Retro Review, Continuum Season Two, Episodes 6-9

You know the drill: Here be spoilers.

The official logo for Continuum“Second Truths”:

Here’s an episode I have mixed feelings on.

“Second Truths” sees Carlos investigating a serial killer who has popped up off and on since long before Kiera’s arrival. Kiera recognizes the case, having researched it during her career in the future. She knows that the case was never solved, and that dozens more are destined to die.

She’s determined to stop the killings — despite the fact she knows the victims are all pedophiles — but her frequent inexplicable leaps of logic and “lucky hunches” draw increasing suspicion and frustration from Carlos.

Ultimately, the purpose of “Second Truths” is for Carlos to finally learn the truth of Kiera’s identity. That’s where the mixed feelings come in.

I really like the idea behind this episode. Revealing the truth to Carlos is something that needed to be done sooner or later, and it offers to change their relationship in very interesting ways. This is a good thing for the show going forward.

But it could have been handled better. Carlos became too suspicious of Kiera too quickly. Last episode, he was the president of the International We Love Kiera Fan Club, and now suddenly he’s been pushed to his limit by her secrets and can barely bring himself to speak with her.

Kiera, Alec, and Carlos in ContinuumSimilarly, Kiera behaves rather erratically through the whole episode. She is reckless, and doesn’t even bother trying to come up with covers for how she’s getting her information. It doesn’t jive with her usual cool, calm, and collected persona. It’s especially strange that this is supposedly due to her desperation to save people whom no one in their right mind should really care about, least of all a parent like Kiera.

I think this plot should have been spread out over more than one episode. With more foreshadowing and more time to develop, it would have felt a lot more natural. As it is, I’m glad Carlos has been brought in on the truth, but the way it happened left a fair bit to be desired.

“Second Truths” also developed the Freelancers a bit, giving us our first glimpse of Mr. Escher, but we didn’t really learn anything. Kind of strange, really.

And it turns out Alec’s girlfriend is a spy, which surprises me not in the slightest. The only question is whether she’s working for the Freelancers or Liber8. I’m kind of hoping it’s the Freelancers, just for a change of pace.

Overall rating: 7.3/10

“Second Degree”:

Most of “Second Degree” revolves around the trial of King Weasel himself, Julian Randall. Carlos, Kiera, and Alec are adamant that he must pay for his crimes, but both factions of Liber8 have other plans, and Jim has been using the case as a glorified campaign ad, billing himself as the law and order mayoral candidate even when that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Julian Randal in ContinuumThe main thing that struck me about this episode was how complicated things have gotten — not a word I would have applied to Continuum before now. Between two factions of Liber8, the Freelancers, the cops, Gardner, Kellogg, and Kiera and her inner circle, it’s quite a tangled political web. So many disparate schemes are bleeding into one another.

Mind you, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The outcome of Julian’s trial was somewhat predictable, but seeing so many schemes and interpersonal struggles evolve kept things interesting. I’m also rather enjoying the new dimension to Kiera and Carlos’s relationship now that he knows who she really is.

The side plots were fairly interesting, as well. Kiera and Gardner on the same side for once was a nice twist, and I’m hoping we can soon start to get an idea of just who the Freelancers are and what they’re after.

Also, hot damn, Lacey can kick some ass.

Yeah, yeah, I know her character is named Emily on this show, but she’ll always be Lacey to me.

Overall rating: 7.4/10

“Second Listen”:

I was planning to give this episode a fairly low rating until the last five minutes or so.

Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron in Continuum“Second Listen” begins with Kiera and Gardner continuing their search for the body snatchers who have been stealing the corpses of time travelers. It proves surprisingly difficult, and every lead results in a dead end — emphasis on the “dead” part in some cases.

Kiera even turns to Mr. Escher, who claims the culprits are Freelancers and that he is not one of them (despite previous reports to the contrary), but even that doesn’t help.

However, halfway through the episode, things take an odd turn. Garza appears out of nowhere to massacre Alec’s roommates and kidnap him.

The problem with this episode is that it feels scattered. Both story arcs are interesting, but the split between them is jarring, and it doesn’t leave enough time for either plot to get the attention it deserves.

But the ending totally saved it. Most of the time, Alec is like wallpaper: he’s always there, but you rarely notice him. He’s a good and likable character, but not always memorable compared to, say, Kiera and her cyber-powered ass-kickery.

But man, when Alec breaks out of his shell, he is awesome. His panicked speech as Garza holds his life in her hands has to have been the single best performance, the single most powerful moment Continuum has produced to date.

The cast of ContinuumAnd only now do we begin to understand just what is going on in Continuum, why they were all sent back in time.

It’s Alec. Everything is about Alec. It’s all to change the course of his life, to ensure he becomes the man he should be and not the man he ultimately became the first time around.

It does feel a little jarring that Garza apparently knew all along that they were meant to go back sixty years, not six. It seems an obvious retcon… though her line to Alec when they first crossed paths last season could have been an early hint. But I think that was just crazy Garza being crazy Garza. Either way, it wasn’t foreshadowed enough.

On the plus side, the idea of her being Alec’s “fail-safe” is awesome, and it does add an extra dimension to what was previously one of the thinnest characters on Continuum. Retcon or not, it’s probably for the best in the long run, even if it could have been handled better.

Overall rating: 7.9/10

“Seconds”:

This is another episode mostly focusing on Julian. Though he may have been exonerated on charges of murder due to the interference of Travis, he finds himself hunted on all sides. Kiera and the department are out for his blood, and they’re willing to bend or break the rules to get it.

A wallpaper featuring propaganda for Liber8This was a weird episode, and I’m not really sure what I make of it. It seemed as though they were trying to make the viewer feel some sympathy for Julian, but that’s simply not going to happen. Forget what he will do in the future; what he’s already done is unforgivable.

I am very disappointed that Alec tried to help him. That does not reflect kindly on Alec’s character, or his chances of not becoming the monster he became the first time around.

On the other hand, it was interesting to see Kiera’s ruthless side on full display. It’s becoming ever clearer that the war between her people and Liber8 is not one of good versus evil, but merely a clash between two very dark shades of gray.

I can’t say I approve of Kiera’s methods, but I also can’t say I blame her too harshly. Julian is not deserving of any mercy, though it would have been a lot simpler and more effective to just shoot him full of truth serum and then put a bullet in the little weasel’s skull.

I did enjoy the drama and intensity of “Seconds.” A rare strong performance from Rachel Nichols.

On the downside, it’s pretty strange that apparently no one noticed Gardner going missing.

So, yeah, this was pretty weird episode. Plenty of good stuff, but also some questionable story-telling decisions, and some things that just flat out don’t make any sense.

Overall rating: 7.3/10

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