USA Network’s hit science-fiction drama Colony has evoked fear and delight with its vision of a Los Angeles (and world) under siege by an invading force. Set nearly a year after a brief conflict, the citizens of major cities have been blockaded into districts with mile-high walls, cutting the skyline with a metal perimeter beyond 2016’s ability to construct. Otherwise, the world inhabited by collaborators and resistance could be our own tomorrow. The story has unfolded with an active mystery slow burning over 10 episodes. One of the greatest mysteries, that of the nature of the occupying force, will be uncovered in tonight’s season finale. Short of a fake-out which will surely have dedicated viewers launching blunt objects at their televisions, we seem set to see one of the enigmatic Raps for the first time.
In last week‘s stunning turn of events, the Resistance targeted an unknown VIP; this heavy hitter was to audit Proxy Governor Snyder‘s unorthodox supervision of the Los Angeles Bloc. They got more than they expected when they found a metal suited figure amidst the rubble.
What We Know
Despite a year of occupation, nearly no-one has actually seen the faces of those that defeated Los Angeles during “The Arrival,” a conflict which lasted less than a day but laid waste to vast portions of the city. The Transitional Authority was quickly set up to govern the survivors, so quickly, in fact, that it has been heavily implied that the aggressors (called “Our Hosts” by their devotees and collaborators) set up sympathizers to take over prior to the Arrival event. The nickname “Raps” (used by nearly every other non-sympathizer character) is derived from the raptor-like bird of prey logo for the Transitional Authority. They govern in a fascist totalitarian regime, with local viceroys acting with the title “Proxy.”
Some of the privileged, like Proxy Snyder, claim to have interacted with them directly (though his claim is actually false). Others, like Homeland Security section chief Phyllis have had direct interaction with them. Snyder describes a transcendent experience of insignificance. Phyllis, more pragmatically, reveals that “their perception of time is different”. Whether she meant that literally or figuratively is unknown.
Since the arrival, they have either directly or indirectly inspired a religion that worships them.
Snyder has said that once the Hosts have obtained what they need, they will leave. A penal colony — secretly located on the Moon, known colloquially as “the Factory” — mines or processes an unknown liquid stored in vast tanks. Infrequently, colorful “launches” take place, resembling a chromatic luminous mushroom cloud. Travel between and outside the walls is strictly regulated, and Bloc residents have never been seen to cross into another populated area. Additionally, the Raps have deemed some common medical conditions (such as diabetes) as unworthy of treatment, and deny medical supplies to those afflicted.
Despite advanced technology (shown in hovering security drones, the vast walls, the “launches” and the lunar base), we have never heard the Raps referred to as aliens. This may be a deliberate choice by the show’s production to keep us guessing, as such is deceptively obvious. The metal suit shown in the final moments of “Zero Day” has a roughly humanoid shape and one hand shows three fingers and a thumb. This representation that the Raps are much like us could easily be a false assumption on our parts. The suited figure could be a different type of drone or a living machine. Snyder once referred to them as “flatlanders,” which could mean that they originate in a different spatial dimension. Another theory is more interesting: the Raps are humans, from a future Earth, altering this time period to be more habitable.
Whatever the case may be, it seems clear the mysteries are close to resolution as we move into “Gateway,” the Season 1 finale premiering tonight. Colony has been renewed for a second season, so let’s hope there are some mysteries left to come.
For everything you’ll ever want to know about Colony, check out the Colony Wikia.