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- Episode: Second Degree (Season 2, Episode 7)
- Starring: Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Erik Knudsen, Stephen Lobo, Roger Cross, Lexia Doig
- Written By: Jeremy Smith
- Directed By: David J. Frazee
- Network: SyFy Channel
- Studio: Reunion Pictures
Continuum: Second Degree Review
Can Continuums new dynamic sustain high levels of intrigue?
By Chuck Francisco
July 23, 2013
Full spoilers below!
Every time Continuum exposes a piece of its quandary driven arsenal of mysteries, a new hook is prepared and waiting to entice fans. It's as if the series' writers always have the perfect clean up hitter in the on deck circle, waiting with palpable anticipation to hammer the awesome home. The conclusion of last week's episode saw Kiera finally reveal her temporal nature to Carlos (yes!) as the serial torture dungeon faded to credits (no!). What was frustrating at the time gave license to full exploration of this new dynamic on this week's installment. This was a solid decision as it's a delight watching Carlos digest the truth of Kiera's existence. "Section six is that kid Alec?" is the best line of the episode and epitomizes the new theme of their relationship.
Among the newly developing status quo (which is a flowing river rather than the rock it swims around in Continuum's case), this burgeoning relationship should flower with the most interesting of petals. What makes it most intriguing is that it presents Carlos and Kiera anew, in a shade of light several levels brighter. In rocking their established dynamic, the audience is also given a new avenue into the future history through her descriptive explanations to him. A paradigm shift also occurs in Kiera's relationship with Gardener. In giving him a bone (thus working with him, rather than against him), she removes the thorn in his foot that was her mysterious nature. Without that aggravating him, Gardner is able to see through the red anger, becoming a valuable asset to the displaced protector. Indeed, their partnering moment at the end could prove fruitful, but will likely lead to him recognizing the truth of her origin in time.
As of this moment, Escher appears to be a confirmed freelancer, who has travelled back specifically to build his own corporate empire, replacing Sadler before he can begin. At present he employs Dillon, has a mole in the form of Alec's girlfriend Emily, is thwarting Kellogg's attempts at stacking the deck of future tech, and may be working with Travis' fraction of Liber8 to come into possession of all temporally displaced bodies. Harvesting the future tech built into their bodies is crafty and dastardly. Kellogg's going to have to shift his gameplay and enact a more aggressive strategy to compensate. Is this the necessarily push to realign him with the cuddlier portion of Liber8?
The home invasion scene, where Emily's lethality is confirmed, is brutally shot. This effective establishment of both her fighting prowess, and her espionage level cunning, cloud the possible positive outcomes for her relationship with Alec. Because she is obviously a professional, the likelihood the she is being coerced into spying on him goes right out the window, vaporizing the chances that they have a future together. In the process of revealing all of this, a tantalizing new question springs forth like a gazelle from the brush: is Emily a freelance assassin from the future? That would come attached to all manner of creepy implications.
The courtroom proceedings manage to weave an impressive number of plot implications together into one neat yet complex spider web. Corrupt mayoral candidate (and childhood friend of Carlos) Jim Marten is back, but looks to extricate himself from the dirty pockets from which he's been spending. Even the broad chested Tahmoh Penikett stands little fighting chance against a cybernetically augmented future soldier, or his cadre of allied gang bangers. He may have earnestly meant it when he told Carlos he would make things right if elected, but the choice to change may be out of his hands (or may be fatal).
Alec's mother puts him in an untenable position by lying under oath. To save one son she would wager the other in a high stakes table game whose odds would even sour James Bond. To his credit, not only does Alec lay the truth out to his mom, he sticks to his convictions, despite it very well meaning the incarceration of his mother and the potential guilty verdict for his brother. This is another in a line of difficult decisions a guy his age shouldn't be called upon to make. This early duel mantle of responsibility and pressure will certainly go on to shape the man to come.
Continuum swims deeply in an Olympic sized swimming pool of intrigue this week. The cool, refreshing liquid floats our attention, while threatening danger below the surface. Dive in, if you haven't taken the plunge already.
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday'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 famous Colonial 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.