[Review] - Continuum Season 3 Finale, Episode 13, "Last Minute"

Courtesy of Reunion Pictures
And with that, another season is gone, and what a season. Taking full responsibility for two season's worth of mystery, intrigue and action, it managed to answer most of our questions, then completely uproot the premise and replant it in a strange new world filled with new threats, mysteries, and increasingly of the idea that the future is unknowable. Knowledge of the future seems only to make things considerably worse, and that those few characters remaining that are ignorant of the way things will be are acting on instinct and morality, and they serve the continuum the best.

Last week felt like a season finale in a lot of ways, leaving me to wonder where things would be taken in the proper finale. Turns out, to a natural conclusion. And in all the ways that count, Last Minute was a perfect example of what a finale needs to be. It concerned itself with wrapping up the arcs that have dominated this season, and only in the closing moments looked forward to a future (as of this writing) still uncertain. Some things felt a bit rushed, but most felt right. Then it smacked us upside the head and left us wanting more.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are the same shit, just different.


Kudos to the commenter last week that drew the connection between the Terminator franchise and Brad's post apocalyptic hell-scape, because this episode made that comparison concrete. For the first time, we were treated to a flashback that was not of the oppressive but idyllic future from which Kiera came, but instead of the twisted metal and death future, populated entirely by beards of glory. A hint perhaps from Simon Barry that those flashbacks have been flashforwards all along, that we've been less observing memories and more looking in periodically to the way things will be. With the shift in the timeline, a glimpse forward gives us only one view to look at: destruction. This is the future now, and we got to see the moment that Brad John Connered his way back in time, and under orders from The Traveller.

So let's go there for a moment. First of all, I think that the premise of Carlos somehow being the Traveller is on slightly studier ground after this episode, the resemblance between the Traveller's voice, and nose, and chin shared with our favourite Jim Gordon stand in. But to the Traveller himself, his motivations remain as shrouded as his full features. The Freelancers, apparently governed more by Catherine's plans than his, sought to maintain a concise version of the future. The Traveller, backing Curtis and Kellog, and apparently a time war, seems less... easy to discern motivation. Bringing about Brad's future certainly seems to provide him with more power and influence than he experienced as the messiah of the Freelancers. And since we know that time travellers are immune to changes, there is nothing motivating him to preserve the future that initially sent him back.

But, wonder on this: what if the Traveller is only a product of Brad's future. Cast your mind back. Freelancers were established in season two, but we were given no definitive information about them until this year. Even in the premiere episode, when we met Catherine in the collapsing timeline, she spouted myth and rhetoric, but failed to have the chance to back any of it up. We have only heard the Traveller referenced in the new timeline created by Alec and Kiera's hoping backwards. What evidence is there to suggest (or refute) that the Traveller we've seen isn't just someone from Brad's time, having been created by the presence of the two Alecs, who came back the thirty years and took on the persona of Time's Great Hope to manipulate the Freelancers and the others into helping to bring about the future he wanted? It would certainly make more sense if the Traveller is Carlos that he comes from only thirty years from now rather than centuries, which is the one hurdle remaining for me to personally adopt that theory.

I mentioned before that some things felt rushed. Alec's Steve Jobs act and internet groupies seemed forced. When had he cultivated his following, exactly? He's been singularly focused on Halo, and the many drawbacks to that product, as well as having to contend with Carlos and Kiera and Liber8 for most for the season. His sudden elevation to wunderkind in the eyes of the public, a public that had never heard of him before, seemed like there being a need to have a larger reaction to his downfall, and one that wasn't properly built towards. Perhaps this lack of establishment was the victim of the show's unclear time span. Somewhere within the last half dozen episodes enough time passed for Piron to run beta tests on Halo with human subjects, so clearly there have been some jumps between episodes. I'm not saying it didn't work, the announcement of a technology even a fraction of what Halo was capable of would be a huge deal. But maybe we could have done without the Alec T-shirts.

Likewise, the combining of Liber8 and Kiera's group has been something that the entire season (and series) has been building towards. And if it had come off of the back of episode 11, when they all found out that their actions had been useless, and that they now lacked direction, I would have bought it. But last week was all about establishing how far they had all drifted, forsaking their tightly held beliefs. I can't help but feel now that Sonya's sacrifice was... I don't want to say pointless, because it has spurred other events, like Carlos' promotion, that were necessary for this episode to unfold. But If she had just hung in there another week, she could have accomplished her desired "something big." Which I guess is why you never make decisions when you are emotionally compromised.

If the last couple episodes established a new paradigm for the series to exist within, than this episode established a new dynamic between the characters, not the least of which is Carlos and Kiera. The Batman analogy was pretty solid, if that is how things are going to be next year. An uneasy truce with Liber8 and a desire to build a new life for herself with Brad means that working for the police takes a back seat. After all, she effectively completed the task for which she initially infiltrated the VPD: taking down Liber8. Liber8, as an organisation, no longer exists (presumably: their setting up in the former Freelancer HQ suggests a new direction for them). She did her duty. From here on out, she gets to fill the role of vigilante do-gooder, leading a team of time displaced ne'er-do-wells whose only goal is to try to make the world the best place it can be. That is a solid plan, as life goals go. And it calls back to what I mentioned at the start, that those with no knowledge of how things will be make better decisions than those in the know.

After dispatching Earlier Alec, whose transition into full on villainy necessitated his removal, the assumption was that time would revert, or create that glorified third option I mentioned a few weeks ago, one where everything doesn't suck. By not knowing what happens now, Kiera and Brad plan the best life they can. Alec's goal, taking over Piron, was to dismantle the monster before it had time to destroy, but with no clear idea of what would happen once he did. Carlos, who has never known more then snippets of what the future holds, has continued to act based on his own moral compass. Even Julian, who has been obliquely warned about his destiny but never fully aware of it, has acted in the name of the greater good.

Meanwhile, Earlier Alec's use of advanced technologies laid the ground work for the oppression of the human species. Kellog magnificently hoisted Alec from the seat of power in order to bring about the misery of Brad's time, because he knows that in that version of events, he's king of the burning mountain. The Traveller manipulates, and things only seem to get worse. And because they weren't content to just let things play out, Brad and Kiera's collective curiosity caused them to peak behind the curtain, and summoned Bioshock-esque Big Daddies, bent presumably on temporal eradication and all out temporal war on the present. Things look worse than ever, and I'm so excited to see what happens next.

As a personal aside, I'd like to thank everyone for your continued support of the site, by reading and commenting on these reviews, and for watching the show along with me. I selfishly welcome you to stick around, there might be something else here you would enjoy (and if you've got any suggestions, I welcome those too). To everyone involved in making this show, from the writers to the actors to the folk who work the craft services table, thank you for making a programme that is so fun to watch and concoct wild theories about. You are doing Canadian TV proud.

And to Showcase, you have one job: give it a fourth season.
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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.

12 comments :

  1. Great show, great review. Kiera swapping sides has been something I've been hoping for since the first episode and it has finally come "full circle". They definitely got some of the pacing wrong in the final ep but it has been a satisfying end-of-season run. A satisfaction reminiscent of The Dark Knight Rises even...

    The Traveller is totally Carlos. And I'm sensing that doubles don't ever both survive in the same place/time for long.

    I miss Sonya too!!!!

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  2. I have to say I love love the show, and I love love your posts. They have been valuable insights and I always feel I am a step or two behind or that something is just slightly out of my grasp. There is so much potential. I really do hope this will go to season 7.

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  3. You said:

    "I mentioned before that some things felt rushed. Alec's Steve Jobs act and internet groupies seemed forced. When had he cultivated his following, exactly? He's been singularly focused on Halo, and the many drawbacks to that product, as well as having to contend with Carlos and Kiera and Liber8 for most for the season. His sudden elevation to wunderkind in the eyes of the public, a public that had never heard of him before, seemed like there being a need to have a larger reaction to his downfall, and one that wasn't properly built towards. Perhaps this lack of establishment was the victim of the show's unclear time span. Somewhere within the last half dozen episodes enough time passed for Piron to run beta tests on Halo with human subjects, so clearly there have been some jumps between episodes. I'm not saying it didn't work, the announcement of a technology even a fraction of what Halo was capable of would be a huge deal. But maybe we could have done without the Alec T-shirts."


    However, this isn't true. They mentioned how Alec had enlisted the help of his step brother Julian to act as a promoter or PR person for the Halo project earlier, and in the previous episode, when Julian came to Alec's office, he mentioned how Halo was getting popular on social media (twitter, facebook, etc.) and other outlets, just as Alec had desired (that was the very reason he "hired" Julian to work for Piron).

    Good review, by the way. Just wanted to point out this one detail.

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    1. That's true. And I would say this is a symptom of the wonky way the between episode time passing is handled (and this is a complaint I have with a lot of TV), and not having the time to establish the kind of following that Piron's online presence was building.

      But the point is taken, Julian was brought in to tweet Alec's good works. Nice catch.

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  4. This was a series finale.

    There is nothing left to drive this show forward. The most delightful tensions of the show were between characters who didn't know that the others were time-travelers - now everyone knows. Kiera no longer wants to return to her time, and has settled down. The dual-ing Alexes - resolved. Liber8 - resolved. Freelancers - resolved. The philosophies of the show - spoken explicitly - "Be Here Now", and time interventions just make things worse.

    The episode wraps up with an iteration out of nowhere, emphasizing the point that things will just get get worse each time. No followup necessary for that plot! An ending that reminds me of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"

    Add to that that any future episode would have huge special effects costs if they were to follow through on the last ten seconds, and it's clear that there is no way out of that box.

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    1. I would agree with a lot of that, actually. It was a finale for all of the driving elements of the first two seasons of the show. This entire season has been a series of conclusions for those story points. And if Showcase, for whatever reason, didn't pick the show up for a fourth season, this would be a decent enough conclusion.

      But I have faith in the writers to find a new direction to take the show in. Long form storytelling needs to be organic, and willing to move in new directions. A show that bares down and remains true to it's original narrative directions becomes tedious, repetitive and ultimately pointless. Is a show unwilling to occasionally upend it's status quo in favour of something new and unexpected (while remaining true to it's core motivations) really worth investing in? I applaud any author that is willing to twist his original vision of his characters into something unexpected for the good of the characters and the show.

      Are the old character dynamics gone? Absolutely. Will they be replaced by new dynamics? Almost certainly. There is no drama in complacency. If our theories that Carlos is the Traveller are true, then there will clearly be some evolution between him and everyone else. And look at how Alec transformed this season. One went from being a selfish, desperate malcontent to being selfless and clear headed, while the other moved from happy go lucky to out-and-out super villainy. Characters have room to grow. And like nature abhorring a vacuum, drama abhors contentment.

      I have no idea what next season will look like, that's part of the fun. Considering that they've left the notion of "let's fix time for the better" is a fairly conclusive place, I might venture a guess that next year will see the start of "time doesn't want to be changed" style conflicts. Time fights back, with the Traveller as it's general. Will that be what happens? I don't know. But if a fourth season happens, I'm sure as hell tuning in to find out. Because season three brought an end to the old Continuum. Now we get to see what comes next.

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    2. Carlos being the Traveler is just stupid. I really hope the writers are more creative than that.

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  5. Nice read, here's hoping you get to write more about this series next year.

    "Lucas, I need an exit..." seconds before Morpheus and co make an entrance - priceless.

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  6. alec was best in first season and it was all about kierra and alec relationship. i am really sad to see that changed to such a dark relation is so upsetting.

    and i am not happy to see kierra betray carlos and choose brad as her life partner

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    1. Which show were you watching? How is being with Brad betraying Carlos? They're relationship had never been more than work partners/friendship.

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    2. Personally I applaud any series, and especially Continuum, that chooses the establish a healthy and platonic relationship between a male and female character, rather than falling back on the more cliched romantic option. The Carlos/Kiera dynamic is one of the many things that makes me love this series.

      Add to that the way they established Brad and Kiera's affections so organically in such a short period of time, and I'd say that interpersonal relationships are something this writer's room has a very firm grasp on.

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  7. Lucas's comment when the remaining Liber8 members and Kiera showed up is exactly my orientation towards a potential season 4:

    "Whatever this is, I am _IN_!"

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