Bram Bowman is a typical teenager. He is acting just as I imagine a smart teenager who comes from a loving family would react to the situation he finds himself in on USA Network’s TV show, Colony.
Colony is a show with the following plot: an alien force has occupied the Earth, and has set in place several layers of human collaborators to enforce their rules and directives. Comparisons have been made to Nazi Germany and the way they occupied countries in eastern Europe. The show even has labor camps on earth, and what is presumably a death camp, on the Moon.
But for Bram and his friends, in season 1 at least, life has not changed as much as it has for some others like Carlos, Bram’s father’s former co-worker who was arrested and sent to the Factory, the death camp on the Moon. Bram and his family still live in a nice house and Bram goes to school. True, the school is now teaching curriculum written by the Global Authority, and there are food rations. Many items that were widely available before the occupation are not available now, Most families don’t have a car, but there is public transportation and people are able to bike or walk because the area inside of the colony is limited. No one can travel outside the colony, because of the gigantic walls erected by the alien “Hosts.” But day-to-day life for Bram is not fraught with danger of imminent death or unbearable suffering. You have to keep that in mind when you’re tempted to think of Bram as a whiny kid.
What About the Other Characters?
Most people list one of the other characters of Colony as their favorite. So I’m going to list a few of them here and what I think about them, before I talk more about Bram in detail.
- Katie — I identify with Katie, Bram’s mother. She’s a good mom and also a business owner. A strong woman who is not afraid to take action on behalf of her family. In the early episodes we see her taking an opportunity to steal insulin for her nephew, Hudson, even while she is almost frantic with worry because her husband is missing. She’s made some mistakes but she’s stayed true to her love for her family. It’s clear that both her husband, Will, and the resistance leader, Broussard, look to her for wisdom. She
- Will — former FBI agent who changed his name and pretended to be an auto mechanic when he realized the Hosts were killing everyone in his line of work. He’s got training and instincts, is able to track down fugitives and read a crime scene. He obviously had an alternate identity set up for him and his family, though when he planned that he probably didn’t expect an alien occupation. If I were fleeing from aliens, Will is someone I’d want in my group.
- Snyder — the former Proxy Governor of the LA bloc is out for himself, though he’s not fully without sympathy for others. He seems to have a soft spot for the Bowman family and made efforts to find Charlie in season 1 and kept Bram from being killed toward the end of season 2. We still don’t trust him, though, as it appears he’s leaving the bloc with the Bowmans at the end of season 2 so he can obtain the gauntlet and turn it over in exchange for a position of personal comfort and security.
- Broussard — a former soldier, Eric Broussard had concluded that he’d live life alone, and he doesn’t make emotional attachments. He’s certainly a capable partner to have in a combat situation, but he’s made some poor choices, leaving Eckhard, Morgan and B.B. on their own while he visited an ex-girlfriend and generally trying to be a one-man-army instead of training others to be more effective in the resistance. Hopefully he’s learned some lessons, but he’s again on his own at the end of season 2.
- Charlie — though only 12 years old in season 2, Charlie Bowman has had to grow up fast and is not to be underestimated. He doesn’t talk much but he keeps his eyes open and seems to understand what’s going on and how high the stakes are. He saved Gracie and himself from an attack by the Red Hand group who came to the Bowman house to retaliate for Frankie Brun’s death and the raid on one of their headquarters. I hope we get to know Charlie better in season 3.
What’s so Great about Bram Bowman?
As I said before, Bram is a typical teenager:
- He thinks he knows everything, and sees the world as much more black and white than his parents do.
- He thinks he’s grown up and wants to be considered an adult, but he sometimes reacts like a kid.
- In this case, he does know some things that might be valuable to his parents and the resistance, though by the time the season ends, the details he knows are moot.
Bram the Curious
Bram works with his high school science teacher to try to discover more about the aliens. He watches the launches and is curious about what they could learn if they got a powerful telescope. He sees an opportunity when his girlfriend Pia shows him an old DPW tunnel under the wall and later we see him with his own key to the door leading to the building where the tunnel is located. He’s done research and determined that a more powerful telescope exists in one of the University buildings in an area outside the wall.
Earlier, at the beginning of season 1, we see Bram taping the broadcasts made by Geronimo, the figurehead for the resistance movement. He tells his father how he and some of his friends figured out the code on the back of the Geronimo posters that would tell them when the broadcasts would take place. The thing is, we see posters being pasted up all over town, the kids who put them up use paint rollers with some kind of adhesive that would be absorbed by the posters. If one that was pasted up was ripped down, it would be rumpled and possibly ripped. But Bram has a poster frame holding a whole series of pristine Geronimo posters in his room. We never learn how he got them but we see, later, how easily he concocts lies that are half truth and half fabrication, telling the hearer something he thinks they will believe while hiding the full truth from them. I wonder if the story he told his father was only part of the truth.
Bram the Survivor
We see Bram thinking quickly to get himself out of some sticky situations. The often involves lying or telling half-truths.
- At the beginning of season 2, they are sorting out a group of people who were arrested, presumably to decide who would go to the factory and who would go to a labor camp. Bram states that he’s 20 years old and works for construction. When pressed for more details he comes up with some specific type of work he’s supposedly done. This quick thinking gets him into the labor camp and keeps him from going to the Factory, which seems to amount to a death sentence.
- During his time at the labor camp, there are several examples of Bram telling Snyder what he wants to hear and telling the prisoners who are part of the resistance what they want to hear. It’s unclear what would have happened if he’d had to stay at the camp longer, but it was clear Bram was conflicted between working with Snyder in order to just stay alive, and working with the resistance in order to defeat the RAPs. During this time he managed to keep both of them happy by carefully spinning his story.
- Near the end of the 2nd season, during the attack on the Green Zone, Bram manages to tell Maddie a story that has just the right mixture of truth and lies to convince her to help him get out of the GZ before he can be arrested.
Bram the Good Big Brother
Bram is the oldest of 3 and is used to looking after his younger siblings. He clearly had to help out even before the Occupation, due to his mom’s job. He sometimes resents having to do this and he isn’t totally sure how to help his sister when she’s crying, but he does his best to help. We also see him pitching in by trading oranges for other hard-to-obtain food items with other kids at his school.
Bram clearly has a closer relationship with his Mom than with his Dad. He’s not too sure of his father’s motivations. He’s willing to go along if his parents are united, but when he senses they have different agendas, he sides with his Mom. He’s also clearly not completely grown up. He’s conflicted about killing the Ambassador, knowing the cause he did it for was the correct one but also knowing that it’s wrong to murder a man who is essentially unarmed. You can see how he’s still a boy and also a man, which is so true to life for a kid of his age.
Bram the Resistance Fighter
Bram is his mother’s son. He wants to take action against the force that has occupied his planet. But because he’s still essentially a boy, he has an unrealistic idea of what it would take to accomplish that. The Red Hand group takes advantage of his vulnerability to convince him to work with them. But being a typical teenager, he doesn’t trust the wisdom of his elders. He believes he is essentially invulnerable and under-estimates the power of the alien occupiers, who can clearly wipe out whole cities with seemingly no effort. Even after witnessing the destruction of the labor camp, he seems to blame Snyder for it as equally as the RAPs and it doesn’t seem to have brought his assessment of the situation closer to reality.
The Short Answer of Why Bram is My Favorite
Really, the reason I like Bram’s character is just because I think it’s hard for grown-up writers to write teenage boy characters and make them believable. And they’ve nailed this one.
A lot of people say Bram is whiny and that annoys them. But if he comes off whiny, it’s because of his idealistic nature. He hasn’t grown up enough to realize that life isn’t always black and white, and he still partially believes he’s invulnerable. He’s genuinely shocked by the deaths he sees first-hand in season 2, so I think we’ll be seeing him grow up a bit in season 3.