious medical supplies (they were under some adult magazines in Sawyer’s tent… wait a second…).

For anyone skeptical of just how real Discovery Channel’s reality series really is, that fight scene alone should erase any and all doubts.  While the choreography was a muddled mess and not quite up to the aesthetic standards we expect from Hollywood, the battle was brutal: the colonists’ biohazard suits got ripped to shreds off their backs, and schoolteacher Sian wasn’t afraid to pick up a long metal pipe and lay down a beating.  Those pre-show disclaimers warning about “graphic scenes” and “viewer discretion” are no joke.

Of course, the colonists did—as construction foreman Reno so bluntly commented—get “annihilated.”  But Jim was a little more optimistic.

At least, he says cheerfully, “I didn’t see not a sucker cut and run.”

As destructive as the attack proved to be, and as bad as the colonists got walloped by a roving gang of ruffians wearing caution tape on their arms (is that threatening or what?), episode two opens with nerves steeling “After the Fall.”  And in their determination to turn their Gulf Coast not-quite-a-vacation home into “Fort Knox” reveals some new leaders.

As predicted, Reno is everywhere—with his hammers, drills, and callused hands in the middle of every project, getting things done.  His motto from the premiere?  Lead by example.  But an even more assertive and self-assured leader may be emerging in Sally, the 28-year-old auto mechanic who’s taking the conditions of her post-Apocalypse life (sharing a toothbrush with six other people, for example) in stride.

“The more I look around,” she tells the camera, confidentially, “the more I feel that it’s all Indians and no chiefs.”

Sally takes up the mantle by taking charge of their dubious power situation.  Two drained batteries salvaged from a broken-down truck aren’t enough to keep the lights on—let alone the power tools Reno needs to secure the house in case of another attack, which everyone agrees must be imminent.  But Sally has a plan: finding an old red tractor on the Colony grounds, she hopes to get the alternator running and so charge the batteries.

All the colonists rally to the clarion call—even George, whose motivation and morale are perking up with Sally taking charge.  “George!” she exclaims at one point, as he helps her make preparations for a tricky welding job, “You’re the man.”  He looks down, embarrassed.

“I think we’re both the man,” he says.

In a meritocracy, it’s knowledge and skills that rise to the top.  And in “After the Fall,” it might be hard to choose exactly who’s the top man—everyone has a skill and is sticking to it.

Jim—discouraged that his bridge-building campaign yields like results in the intended purpose of making net-dragging from both sides of the canal fails—makes the Colony’s first kill on a hunting trip to the bayou.  Trying his hand at tracking, the devout Christian uncovers a nearly six-foot snake under a rotting log and, no hesitation, grabs it barehanded behind the head.  The other hand unsheathes the knife at his belt in barely more time and beheads it.

Dinner’s ready, folks!

Any meat, however rubbery, is a welcome treat for the colonists, who have been subsisting on canned food, dried beans, and rice.  The trip to the abandoned shopping center, after all, didn’t yield too much—save a truck filled with rancid pig carcasses swarming with writhing yellow maggots.

They’re definitely not ingestible, but the 70-year-old Deville figures he can find a way to feed the pigs to the Tractor Power Plan.  The Colony is desperately wanting fuel, without which neither the security projects nor the lights can go on.  But maybe there is wisdom in age: “Being a country boy, there’s a lot of things I remember—like making oil out of animal fat.”

Gosh, now I feel bad for making fun of him last week.

Harvesting lard from rotting pig corpses isn’t exactly a coveted task–with his characteristic dryness, Reno explains the situation:

“The whole process sucked.  Nobody enjoyed it.  Now we can have lights, we can work at night.  We don’t have to live in total darkness.”

It’s a poignant note to end the episode on—the electricity flickering on in the Colony for the first time—and a symbolic reminder that these survivors have to do more than just survive: rebuild.  But even after this victory, the colonists know not to get overconfident.

They’re not the only society in the new world order.

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One Response to “Let There Be Light (The Colony, 2.2)”

  1. wong elana August 22, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    wow awesome posting about the colony. keep it going

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