Continuum tackles a genre convention – the prison transport heist – as Liber8 fractures into two opposing groups with very different principles. Plus: a little romantic backstory on Sonya (Lexa Doig) and Travis (Roger Cross).
Let’s bitch it out…There are a few “themed” episodes that you can nearly always expect from genre shows. One of the most prominent is the prisoner transport episode, in which a dangerous criminal is moved from point A to point B and at some point along the way the caravan is attacked. It’s refreshing that Continuum manages to put its own spin on this tired narrative exercise as both the methods of the attack as well as the outcome go against the norm.
In many ways ‘Split Second’ is less about Kiera (Rachel Nichols) and the Vancouver PD than it is about the way Liber8 is adapting to the “present” in 2013. With Kagame little more than dust in the wind, the group is essentially dissolving into factions: on one hand we have Sonya and Lucas (Omari Newton), her mindless minion. Sonya believes that Kagame selected her to succeed him because she can carry on his vision in a logical, intellectual manner. Flip this around and you have Garza (Luvia Petersen), who is still acting like she’s in 2077 and the group is still unified. She’s beholden to the ideas that brought Liber8 together before they were sent back in time, which translates into rescuing Travis no matter what.
This difference of opinion leads to two separate attacks on Travis’ transport. The use of the decoy caravan is fairly routine, so it’s no big surprise when it is revealed that Kiera and Carlos (Victor Webster) are in a second van. However, the dual attack by warring factions is a new twist as Garza’s helicopter completely decimates Sonya’s group before making off with Travis. The fact that the attack is successful is the other surprise – traditionally the “heroes” win and the villains are sent packing, thereby reasserting the traditional norms of good winning over bad. Instead Travis is now free and Kiera’s reputation suffers a blow when she needed a win. It’s bad news for her, but good news for the show as the defeat raises the stakes; with Travis on the loose and out for Sonya’s blood, there’s additional conflict ripe for exploration.
The focus on their romantic relationship, using the series’ trademark flashforwards, is particularly effective. Too often Continuum has used 2077 scenes as an audience teaser (exhibit A: last week’s premiere which is designed to make us question the relationship between William B. Davis’ Future Alec and Kiera). Here the flashforwards focus exclusively on the doomed relationship between Sonya and Travis, showcasing the early moments when she was his doctor in an experimental weapons program. It’s not the most original backstory, but we’ve never seen them outside of Kagame’s influence, so this provides added depth, moving them beyond simply “the couple” within the terrorist cell.
The result is a nice contrast between the future and the present – again not wholly original, but helpful for placing their conflict in perspective. Now that Garza and Travis have united and Garza (seemingly) knows the truth about Sonya’s deception, it’ll be very interesting to see how Liber8 functions. Will the two groups move forward with their own separate agendas? Will the feud drives them to attack each other? Does this make Kiera’s life easier or harder? Either way, this recent development further complicates the plot and can only serve to enrich the show moving forward.
- The night’s least successful storyline belongs to Alec (Erik Knudsen). Much like last week, it’s clear what Continuum is trying to do with the character in light of his earth-shattering discovery at the end of last season. The problem is that it’s still not particularly entertaining to watch. It’s clear that Alec’s job as a computer store underling won’t last long and the moment Kellog (Stephen Lobo) pops up with a proposition, we know that Alec will take it. The final scene on Kellog’s boat, filled with booze and skeezy
hosladies, suggests a seedy direction that should be far more fruitful…so long as the writers don’t continue to drag out the obvious
- I’m far more interested to see how Kiera responds to Alec and Kellog’s joint venture considering the awkward/rocky relationship she has with both men
- Agent Gardiner (Nicholas Lea) continues to be a pain in Kiera’s ass – and ours. I’m unsure if this is Lea’s fault (he seems to gravitate to these kinds of bureaucratic asshole roles) or the writers, who seem unable to do anything with the character other than make him unlikable. Either way, everytime he appears on screen my enthusiasm for the show wanes. Fix him or ditch him!
- There’s a very strange moment in the prison transport when Travis eggs Kiera on about time travel while Carlos listens in. Obviously Carlos’ reaction is to consider the guy coo-coo for cocoa puffs, but you’ve got to imagine Carlos is spending some of his down time wondering how Kiera pulls off everything she does. I mean, the guy isn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the batch, but even he must realize that their run from the van to safety bordered on the fantastic. How much longer can this facade last?
- Finally, I wonder how much more of Julian (Richard Harmon) we’ll see now that he and Travis have been separated? The whole Aryan attack doesn’t bode well for his future safety (bonus points for Travis’ brutal smackdown of those guys!). It seems clear that Julian’s role in this saga isn’t done, though, so I imagine we’ll see Travis and Garza return for him at a later point in the season
- Travis (when Carlos suggests he and Keira are getting along): “Seeing her makes me homesick.”
- Gardiner (sowing the seeds of suspicion in Brian Markinson’s Inspector Dillon): “From what I’ve seen, making it out alive is her specialty.” Argh – he’s such a dick!
That’s my take. What are your thoughts on Travis and Sonya’s complicated relationship? Do you think Liber8 will attack each other moving forward? How long before Carlos stops believing Kiera’s excuses? What plans does Kellog have for Alec and will Kiera lose her shit when she finds out that they’re working together? Sound off below!
Continuum airs Fridays at 10pm EST on Syfy (and Sundays at 9pm on Showcase in Canada)