After two solid outings, Continuum kicks into overdrive as the intentions of warring factions of Liber8 are elaborated on and the bodies hit the floor.
Let’s bitch it out…Last week was a subtle game-changer: hidden beneath the surface of the armored car attack was a deliberate shift in the show’s narrative structure. By pitting Travis (Roger Cross) against Sonya (Lexa Doig), Liber8 became a whole lot more interesting.
The proof is in the pudding in ‘Second Thoughts’, which dedicates substantially more time to the group – now divided into two camps – than ever before. No offense to Rachel Nichols, whose Kiera is traditionally front and centre, but it’s nice to see the show dedicate more screentime to Liber8 in order to flesh them out and better understand their motivations. We’ve long known what Liber8 stands for, but it’s become clear in just these last few episodes that there’s more to them than simply taking down the corporate overlords. ‘Second Thoughts’ helps to not only sell the differences within the group, but reposition them as individuals.
I not suggesting that the episode is perfect. There’s no indication of how Sonya persuades the Coalition Kings to work with her, much less answer to her, nor how the creation of Flash plays into that. There’s a suggestion that Sonya helped the Kings to prepare Flash in exchange for weapons and muscle, but this seems antithetical to her previous approach. It’s nice, then, that she eventually confesses to Isaac (Omari Newton) that this isn’t how they should operate and proposes a move back into the realm of ideas.
Travis adopts the opposite approach, electing to take out all of his rivals in a bid for supremacy of all of the gang activity in Vancouver. This is a bold, risky move and the resulting “join me or die” scene in the bar is a little too cliche and over-the-top to work entirely. With this many guns pointed at him, it seems unlikely that the thugs would so willingly lend him their support, especially considering he’s an unknown entity. Sure Travis looks bad-ass (very Matrix with the black leather trench), but would that really be enough? Regardless, there a very clear delineation between the two Liber8 factions, with Sonya and Isaac moving back to Kagame’s ideals while Travis embraces a violent, aggressive position that worries even Garza (Luvia Petersen).
This leaves Kiera and Carlos (Victor Webster) caught in the middle. As Carlos so eloquently states, if either side wins, the remaining team will be unstoppable. Naturally Kiera insists that they take both groups out, but considering she’s barely managed to do more than thwart their efforts, this is clearly easier said than done. At this point Kiera and the VPD are in an increasingly unenviable position, which only helps to make the show more interesting. If these most recent episodes are any indication, this second season of Continuum will be far superior to the already excellent first season.
- The gunfight at the Flash lab is well done: it’s a bit disorienting, but the constantly shifting camera angles help reinforce the 360 degree threat to Kiera and Carlos. It’s disappointing, however, that the outcome – Sonya escapes – is so obviously pre-determined. It’s difficult to invest in the scenes when you know that the outcome is consequence free. I hope Continuum takes risks and shakes up the outcomes, especially when it comes to violence, so that we get more unexpected setpieces (like Travis escaping last week)
- Jason (Ian Tracey), crazy tinfoil hat man, returns to further complicate Kiera’s life. With his appearance, we get the return of the freelancer storyline introduced in last season’s finale. His description of the freelancers is the most interesting element to me: he describes them as prospectors, adventurers and prisoners. Thus far we haven’t seen a great deal of progress on this storyline, but it’s clearly being re-introduced as set-up for something big. Have we have already met one of these individuals? Why have they appeared now? And can they really return to the future as Kiera so desperately hopes?
- Kiera is also following up on the mysterious Escher, who Agent Gardiner (an unseen Nicholas Lea) name-dropped last week. Who is this mysterious freelancer and how has he/she managed to assume so much power?
- Whether or not you believe Jason is crazy-pants (the costuming and Tracey’s line delivery is clearly intended to make us wonder), there’s no doubt that his role has become exponentially more important now that we know he has a connection to Alec’s (Erik Knudsen) mother, Ann (Janet Kidder). Of course, he looks much more put together in Alec’s memories, suggesting that he is not everything he claims to be
- The rocky relationship rollercoaster between Kiera and Alec continues. Kiera acts significantly more motherly to Alec this week, imploring him to keep her in the loop and threatening Kellog (Stephen Lobo) when she learns he’s contacted the boy (Side Note: I love her use of his first name – Matthew – to prove how serious she use). For me, besides being the emotional focal point of the series, Alec keeps Kiera grounded. At times she can get a little preachy (do not change the future! Do not work with Kellog!), but as Alec (and Kellog) indicate, there’s no way to determine whether or not anyone is making significant alterations. That’s one of the reasons this show is so enjoyable!
- Everyone recognize Alec’s coffeeshop crush? It’s Magda Apanowicz from Kyle XY and Caprica. I think it’s safe to say we’ll see more of her
- I’m unsure what to make of the prison conversation between Ann and Julian (Richard Harmon). The news that Kagame’s bomb in ‘End Times’ took out a secret meeting of five top corporate execs discussing medical vaccines suggests that Liber8 is on track to alter the corporatized future. But why does Ann look like she supports her martyr’d sons’ efforts? And why does he look so upset? There’s more to Julian’s role as ‘Theseus’ than we know
- Finally, a quick fashion question: Why is Carlos dressing like a pimp?
- Kellog (elaborating what he knows about Flash): “I used the Google”
- Kiera (when Kellog rubs his collaboration with Alec in her face): “You screw with that kid’s life and you will answer to me. That is a promise”
- Kiera (when Alec suggests people think they’re a couple): “Don’t flatter yourself.” Ouch!
You’re up: what do you think is the story behind the freelancers? Do you think we’ve met Escher? Could it be Jason? Will Travis continue to try and take out Sonya? What will become of Julian in Liber8’s plan? Is there any doubt that Alec joins Kellog’s venture? Finally, is Carlos running a harem of girls in his off-hours? Hit the comments below!
Continuum airs Fridays at 10pm EST on Syfy