The ‘Escher Problem’ reaches frenzied new heights as everyone goes on the run in pursuit of the time travel device. And as you might expect, not everyone makes it out alive.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Second Last’ is a textbook example of a late in the season episode: it draws together a number of narrative threads, ramps up the action and conflict and leaves a few dangling threads to reinforce that there are still unresolved issues to address in the finale. This description makes the episode sound a little perfunctory (like a checklist), so its a testament to the writers and actors that it is anything but. I may sound like a broken record, but the new heights that Continuum is reaching on a near weekly basis is pretty astounding.
This is clearly a show that identified its second season end game early on and broke the episodes down accordingly. As it stands, there’s still a great deal left to explore, but ‘Second Last’ does a solid job of setting up the pieces for the final showdown.
The name Escher (Hugh Dillon) has loomed large over much of this season. It’s shocking to consider that the character wasn’t introduced in the flesh until the halfway point, in 2×06 ‘Second Truths’. The man remains an enigma, but as the season has progressed, it has become more and more clear that this is a man pulling a lot of strings (usually behind the scene). It wasn’t a big surprise to learn that he planted Emily (Magda Apanowicz) in Alec’s (Erik Knudsen) life, or that he’s working against Kellog (Stephen Lobo) to acquire key companies like Laroche Energy. There have also been clues that Escher may be behind the mysterious freelancers, Warren (Adrian Holmes) and Miller (Zak Santiago) or, at the very least, that he knows more about them than he’s letting on.
It’s no surprise, then, when Escher begins to manipulate things in his own favour. After Emily reiterates her desire to be free of his control, Escher provides the instruction that sets the whole game in motion: acquire the time travel device from Alec’s lab and he’ll let her go. Unfortunately Kellog is initiating his own power play at the same time, setting Travis’ (Roger Cross) sights on Elena’s suit and with it, the destruction of Escher. Clearly someone is going to get caught in the crossfire between these two.
The resulting conflict drives Alec and Emily to Jason’s (Ian Tracey) loft where they fall prey to the freelancers. The fact that the time travelling gunmen appear almost immediately after Emily confesses her connection to Escher suggests that they are, in fact, working for the dome-headed millionaire.
The ensuing chaos is one of the best action set-pieces of the season as Continuum channels a John Woo film, shooting and destroying nearly everything in Jason’s loft. After a series of close-calls Emily tries – and fails – to foster a peace by throwing away the time travel device and ultimately ends up being killed. It’s a bit of a predictable outcome (she was a goner the moment that she told Alec she loved him and wanted to run away), but it creates the excuse the show needs to get Alec and Escher into a room together.
The question is whether Emily’s belief that Alec is no killer will hold true or no. The murder of a loved one is a powerful motivator. By episode’s end, Alec has shown up in Escher’s lobby, though we’ll have to wait until next week to know what goes down between the two. It’s quite the tantalizing cliffhanger. Well played, Continuum!
- I was pleasantly surprised at the non-event that was made of Alec’s discovery that Jason is, in fact, his father. Traditionally this kind of revelation would produce a drawn-out response played out over several episodes. Instead Alec infers he knows the truth and Jason just discusses it. Perhaps it’s because the lost time traveler doesn’t have all of his faculties all of the time, but it’s refreshing to see the topic addressed head-on rather than teased out for several episodes
- It’s also nice to see someone finally call Kiera out on her BS desire to travel back to 2077. We’ve been having debates about the impact of the Liber8 schemes pretty much since the show began but Kiera has always maintained she has a life to return to. Now that’s she’s within reach of getting home, it’s great to hear Alec lay out the ambiguous nature of her desires: she may not have anything to return to and if she leaves Libr8 will be free to continue altering the present. Even though she doesn’t buy it (or doesn’t want to hear it), it’s nice that someone finally brings up the elephant in the room
- Speaking of elephants, the body of Gardiner (missing since his death in 2×08 ‘Second Listen’) finally turns up – at the worst possible time, of course – and it’s chock full of evidence that Kiera is a murderer. So in addition to the Escher/Kellog war, there’s now a bounty on both Kiera and Carlos’ (Victor Webster) heads. How are the pair going to get out of this one, and in less than 24 hours to boot?!
- Kellog may have had a purpose for supplying Travis with the suit, but the Liber8 baddie now has an amazing arsenal of weapons at his disposal and a connection to Kiera. Methinks Kellog didn’t think this one through, unless he truly wants Kiera out of the picture so that he can run his schemes without interference
- Finally, the 2077 flashforward that opens the episode is a mystery. The murder of a SadTech employee working on antimatter (who has been visiting the prison) obviously foreshadows the time travel in the pilot, but is there more to it than that? We know that the freelancers have advanced technology (we see Warren disarm Kiera’s suit in the battle at Jason’s loft) and the future perp cloaks their appearance, so there’s a suggestion that there’s more going on. It’s all maddeningly unclear at this point, though. Keep this info in mind as we head into the finale
- Carlos (sarcastically to Kiera, about Gardiner): “You miss him”
- Kiera (when Alec tells her about the tech specs of the time travel device”: “Okay look, I may be from the future, but that doesn’t mean I speak the language”
- Escher (to Kiera, when she proposes an alliance): “You carry destruction in your wake. You’re a time bomb”
- Jason (when Kiera and Carlos come into the loft with guns drawn): “Ladies. Dude. I’m trying to keep this a weapons-free zone”
Your turn: what did you think of the episode? Is Escher in charge of the freelancers? Did you figure out that Emily would bite it early on? Will Alec try to kill Escher? What did Kiera upload into herself in those final moments? And what’s really going on in the 2077 murder? Speculate away below
Continuum airs Fridays at 10pm EST on Syfy