[Review] - Continuum, Season 2 Episode 10, "Second Wave"

Courtesy of Reunion Pictures
Continuum is confident enough in itself and its viewers to introduce big ideas, and not feel like they have to resolve them within the forty minutes of the episode. It has grown so confident, in fact, that Second Wave was the densest episode made to date, with several episodes worth of plot squeezed together. And, impressively, it never once felt bloated. Each of the tangle of elements not only worked off of each other, but in tandem, and balance, which is a hard trick to pull off, and been a weakness of other, more lofty shows. It introduced new concepts, furthered previously hinted at ones, and choose to resolve almost nothing, leading me to believe that the season finale, which is approaching sooner then I'd like, is going to be one hell of a thing.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that have come from the future. From the even more future.


Before we get into this week's episode, I'd like to tip my hat to everyone who have found their way to the site through these reviews. The library hobos that make up the established readership appreciate the company, and I hope you've found something you like. Some folks have left comments, others have sent me messages, and it seems like we're all wondering the same things, which means the show is doing exactly what it should be. One comment that was left last week, of everything hinging on how Alec moves forward, got me to thinking, so before I starting wading into the thicket that is Second Wave, I though I'd briefly summarise what we know so far, as bare to the bones as I can.

As per Kiera's remembered timeline, Alec builds a company around the technology he developed, which increases processing power, data access and a host of other things. This company becomes successful enough that they are part of the corporate bailout, assumed to be around the 2030's. After this, Julian takes the name Theseus and leads a rebellion which results in the deaths of thousands of mindsucked inmates at a Sadler technologies production plant, and is at some point arrested. In prison, he continues teaching his anti corporate message, inspiring Kagame, who was either in prison with Theseus, or was one of his followers on the outside. Kagame founds Liber8, which by 2077 is the premier terrorist organisation in the country. All the while, Sadler is researching and developing the technologies to send Kagame back in time, along with a specifically selected group of people, consisting of Liber8 members, psychopaths, potentially his own father, and Kiera, whom he has been grooming and helping to succeed in both her life and her career.

The question that I've constantly asked is, whether this timeline is still stable. Obviously, Sadler was aware of some amount of time travel in the original timeline, as evidenced by his affections and continued involvement in Kiera's life, which at times has bordered on very creepy. However, Sadler left enough instructions, in enough fail safe positions, to suggest that his intention was to change the future. The potential is, that Alec Sadler is the key to everything. Certainly, his technology more then any other, retrofitted the futurescape, leading to the advances Kiera and the military use. But, this episode opened up another potential motivation: Sadler invented the time travel device. And as best as has been suggested so far, the Freelancers, and Mr. Escher, have come from a point beyond 2077, given their even more advanced technologies, their superior physicality, and their overall resemblance to robots. Their motivations remain unknown, as do Escher's, though if the rather unique bookends we were given this week are any indication, they have infiltrated several different time zones, for purposes as of yet unknown. Might it be their specific moves in the past that have led to the craptastic corporate controlled future, and that Alec, aware not only of the part he played in the business side of things, but in the development of the time travel device, allowed the Freelancers access to the past, and he is seeking either a way to prevent their presence, or to advance his own technologies years earlier, to better combat them.

Arc, mentioned and briefly used in previous episodes, was fully explained here, and I think it's an important piece of information going forward. Described as the entire internet, accessible all at once without download time, I feel this is a significant advance in the original software that Kiera came back in time with. Alex has already managed to improve on his own design, which certainly violates the plea Sadler made to his younger self, about reigning himself in. Alec clearly has gotten over the self doubt he was racked with at the beginning of the season. And that he achieved this new advance in part by using the time travel wedge is yet more concern to be thrown on the fire. Alec is building technology based on at least two overlapped time frames, meaning he's jumped over 60 years of R&D in under a year. To say he is growing powerful is an understatement.

This episode explored Emily and Escher's relationship more then I thought we'd ever see, and I think it's safe to make a few statements. Emily is, I feel is clear, not a Freelancer or time traveller. Despite her earlier... presumed knowledge, this episode made it fairly clear that she's just as in the dark about what Escher wants as anyone. Reasonably, I'm guessing she has military training (given her abilities and nonchalance about killing that Freelancer a few episodes ago), currently working as a mercenary or corporate spy. It's also fair to say that, when Alec finds out, he's not going to be pleased. We've already seen in the original time line that Sadler is a lonely old man who regularly find comfort in prostitutes, and in the present and in a very short span of time, his roommates were murdered, his mother shot, his stepbrother has become a freedom fighter, and his girlfriend will be unmasked for working with a man of shadowy intent. His capacity for trust, or at least maintaining healthy relationships, will be greatly shaken, if not destroyed. Which is why scenes like the one near the end, between him and Kiera, are so important. She is (usually) forthright and honest with him, and really the only constant support each other has. It's been assumed that Kiera was sent back as his protector, but I'm beginning to think she was sent back to be something far more important, and long lasting: a friend.

Lucas' crazy we glimpsed last week was furthered here, but only became more confusing. A Freelancer, active in 2077 and in league with Travis at the time, appears in the form of an apparition that only Lucas can see and hear. He's not, as far as I can remember, one of the Liber8 members that came back with them and were killed off in the first hand full of episodes. So, what is he? It's a big question. Hallucination? Drug induced memory (Lucas was popping the pills pretty intencly)? Backup plan Travis put into effect in case Lucas ever jumped ship? Neural clone, a la Farscape? And what about Lucas' claim that last week, it was Kagame he was seeing? This is a huge development, and I'm giddy that there is nothing even close to an answer suggested in this episode. I haven't felt this excited and theory happy about a show since LOST.

What else happened? Oh yeah, every damned thing. Carlos confronted Dillon about apparently having lost his mind. The corporate buyout of the police department by Escher seems pretty in line with everything we've seen in the futurescape about the corporate control, the increase in efficiency coming at the cost of ethics and liberty. And Dillon seems different. Not just a believer, but like a different man. Certainly not the broken shell we saw at Escher's offices back after he got fired. And one all too willing to let Kiera flat out torture Garza into talking, the second consecutive week that Dillon has both asked for such behaviour, and that Kiera has said "yes sir" faster then... something that happens almost instantly. And for all my talk last week about Carlos being the only good guy, the only guy who is still centred and sensibly, this week he started to break. He has coped well with learning about time travel, but I wonder if the full force of everything is starting to get to him. He seems weaker, lessened, beaten down. The weight of everything is pulling him down. I realised this week that Carlos is pretty much the only character who isn't connected to anything. He isn't secretly in league with anyone, he isn't in a relationship, he isn't connected to any of the characters in any other time zone. He, pretty much alone, is a man of the here and now. And his concerns lie in the here and now. Opening his eyes to a field wider then that is eating away at him, and I don't know how he's going to survive.

Meanwhile, after Kiera beat up on Garza, she had Alec activate Travis' CMR, which opened a whole new bucket of problems, leading to a temporary link between the protector and the terrorist, turned Travis' CMR on permanently, and made him just that much more dangerous (so long as his supergang doesn't turn on him first). While doing that, Kiera accidentally discovered both a pair of Freelancers, who kicked her ass, and that Julian, apparently against his word, is embracing Theseus. Which gets her kidnapped and a gun held to her head, in a nice juxtaposition with last week. And like last week, a life was saved on the premise that people can change. So, has Julian? He doesn't know about the future, but enough people have nearly gotten him killed that I guess he's putting things together. Is his logic that, if he doesn't step up, someone else, like Travis or Sonya, will? So, he's doing his part, but purposefully leading his group down a less violent path? Is he the first person on this show to actively attempt to change his own destiny, but making better decisions rather then just reacting to what is happening around him? Did Kiera succeed in killing the Theseus she knew, and replaced him with a better alternative?

I could go on. This episode is worth two or three bouts of analysis. I could go on about how Kellog is seeking help from Liber8 to take on Escher. I could make mention of the fact that Alec, on top of having his own technology, and his 60 years hence technology, now also has access to Freelancer tech. I could say how glad I am that someone finally realised that Gardner has been missing for weeks now. And I could theorise as to why Freelancers are grabbing every time traveller they can get their hands on, even the live ones, what with Garza getting nabbed at the end here. But I won't. Because I don't have a clue as to what is going one. And I love it.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

11 comments :

  1. Great review, I'm loving this season thus far, and th Free Lancers have made a grey show even more interesting.

    Just an FYI, I'm pretty sure the inmate was Curtis Chan who was one of the original 8 Liber8 terrorists sent back. He was killed in 1.3 and the freelancers stole his body earlier this season.

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    1. Thank you! I was 99% certain that he was one of those early deaths, but I haven't rewatched season one since it aired (despite having the DVD set sitting just over there - you can't see me, but I'm pointing at a place that is really very close).

      I remember watching those early episodes, when someone from Liber8 seemed to die each week, and I thought to myself "they're going to have to change pace, or risk running out of gimmick pretty quick." And shortly there after, they stopped dying and starting having pointless shoot outs in warehouses, and everyone went home happy.

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    2. Second review I read that forgot about this guy. I guess he wasn't a very memorable character. >.<
      And I was thinking the same thing. There were quite a few Liber8 members in the beginning, suppose they had to narrow down the list a bit.

      Great review, just finished episode 11 here. Just wow..even more jam packed than last weeks.

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  2. I am curious what role Curtis may play in this season's endgame!

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  3. "they have infiltrated several different time zones, for purposes as of yet unknown. Might it be their specific moves in the past that have led to the craptastic corporate controlled future, and that Alec, aware not only of the part he played in the business side of things, but in the development of the time travel device, allowed the Freelancers access to the past, and he is seeking either a way to prevent their presence, or to advance his own technologies years earlier, to better combat them."

    Pretty much hit the nail on the head here. Its been on the back of my mind that there is a potential time war happening that is all happening behind the scenes and now this episode we are seeing some of the ramifications happening. How many sides to this conflict whether it is Alec Sadler from the future, Liber8, Freelancers, Escher to Kiera herself. There is a lot of pieces on the board at the moment and it looks like the Free Lancers are trying to clean things up so their timeline is protected.

    Good article and I'm glad more people are catching onto your blog. You don't focus on simply the plot but delve deeper into the story and mythos. Good stuff.

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  4. Like Kiera said, "Everyone has agendas." But none of these agendas are clear, not even senior Alec. The writing on this show is just fantastic, the writers are amazing storytellers.

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  5. I've been searched all over the net for intelligent insights like yours o no avail. So glad I came accross this blog!!

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  6. Just want to chime in that I read your 3 recent reviews and I am loving your analysis to bits. It allows me to review what has happened and fine tune my own theories. I feel more people should be excited by this show, but some people who I talked to, felt this show was too slow and disappointed in the shows direction. Not at all for me.

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    1. Well, that's very kind of you to say.

      I tell everyone I know about this show, but I always make a point of saying that the first five episodes of season one really do feel like a different show. They were obviously still feeling out the direction for the series, and found a definite rhythm in the latter half of that first year. And part of improvement was the move more towards slow burn story telling, and not feeling the need to wrap things up quickly, or easily, or simply. It really is a show that is unafraid of the intelligence of their ideas. And that is rare in television today, especially on basic cable. Especially on basic Canadian cable.

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    2. hahaha, well Canadian content can be intelligent and edgy, look at independent film, but it is true tv it isnt that much of a case. I actually found out about this series, two months ago after reading comments on Defiance and how Continuum was a much better show. And I completely agree. On par in my mind but completely different is Orphan Black, I do not know if you review that series or not.

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  7. I was looking for some community with message boards but i could not find any or was not just searching hard enough. I really like the series until i got to this episode. I love a story wherein the characters will act "realistically" and not do things which would show that the writer or the director missed some key points. What i`m trying to say is Kiera is from the future and she came with a lot of gadgets. But while she was trying to get information from Garza, she used brute force. What was that all about? If she really wanted to get information out of her she would just have used the "truth serum injection thingy" on her, like what she did on previous episodes. so what happened? i am a little let down.

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