Continuum Review: “Family Time”

In our Weekly Digital Disc Picks, Alex notes that the best thing to watch this week would be the Olympics. They featured an awesome opening ceremony that careened from sublime to ridiculous, sometimes on purpose, and made a few nodes to SF and Fantasy.1 The games, as always, have been sensational.

Of course, some of us still want our hit of digital genre, and that brings us to this week’s episode of Continuum.

Title: “Family Time”

Cast and Crew
Director: William Waring
Writer: Floyd Kane

Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron
Victor Webster as Carlos Fonnegra
Erik Kundson as Alec Sadler
Richard Harmon as Julian Randol
Michael Rogers as Roland Randol
Janet Kidder as Ann Sadler
Stephen Lobo as Matthew Kellog
Brian Markinson as Dillon
Tony Amendola as Edouard Kagame
Lexa Doig as Sonya

Full cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

Kiera and Carlos trace a suspicious delivery to Roland Randol’s farm, where a standoff ensues between the police and Julian’s radicalized friends.

We also learn more about Kiera’s past connection to Kellog, with hints that they may have a more problematic future together.

We also learn this stand-off connects to Edouard Kagame’s past and future.

High Points

I like the way the story plays with its moral ambiguities. To what degree will we end up siding with Liber8, despite their willingness to commit criminal acts and sacrifice innocent people?

The episode, while not the strongest, raises a number of other interesting questions, listed below.

Low Point

I found the somewhat moving “My name is Kiera Cameron” monologue undercut by the musical selection—the vocal track in particular.

Other issues I address under “Story.”

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 We’ve seen police stand-offs before, but this featured some original elements, including the use of future tech. It’s unclear how paradoxes and other “timy-whimy” stuff plays, since we have only hints about Kagame’s connection to these events.

Effects: 4/6.

Story: 4/6 The story shows potential, as it brings together (without too much stretching of plausibility) two largely disconnected parts of the cast. The script features a good deal of forced writing, however, from the sudden extreme radicalization of Julian’s friends and some strange actions by the SWAT Team (Why did they leave the storage unattended?)

Acting: 4/6 This who has a trend of combining some strong performances with some rushed work, often by the extras.

Emotional Response: 4/6

Production: 5/6.

Overall: 4/6 The show begins with an examination of moral grey areas (who are the good guys here?) and events such as the Waco Siege (when do an individual or community’s actions become the concern of the state?). Once Kiera Cameron gets her enhanced suit back, she’s in full superhero mode. The show never quite resolves the shifts and conflicts of tone.

In total, “Family Time” receives 29/42

Lingering Questions

1. What is Kagame’s connection to the Randol Farm Standoff?
2. These events apparently happened in the timeline Kagame remembers. Does only one time-line exist? The show has suggested as much, but it has dangled the possibility of changing the, uh, time-continuum.
3. How much of the Liber8 online video is true? Are we hearing entirely accurate future history, or history blended with the propaganda beloved by all political organizations and the conspiracy theories so popular with disenchanted radicals?

Note

1. If you missed it, the opening ceremony began with a pastoral village and ran through British culture historically, from Shakespeare to contemporary pop and social networking (complete with appearances by Sir Paul McCartney and Tim Berners-Lee). Along the way, we passed many SF/Fantasy oriented posts, including The Lord of the Rings, James Bond, Mary Poppins, J.K. Rowlings, and—if you listened very carefully—a brief sample of the Tardis materialization noise in the soundtrack.

3 replies on “Continuum Review: “Family Time””

  1. lost says:

    I don’t know that the radicalization of Julian’s friends is necessarily all that far fetched. One of the problems with this type of show is that we simply do not know how much time passes between episodes and we also do not know what sort of “persuasion” was used. It does seem to occur rather fast, however.

    What bothers me about the whole standoff is the fact that nobody bothered to even consider the possibility that the *children* were responsible, not the adult with the clean record (specifically noted by the police!). They had two different voices on the telephone and did not investigate further. That’s more of a problem than SWAT not covering various buildings on the farm, etc. That bit can be plausibly explained based on the specific location (in the country), manpower shortages (not unlikely given the location and transit time to get there), and a desire not to endanger the hostages needlessly. There really needs to be some fallout on the police department for killing the wrong person (there would be in real life regardless how justified it was).

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      The police came out with a sizable group.

      I was going to mention the hasty shooting, however. As you say, this should really be followed up, but, judging from past episodes, it won’t be. Very shoddy police work, or shoddy writing, depending on your point of view.

      As far as the time frame, we don’t know what it is– but the Liber8 group hasn’t yet moved on their realization that Kiera has been getting help, and that suggests that not much time has passed since last week.

      • zocalo says:

        When Alec nearly reveals that he knows Kiera he backtracks and says he recognises Fonnegra from being accused of murder on the news last month, so at least a couple of weeks and maybe four since the previous episode but one. I figure a week or two since last week.

        What I found more interesting was the focus on the tattoo, the implication in my view (pure speculation) being that perhaps the young Kagame is mentored by Randol, or might even actually *be* Randol having engaged in a little identity theft….

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