[Review] - Continuum, Season 3 Episode 3, "Minute To Win It"

Courtesy of Reunion Pictures
One of the aspects of the series that impressed me early on was how it ignored the ease in which it could have slipped into being a police procedural. There were in season one, and occasionally still are, episodes that play the investigative side of the series pretty straight. This was one such episode. What continues to set Continuum aside from other series, which might be tempted to sit on their hands and allow the procedural aspect to lazily carry the series, is that they use the standard tropes to advance their mythology.

With the new timeline established, the framework in place, and the tension between the Alecs making life difficult for everyone, episode three felt like it was done the clean up of season two, and threw explaining things in a clear and projected voice. We've shifted back to standard operating mode, adding layers and answers questions in less than obvious ways.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that once tried to explain to their significant other that they were from an alternate timeline. It didn't work.


A lot of important things happened in this episode, but from a mythology perspective, perhaps the most important was Kiera's interactions with Catherine. While the first episode showed us that Kiera made some arrangement with the Freelancers, it left it ambiguous as to what the expectation on Kiera's behalf was. This episode cleared that up slightly, and gave us a better look at how the Freelancers operate. It appears that they select their agents not only on their devotion to the cause, but on their knowledge of various timelines, which makes sense. If your whole existence is dedicated to maintaining a set sequence of events, it helps if you know what that sequence looks like. So, Kiera becomes a tattoo-imprinted member of the club because she is intimately aware of how the timeline is not only meant to unfold, but how it's meant to begin. It stands to reason that other agents have been sent from various other times to various other times, in order to make certain that things are unfolding as they should.

While the focus of the episode was Carlos and Kiera's investigation into bizarre bank robberies, which end with apparent sacrificial liquefactions, the larger picture of Liber8 finally taking the sort of action they've been talking about for two seasons. Lucas, whose temporal dementia has lessened slightly, escapes from the looney bin and jury-rigs a way to hijack people. Using this method, they plunder various secrets from several corporations, in an effort to build up a public opinion battering ram. The plan is a solid one: win the hearts and minds of the public by exposing the worst secrets the corporations have to keep. Kagame would be proud.

Unfortunately, factions still exist within the Liber8 leadership, and Travis has a problem with using people as puppets (a flashforward revealed that this was a tactic of the oppressive regime Travis is fighting against). It was a switch from the usual terrorist dynamic, as Sonya and Lucas usually represented the more morally minded options, and Travis and Garza coming at things from the stoic side of things. Lucas has never been the conscience of the terrorist cell, but his time in the asylum seems to have stripped him of some of the morality that kept him sympathetic.

As I suspected last week, Carlos is beginning to unhinge. As they were investigating the bank thefts, he expressed disgust at the actions of the corporations they were "helping." We know that it didn't take much to push him into Julian's camp before. This time around, however, Carlos looks to be a man of contradictory emotions. While he might not like the way the businesses do their business, it was made clear when he was beating the crooked cop into a bloody pulp that he's not so easily impressed with sympathies for Liber8. Carlos is seeing betrayal all around him, and it's making him angry and frustrated. His ability to trust is severely overwhelmed, and having to dispose of the corpse of his best friend has made him wary of even her replacement. Again, as I mentioned last week, this does not suggest he'll be taking Betty's reveal well. I suspect that Carlos will be taken to the raggedy edge this season, and Betty might just push him over.

Later Alec wasn't much a physical presence this week, only popping in to royally confuse Emily at a moment when she didn't particularly need any more emotions. The focus was on Earlier Alec, who got the wind knocked out of him by the reveal of everything everyone wasn't telling him, plus the surprise of inheriting Piron. Yet another change in the flow of the timeline, since Escher didn't die the first time around, Alec had to build SadTech from the ground up (I can't believe it's taken me this long to realize that his company name is quite depressing). Now he's been handed the keys to the kingdom, with all the promise of the future ready and waiting to be unleashed.

Kiera's job this season is to determine which of the Alecs will create her future. More and more, it seems like that answer is Later Alec. The Sadler we've glimpsed in the future is a sad, lonely, drive, obsessed man who has spent his life making certain that he ruins that of his best friend. Earlier Alec is happy, still trusts people, has access to everything that he's ever wanted, and despite some shakes when he first found out, appears to be adjusting well to the various truths that were being kept from him. Trauma after trauma turned the original Alec into the Sadler the future needed. So, unless they spend the rest of the season heaping sadness upon Earlier Alec, I think we know which choice Kiera has to make. Now we get to watch her realize that.

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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.

5 comments :

  1. I was considering earlier today that both "Later" and "Earlier" Alec still received the message from "Older" "Smoking Man" Alec telling them NOT to create the future as it was (essentially, the future that Kiera is trying to get one of them to create).

    If that's not a mind f*%k, I don't know what is.

    But do you think the Alec she "chooses" will resist creating the type of future Kiera wants?

    And at what point does Kiera finally realize that maybe Liber8 are the good guys? I thought we got a glimpse of that in the preamble to tonight's episode, when she was mind controlled and gunned that guy down.

    You're a brilliant reviewer; any additional thoughts are welcome.

    Cheers!

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    1. Last season, I felt there was a definite move in Kiera's attitude towards realizing that the way things worked in her time weren't so wonderful after all. You're absolutely right, this episode's fast forward shows that she's had these misgiving all along, it just took being in the present to realize it, and to actually do anything about it (it wouldn't be a repressive regime if it weren't actively repressing something). While I don't know if she'll ever fully embrace the Liber8 agenda - they'll probably always be a little too kill happy for her - I certainly feel that, like Carlos these past couple weeks, she'll find a personal comfort zone somewhere in between her old beliefs and her new.

      If true, as she continues to slide away from her indoctrination, I'd be interested to see if that will shape her choice between which of the Alecs to choose. How much will it take to override her desire to see her family again? What is her breaking point? She is remarkably single minded and selfish in her intent, but it will eventually boil down to Spock's Law: the needs of the many outweigh the etc. It's just a matter of discovering what tips her personal scales. When does she stop thinking about her husband and son (which, she did start to do last year) and start thinking more about the larger picture.

      Really, unwriting time is the best decision for everyone. Erasing the elder Sadler and "fixing" the corporate culture erases the sixty years of suffering that birthed Liber8, and has the added benefit of uncreating time travel and the Freelancers movement in one go. Anyone already in the present would be able to continue in the timeline unaffected, and all that would have to sacrificed would be Kiera's "perfect life." The question becomes, will she be willing to make that sacrifice?

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    2. And thank you for your kind words, and for reading my ramblings. It's nice to know my page views aren't all from library hobos.

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  2. Curious that in this episode we are introduced to Somanto, another evil but contemporary corporation that appears to have a web presence here and now:
    http://www.somantocorp.com Someone has a lot of time on their hands.

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    1. It really is a well-done effort. Check out its "Legal Terms" advisory, last revised in . . . 2056: http://www.somantocorp.com/#!legal/c105d

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