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- Episode: Second Thoughts (Season 2, Episode 3)
- Starring: Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Erik Knudsen, Stephen Lobo, Roger Cross, Lexia Doig
- Written By: Simon Barry (creator), Sam Egan
- Directed By: William Waring
- Network: SyFy Channel
- Studio: Reunion Pictures
Continuum: Second Thoughts Review
Does Carlos think Kiera is Batman?
By Chuck Francisco
June 24, 2013
Full spoilers in the section below!
The splintering of Liber8 takes the spotlight this week on Continuum. As they diverge down radically different extremes, Sonya strives for the idealistic high ground, to which Kagami claimed to aspire, until Lucas is forced to remind her that you get more with kind words and a gun than with kind words alone (a saying made famous by Al Capone). While she is busy moving her pawns (biker gang The Coalition Kings) around the board, Travis is taking control of the Syndicate with a Joker-esk show of force. And so a turf war occurred and ended in record time.
Travis' unification speech held callbacks to Cyrus' similarly purposed oration from 1979's The Warriors. It's a cinematic moment that's burned into my memory, and so as Travis chides them for murdering each other over little bits of turf instead of unifying for combined power, my inner movie geek stirred like Hellboy's Ogdru Jahad. We know that Travis is a brutal, powerful, nearly unstoppable killing machine, but the real danger is when all of that is packaged with a propensity for speech from a compelling leader. Sonya is by far his intellectual superior, though Lucas correctly points out that this matters little when pitted against the super soldier in locked combat.
What impact will these time traveling freelancers have on the proceedings? Jason has so far been our crazy fueled window into the flowing river of the time stream, but we've been given reason not to take his explanations at face value. Alec's trip on Flash reveals a moment from his early childhood where Jason confronted his mother, though we couldn't hear the conversation. To Kiera, Jason further elaborates that the freelancers are a myriad of things: prospectors, adventurers, visionaries. I find it fascinating that he attributes each leap forward in technology throughout our history to a freelancing time traveller. It's assumed that Alec would have invented all of that marvelous and Orwellian future tech in his own time, but what if his experiences with Kiera were always a part of development cycle? (Predestination paradox) And is Jason himself a freelancer? Crazy is a solid alibi to place him beyond suspicion and I find it a little too perfect. What is his agenda?
Drugs play a pivotal component in this week's episode and not just in the form of Flash, though it's most prominent. Details emerge surrounding the precise target of Kagame's building bomb: the heads of major pharmaceutical companies were meeting to suppress dangerous information regarding their properties and their deaths themselves were suppressed. Was a populace placating drug in the works ala Serenity? Flash itself is an interesting concept, grounded in the truth about pharmaceuticals: created for one helpful purpose, it quickly found a market to be abused. The exact mechanics are quite clever. A cure for Alzheimer's would logically stimulate the memory areas of the brain, exaggerating that same effect on a healthy subject. Accentuating those most perfect moments from the past is an addiction waiting to happen for most people, especially in the dystopia from which our time travelers originate.
Kiera has an even more perturbing family life than we previously understood. It's a wonder she's not completely broken like an abused GI Joe. Her baby sister Hannah is precisely the target market for Flash in 2077 (or thereabouts). I find it unsurprising that those attempting to free themselves from the "company store" of worldwide corporate dictatorship would squat in makeshift shanty towns on the edge of civilization. It's even less surprising that this population would be easily susceptible to Flash as a means of escaping the poor circumstances of their lives. This is a similar place occupied by a VR like memory playback system used in Strange Days (which I highly recommend), and is not entirely dissimilar from people who completely lose themselves in video games today. The difference is in the degrees and the chemistry; Hannah's compulsion is beyond her control whereas my ability to put down Call of Duty is not (or is it?).
The gun fight at the Flash manufacturing warehouse is an absolute mess. Between shaky cam, misdirection of angles, and confusion of characters, it is absolutely impossible to comprehend what is transpiring. This is thrown into stark relief by the smooth, confident, and consistent nature of the moving gun battles of last week's episode. When there's so much confusion of space, viewers can't follow along and thus don't know if they should be concerned, excited, or both. This is how attention spans are lost to the dark morass of smart phones (an already hard fought battle without complicating it by shooting poorly contrived action scenes).
Overall this is a thought and discussion provoking episode, as most Continuum installments are, that isn't sunk by one poorly plotted action set piece. The world of 2077, its parallels and nuances, grow and deepen. I still find it odd that Kiera continues to blatantly hide the truth from Carlos (those tracer gun shenanigans occurred right in front of him!), if she keeps it up he's liable to think she's Batman. This is compelling TV which keeps the pieces moving while feeding us just enough cookie crumbs to keep us on the trail.
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.