|Courtesy of Reunion Pictures|
It also delivered a potentially seismic shift to the series' paradigm. Everything we assumed to have known about the implications of action concerning the way timelines work in this series has changed. We're back to square one in being able to predict what will happen next. It feels like the heady days of the first season, when everything was still a mystery. Now, like the characters, we have to reassess everything in the shadow of the knowledge that the future is less certain than ever.
Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that have decided they are just going to stay away from all power tools.
This season, we had it explained to us that time is a twisting river, prone to deviation at the slightest inclination. It has fallen to the Freelancers to carefully guard the flow of time, to make certain that the river stays within the limits of the river bed. It turns out, that is not the case. The Freelancer's millennia of diligent and murderous caution has been largely pointless. Time is stringent and largely inflexible. It's a rail line, following a well laid course. There might be pennys on the tracks that cause little bumps, and the occasional cow might create a slight delay of arrival, but always arrives at it's intended destination. It takes something massive to cause time to jump the track and crash flaming into a gulch. And that is exactly what has happened.
Last week, as Brad slowly unraveled the mystery of his life, I kept returning to the thought that, if he did come back from the future, it would be the future that Kiera's actions had crafted. Clever of the show to tease us with potential outcomes without verifying any of them. Had her choice in Alec preserved the future she has grown to loath, or create a new timeline where personal freedoms have been preserved. Turns out, not so much. The choosing of Earlier Alec over Later Alec is exactly what the timeline needed to jump the rail and careen the future towards it's doom. Not that it should surprise any of us. Earlier Alec, under the seductive influence of shiny toys and unlimited resources has proven himself to be a manipulative bastard that makes his Elder self look like a kitten.
He has successfully alienated his closest friends and family through his selfish tactics. Kiera got wise to his theft of her other selves CMP, and was disgusted that he would attempt to hide his actions in the guise of dedication and mourning. Carlos clearly wants to punch him in the throat, if only for stealing his frozen drinking buddy. Even Jason, whom we must remember is working at Piron undercover as an agent of Kellog, views Alec's ambitions with suspicion and the benefit of foresight (keep in mind, Jason is also a lunatic). Even Julian, who has never been nearer to embracing his future as Theseus, has been brought into the watchful fold of the Piron group, so that Alec can spoon feed him lies and make him feel like he is making a difference. Alec used to be motivated by what was right and just and interesting, now his every action is directed by the need to satisfy both his and his father's legacy.
And as it turns out, that is a bad move. Brad's version of the future is even more craptastic then Kiera's. 30 years from now, the corporation declare war on the government, no doubt spurred on by Alec and Piron's advancement of technologies based on known future designs (Jason keeps mentioning that Halo is about 30 years ahead of schedule). Alec's control over this future is completely absent, having been replaced as a leader and figurehead by the more conniving and manipulative Kellog. I've called the character the ultimate survivour before, this just confirms it. The rest of the population suffers in an every changing tide of sympathy towards one side or another. What Liber8 first believe describes the ultimate vindication of their actions is actually a dystopia where freedom and oppression have been replaced by anarchy and desolation. Lucas' analogy that the roadrunner can never be caught is actually a brilliant one. the future appears to have two directions. One leads to ultimate destruction of everything, the other to a personally oppressive but plentiful and successful future.
Because I can't help but do so, I wonder if there is a third option. A switch on the rail. Since the train has jumped the track, it is likely that Kiera will reorient herself towards getting it back on track. Better the future you know than the one you don't. Replacing Earlier Alec with the one she handed over to the Freelancers would be the first logical step, but I fail to see how that would put things right. That Alec is far from the enterprising and industrious individual he started out as. He has been tempered by betrayal, culled by loss and seen first hand the effects of his own ambition, in the form of his other self. If Later Alec was the one meant to bring about the future Kiera came from, I don't see similarities between him today and the Elder Sadler. The cut throat pragmatist that directed the actions of everyone 70 years from now has been lost. The best that Later Alec might be able to bring about now is a more reserved version of that future. One that undercuts corporate control, but doesn't sacrifice morality in the name of advancement. Is such a future possible? Both in the sense that, once a company becomes successful, can they resist the inertia towards abusing that success, and in the sense that, in this new view of time, is a third timeline even possible. Does it have to be either or either, or can it also be or?
Brad's revelations leave a lot of elements disjointed, which is fun. Liber8 has effectively disbanded, with the realization that nothing they can do will have the slightest impact on events, which really would take the wind out of your sails. Kiera and Brad have to find a way to get beyond the fact that he killed her other self, and I hope they do because they are adorable together (probably the only time I'll every use that word). There is still Curtis and Kellog to reconcile, now more motivated than ever, Kellog towards preserving himself and his success, and Curtis towards... you know, I'm still kind of unclear what it is that Curtis wants.
He was a loyal Freelancer until it was made clear to him that their actions were meaningless. Was it Brad who showed him the truth of things after coming back using the pillaged Freelancer tech, or did Curtis become enlightened and retrieve Brad in an attempt to stop the more corpse and rust filled future? And, there is the momentum that has already been put in place with Piron's actions and the modern Liber8 movement. With corporate injections into the public sector, will people like Dillon be willing to scale back such resources? And with the public being made aware of the truth of corporate behaviour, will the civil unrest subside naturally, or continue to build? Have all that Kiera's actions done this past season is set two trains on a collision course with each other? Is the only viable third option complete annihilation?