Continuum: Family Time Review - Mania.com



Continuum Review

Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Episode: Family Time (Season 1, Episode 9)
  • Starring: Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Erik Knudsen, Stephen Lobo, Roger Cross, Tony Amendola
  • Written By: Floyd Kane
  • Directed By: William Waring
  • Network: SyFy
  • Studio: Reunion Pictures
  • Series:

Continuum: Family Time Review

Who is Caine, Who is Abel

By Chuck Francisco     March 12, 2013
Source: MANIA.COM

Wow! 

 

Continuum has seriously impressed me. The twists taken in this week's installment left me temporarily excited beyond the capacity for rational thought (thanks Egon!). To completely process everything, I employed a hot shower (the word's best thinking cap) and a delicious cup of green tea. Still the best way to work out these implications is with you, dear Maniacs. And the perfect place to begin is by discussing the nature of time and travel against its currents.


It now appears that the time travel theory at work in Continuum's universe is that of a predestination paradox. This theory implies that time travels cannot alter their future because all of their actions already happened in the past, thus they are simply filling out their roll in prior events as they always had. So all of Kiera's actions on Alec's family farm where instrumental in crafting his step brother Julian into the man who would become Kagami. She was always meant to be there, always meant to thwart this first attempt at a revolutionary message, and Julian was always meant to watch his father die, flee, get the tattoo, then be assisted by his future self. If this is a closed loop though, there are several questions which require complex answers. Why doesn't Kagame realize that Kiera is the officer he encounter on perhaps the most pivotal day of his life? How much has older Alec puzzled out? And precisely what information has he hidden in that readme file for his younger self? Does older Alec want to change history to avert the rise of corporate dictators, and if he's figured out that time is immutable, why is he even trying to change it? 


The show has now taken on a Caine and Abel vibe, with Alec representing the rise of completely surveillance driven dictatorship, and Julian/Kagame assuming the conflicting role of antiestablishment terrorist. Consider for a moment that the ramifications of this turn mean that the eventual fates of millions or billions of people on the planet Earth come down to the resolution of a sibling rivalry. They're playing a fairly epic game of chicken which culminates in attempts to muck about with the flow of time. It's also possible that Alec created the time travel device and let his step brother believe he was brilliant in escaping to the past, when that is exactly what the billionaire intended happen. It's a twisting spider's web of possibilities that we're fortunate to have the opportunity to dissect. 


The relationship between Kellog and Kiera took two completely unexpected turns in this go around. In a flashback sequence, it's revealed that Kiera is responsible for the death of Kellog's sister during the course of her duties. But let's pause a moment to ask a really pertinent question: why exactly is it police procedure to fire missiles at fleeing suspects? Even if we remove the moral implications from the equation, there is no way the corporate bean counters would sanction the massive repair bills which would follow the pursuit of each suspect. When we're first shown that Kiera's possibly killed Kellog's sister, my first insight was that this was proof that the former Liber8 member was playing the long con in a bid to exact vengeance on the protector. It turns out that he didn't even know she was the cop responsible, but she reveals this dangerous factoid in a weak moment, over alcohol. Not only does Kellog not become angry, he forgives Kiera on the spot. He's got to be the most well adjusted time traveler of the entire group. He also makes another pass at our protagonist, which ends in a shocking hookup. It's unclear if it was alcohol or stress influenced, or if Kellog's reasoning simply finally made sense. The fallout from this might get messy.


I can't be alone in being fooled by the writers; I really though Carlos was being killed off. Credit goes to the makeup team and the decision to go incredibly pale and faded, worsening with each scene. I had to resist the overwhelming urge to check Victor Webster's IMDB credits in an attempt to assuage me fear. Kiera finally revealed part of her secret to him, but he was almost certainly out of his right mind and likely won't recall any of that conversation. Ah but what if he does! That would a fascinating exchange if, and only if, Kiera doesn't play it off as him imagining it.


We find ourself on the edge of a steep, snowy embankment, sled clutched tightly through our wooly gloves. It's time to dive headlong into what could be the best, most revealing episode of the series. The last five episodes have, overall, been a steep improvement over the first four with their slow start. In discussing the series with fellow Mania writer Mike Henley, the idea that we can rest easy as an audience since the series has already been renewed for a second season has come up a few times. However I'm more than a little bit anxious. What shape will the worlds of the present and future be in after the events of next week's episode? I can't wait to find out, but plan to revert to biting my nails during the long, barely endurable wait this week.

 

Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Saturday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famousColonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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heath0920 3/12/2013 4:01:32 AM

I thought in the episode when Kiera's Grandmother was being hunted, the end game involved a woman who was supposedly Kagame's Mother. That they were threatening HER life as much as Liber8 was threatening Kiera's Grandma. (At least I thought that's what he said) That doesn't fit if Julian instead is Proto-Kagame. Perhaps I misheard some dialogue? Still, a good episode. I agree that the show has improved as it goes along and does an interesting job of asking moral questions. Is Kiera the "heroine" for maintaining an oppresive status quo or are the Liber8 "terrorists" the true heroes for working to change the future and free an enslaved populace?

CyanideRush 3/12/2013 5:51:28 AM

 No, I think you're correct Heath0920: I might have gotten a bit too excited with the possibility of my theory and let it get away from me. It was actually Kagame's mother.

heath0920 3/12/2013 6:38:42 AM

Okay. I feel better! Maybe Julian becomes Kagame's mentor. Kagame knew he had to force Julian to experience intense loss in order to put him in the position to teach a young Kagame similar lessons. (Although if they're in the past, why couldn't Kagame teach himself while he's still young?) I am really interested to know what message Alec sent to his younger self. And I still think Elder-Alec deliberately sent Kiera into the room for the execution in order for her to catch the ride to 2012. But did her husband know more than he let on?

monkeyfoot 3/12/2013 6:47:03 AM

Damn Excellent Episode!!!

My quick comments:

As soon as Kagame saw the incident on TV and said this would set things in motion, I knew Alec's stepfather was going to die. For a second I thought it might be his mother, but when the young rebels imitated the Dad on the phone it confirmed my suspicion. When the police stormed the building they would assume he is the bad guy and shoot to kill. Turns out they did it with a sniper shot though.

No as Heath said, Alec's brother can't be Kagame if the young girl was his mother from the earlier episode. What I was thinking is that he is some other important figure we haven't yet seen in the future time. At least that's how I took it. Perhaps Kagame's future mentor in the rebel arts.

I think that the future corporations felt that the Liber8's caused so much mayhem that they figure it was alright to fire missles in urban areas in order to get them. The end justifying the means for them.

The hookup: stress induced obviously. She has just been through the ringer very badly and just like Kellogg said each one of them has no one they can turn to for comfort about the time travel pains they are going through. She can't pour her heart out and get alittle sumthin' from teenage Alec.

God, it was a great episode!. I wish I hadn't told my sister to delete past episodes from her DVR because I thought she wouldn't like it. And I wish I had told my brother he should watch the show. Right now nobody I personally know is watching this show at all and there is only one more before the season ends.

blankczech 3/12/2013 7:20:05 AM

 What a great series this has turned out to be.  Best thing I've seen on SyFy, although like monkeyfoot said, I don't know anyone else who's watching it (no one to talk to, about it, at work).  I hope there's enough viewers to keep it going beyond next season.  It would be a little hard to get into it now...unless SyFy repeats the whole series prior to airing season 2 (or people check out the series' DVDs ).  This show has been a pleasant surprise for me.  I didn't know what to make of it at first, but I stuck with it, and now I'm enjoying it more than this season's "Walking Dead." 

CyanideRush 3/12/2013 7:35:09 AM

 @Monkeyfoot: Don't worry, it's being released to DVD/BR at the end of the month, so you can watch'em all in order with your future knowledge!  But I still don't think that a corporate dictatorship would authorize randomly firing missiles at their own buildings. It probably wouldn't make fiscal sense. I see where you're going though; maybe it does and I simply don't have the numbers in front of me.
 

@Blankczech: They did replay the whole series to this point over the weekend (or last weekend, maybe). I'm guessing they may do that again to get people caught up. 

@Heath0920: It really seems like the past can't be changed at all. Unless I'm missing something (possible) everyone is playing out a role that they were always destined to. 

Chopsaki 3/12/2013 9:20:34 AM

Worst swat team ever, that's all I got.

ddiaz28 3/12/2013 9:29:06 AM

Having watched this last year when it aired in Canada, it's great to hear that people are coming around to really liking the show after the mediocre response it was getting from Maniacs when it started.  I'm going to have to rewatch this before the next season though since I don't remember a lot of the plot details you guys are discussing.

doomcrow 3/12/2013 10:47:38 AM

I don't think Julian and Kagame are the same person. Julian is I'd say 17 years old in 2012, so he'd be 82 years old in Kiera's time. Kagame looks about 65, so I'm siding with Heath and Cyanide's theory that Julian is instead being cultivated by Kagame to become the man who mentors Kagame. Continuum is a really good show, but it didn't start out that way. It's grown because the writing has weaved a very intricate storyline where nothing really is as it first appears and it's making the viewers question who really are the good guys and bad guys. The people on this show who are the adversaries are the ones fighting for freedom and equality in their time, and the protagonists are on the side of a controlling government that has stifled its people and created a very 1984 kind of world ruled by corporations whose first concern is profit before people. 

I really like how the show has challenged a lot of the traditional aspects of storytelling and perceptions of how we view good vs. evil. I'm glad Syfy picked this up from Canada's Showcase, which has made another really cool show in Lost Girl. It seems that SyFy doesn't have a lot of luck when starting their own shows but has had success in airing shows in the U.S. that Showcase has come up with. Another Showcase show, called Defiance, will be airing in Canada on April 15 and I hope it will be another Scifi hit that SyFy will pick up (Julie Benz is a member of that cast). 

CyanideRush 3/12/2013 11:56:44 AM

 @Doomcrow: Yeah, I got over excited with my own pet theory and had forgotten that kagame's pregnant mother was in an ealier episode! Should be a testament to how good the show has become. 

-Chuck

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