S1 episode 1 Aired on January 14, 2016
Warning: Major Spoilers Within
This Is L.A.
Imagine: Los Angeles without the traffic. Sadly, it’s not as good as it sounds.
In the short 10 months that it has been living under the Occupation, L.A. has changed quite a bit. After an event known as the Arrival takes hold of the city, its inhabitants find themselves under strict rule where everyone must abide by a curfew, forgo essential medical supplies, ration their food, ride bicycles, and subject themselves to constant surveillance. The worst part about it? The laws of the Colony are enforced by their fellow Angelenos who collaborate with their new “Hosts” for their own benefit -- cushier digs, more freedom, and safety for themselves and their families. Anyone who resists the rules will be arrested and sent to the Factory, and it’s pretty obvious this factory has nothing to do with cheesecake.
Not everything in L.A. has changed -- there are still exclusive, glamorous parties in the Hills, known as the Green Zone, where the Hollywood sign stands as a reminder of Tinsel Town’s better days -- but massive Walls separate the city into restricted blocs, and only authorized personnel can travel between them.
Meet the Bowmans...er, Sullivans
In the Los Angeles bloc, four-fifths of the Bowman family -- father Will (Josh Holloway), mother Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies), son Bram (Alex Neustaedter), and daughter Gracie (Isabella Crovetti-Cramp) -- hide in plain sight from the Redhats, the foot soldiers who enforce the laws of land.
During the Arrival, anyone who had worked in law enforcement was rounded up, but Will -- a former war hero and special agent with the FBI -- managed to take on a new low-profile identity as a mechanic named Will Sullivan. Though Will has avoided capture, keeping his family safe and their home mostly in tact (we have to assume that the barbed-wire fence around their Echo Park Spanish-style home was not an aesthetic choice), the other fifth of the their family is missing. He’s Charlie, the middle child, and he’s thought to still be in the Santa Monica bloc where he had been on the day of the Arrival.
Everybody Should Know a Guy Like The Spider
Will has been planning to sneak from work and into the Santa Monica bloc to find Charlie, and he’s hired a mule named The Spider (Charles Baker) to help him.
Bypassing a security checkpoint by saying he’s delivering fuel cells, Will meets up with Spider -- a man with an impeccable track record of smuggling people from the Los Angeles bloc to the Santa Monica side. The process is simple: hide in a freezer under an x-ray blanket and a pile of ice, and there’s no way to be detected when passing into the Wall. In one of the most tension-filled scenes of the episode, Will and Spider nearly make it through the Exclusion Zone when an explosion overturns the truck carrying them, killing a dozen people and exposing Will to a swarm of Redhats and surveillance drones.
Katie, The East Side’s Most Badass Mom
To put it plainly, Katie Bowman is a loving mother, sister, aunt, and wife with balls of steel. Her sister Maddie (Amanda Righetti) has a son who is a diabetic, which is one disease the Hosts have deemed unworthy of treatment, so Katie goes deep into the black market to procure medication for her nephew.
She’s also on the case when Will doesn’t return home from work, breaking curfew to find him. After a harrowing close call, she checks the hospital the next day. There’s no Will at the emergency room, but there is plenty of insulin to steal. It’s also at the hospital that Katie learns of an explosion at the Santa Monica Exclusion Zone and that a group known as the Resistance is behind it.
Katie calls her friend Broussard (Tory Kittles) from a monitored pay phone (seems like cell phones are another privilege taken away) and asks in code if Will had anything to do with the explosion, or as she calls it, “the party.” Broussard cryptically tells Katie that Will happened to be there coincidentally and was picked up.
The Green Zone Vs. The Flats
In the Green Zone, a handful of Angelenos still get a taste of the good life, as a lavish party with models and champagne and lobsters carries on in a Hollywood Hills pool home. As if Hollywood parties weren’t dystopian enough before, these guests gather on the patio to watch with glee as the Hosts launch something terrifying into the night sky like a light show. It’s a poignant moment as Will simultaneously laments the darkened Flats below them.
It’s here that Will meets Proxy Alan Snyder, the cunning and charismatic leader of the Transitional Authority in Los Angeles, who hasn’t brought Will there to punish him, but to offer him a job. Snyder is impressed with Will’s proven ability to track down bad guys and wants him to round up key members of the Resistance. Will’s not interested, but when Snyder threatens to send the Bowmans to the Factory, the offer suddenly becomes more appealing.
Collaborate or Die?
To the relief of all members of the Bowman family, the Redhats drop Will off at home, where he tells everyone that he had a minor fender-bender and was picked up by Homeland -- but later, he shares with Katie the truth about Snyder’s offer. She’s rightfully worried that collaborating will put a target on her family’s back.
The next morning, the Bowmans wake to a breakfast miracle: the smell of bacon! Of course, nobody gets bacon for nothing in this new world order and Snyder, flanked by armed Redhats, is manning the stove and hoping Will is ready to accept his offer. As a bonus of good faith, Snyder puts Katie’s bar, The Yonk, back in business.
To Old Jobs
Agreeing to collaborate, Will readies for his first night on the job while Katie samples some of her bar stock. They toast -- her to new jobs, him to old jobs.
The next day, Katie pays a visit to Broussard, who is huddled with a group in a shed behind a safe house. She delivers them critical intel in a jaw-dropping twist ending to the episode. The Resistance now has someone on the inside -- and it’s Katie. She tells them, “The Occupation just hired my husband to hunt us down.”
Katie Bowman looks at old family photos on her refrigerator to remember life before the Arrival.
Bram Bowman and his high school friends barter basic food items on the high school bleachers.
The ill-fated "Spider" (Charles Baker) is wearing a Los Angeles Kings cap because one of the executive producers is a New Jersey Devils fan.
To get to the other side of the Wall, Will Bowman must hide in the body of a truck.
Katie goes to the very busy Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in search of insulin for her nephew.
Stray observation: The jail where Will Bowman is held after capture is a car wash facility, repurposed after the Arrival.
Katie visits Broussard to inform him that Will is missing, and he gives her some advice on how to try to find him.
In the luxurious Green Zone, Proxy Snyder offers Will the chance of a lifetime to help his family only if he works with the Occupation.
Katie has to stealthily run in the streets to avoid being caught breaking curfew.
The Yoknapatawpha's bar name is derived from the fictional county where many of William Faulkner¹s novels are set.