Alec (Erik Knudsen) covers his tracks and Kiera (Rachel Nichols) sets her own agenda as Continuum sets up its season three end-game.
Let’s bitch it out…I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting from ‘Revolutions Per Minute’ but considering its proximity to the end of the season, I had hoped that there would be a little bit more urgency. Instead the episode feels more like a mid-season entry that’s setting up storylines, not exploring their fall-out. This is a little disappointing not only because we’re so near the finale, but also because it’s unclear what we’re building up to.
A big part of this is the John Doe/Brad Duncan (Ryan Robbins) storyline. Last week the new time traveler was introduced out of nowhere and this week it is revealed that he’s an instrumental figure: not only is he being tracked by Catherine (Rachael Crawford) and the Freelancers, he’s tied to the Bregenzer Bank that Liber8 robbed earlier this season and – in an unexpected twist – he’s revealed to be Kiera’s killer in this new timeline. That’s a lot of narrative responsibility to hoist on an amnesiac character and although Robbins is doing an okay job playing Duncan, the character still feels like a cipher. His relationship with Kiera feels too rushed and forced, particularly when she gets upset about his dismay that his family is dead (she’s far too involved considering they’ve really only just met). Given how important this character has become, it would have been nice to let their relationship develop a little more slowly.
Compare this to the way that Kiera has drifted away from being a strict rule abiding Protector has played out over the season. As the focus of the series has shifted to explore the rising power of the companies comprising the Global Corporate Congress, Kiera has been forced to reevaluate her moral position about Liber8 and the VPD and because it’s happened over the last ten episodes, her reactions feel a lot more organic. I’m still on the fence about the way the series uses Brian Markinson’s Dillon, but his malleable alliances (to both VPD and Piron) have been instrumental in guiding Kiera into an uncomfortable middle ground that’s accompanied by increased personal agency. Kiera has always broken the rules, but she’s no longer doing it solely to protect the sanctity of her future timeline – she’s begun doing it to address the hypocrisy of the powerful groups and institutions around her. Her decision to prevent Gautuma’s Alzheimer drug testing because of the dangers of Flash is the latest example of her self-directed agency and it’s interesting to see Kiera grapple with the decision to do something that she knows benefits Liber8’s agenda (Side Note: I can’t help but wonder how her decision would have played out had Laci J Mailey’s Christine not been involved).
- I particularly like how Alec’s plan to cover-up his ghoulish crime played on Carlos (Victor Webster) and Kiera’s emotions. It is frustrating, however, that Kiera is foolish enough to insult Alec and then expects him to provide her with information. This feels less like a genuine interaction and more like a development dictated by the writers’ needs.
- Alec’s meeting at the “Star Chamber” with a shadowy group of corporate suits is intriguing. Are these people other CEOs who feel threatened by Piron’s success, or are they aligned with the Freelancers? Their demand that Alec “slow down” suggests a certain anticipation of things to come, although they may just feel threatened by his success.
- The Star Chamber people may be overreacting since Piron’s success may be short-lived. Despite initial positive effects on Jason (Ian Tracey), the HALO bracelet clearly has some dangerous side-effects that will likely play a big role in the remaining episodes.
- I’m not entirely certain why Sonya (Lexa Doig) brings Christine when she visits Julian (Richard Harmon). There is a certain ambiguity about Christine potentially harbouring Liber8 sympathies when she’s reunited with her father, but that may just be me reading too much into the lingering shot on Christine when they hug. Regardless of her involvement, the fact that Julian has begun writing the Theseus manifesto is a significant development, especially for Sonya, whose history with Liber8 began thanks to his writing (as seen in the flashforwards in 3×07 ‘Waning Minute’).
- Can we all agree that Sonya needs to stop making threats? We’ve seen Sonya act violently (particularly when she shot Travis back in S1), but her warning that she’ll slit Christine’s throat isn’t overly convincing.
- Kellog (Stephen Lobo) gets some good material in this episode. I particularly liked his irked reaction to Kiera’s demands and Duncan’s presence in her apartment and his continued manipulation of Alec is impressive. Lobo somehow manages to make Kellog appropriately slimy without losing his likability.
- I gathered that Dillon’s flip-flop on his “No More Betty’s” position is meant to reflect a struggle between his personal feelings and those related to his position of authority, but it once again feels like the writers don’t quite have a good handle on who and what Dillon stands for
- Finally, it’s nice to see Betty (Jennifer Spence) again, even if it is only in Dillon’s memory. How great is her reaction when she first meets Carlos? Here’s hoping we’ll revisit some other early Betty memories so that we continue to see Spence on occasion.
Your turn: were you expecting a bit more of a ramp-up in this episode? Has Brad Duncan’s role in the past two episodes worked for you? Do you agree that Dillon’s role in the series is unclear? Were you frustrated that Kiera didn’t keep her mouth shut and thus lost out on information about her doppelganger’s murder? And is Kellog the secret MVP of the show? Add your thoughts in the comments below.
Continuum airs Sundays at 9pm EST on Showcase (in Canada) and Fridays at 10pm EST on Syfy (in the US)