|Courtesy of Reunion Pictures|
Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are content hitting the snooze button.
Isn't it nice to have Tony Amendola as Kagame back, if only briefly? The casting department really hit that role out of the park. He so easily fills the role of a charismatic revolutionary. Hell, listening to him speak, I want to join Liber8. I suppose it helps that, since he blew himself up in season one, we've learned a lot more about the future from which Kiera came from, and that has made Liber8 seem less like "nihilistic terrorists" than they did in those early episodes. Kiera has learned a lot more about the world she came from too, and she's beginning to realize the repercussions of her past actions. Or, more appropriately, she's realizing how obvious the abuses were to her, and how oblivious she had been to them.
The episode took us back to her earliest interaction with Jaworski, who aside from proving that even in the future a face tattoo really limits potential employment, was the first of the Liber8 time travelers to be killed. Here, Kiera ends up being held in an illegal farming commune with her prisoner during what I assume to be her early days as a Protector. Liber8 is still in it's infancy, the teachings of Theseus still a personal passion of Kagame, and the eventual leadership of the organization not yet having found their way to the cause. We received a lot of background on Sonya, and the foundations of the father-daughter relationship she had with her leader. I applaud the show humanizing the Liber8 members this season, as we've increasingly been expected to view their organization as a force of good. We need to know they are more than trained killers, and between Travis' family and Sonya's conflict between morality and duty, we're getting a more complete picture of the various players.
Sonya mentioned something interesting when discussing the super solider program that would eventually produce Travis. The system, which we know is little more than an extension of the Protector program, is described as taking control of the participants. Nudging them, is the phrase she uses. They no longer observe, they record. Their humanity is reduced to within acceptable limits, to maximize efficiency, maintain complacency and produce the desired results. This season has already touched on the idea of the corporation being able to take absolute control of a Protector's actions, and this suggests that towing the company line isn't simply cultural indoctrination, but a subtle form of straight up mind control. Using the technology to alter perception and decrease the likelihood to question authority. This is the most extreme action we've learned of the corporations taking, in terms of directly interfering with individuals.
I'm curious as to the natural of the initial timeline. In previous seasons, there was the suggestion that Kiera's traveling back to the modern era was part of a established sequence of events. The Elder Sadler seemed familiar with Kiera, and knew the sequence of events that would lead to her being sent back. He placed Garza on the Liber8 team as a fail-safe, he embedded information intended for his younger self in Kiera's CMR, he manipulated her career to make certain that she was in the right place at the right time. Here, when mention is made of Kiera, he seems not to recognize her name. When he encountered her husband (good to see him again), there was little evidence of any manipulations on Sadler's side. He certainly would have known that she wasn't dead. Instead, he spoke of the value of life, in purely financial terms. That the only thing that has lasting influence is how much a person is worth when they die. It's certainly a position that works for the Elder Sadler, whose legacy is entirely build on money, but in relation to Kiera it was a strangely stoic argument. And it also reminded us that Jason's mother is still an unknown. If we already didn't ahve enough of those.
The episode ended with Kiera declaring that she was going home. What does this mean? After a season of having it violently demonstrated to her that her future is a terrible place, and an episode of remembering the atrocities committed in the name of the corporate good, I find it difficult to believe that she'd embrace that side of the argument completely. She clearly has clear intent and ambition, and even Katherine seemed a little uneasy by Kiera's dangerous calm. Curtis' intent is still unclear; he disapproves of Katherine, but beyond that, we still don't know if he remains a Freelancer faithful or has moved entirely to the Liber8 mandate. It would seem that Kiera's choice is obvious, but I've been saying all season that she required a breaking point to drive her in one direction or another. She has achieved that breaking point. Her actions from here on out will be that of a true believer, the most dangerous kind. And the definition of "home" might not be as simple as it once was.