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.