Colony has been cut short, and now we’ll never get the answers we want. On the Official Colony Podcast, Ryan Condal and Wes Tooke said they have no plans to share any of the ideas and plot points they had planned for seasons 4 and 5. They prefer to allow us, the fans, to work out the details in our own minds. You should also keep in mind, in case you were wondering, that the shooting for season 3 was completed and all of the episodes were done before they knew of the decision to cancel the show. They weren’t able to change things to make it a more definitive ending. I think I heard that from Tim Southam on the Talk Colony Podcast, but don’t quote me on who said it. It’s been a long week and I was listening in the car and didn’t take notes. Both of these podcasts are excellent and well worth listening to, if you haven’t already.
My reaction to that is that we may very well each come up with different ideas, none of which may match “the truth” (what the creators would have actually produced if there were a season 4 and 5). But I couldn’t help it, it got my mind spinning off in all sorts of directions. I’m probably going to write several blog posts with thoughts on what could come next and why certain things happened.
I have a whole list of questions, and only a few ideas of what the answers might be. First, I’m going to talk about my ideas of how it all began, how the Collaboration started.
To start out, we have to go back to season 2, episode 2, entitled Somewhere Out There. The very beginning of this episode shows 4 men sitting in a room, analyzing a recording of an Apollo mission. It is labelled as happening in 1969. I’ve watched this scene over and over (and over) and I can tell you several things you might have missed if you’re relying on your memory or if you only watched it once.
- These men are analyzing a recording. This meeting happened long enough after the actual Apollo mission that they’ve had time to do audio analysis of the tape to isolate the background sound from the voices of the astronauts and figure out the pattern.
- They also had a photo (which, untrue to technology of the late 60s, was projected onto a screen for all to see). The astronauts were talking about seeing something on the dark side of the moon and the photo shows a cluster of items or lights that form a circle. Presumably something the astronauts saw and photographed from orbit as they passed over the dark side of the moon.
- There were 4 men in the room. We are not told where this is or who they are. My first thought was that they were from Nasa, but I’ve since realized that can’t be right. Here is a bit about each one:
- A man with sideburns and glasses wearing a gray cardigan sweater
- A balding man with glasses wearing a white long-sleeved dress shirt and a tie
- A man with grey or white hair and a beard wearing a 3-piece wool suit. This man had what seems to be a German accent and is both the oldest and most well-dressed man in the room
- A young man with sideburns (but no glasses) wearing a short-sleeved white dress shirt and a tie.
- The analysis concludes the sound is a message.
- One of the younger men supposes that “that thing” (the circle of lights the astronauts saw) is some kind of “beacon“
- The German man says, “We need to send a response.”
So, presumably, a response was crafted and sent. Which would have involved going to the dark side of the moon to send it.
If NASA and the US government had played a significant part in the early response and subsequent communications and negotiation with the aliens, then the IGA headquarters would not be located in Davos, Switzerland. Clearly the show creators chose Davos because of the neutrality of Switzerland in the world conflicts. We have to assume that the beginning of the Collaboration was more of a global effort, not centered just in the US. European countries, at least, played a significant part, if not those of the rest of the world.
So how did it all get organized? Let’s use our imagination:
First, a few people know about this. The astronauts, the 4 men in the room they showed from season 2, episode 2, and some other NASA folks, maybe. The audio engineer who analyzed the sound. It seems like even most of NASA might not have known since the astronauts were not able to send a live signal while orbiting the dark side of the moon.
Who do these people tell? They tell their close friends and they’re also forced to involve others who are in a position to assist. So, some secret moon landing is required, and maybe some linguists. That widens the circle a bit, but I still think the US Government was not in on it. This first group was made up of powerful and influential folks, many of whom were undoubtedly well-off financially, but I think they were more behind-the-scenes movers-and-shakers, not actually government officials. There may also have some element of people with extreme ideologies, those whose ideas are rejected by most of the government officials in power.
In the cast listing for season 2 episode 2, IMDB does not name any of the 4 men in the room in the opening scene. The oldest one is listed as “German scientist.” The others are listed by physical description only, so we have no clues about identities nor does it appear that any of these men are seen later, like in one of the IGA bunker scenes from season 3.
Then maybe some engineers are called upon to rig up some kind of communication method that doesn’t require more trips to the moon — the collaborators need to be able to communicate with the aliens from Earth. At this point, if not before, some sort of secret base of operations might need to be established, if only for the communications component. I’m thinking the mountains near Davos would be an excellent location — away from civilization and high in altitude.
At this point, the aliens communicate their need and some kind of offer is made. A basic plan is drawn up, with both sides having obligations and benefits. The Earthlings promise assistance to the Aliens and the Aliens promise to protect Earth and reward the collaborators.
Let’s assume that many of the details of the planning are left to the humans. The aliens set the timeline and provide the overall structure and technology needed:
- The aliens choose the date of the Arrival (or maybe they waited until the team on Earth was ready?)
- The aliens will provide the Walls and the Drones
- The aliens will erect the launch platforms like the ones we’ve seen near Davos and near Blake Island off the coast of Seattle
- The aliens provide the shock-and-awe level of muscle to back up the human collaborators so there’s no resistance to the initial takeover.
The humans will be in charge of the structure of the government and the economy. They spend a long time plotting and planning how to accomplish an overnight transition from almost 200 separate countries, each with its own government and economy, to a group of Colonies governed by a totalitarian authority backed by powerful aliens who are stationed off-planet.
We’ll call Phase Two the planning phase. I envision that the size of the “in-the-know” group didn’t get much larger, though assuming we’re talking about a timeframe of from the mid or late 70s to sometime around the year 2015, some of the old-timers would die off and some younger blood would be recruited or born into the group.At some point this group was forced to take steps to make themselves look legitimate, to answer questions such as who owns this property? what company do you work for, uncle Skinner? They formed a think-tank organization and named themselves the Institute for Global Advancement.
With the advent of computers, it likely became clear that the job of sorting out the personnel would require some specialized programming. We can speculate about why they didn’t just find the best programmers and hire them to write a program to help them sort out who would be placed in which positions. But we know they found Kynes and his Algorithm and, for whatever reason, decided to use that instead. They were interested in the Algorithm’s “uncanny ability to specifically classify the human population.”
Let’s take a moment to talk about Kynes. The creators have said that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was their inspiration for Everett Kynes. They wanted an entrepreneur who was successful and technologically savvy. I think when they cast Wayne Brady, some more details were added, like his obvious love of music.
The last phase before the arrival is the recruitment phase. We’ve seen some hints about how this works:
- We saw how Snyder was visited in his office at the community college. They came close to coercing him to go along with them by letting on that they knew he’d been illegally embezzling from the college, but in the end I think he was convinced that this was his best option for survival. It seems that this happened either on the day of the Arrival or the day before.
- We saw a person being interviewed while Kynes watched from another room. He disagreed with where the IGA placed this interviewee and said they weren’t using the algorithm the way it was designed to be used. That’s when we learned that the IGA has a different agenda than Kynes has.
- After the interview, the IGA interviewer said that the man’s “in-person interview supported the algorithm’s classification.” So this recruitment is at least a two-step process:
- Step 1: everyone on Earth is run through the Algorithm and presumably sorted into categories.
- Step 2: those who fit certain criteria are interviewed to confirm the algorithm’s assessment and to be sure they are people who would be able to rat out their best friend or their girlfriend if the IGA demanded it.
- For certain levels of positions, though, there must have been an exemption from the formal interview, since it doesn’t seem that Snyder was interviewed that way. They did research and dug up dirt on Snyder — maybe that told them enough that they didn’t have to speak to him in person.
I think the amount of lead-time between the interview and the arrival varied depending on the position, and I also think the amount of information each person was given ahead of time varied. The recruitment team seems to have been small, so they couldn’t have interviewed each person in a single day.
Let’s talk specifically about Snyder for a moment. I think Snyder has always been a bit of a weasel. Cunning, and not someone who felt it was important to obey the law. Out for himself first, which explains both the embezzlement and the failed marriage.
Helena said that Snyder exceeded the expectations of the algorithm. I think this is mostly due to his ambition. In the pre-Arrival world, he was unable to rise to the level of power he desired, but he secretly longed for it. Once he was put in the position of Proxy Governor, he enjoyed it but I think he wanted more. I think he’s secretly thrilled to be replacing Kynes, who seems to have been at the level of Governor General for the whole Seattle area (note they mention a gateway to Bellevue, so Bellevue is a separate bloc, much like how the greater LA area was broken into the LA block, the Santa Monica bloc and the San Fernando bloc). I also think Snyder will thrive as a more independent Governor, without the oversight of the IGA, since it seems that they are all dead.
Snyder told Helena “I play both sides.” So in the final episode, we see Snyder has a “direct line to our Hosts.” He can contact them without the IGA being an intermediary. So does playing both sides mean he negotiates with the Hosts to surrender some Outliers in exchange for protection for Seattle? Or maybe he told Will about the 150 Outliers as a way to get some of this secret army off the streets, and the protection of the city was just a coincidence? Or does playing both sides mean also getting in touch with these new aliens and figuring out the best way to use their emnity for each other to his advantage?
I’m interested in your theories. Post in the comments below or send me a tweet. If you feel inspired to write some Colony fan fiction, I’d love to read it. I will be writing more posts about my thoughts and theories of what happened, why, and what would happen next.