Continuum Review: “Seconds”

Continuum returns1 and drags viewers into a moral and temporal labyrinth.

Title: “Seconds”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Michael Rohl
Written by Raul Sanchez Inglis

Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron
Victor Webster as Carlos Fonnegra
Erik Kundson as Alec Sadler
Richard Harmon as Julian Randol / Theseus
Janet Kidder as Ann Sadler
Luvia Petersen as Jasmine Garza
Lexa Doig as Sonya Valentine
Roger Cross as Travis Verta
Jennifer Spence as Betty Robertson
Brian Markinson as Inspector Dillon
Darcy Laurie as Martinez
Bruce Ramsay as Rosicki

Premise

An assassin’s bullet finds a target other than the intended one, Julian. Julian meets his followers, the anti-Liber8 task force gets private funding and a chilling mandate, and Kiera shows her darker side.

Meanwhile, in a future nearer than we’ve yet seen, we learn the truth behind the Pemberton Massacre, the future atrocity for which Kiera’s society holds Theseus responsible.

High Point

As Fonnegra notes, we’ve all played, if you could go back in time and kill Hitler when he was a child, would you? This episode unleashes the moral and temporal difficulties posed by the series premise.

Is Theseus the monster Kiera’s society made him out to be? Is there a context that explain his actions? Were they even his actions? Early in the episode, we’re uncertain which aspects of his story are real, which are Liber8 myth, and which are corporate propaganda. Julian has already become the face of a movement while knowing almost nothing about it. In addition, the victors who emerged from a very dark period of history wrote his future biography.

Will Kiera’s actions change the future for the better, or simply ensure that the future’s darkest days happen? She dismisses Fonnegra’s concerns by saying that “every monster starts out as somebody’s baby,” but later realizes she may have birthed the monster.

Once again, Continuum handles these questions through an interesting, highly watchable story.

Low Point

At least one of the answers to the questions posed involves a very heavy-handed reveal. I don’t want to complain too much, because humans can commit significant acts of evil, and we’ve seen some pretty impressive future technology. Nevertheless, I wonder if they couldn’t have handled this aspect with greater subtlety.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6

Effects: 5/6 We see a version of the world that stands between the present and the future we’ve seen—a very ugly world. The visuals are impressive, though not as strong as the show’s standard future cityscapes.

Story: 5/6 Has Kiera lost the support of Alex at point where she most needs it?

Acting: 5/6 This episode gives the actors some difficult scenes, and they generally make them work.

Continuum generally has good performances, but the acting often falls short of the show’s best writing.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6.

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Seconds” receives 35/42

Lingering Questions and Note

If Keira may be responsible for creating Theseus (jury remains out), will the threat of Liber8 help create the corporate future Liber8 wants to prevent? Their existence has already led to a semi-privatized police force that tortures suspects.

If that is the case, what future does Alex intend to create by sending people back in time?

And have we been cheering for the wrong side?

1. In Canada. The American broadcast remains several episodes behind.

6 replies on “Continuum Review: “Seconds””

  1. lost says:

    After this episode, I’m beginning to suspect that perhaps Liber8 is not actually the wrong choice. You can see the beginnings of the corporate takeover in the events that take place in the police department, though how much of that is due to meddling by a certain other character is unclear.

    I am also finding it distressingly difficult to convince myself that the actions revealed during the mid-range future bits are actually wrong. And those events give a fair clue to what the old man’s plan might be, or at least what his motivations for having the plan might be. It would be very interesting to know how things got to that point.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      “And have we been cheering for the wrong side?” can be read ambiguously, however. We’re learning more about the dark side of the future corporate society (which was suspect from the start). However, it’s not clear Liber8 has a plan for a better society– just the drive to stop one that is clearly unjust, through often dubious means. Theseus, however, made a decision that we can at least understand. Many military commanders have been lauded for ordering far more sinister actions.

      • quantaman says:

        I think they’re definitely try to give the sides some moral balance so there’s no clear good guys vs bad guys dynamic. One thing bugging me is how future Alex can be involved in something that barbaric considering what we know now and what we know in the distant future we’re going to good explanation to see how that fits in the middle.

        Btw, anyone else notice how no one seemed to notice that Gardner was missing? I guess it’s not far fetched that no one noticed him not showing up for work for a day though it seemed weird/sad that no one seemed to miss him :(

        • JD DeLuzio says:

          Everyone was too busy being unethical. I assume this will be addressed soon. His absence gets either emphasized or forgotten in the viewer’s mind, I suspect, because the show itself has been in hiatus. Clearly, though, very little time has passed in the world of the show.

          • quantaman says:

            I think it was because of the show’s hiatus that bothered me. If he gets killed, then next week everyone is back and doesn’t notice he’s gone then it’s either tragic or odd to the viewer.

            But because of the hiatus the viewers may have forgotten (was it in the flashbacks at the start?), so there’s an awkward bit where you’re wondering if the writers expected you to just forget about it.

  2. Skip Stein says:

    I am a HUGE fan of this show. From the outset it addressed the concept of corporate corruption in/with government that we see everywhere today. The treatment of this sensitive subject is great and seems to be beginning to address the ‘other side’ of the argument.

    Sure the violence is horrible and not acceptable but the IDEA that Liber8 is fighting for is worthy. The fact that corruption in government created a corporate takeover by mega corporations is something not far from the reality we see today.

    Here in the USA, big corporations control much of our Congress and the agencies formed to ‘protect’ the USA Citizens. Take Monsanto Corporation and the control/influence they have over the FDA and other agricultural agencies not to mention congress who pass laws in support of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Just one small example of the ‘future’ that Continuum depicts.

    There were hints in the first season that they might be food shortages or artificial control of the food supply. There have been other subtle indicators that the ‘future’ is not all rosy and the terrorists are evil. The basis for Liber8 seems founded in good principles but the frustration and inability to effect change led to the horrible violence.

    Is is that this time travel scenario is an attempt to somehow correct the future? Will we see where things went wrong and show how government corruption ultimately caused the catastrophic future we see in the flash forwards? We have yet to see much of the ‘regular’ people in the future but have only seen the elite in the luxury highrises. Maybe there will be future episodes that flash forward to a less than idyllic future?

    Watching with bated breath for each episode!

    Cheers,

    Skip Stein

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