[Review] - Continuum, Season 2 Episode 12, "Second Last"

Courtesy of Reunion Pictures
First off, a tip of the hat to which ever writer realised the opportunity for the episode title. The idiosyncratic naming hasn't always made the most grammatical sense throughout the series, but this one was perfect.

This episode was all about the revelations. Practically every secret that was being kept by the various parties came out by the time the credits rolled, which is normally a good thing. Except in this case, where it'll breed contempt, lack of trust, ill will and in a couple cases, out and out vengeance seeking. Conflict is on the horizon, and going into the finale, everyone is just pissed enough to make some very bad decisions. Hooray!

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that once lobbed a toaster oven off a roof for no less a noble reason.

Before we begin, last week I miss identified Escher's organisation as Prion, when in fact it is Piron, which lacks any clever subtle meaning at all, except that I should either watch the show with the captioning on, or take better care to look this stuff up before I shoot my mouth off. Thanks to everyone who pointed out the error.

OK, how terrible are Vancouver's gangs that Gardiner's perfectly good, if a little corpsey, car could sit abandoned for weeks, and not get jacked, stripped and otherwise disappeared? Come on criminal underbelly, you're disappointing our preconceptions. By the same notion, when the cop tells Carlos that the car is clean, stripped of all identifiers, are we expected to believe that the Freelancers managed to do that, but left his wallet under the seat, and his rotting corpse in the trunk, or that CSIS equips it's officers with ghost cars that, if a cop were to run the tags on, would come up suspiciously non existent (all the more suspicious since, like the CIA and MI6 in their respective countries, CSIS has no legal grounds to operate within Canada). So, either CSIS can't forge an ownership, or the Freelancers should stick with mucking about in the time line and not open up a car cleaning service.

So, Escher is trapped here, right? That's the vibe I got off of this episode. He named checked the time travel device, owns the only company capable of fuelling it, and seemed more... I won't say unhinged, because that jaw of his was fixed firmly in position, but slightly agitated. I had been operating under the assumption that, like Kellog, Escher was using his foreknowledge to benefit himself, living the the era of comparative luxury and bliss that is our modern world, rather then the police state he comes from. Now, I'm thinking that, since his split with the other Freelancers (of whom we got to see more then just two of, and a Femme-Lancer to boot), he finds himself trapped in the past, unable to return to his own time. His only guide on this journey is Al, who appears in the form... no, wait, that's Quantum Leap. But could it be that all his moves to this point; setting up a million dollar company, gaining influence over the police services and politicians, befriending Kiera, that these were all just a means to an end: obtaining the only known means of travelling through time? I think, yes, obviously.

My mind keeps returning to the concept of temporal dislocation. Jason has it, suffering from schizophrenic distractions. Lucas has it, having melted his brain apparently. Kiera spent the majority of this season emotionally unstable, but there were other reasons for that. But no one else seems affected (to be fair, most of the Liber8 folks were crazy to begin with). Elena was suffering from sever dementia when she died, but she was old, and live a full and lucid life. None of the Freelancers seem crazy, but they also don't seem human, so we'll leave them out of the equation. Does it have something to do with the method they took to arrive in the past, the instability of the Sadler device. Does riding the wave of temporal energy cause one to become unstuck in their own minds? Or does it simply trigger a predisposition to these afflictions, activating some damaged gene and causing them to lose their minds, thus explaining the range of effects the dislocation seems to have. If the latter, does that mean that certain people with no family history of mental illness are safe to make as many trips as they like. Is the somewhat robotic nature of the Freelancers a sign that only specific sorts of persons, or perhaps persons tailored to the travel, make the trip? Or, if the former, is it a game of Russian roulette, and that the more trips through the wormhole the greater the risk that the traveller will loose their marbles on route. If so, Kiera appears to have won out this time, but if she returns to the future, the question shouldn't be what future will she return to, but what condition will Kiera be in when she arrives.

I don't buy Emily's, or Mia's backstory. Her skills are a little too honed, a little too precise for some gutter rat repeat offender offered a clean slate by the guy with the shiny head. Clearly though, that is the last word on her, as it seemed to be the last time we'll see her. Death in fiction is something I've thought long and hard on, and this sort of death, that which has more of an impact on the characters rather then the audience, is the sort of death I prefer. If they killed, lets say Carlos next week, it would be for nothing other then to shock the viewers, and that sort of death is cheap and meaningless in the scope of the larger story. This sort of death, the slow and brutal kind, that comes just when everything is starting to look up, and forces characters into dark places, that is the kind of death that has meaning. All season, we've been waiting for the event that would push happy and enthusiastic Alec into becoming the cold and manipulative Sadler of the future.

We thought it would be the revelation of Escher's deceit. That, he actually took pretty well, considering. But it will be hard for him to overcome Emily's death. And he has so many people he can blame. Escher, obviously, for leading her to him in the first place. Kellog, for letting Travis into the lab and kick starting the chain of events. The Freelancers, for delivering the bullet. And Kiera, for abandoning Emily in favour of a possible shadow of a future. With Freelancers still very much a question mark, Liber8 well active and more powerful then ever and Julian off somewhere spouting rhetoric to the adoring herd, it'll be interesting to see if they choose to develop Alec into a "Big Bad" as well, or if Kiera will be able to pull him back to the side of the righteous. Of course, if she abandons him to return to the future, that would probably be another kick to his already bruised nuts.

Something I haven't mentioned, because the show is soaking in so much mythology that is just ripe for the postulating, is the solid behind the scenes efforts on the part of the creative team. This whole season has seen a huge improvement in terms of technical skill behind the camera, and the last half dozen episodes especially. The choreography on the fight scenes has been nothing short of amazing, and the cinematography has matched move for move. The show has never looked better, and this episode, directed by former Stargate star Amanda Tapping, was no exception. And it is further proof that writing is paramount. Because while Tapping's efforts on Primeval: New World were technically adept, the show was still terrible. Skill needs to be present in all arenas, for the whole to be worth while, but without a solid script to use as the foundation, everything else is just going to collapse in on itself. And Continuum is more then worth while.

Next week, it all ends, and I'm going on bloody holidays (damn me and my poor planning skills). The review will be up, hopefully on Monday.
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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.


  1. Just one little thing, I do not know why they left the body just like that in the car. Maybe they figured there would be a time delay to do what they have to, but since they left that USB key, I figured they left the wallet along with that USB key, to make sure that Kiera would be sidelined. I am not so sure if Escher is estranged from the freelancers. Just like Kellog is willing to get involved with Liber8 for his own purposes, I am wondering if Escher has that relationship with them. I know Emily killed that free lancer, but that could just be a one off.

    I actually was quite sad to see Emily go, I liked her, and believed she really did have a positive impact on Sadler. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. And I figured she received special training from Escher for this mission.

    I love the ambiguity of the characters and I just love all of the various pieces, it does feel that the writers of this show have a plan of where this will go, and not just shooting in the dark.

    Also, I am not so sure what was the purpose of the initial scene in the future. Was that murder the work of freelancers? Since it was technology beyond what was available? Or was it the work of Sadler considering that little pan shot to his fortress of solitude in the air?

  2. I thought Jason squirmed or made some head jerk or maybe even some comment when Carlos/Keira/Someone said Escher was from the future as the confrontation began. That startled me. If he isn't, then ... who is he?? Or when is he??

  3. Yup it looked like Jason disagreed with them when they said Escher was from the future, so maybe he isn't.

    Emily's death is interesting, I think it was needed as well. Out of all the main characters, hers would do the most in pushing Alec to developing the technologies that would foreshadow the future. Emily before her death was actually trying to turn Alec from that direction when she wanted Alec to stop working on Arc and run away with her. She to be blunt, was a distraction and to help move the plot into where we want it to go, her death made a lot of sense.

    As to Kiera's abandonment of Emily, I think Kiera is going to pay for that. Her refusal to let her hope for going back home will have consequences I have no doubt.

  4. Jason made some comment to the effect of "I'm not going back there" in reference to the freelancers while they were talking about Escher that I thought was interesting. To the future? The freelancers? Escher? He was the first to mention Escher at all I think back when his character was introduced. hmmm...

  5. Jason was a but more specific in his objection; if I'm remembering right, it was in regards to Alec's statement about how all the time travelers arrived using this time travel device/technology. I think that, along with the earlier hints of them having more advanced tech than 2077, is setting the stage for the reveal of another time travel mechanic or instance of some kind.

  6. This is so much fun to compare notes...

    I had a few different reactions to two specific parts of the episode:

    What if Escher is Alec's son?
    He would not want Alec harmed, which seems to align with what we have seen. He would also have an investment in whether Alec rises to the level of power he does in the future. Although, I would like to know more about his tattoos in between his fingers.

    What if Keira as erasing her memory of where she hid the sphere?
    That is the impression I go in the last few minutes of the segment. I don't think she would destroy it, but could see her wiping her mind of it's location so that no one could get it out of her. The camera shot at the end shows that there is actual evidence of it's whereabouts? I don't know if her suit can erase her actual memory or just the recordings, but it's fun to guess.