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- Episode: Second Last (Season 2, Episode 12)
- Starring: Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Erik Knudsen, Stephen Lobo, Roger Cross, Lexia Doig
- Written By: Shelley Eriksen and Jonathan Lloyd Walker
- Directed By: Amanda Tapping
- Network: SYFY Channel
- Studio: Reunion Pictures
Continuum: Second Last Review
Carlos roundhouse kicks a guy as this shit just got real.
By Chuck Francisco
August 26, 2013
Full spoilers below
The temporal mechanics on display in Continuum once again appear to favor a closed loop, predetermined chain of events. Jason, the blue shades equipped time traveling prison guard from the future turned mental patient, is confirmed to be Alec's father. Suggestions by Emily that the test could have been tampered with are moot, as Jason admits his paternity when confronted with the truth. What does this mean for the state of time and events as they unfold?
Either Alec Sadler does not exist without the application of the time travel device (which we currently presume he invented), or he has always existed and the device ensured he would be born. As older Alec seemingly hand selected all of these temporal chess pieces, he enacts a John Connor by knowingly sending his father back in time to ensure his own existence. The implications of such a closed loop are devastating; everyone finds themselves simply playing out their historically ironclad roles, steering the status quo in the direction of the fate most would rather avoid. If you find this speculative nature of temporal vacation fascinating, I highly recommend the book Time Travel in Einstein's Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time.
Kiera mentions concern around the potential for brain damage as a result of her trip back, a concern which Sonya also voiced quite recently. While Jason and Travis do not an epidemic make, the implications are certainly justifiable cause for pause. Will the travelers brains degenerate into a soupy mess of inarticulate jello before or after they carry out their agendas? And if the freelancers have bounced around the continuum, why do they seem unaffected? I've got speculation loaded in the chamber on that quandary.
During the knockdown, drag out fit scene, the freelancers moved and functioned in a way which I can best describe as "off". Brought into sharp focus when two of them grasped each other's forearms to mutually spring back into the fray, post severe beatings. Also consider that while engaging in combat, they display a flagrant disregard for their own safety, even in the face of what would be certain death for a normal person. My current hypothesis is that they are replicant style automatons sent from a much further point in the future beyond 2077. The dots may be a tell tale indicator of their make or model in the time they're from, but mean little in the present. This theory would implicate Escher as an artificial construct too, which could explain his creepy demeanor. I freely admit that this could all be wild speculation, but isn't that the best kind?
Emily is in actually Maya Heartwell- girl on the run from a dreadful past. Kellogg gleefully outlines the extent of the truth, manipulating the love sick girl into running right into Alec's lab, where Travis' trap can be sprung. The gradual unraveling of Alec and Maya's secrets to one another was handled expertly. They are both pushed to the edge of tension, abused beyond exasperation by everyone around them. This heightened emotional state allows little drops of truth to dribble over the dam before the unresolved pressure busts through entirely. I would have liked a little more time between them once the air had been cleared, but while that would have served my curiosity it would also have dramatically cut the emotional gut punch of Maya's death scene. Kudos to actress Magda Apanowicz, she played exasperation off of emotionally distraught, while still retaining her deadly veneer.
Her death on its own may not have swung a heavy enough haymaker to transform Alec into the emotionally stunted inventor turned shut in who shapes the future. The follow up punch of Kiera's blind pursuit of the time travel device may have knocked the empathy right out of Alec. Erik Knudsen doesn't pull any punches himself, steeling himself for the transformation into dispassionate dictator. Immediately he seeks out Escher, seemingly to ally with him. The betrayal of Kiera absolutely stings, but does it burn enough to partner with the man who practically directly lead to Maya's death? As for Kiera, her blind pursuit of the device disheartened me. I found myself not wanting to side with her either, if she values lives so little beyond her own selfish fulfillment. It does appear that her comeuppance is right around the bend, as Dillon is bringing the full force of his department to bear on hunting her. Will Carlos fall with her?
This week's Continuum episode was excellent from the top down. The writing team managed to illuminate mysteries while throwing a smoke screen around others. The exciting and frantic pacing was orchestrated with maestro precision by scifi genre favorite Amanda Tapping, who took on directorial duties this time out. The tight choreography on the action sequences seamlessly blended gunplay with a number of different brands of fisticuffs. It's outstanding that in the midst of such chaos, the distinct brand of fighting styles employed by Kiera, Carlos, and Maya actually feel unique and have a chance to be put on display. Victor Webster puts on a Chuck Norris display of roundhouse kicking badassery as Carlos takes down the lead freelancer. I won't lie: that elicited an excited fist pump from my couch (startling my cat in the process).
Next week's episode is a powder keg with lit sparklers dancing precariously above it. While I don't know the particulars as yet, there will doubtlessly come a moment where Martin Lawrence would be apt to intone his famous "shit just got real". This is the best science fiction show on TV, and episodes such as this are proof in the pudding.
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.