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- Episode: Second Skin (Season 2, Episode 4)
- Starring: Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Erik Knudsen, Stephen Lobo, Roger Cross, Lexia Doig
- Written By: Shelley Eriksen
- Directed By: William Waring
- Network: SyFy Channel
- Studio: Reunion Pictures
Continuum: Second Skin Review
How will Kiera handle another protector from her own time?
By Chuck Francisco
July 01, 2013
Would introducing a second time displaced protector suit as a garage sale piece, purchased to be a part of a costume depicted on an in universe science fiction series, be considered genre criticism? At the very lease it's quirky and meta. Failing to have a character comment on it feels like a missed opportunity, though perhaps it features better as a joke insert rather than a spotlit punch line. I can't let the science fiction themed costume wedding go by without mention. We find ourselves in the middle of a cultural shift from the "correct" customs ingrained for generations, coming to a place were folks can and do host weddings that suit their passions and interests. Pretty cool.
Continuum has never been a show to pull its punches when swinging at real world corporate corruption, and that's a trait I truly admire. This week sees them take their agenda a step toward a more cohesive brand of "hearts and minds". The Travis and Garza road show visits explosive comeuppance upon the oil companies which they claim are exploiting both the people and the Earth. In a shift from their standard operating procedure, they remove the drivers of these tanker trucks prior to detonating them. This may seem like them softening their edge, but I think it has more to do with leaving someone alive to propagate their message. Indeed this has to be true as these lucky devils are given glossy propaganda to spread, along with their tale of Liber8's brand of justice coupled with perceived mercy.
Complicating matters for Kiera in her quest to thwart Liber8 is the appearance on Alec's network of another CPS suit. The previews insinuated that another time traveller had arrived just then, but the truth was much more compelling. As viewers recall, proximity to the time travel device in the execution chamber had weighty bearing on exactly how far back each person was thrown. Remember that in the instant prior to its activation, Kiera noticed something was afoot and rush in; hence why she arrived in the same period the terrorists did. Her partner Eliana, who was in the chamber but a good distance away, arrived in 1975 instead.
Her presence poses several interesting questions but her most important function is in being a mirror Kiera can hold up to her own life, judging the choices she's made against those of her partner. The closing moments where Kiera remarks how happy of a family Eliana has built perhaps represent her resolve breaking. Should she stay and make a life with Carlos in which she can be happy? And, much more tantalizingly, if she chooses that course of action, does that mean teaming up with the cuddlier side of Liber8 to craft a brighter future is in the cards? Before we diverge from the fascinating case of Eliana, I have to float the speculation out there that her Alzheimer's could have been caused by her CMR. Little is actually known about the system itself, though it does directly access several parts of the brain aside from the visual cortex. What if a possible side effect of the CMR system is Alzheimer's, a disease for which we have no cure but which may be easily handled in 2077? Alternately: what if it's a side effect of the time travel process?
Eliana's suit brings everyone out of the woodwork in pursuit. Travis would be even more unstoppable clad in protector copper (a fact everyone seems conscious of). The resulting throw down between Garza and Sonya was unevenly handled, but I found it consistent and watchable enough to award it a net positive standing. The camera held static as cool looking moves were exchanged between these two brawling betties. While Garza commonly has the opportunity to show off her brutal prowess, being reminded that Sonya is no helpless damsel herself is critical to maintaining her menace.
There has absolutely got to be something underhanded going on with Emily, the cute red headed girl interested in Alec. It isn't that Alec isn't a handsome enough fellow to rate a bettie like Emily; my suspicion's bells and whistles went off like a carnival ride when he drew attention to it. His act of doing so is really the writer's way of doing so. So now there are two likely paths this could follow: Alec is right to be suspicious as Emily is working for someone to get close to him; or Alec is wrong but will sabotage his relationship because he believes himself to be right.
One minor possible plot hole surrounds Alec's "cycling" of all CMR systems to track the suit. It clearly effects Travis, which could imply that he is also traceable in Alec's system. Being a super solider may mean that he has a covert version of the system though, but shouldn't Lucas (or Sonya) know about it and thus be able to keep tabs on him? It may not be a hole so much as something as yet unexplained and it doesn't take away from the episode at all. This is yet another hour of thought provoking and entertaining television. I continually find myself disagreeing with the goals of Liber8 less and less (though their methods are still problematic). Any self proclaimed scifi fan should be tuning in (or time shifting) this series.
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.