30 Apr 2013

[Review] - Continuum, Season 2 Episode 2, "Split Second"

[Author's Note: Due to a scheduling issue, the weekly review of Game of Thrones will appear on Wednesday this week. Next week, hopefully, things will return to their regular schedule.]

Courtesy of Reunion Pictures

Continuum isn't interested in absolutes. Last season, I suppose in the interest of introducing viewers to the world, and getting as many people on board as possible, it conformed somewhat to the white-and-black-hat mentality. But as the show progressed, it became more and more obvious that who and what was considered right was becoming increasingly complex. It came very much to a head in this most recent episode, which showed pretty clearly that in the world of Continuum, there is no obligation to dance with the one that brung ya.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are actually a decoy.

First off, can I say how hilarious it is that Kellog has filled his yacht with models. The character is revelling in the extravagant vices of the modern era, and that using his wealth to go Entertainment 720 is well within the character. But as he was showing Alec around, and everywhere he turned there was a young woman draped across the furniture was just funny. Early on last season, I suspected Kellog would be one of the more interesting characters, and was glad when they used him sparingly. He was also the earliest example of what is quickly becoming the show's running theme, that loyalty only lasts until the better deal comes along. He shrugged off Liber8 so quickly, and I was worried towards the end of the season that he might be folded a little too closely into Kiera's crime fitting fold, but luckily, his selfishness has left him securely on the perimeter of the action.

I'm still not entirely certain what the plan is for Kiera, but maybe that is the point. Everyone else has clear goals and motivations, but Kiera just wants to get home, something she cannot reasonably achieve via any action. Secondary to that is stopping Liber8, and her waffling back and forth between acting as a vigilant and working with the police is the only point this season I'm not entirely sold on. If it were a concern over protecting her identity, then I would buy that, but her identity is secure (at least, from everyone but Gardner). Kiera is a decisive characters, and if not certain of an action, she at least never lets it show. My hope is that she doesn't collapse into a anxiety riddled mess, as the weight of her choices becomes more apparently. I was glad that the show, through Alec, pointed out a major plot issue from last year: Kiera wants to return home to her family, and thus cannot risk making any changes to the timeline. However, as the show has pretty much established that all of this has happened before, her attempts to stop Liber8 represent active attempts to change the timeline. That Kiera hasn't realised this until now may well be the beginning of a major shift in her character's direction.

I feel that the only way to reconcile these ideas is that all the little set backs are either a) pushing Liber8 towards the larger, more inescapable moments, like the terrorist attack in last season's finale, or 2) time is a little elastic, allowing for tiny deviations but ultimately making the fixed points in time immobile. The series has yet to explain the mechanics behind Kellog's grandmother being killed last season, and how that event was allowed to occur, and Kellog's existence has remained in tact, though I suspect its a result of Time Traveller's Insurance: the traveller in the past is immune to changes made in their native time. If Kellog were to return to 2077, he'd find he never existed in that timeline. If so, then Kellog becomes an even greater variable, able to become a part of whatever sequence of events he wishes, armed with the knowledge of how things played out originally, but unburdened by any sense of destiny.

Loyalty is a major, if not the major, theme of Continuum. Someone, presumably, is working for Liber8 from within the police service (smart money is on the techie Betty; major enough to have an emotional impact, minor enough not to upset the ebb and flow). Kiera and Gardner suspect each other, and if all the side switching is an indication, Gardner might end up being closer to correct by the season's end. At this point, the only 100% honest, 100% solid character is Carlos. As last season spent an entire episode proving, he has no temptation towards the dark side. He is the show's lone White Knight. And one of those is always good to have around, to seem immensely naive when compared to all the other sliding scales of morality.

This episode teased something that has been a long time coming, and I don't know how much longer they'll be able to maintain the charade: Carlos finding out the truth about Kiera. It seems like a big, season finale sort of thing, but on this show I can see it getting knocked off in a cold open mid season. And I'd be fine with that. What I don't have a read on is how Carlos will react. Which is good. It means the show is unpredictable, which means the writers are actually spending time thinking about things rather then just putting in the minimum amount of effort.

Liber8, which on the inside is far less organised and stable then the authorities know, has fractured yet again. With two divisions, each working towards similar goals, using different methods, and each intent of wiping each other out, is yet another bit of evidence to suggest that by season's end Kiera will have more in common with at least Sonya's (the ever capable Lexa Doig) crew. Kiera has already shown an willingness to work with Lucas, and I suspect as desperation grows so too will be the willingness to cast off certain moral reservations. Alec, it appears, is already there. And considering that last week he was so intent on not becoming the man who made all of this happen, this week he seems to have embraced the idea of at least becoming a man.

I started last week's review by saying that Continuum was a surprise last season. Now, it isn't. It has established itself as a show of quality, that isn't afraid to shake things up, to change directions, and to develop the characters into people rather then pieces. It is good TV. Even time travel, which most movies and shows use as either just a Macguffin (Doctor Who) to get the episode moving, or as the whole kit and kaboodle (Source Code). This show has managed to find that delicate balance that few can, where the time travel is an intrinsic part of the narrative, the effects of which move the action along without being the primary focus of the story.

No comments:

Post a Comment