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Colony EP Ryan Condal Talks Character Motivations and the Occupation [+ “Yoknapatawpha” Preview]

Photo Credit: Justin Stephens/USA Network

Photo Credit: Justin Stephens/USA Network

In last week’s episode, Proxy Snider proved a few things — to me, at least. 1. He’s a man who knows how to put on a good show. The transitional authority needed a win, so after making Luis, the man who was the voice of Geronimo into the physical embodiment of the resistance, he very publicly put him on trial. Synder let those who have lost loved ones to violence put a face to their pain. 2. Synder also proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he can’t be trusted. He made promises to Luis that he had no intention of keeping. So that makes me think any promise he’s made to Will — about his son, about his job, about anything really — will not be honored. I think Synder will say what he has to in order to motivate Will to do his job, but that’s only because Will’s performance reflects on Synder as the head of the Bloc. As soon as Will becomes a liability, things won’t go well for Will and his family.

Photo Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network

Photo Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network

In this week’s episode, Will and Proxy Snyder are ambushed by the resistance. Will tries to keep Synder alive as Katie attempts to keep her husband in the dark about her involvement with the insurgency. Both their allegiances are truly tested when Will and Katie find out shocking news about their long-lost son.

TV Goodness participated in a press call with EP Ryan Condal last week. Over the course of the series so far, it’s been hard to judge people based on the facade they choose to present in this world. What are they hiding? Who are they protecting? What are their real motivations? Can anyone be trusted? Ryan expanded on the motivations of the people in charge during the call. Do they just want to survive the invasion and occupation or are they looking to come out on top?

EP Ryan Condal. Photo Credit: Ben Cohen/NBCUniversal

EP Ryan Condal. Photo Credit: Ben Cohen/NBCUniversal

Ryan Condal: “The nice thing about complex, long-form storytelling is that there is no one answer to that. One of the things that is a quality of a lot of these alien invasion stories is this idea of this hive mind, the black hats against the white hats. The black hats are often the aliens and the white hats are often the humans trying to survive.

We wanted to really create a complex world of gray where on either side of the conflict there are people that have made their choices for selfish, self-serving reasons and there are people that have made choices to try to survive, to protect their own family, to be able to get ahead, to get the things that they couldn’t have in the world as it existed before and now they can with this new opportunity. You will see that through the ranks of both the resistance and the occupation, and just the day-to-day survivors of Los Angeles across the show. That’s the milieu that we really wanted to create.”

Ryan also talked about what labels each group used to refer to themselves and as well as the opposition.

Ryan: “So, we were very fascinated with — Carlton [Cuse] and I — this current culture of language and how things are presented to people. There’s a lot of play. If you watch the show and continue to watch — which we all hope you will do — depending on what side of the conflict you’re on, things are termed differently.

Photo Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network

Photo Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network

So if you’re on the red side of the conflict — on the side of the occupation — you don’t refer to yourselves as the occupation. You refer to yourselves as the transitional authority. You don’t call the police force the red hats. You call them Homeland Security. You don’t call the resistance the resistance, because that empowers them. You call them the insurgency or the terrorists, right?

Then on the other side of the equation, is the occupation and we are the resistance and those are the red hats. We were fascinated with this idea that at some point in this formation of the human proxy government, there was some kind of meeting between marketing and branding minds where they tried to select terms and phrases to make the occupation a little bit more palatable to the people.

So I think you’ll notice a lot of terms in the show that are used — like green zone, for instance — that are pulled from preexisting current events and things that would’ve existed in this world before the occupation happened to try to make people feel that things haven’t changed all that much and that there is this familiarity about everything. Layered in that is some insidiousness and sinisterness that is just part of the show that we’re trying to create.”

And how does all this relate back to our main characters? At the heart of this show, is a family in LA who has been separated by an invasion and ongoing war — at least on the part of some of the humans.

Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater/USA Network

Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater/USA Network

Ryan:Colony started as a family drama. We really wanted to tell the story of this occupation from the point of the view of one family. Although this is an extraordinary family in the sense that they find themselves on opposite sides of the occupation and they have mysterious and hidden backgrounds with Will with his military and law enforcement experience.

Other than that this is a typical family in Los Angeles and we wanted to tell the story through their eyes of what it’s like to live in this occupied world. So how their kids react to all of that is an important part of it. Charlie, their middle child — the one who’s missing — is what catalyzed this whole story and what set it. In the early part of the pilot, Will desperately needs to get reunited with him.

So as broad as the show will get in terms of the storytelling and seeing different corners of this world and the universe and all the different ideologies and loyalties that are involved with it, it does always come back to the Bowman family and their kids.”

Edited for space and content.

Photo Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network

Photo Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network

In this clip from the episode, Katie and Broussard have a loaded and coded conversation at The Yonk.

Colony airs Thursdays at 10/9c on USA Network.

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