[Review] - Continuum, Season 3 Episode 5, "30 Minutes To Air"

Courtesy of Relativity Media
Just when you thought that the Freelancers explaining in pretty clear detail who and what they were wouldn't leave any mystery left in them, they go and show that they have a mysterious door with some glowing blue beyond it. Now, as a side effect of having watched LOST, I'm a bit wary when it comes to mystery doors and groups of strange, cult-like people. But somehow, I'm guessing that the Freelancers aren't keeping a lovesick Scotsman back there.

Liber8 continued to up their game, and the importance of family got a push from directions other than Kiera. What it added up to was an episode that very much felt like a building block. The B-plot advanced some of the mythology, but the A-plot was all about setting up troubles for the days ahead. And sometimes, that is exactly what you need.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are just going to jump ahead and call themselves "protectors."


Travis is probably the Liber8 member we know the least about, or is the least developed. From day one, we've taken it as writ that he is the leader, because he's the biggest, the strongest, the most willing to engaging in killing sprees. For two seasons, we've taken for granted that he's mostly a homicidal psychopath, the blunt instrument of Kagame's finesse organization. We've looked forward at each of the other member's pasts, and know why they joined up, either as true believers or as plants. But Travis has always just been a snarl, a bloodied fist, and occasionally a corpse (hey, remember when they were stealing people's brain juice to make his super solider serum? That was weird, right?). Finally, he received some additional definition. Travis, you see, was in the family way. Paternity and tenderness aren't characteristics that he's displayed in the past, but seeing his former reality didn't feel forced. I believed that he was a caring and worried father, that he would risk his own freedom just for a moment of tranquility with his daughter.

But it was more than that (what on this show can be taken at face value?). It played into this season's theme: what are you willing to sacrifice? Kiera has spent two seasons fretting that her actions in the name of justice would destroy the future and the family she is trying to return to. This season, she's been given a very specific choice, to choose the future she knew, and all it's terrors, or the future she can help create, that can be righteous. And all she has to do is give up her family. Travis made that decision. He willing came back, has killed many people, is actively tearing apart the components that made his world so terrible. Every time he knocks a brick out of the wall, he risks it falling over and killing his family. For all he knows, they stopped existing the first time he fired a bullet. And he has accepted this. We know that, because unlike Kellog back in season one, and Kiera nearly every week, it doesn't weigh on him. He isn't tormented by his choice. He came back so that his daughter wouldn't have to live in a world ruled by oppression, even if that means she never gets to live at all.

A reader asked me a couple weeks back if Kiera will eventually accept Liber8's position, and I can't get the question out of my head. On one side, you have Liber8, whose sole mission is corrupt time to it's maximum, in order to create an entirely new sequence of events. On the other side, you have the Freelancers, who are fastidiously trying to make certain that events happen the exact same way every time it happens (though more and more, I'm thinking it's only to ensure the survival of their cult than an appreciation of history). Liber8 are willing to sacrifice everything, while the Freelancers won't even let their own members die, plucking them out of half dead timelines to ensure the success of the mission. Kiera can't decide which way to go. She clearly enjoys the regimented structure of the Freelancer system, a soldier eternally looking for orders. But then she'll uncover something like a private military contractor buying a media company in order to minimize negative publicity. She knows what the corporations are doing is wrong, even when she was in the future she regularly enacted tiny moments of rebellion. But she can't make the emotional jump.

It's interesting how over the course of the series, the various side characters, each originally without allegiance, have naturally started to drift to one side or the other, leaving Kiera alone in the middle. Carlos, who has apparently internalized all the grief and pain he suffered last week (that's not going to be healthy), is as close to a Liber8 sympathizer as you can get without being an active participant. His "call us protectors" line was my favourite of the last few episodes. Dylan, since his mid season sojourn into the cult of Escher last year, has increasingly been of the opposing side: corporations give us the tools to make things better.

The Freelancers and Liber8 will always be the extremes of the spectrum, because of their willingness to kill, but Carlos and Dylan each represent the reasonable position on both side of the argument. They only want to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. One sees corporate influence as an interference, the other as a boon. Though, in the episode's twist, Dylan proved just as willing to sacrifice his daughter in order to destroy Liber8 as Travis was to rewrite time. The Dylan storyline appeared out of nowhere here, and I'm hooked. I've very interested to see how this will play out (or maybe it was a reaction to the relief that Dylan avoided getting shot in the head. Despite this show not regularly killing off it's main cast, I spent the episode very concerned for Dylan's survival).

The Alecs too have fallen along the divided lines, with Earlier Alec fully embracing the road that leads to the Elder Sadler. He's locked Later Alec out of his life, sent Kellog into the wind, and exorcised Kiera from his life completely (you might be forgiven for remembering that this was the path he started season two on, before he was sidetracked by Emily). Later Alec is now the one with everything going for him. He has Emily, Kiera's support, and Kellog's eye for vengeance. What he lacks is access, infrastructure and capital. Kellog proved to be a powerful if misguided ally in the past, and it seems like history keeps bringing these two somewhat desperate individuals together. Kellog was also more than a little of a corrupting influence, so it is yet to be seen if his partnering up with Later Alec, who glimpsed a lot more suffering than Earlier Alec has ever known, is now immune to Kellog's more poisonous attributes.


No new episode next week, I guess because of the Easter weekend, so we'll pick this up in a fortnight. Until then, I'll be going back over the season thus far and try to put together an early-days theory as to who killed Earlier Kiera. Best use of a four day weekend I can think of.
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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.

10 comments :

  1. Carlos has been evolving. If in first season he was all for taking down Liber8 and in second season he saw that as a good thing but found methods used increasingly bad now he increasingly rejects methods used by police and Kiera. And let's not forget that in the end of season 2 he went all Liber8, allowing betty to take him to Julian. Now, that particular timeline is defunct but his thoughts and outlook is still there.

    Which is why in the end he saw through Kiera's BS when she stoked his ego by praising him whil Dylan didn't with that reporter.

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    1. I noted that in the premiere. Because of Alec and Kiera's mucking about in time, the conditions for Carlos to willingly accept Julian's assistance no longer exist. Everything that he was exposed to gradually has now been heaped on him, and he's collapsing under the strain. So, while his sympathies are still there, he's unable to process (I suppose being given the corpse of your best friend by your best friend would mess you up somewhat).

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  2. I read this backwards so I could understand it.

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    1. That's alright, I write them from the inside out so I make sure I don't miss anything.

      I miss many things.

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  3. Last 3 episodes are not so excited. Minimal special effects more ore less flat story line. Probably on a budget (who not). This happens also at Stargate, Startrek series etc. then they had to crack it up but it was too late. Hope Continiuum understands this. make your story line more interesting be more creative.

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  4. Hello again Mr. Clark…..
    Now that I’m all caught up, this is my first comment on Season 3.
    You may remember that on April 13th, I gave you the rating of
    CFSA (Certified Science Fiction Analyst) – qualified as I am to bestow
    such titles….LOL Through the first 5 episodes of the Season 3, you’ve
    continued your outstanding analysis. I was wondering why you would get so few
    (almost no) comments on your weekly episode posts, but I think that I’m beginning to understand why…your weekly analysis is so sophisticated that readers are probably
    too intimidated to comment after they’re left babbling to themselves after your insightful
    dissection of each episode. Not only is your analysis of what has transpired each week insightful, but now you seem to be kicking it up a notch by predicting (often quite successfully I might say) what is going to happen next……
    Which leads me to my next question……..
    Are you really ONLY a talented science fiction analyst, or are you really one of
    Continuum’s writers masquerading as a blogger?????
    Seriously….I hope that there are a lot more people reading your weekly posts
    than the comments that they get. I am by no means a science fiction aficionado
    (counting the X-Files, Millennium and Fringe as the only Sci-Fi shows that I have watched in their entirety), but I find myself really captivated by the premise of Continuum.
    But while it has great potential…..it could fall apart at any time if the writers try to stretch things out too much instead of letting the plot (wherever it’s going) really flow…….
    One critical comment on your review of Episode 3, “Minute-to-Win-It:
    While I agree that Kiera’s interaction with Catherine was important,
    I was most struck by the future “flashforward” that showed Kiera's controller overriding her refusal to kill an informant. Unless I missed it…Kiera’s implanted chip (up to this point) has only been shown as the device from which she gets her “super powers”.
    Now – for the first time – we are actually seeing “MIND CONTROL” – for lack of a better term. Which for me asks a VERY BIG QUESTION: Is Kiera actually unaware that her implanted chip is always being monitored and controlled??????
    What are your thoughts on this????
    OK…..I’ve written enough! Don’t want to get too mushy, but I just wanted to let you know that there are people out here (like me) who read and appreciate your comments.
    Keep up the good work and let’s hope that Continuum does not self destruct.

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    1. A comment that big makes up for others not saying anything ;) As to that "issue," I've found as a general rule on the internet, people are most likely to comment on what they disagree with. Thus, I've taken the lack of conversation on this site to mean that the multitudes of Russian spam sites and various library hobos that make up my page views (along with the occasional real people like yourself) agree with me wholeheartedly (NOTE: this is not an invitation to start aggressively disagreeing with me).

      Thank you for the kind words. I'm not a writer on the show, and trust me, you wouldn't want me to be. Those guys are far more talented then I. I just read too much into things, and am occasionally right.

      As for your theory, thank you for reminding me about the CMR being used as a remote control. I've incorporated that bit of knowledge into my evolving theory as to the identity of Kiera's killer (I've posted my theory, it's around here somewhere). Because it wasn't the first example of mind control on the show. Back in season one, Lucas and Liber8 hijacked Kiera while she was investigating a software developer. As second appearance (almost a reminder) practically make it a running theme, and something we should keep an eye out for.

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    2. Regular reader/first-time commenter here.

      I don't comment because I don't think I have much of value to add, but I appreciate the fantastic work by MR. Clark as well.

      Now, MR Clark - since I finally spoke up, I agree with you quite often, but I must say that I still beg to differ with your decision to not review Arrow. If you start now, you could catch up with full reviews of both seasons before Season 3 starts. In my opinion, it is not difficult to critique (think Game of Thrones) nor weak overall (Agents of SHIELD).

      In any event, thank you for the Continuum reviews, which are what caused me to find your site a few years back.

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    3. You have no idea how happy your username has made me.

      I'm glad that this tiny cranny of the internet has something that keeps you coming back. It's nice to know that there are real people on the other end of this thing. With the internet you can never be sure you're not just shouting into a cardboard tube, stopped up at one end with old socks. Though personally, I'm fine with a readership that is content and silent, rather than loud and combative. The last thing I want to do is spend my time having to police "the community" like some sites do.

      I have considered Arrow. I've considered a lot of shows that I haven't had a chance to cover (Orphan Black, Ripper Street, other shows not produced by the BBC). And I have excuses: I'm only one guy, and don't want to overload myself; I don't get paid to do this, so can only devote so much time before "real life" gets in the way; back when Arrow premiered, I was suffering sever Smallville fatigue, and honestly didn't have much faith in DC's abilities to translate my favourite of their heroes (which Green Arrow is) to any screen. And, as Agents of SHIELD has reminded me, I prefer reviewing shorter run series.

      All that being said, if I can get caught up, and if nothing else gets in the way (which it almost always does), I might pick up on it next season, if only to do monthly reviews (which is something I'm toying with if SHIELD gets a second season).

      Thanks for reading.

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  5. I bet the Protector killed earlier Kiera to make way for later Kiera into that timeline. Tho I dont know why the later Alec did not suffer from the same fate.

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