Retro Review: Continuum Season Two, Episodes 10-13

I think we all know how this works by now. Here be spoilers.

The official logo for Continuum“Second Wave”:

The last few episodes have been a little slow by Continuum standards, but here’s a welcome return to form: A thousand things are happening at once, and there’s no chance to catch your breath.

“Second Wave” sees Garza captured with the aid of Alec’s “Arc” program. As she is given a taste of some “enhanced interrogation,” Alec also concocts a scheme to track down Travis by activating his military CMR, but this has some unwelcome side effects.

At the same time, Julian is embracing his role as Theseus, and Lucas is continuing to lose his marbles… OR IS HE?!??

Most interestingly, though, the Freelancers are on the move. They are acting to interfere with both Liber8 and Kiera, and Mr. Escher has his eyes set on Alec — which is causing some very mixed feelings for Emily.

So much happened in this episode that I don’t even know where to begin discussing it. Which is probably my favourite thing about it.

I think the story of the Freelancers was the most interesting. They seem somehow more sinister than Liber8. Liber8 is something we understand, the devil we know. And while their methods are reprehensible, their goals are admirable.

Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron in ContinuumThe Freelancers, though, are a wildcard, and from what we’ve seen so far, I don’t believe there is anything admirable in their motives. In the long run, I think they may prove far more dangerous than Kagame’s disciples.

Julian’s development still feels a little odd. Seems like they’re trying to force his character in a direction that isn’t consistent with his previous depictions.

As with almost everything involving her to date, Emily falling for Alec in truth is very predictable, but not unwelcome.

“Second Wave” also saw Kiera’s slide toward the Dark Side continue. Her taking a page from Admiral Cain’s playbook* isn’t inconsistent with her character, but it is strange she isn’t just using her truth serum. Seems like that’d be a lot more efficient, and while Kiera is obviously not above some cruelty when it’s expedient, she has never seemed the sort to be cruel at the expense of expediency.

*(Two completely unrelated sci-fi references in as many sentences. I wonder if there’s a prize for that?)

Finally, Curtis being a Freelancer is a fantastic twist, which raises all sorts of delicious questions.

The cast of ContinuumOverall rating: 8/10

“Second Guess”:

This is another very busy episode. Now completely lost in his madness, Lucas absconds with part of Alec’s Arc program and uses it to sow chaos every way he can. This gives pretty much everyone a bad day.

The fact that the cops are now lackeys of a shady corporation, as well as Jim’s connections to Liber8, come to light. Jim begins to play both Liber8 factions against each other in the hopes of freeing himself from their coercion. Alec is racked with self-doubt as he sees what his technology can do when used by those with ill intent.

About the only one benefiting from the anarchy is Julian, who is using it to spread his message far and wide.

Meanwhile, Kellogg looks into Mr. Escher and the Freelancers and grows more concerned the more he learns.

“Second Guess” is another episode where so much happened I hardly even know what to say about it. I will say that I enjoyed it all, and I really can’t think of anything to complain about.

Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron in ContinuumOne unexpected twist to come out of all this is that Kiera now possesses the time device in its entirety. Obviously, she can’t use it to get home, because that would be the end of the show, but hopefully it can have some sort of interesting effect on the story going forward.

I also continue to be fascinated by the Freelancers. Between their air of mystery and the fact they seemed to lack any redeeming qualities, I’m beginning to find them a more frightening threat than Liber8.

Overall rating: 8/10

“Second Last”:

“Second Last” sees pretty much everything crumble into chaos.

Gardner’s body has been found, and all the evidence points to Kiera as the killer. She and Carlos are forced to become fugitives, with their former comrades on the police on their trail.

As part of a thoroughly misguided attempt to gain allies against the Freelancers, Kellogg grants Travis access to Alec’s lab, and he extorts Alec into outfitting him with the spare CPS suit, making him even more unstoppable than he already is.

Emily and Kiera confronting the Freelancers in Continuum's second seasonMr. Escher places new pressure on Emily to recover the time travel device from Alec, forcing her to choose where her loyalties lie: Escher, or Alec.

The result is an episode that is nail-bitingly intense from start to finish, and which could have served just fine as the season finale — but there’s still one episode left.

I can’t say that I’m happy about Emily’s death, seeing as I’m a big fan of Magda Apanowicz, but I’m not sure I can hold that against this episode. That’s more my own personal reaction rather than any mistake on the part of the show. It’s not objectively bad for the story.

Besides, it’s sci-fi. No guarantee she’ll stay dead.

While “Second Last” was unusually gripping and action-packed even by Continuum standards, I think the most interesting thing about it may have been some of the offhand comments made by Jason.

For one thing, he seemed to indicate the Freelancers may not be from the future after all. Or at least not in the way we think. So who are they? People from the present who somehow got their hands on future tech? Is there some sort of parallel universe shenanigans going on? If they’re not from the future, how was Curtis one of them?

Also, when the Freelancers hit his apartment, Jason said, “I won’t go back.” Is this an indication he has been captured by the Freelancers before? Is that why he’s such a screwball?

Kiera, Alec, and Carlos in ContinuumOf course, it’s also possible some or all of this is just Jason being crazy.

Overall rating: 8.4/10

“Second Time”:

Holy mother of… This is almost “Boomer shot Adama” quality.

Okay, first of all, let’s run down all the crazy things that have happened here.

Jason isn’t Alec’s father. He’s Alec’s son. Escher is Alec’s father.

Escher isn’t leader of the Freelancers after all. He was trying to protect Alec from them — he’s still a bastard, though.

All of the time-travelers, including Kiera, have been captured by the Freelancers.

Alec’s gone back in time to save Emily.

Carlos and Betty have gone rogue and sought the aid of bloody Julian of all people.

I just… wow. That is one Hell of a cliff-hanger.

Kiera and Alec prepare to activate the time travel device in the second season finaleDo I even need to say this was an amazing episode? There was no part of it that was not mind-blowing.

Of course, it’s Continuum, so there was no shortage of tension or action. I was particularly impressed with Kiera’s battle with Travis atop a moving elevator. Once again, I am awed by what this show can pull off for what is undoubtedly a low budget Canadian production.

But that barely scratches the surface of what made “Second Time” so excellent. I think what impresses me the most is how so many different plot threads have come together, how so much foreshadowing over so long has paid off so well. I think I may have underestimated the cleverness of Continuum’s writers. Severely.

There were a lot of great little moments, too. I really enjoyed Kiera’s ruthless assessment of how Dillon has become corrupted, and it made me realize what an interesting arc that character has had. He was quite bland for a long time, a good guy but an unremarkable one. But his slow fall from grace has been well-executed, and now he’s one of the show’s more sinister figures: the progenitor of CPS, the man who sows the seeds for Kiera’s totalitarian future.

I also liked how Carlos was clever enough to find out Betty was the Liber8 mole. Usually, Carlos is second fiddle to Kiera, and for the most part, that’s as it should be, but it is nice to see him accomplish something on his own for a change.

Beyond all that, I’m just struck by how much this show has improved. Don’t get me wrong; Continuum was always a good show. I’ve enjoyed it consistently from the outset, bar an occasional minor stumble. But it was always a pretty basic show.

The second season, and particularly the Freelancers, have done a great deal to make it less simple, less generic. They were exactly what Continuum needed to stop being just Cops and Robbers with more technobabble. The series is weaving a fascinating and complex mythology all its own.

Overall rating: 9.4/10 Mind = blown. Kaboom.

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3 thoughts on “Retro Review: Continuum Season Two, Episodes 10-13

  1. Ya know, I find your reaction to these episodes fascinating. To me they were simply garbled, muddled, and jumbled messes. They made no sense, and most of the characters went completely out of character, I thought, so I felt like they were no longer relate-able. As a result, I really lost the “feel” of the show. I’ve got season 3 available and have even watched a couple of episodes of it and it returned more to the format and character development arcs of the 1st half of the 2nd season, but even so…. the magic was just gone for me and I’ve not felt any pull to keep watching the series anymore. Whereas you love these episodes to death.

    I know… diff’rent strokes and all that. I’m glad you liked them, as I’m always glad to see sci-fi on the tube and have it supported, even when it’s sci-fi that I no longer care about. I’m also the guy who really didn’t care for Farscape either. Watched the 1st season and was “meh” on it. Tried again years later, and was still “meh” on S1 but pushed on to S2 and was even more “meh” about it, so I’ve never seen the later stuff. So I don’t get it when people gush to me about Farscape. But I’m still glad the Farscape exists, if that makes any kind of sense. I feel the same about Continuum — I’m glad it exists, even if I no longer care to watch it.

      • Hey now! That’s dangerous territory to admit that. I’m sure the Browncoats will be showing up any time. . . . . . . .. .

        No, I won’t tip them off… it’s just TV, but with that said. . . . Firefly’s easily one of my most-liked sci-fi shows. I’d place it in 2nd after Babylon 5.

        Different strokes for sure 😉

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