My thoughts about what the future could hold for the Bowmans and why they’re in this mess to begin with
Except for Gracie, all of the Bowmans went by different names in Seattle. This isn’t the first time they’ve used assumed identities, but it’s the first time since the show started that we’ve seen them living for an extensive time under a different name. We also see them all reversing their roles from previous seasons:
- Katie is a collaborator. Clearly, she was not aware of the secrets that others, like her boss Michele, chose to turn a blind eye to, but you can tell her desire for a safe place for her family was almost over-riding her inner need to stand up for what’s right, no matter the cost.
- Bram has flopped completely from the boy who helped blow up the RAP ship to the Community Patrol officer holding his hand on his heart and pledging allegiance to Alan Snyder. He seems to view his parents almost the way one would if they were abusive, sneaking Gracie out of the house at night without telling them where he was taking her.
- Will is totally unhinged. We thought maybe he’d turned a corner after the sitting-on-the-floor-crying incident, but he still seems like he’s just waiting for one of the IGA forces to put a bullet in him.
How did our characters get here?
Is it believable that they could utterly reverse like this? Here are some thoughts to consider, in somewhat random order:
- The creators intended these characters to have these arcs. I found this out from listening to the Official Colony Podcast.
- We have to remember that we “missed” significant parts of their lives in the 2 time jumps that happened this season. Remember when we first saw the Bowmans at the cabin in the woods, this was 6 months after they left the LA bloc. Then they were forced to leave the cabin, met up with the resistance who put them on a train, and they ended up at MacGregor’s resistance camp. After Charlie’s death, they went to Seattle and we saw them in the refugee camp, but the next episode skipped ahead to 6 month after that, during which the Bowmans became the Daltons, settled into life in Seattle and each dealt with their grief for Charlie in their own way.
- Remember, this is a family with significantly dysfunctional communication abilities. So during the gaps, we can assume they didn’t lean on each other much, if at all, in their grief.
- They last saw Charlie lying on the ground. They didn’t even get a chance to check for vitals, let alone bury him and have a funeral.
But here is what I think is the big key to this: their choices, and how they led to Charlie’s death and how, in the second half of the season, they’ve all been thinking “if only we hadn’t . . .” and their actions going forward from there were reactions to that thought process.
Katie realized, even at the end of season 1, how her actions were having a negative effect on her family. But she just can’t help it — her basic nature is to want to help people. So the job at the SRMA is the perfect thing for her to jump into with both feet, put her head down and worry about other people’s issues while avoiding thinking about her own.
You notice they don’t just keep her stuck at a desk, they have her going to the camp and supervising groups of refugees being placed. She seems to have an important role even though she’s only been there 6 months. You’ll also notice the Dalton house is much more sterile-looking then the Bowman’s home in LA was. Even though we know the “Sullivans” were only living in the house with the orange trees in the backyard since after the Arrival, either it was already a very comfortable home, or Katie made it so with lots of personal touches. You get a sense of her decorating style when you see the interior of the Yonk, which we know she was in charge of decorating. So did our Katie adopt a minimalist decorating style when they arrived in Seattle, or is she just not making an effort?
Katie made some reckless choices in season 1, and it came very near to having serious consequences for her and her family. There was clear danger of all of them being sent to the Factory, but instead, they got Charlie back, Bram got sent home early from the labor camp, and they all made it out of the LA bloc in advance of the Rendition. Then they made another series of choices that brought them to MacGregor’s camp, which led to Charlie’s death. After she’s been in Seattle for 6 months, she learns Broussard escaped LA and is in Seattle, and she knows nothing of the risks he was involved in along the way. It would be easy for her to think, if we’d stayed in LA we’d all be safe, including Charlie.
When Bram visits the placement office to see about getting a job with the Community Patrol, the counselor mentions he’s had 3 job placements since “Sean Dalton” arrived in Seattle. We saw him driving a grocery delivery vehicle, but he must have had 2 other placements before that, and he did well in all of them, according to the counselor. He’s found a group of friends and met a girl. And he’s taking a very protective interest in Gracie.
As the mother of 2 boys who are just a couple years older than Bram, I can tell you that 19 year old boys want to be independent. A boy Bram’s age would want his own place so he could come and go as he pleased and have friends over, and likely to have more freedom to spend time with his girlfriend without parental knowledge or interference. Bram already seems to come and go as he wants, just using his job as an excuse, which no one seems to question. The thing that’s unusual about Bram is that he wants to be responsible for Gracie more than he wants his own freedom. That is very unusual in a young man of his age.
He sees his parents are involved in their jobs or other pursuits and are not there to help Gracie with her homework or even able to make her breakfast. The one time Will makes breakfast for the family, no one eats it because they’re so used to getting their own breakfast they are not expecting it. Bram isn’t interested, and distracts Will long enough that the bacon burns and then walks out, and Katie points out that Will made a mess.
Bram picks up the slack with Gracie, first by just doing the normal parental tasks like making sure she’s fed and helping with homework, and later he’s realizing that Katie and Will are doing dangerous things again and he’s looking for another place for both of them to go where they will be safe. I think he feels like his parents’ choices led to Charlie’s death, and he figures they brought the danger on themselves, but he wants to do what he can to keep it from spilling over and affecting the kids.
The behavior of Will Bowman is the thing fans are both most dismayed by and find most confusing. And it does seem, in some ways, an unrealistic reversal, but I think I can make some sense of it. Will, as the father and husband, feels the weight of responsibility for the whole family and the consequences of his choices for all of them. Let’s consider a list of these choices:
- He suggested leaving the DPW tunnel open and setting up surveillance to catch who was using it, which caused Bram to be caught and sent to a labor camp. I’m pretty sure Katie still doesn’t know the part Will played in that.
- He agreed to allow Snyder to accompany them as they left LA. It seemed like LA wasn’t safe at the time, but now it’s clear Broussard escaped the Rendition, so I’m sure in the most recent episodes, Will is wishing he didn’t make that choice.
- He went along with the plan to contact the resistance on the radio, when he clearly wanted to just stay in the cabin forever. Even after the grey hats came calling, they still had a back-up cabin, or they could have found someplace else. We know Snyder would have eventually caused them to be found, but still, I think Will is including this choice on his if-only list.
- He agreed to get on the train that brought them to MacGregor’s camp. This was a really scary decision, because they had to act quickly and didn’t have time to get all of the facts. It seemed like a now-or-never kind of decision, but really, there would have been another train at some point, right? He could have refused to get on and used the time to find out more before just getting on and heading to parts unknown.
- There are any number of ways things may have played out differently at the resistance camp. We, as viewers, know a few things to help us realize that the only safe thing would have been for their family to leave the camp as soon as possible, and we also know that wasn’t a guarantee of safety. But clearly, they stayed too long and did things that antagonized MacGregor, and while MacGregor’s goons weren’t the goons who killed Charlie, the whole situation at the resistance camp has to be a big regret in Will’s mind.
- The biggest mistake, though, was clearly trusting Snyder. And not just that, but spending 6 months living with him and not ever figuring out what he was up to. And even if he could excuse himself for not figuring it out when they were living in the cabin, he did question it when the grey hats showed up, and I’m sure he’s asking himself what would have happened if they’d ditched Snyder in the woods then, and proceeded to the resistance camp without him.
The bottom line is this: Will can’t forgive himself for making choices that he believes led to the death of his son, and he’s so consumed by that that he can’t remember he still has a wife and 2 other kids who need him. Fans have questioned if this is realistic, and likened it to people in our world who lose a child and how it affects their marriage. And I think the difference is that Will is not just feeling grief but guilt. The guilt is what is eating him up.
The show creators have said they used the concept of how an addict would behave in figuring out how Will would behave this season. I’m not clear what he’s supposed to be addicted to — violent behavior, perhaps? — but that’s where the neglect of the family and the compulsive investigating and the senselessly putting himself in harm’s way comes from.
What’s Next for The Daltons?
I’m still hoping Netflix or Amazon will consider picking up Colony. I’ve even thought maybe it would be a good fit for HBO. But assuming that doesn’t happen, I’m going to talk briefly about what it looks like they are each headed based on what we know from watching the show and what the creators of the show have said.
First, if you haven’t already, I urge you to listen to the Talk Colony Podcast where they interview Tim Southam. He said several things that I doubt were completely apparent just from watching the show:
- All of the episodes for season 3 were complete before they knew the show was cancelled. The ending was not meant to be a series finale, and they definitely had plans for where things would have headed for season 4.
- There is hope for all of the Bowmans. It may have seemed like a couple of them were doomed, but the show creators were not finished with the Bowmans yet.
So here’s some of my thoughts about what could happen next, in a very high-level, big picture way:
It may have looked like Katie was about to be blown up at the end of season 3. She was outside the wall and some kind of battle was happening. Seattle was shielded but presumably the area outside the walls was unsafe. So what happened to Katie?
I don’t pretend to know the answer, but I also know Katie can take care of herself, so she probably found a place that was safe from the attack. We know she was in position of the Barnes’ family’s address, so I feel like she’ll head there as soon as she is able.
I envision her hiding out in Amy’s house until she’s able to convince Bram and Gracie that she’s not a danger to them, or until they realize that collaboration will not save them.
Bram and Gracie
We know they are safe for now. I feel like Sal is not a bad guy. He feels the best way to keep his family safe is to go along with the collaborators. He’s smart enough to know to check out Katie, so he may know more than he let on about the Daltons and their true identity. It’s hard to know how he would get such information, but it’s possible he knows more. He’s willing to give Bram a chance, but he’s clear he wants Bram to go along with the IGA and not ruffle any feathers. I think that’s what Bram wants to do, at least for the short term. He was trying to get Gracie into a better school so she’d have a good future career, so he’s not thinking alien-battle-apocalypse is in the near future.
It’s hard to envision how Will can survive after being put into a pod. But we have to consider a couple of things:
- We saw a very powerful Outlier escape, vomit up the green stuff and take out a whole bunch of grey hats before they finally out-numbered him. I believe the green stuff is something that makes you stronger (possibly in conjunction with other effects of the stasis chamber). So Will could come out stronger than when he went in.
- We know some special bullet-proof material exists. We didn’t see the Outliers in the field test using such armor. Let’s assume that scene was several months ago, and Kynes has since ramped up manufacture of that material and its use in making special armor for the Outliers. That would make them less vulnerable, so maybe that’s part of how Will can stay safe.
- Broussard and a bunch of other Outliers are holed up in an armory in Bellevue with lots of weapons and supplies (and a doctor). So that’s another piece of the puzzle when it comes to armies and battles and such. I can’t begin to figure out how it will all play out, but it gives me hope.
The battle has begun. We don’t know how it will end. Will one race of aliens destroy the other? Will one race win and the other retreat and leave our solar system? The RAPs seem to have convinced the human collaborators that the Earth will be destroyed in the battle, but we don’t know if we can trust them to tell the truth.
We do know that everyone at the main headquarters of the IGA has been killed. Kynes envisioned Seattle surviving the battle between the 2 alien races and then the aliens would leave, and he and his Outlier army would fight against the IGA for control of Earth. We don’t know how big the IGA is or how loyal the lower-level minions will be to the cause once they realize the elite leaders are gone.
Snyder is in charge of Seattle, but we don’t know what he plans, exactly, either. He did seem to be questioning if the IGA was backing the right race of aliens. If Earth survives the battle and all of the aliens are not gone in the aftermath, Snyder might try to play both sides in an effort to save himself and Garland, at least. Who else will he try to save? Will he finally be able to save the Bowmans and make up for Charlie’s death?
I really have no idea where this could all go. I am merely sharing what I’ve shared here to show my fellow Colonists that there’s hope. All is not lost. The Bowmans are not dead. The resistance will continue.
I’m interested to know what you think. Leave a comment and tell me.