Continuum: Fast Times Review -

Continuum Review

Mania Grade: C

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  • Episode: Fast Times (Season 1, Episode 2)
  • Starring: Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Alec Sadler, Stephen Lobo, Omari Newton
  • Written By: Jeff King
  • Directed By: Jon Cassar
  • Network: SyFy
  • Series:

Continuum: Fast Times Review

1.21 Gigawatts!

By Chuck Francisco     January 23, 2013

Another week comes and goes, and again we're given a sizable helping of middling story telling gussied up with some interesting science fiction tech. The focus is split down two branching paths during the episode. One we don't follow far enough for satisfaction and the other we spend too much time with. 

The lesser plot line plows through Kiera's attempt to continue undercover as Portland PD officer Linda Williams. When an officer from that department shows up, it blows Kiera's cover wide open. She's arrested, processed and detained by her new partner, Carlos. When her explanations fail, she has Alec use his computer skills to plan a false identity for her, one that's of a deep cover operative, leaving her sometimes strange activities beyond reproach. It just doesn't work, the tension is tepid and the dread never quite materializes. Sure, we know the hero is going to get out of the sticky situation that they're in, but in the moment we're supposed to think that they aren't. Continuum never works that illusion.

All is not lost though, as the situation gives us the chance to glimpse some more future tech in action. Kiera mashes her thumb print onto mirrored glass, then uses her ocular implants to send them to Alec. And since she's on camera in a police interrogation room, she discretely types out her plan on the display of her tactical pants. We're also treated to a flashback of our young protector's first day. The process of her upgrade is quite fast; leading me to believe that everyone in 2077 already has ocular implants, with police officers receiving a software upgrade for advanced functionality. It was a nice touch that her HUD is accompanied by the sound effects that we the audience hear, until she thinks about turning down the volume. 

The stronger plot line deals with the members of Liber8 seeking a source of power to charge their time travel device. They go so far as to kidnap a noted scientist in order to gain access to a particle collider. The desperation of Kiera, in wanting to return to her own time, is so forceful that she doesn't attempt to stop Liber8. Instead she tries to join them for the jump, though it is at gun point. Again something goes spectacularly wrong, to the point of shorting out Kiera's high tech gun and suit. There were flashes of bravado from Rachel Nichols during the standoff sequence, but over all I'm having trouble believing her as a bad ass future cop. Maybe the reality of her is more nuanced, which is solidly less one note than most tough cops, but there has to be a point where I believe she could take down anyone of the Liber8 terrorists (not counting the tech nerd guy). That's just not being conveyed. It doesn't help she completely fails to shoot any of them, with the advantage of surprise from about ten feet. I can buy her being hit in her bullet proof suit, but her inability to hit any of them with the assistance of her own custom head's up display is a bit beyond the realm of believability. 

I was grateful that one of the members of Liber8 appears to not be a foaming at the mouth murder, with some semblance of sense. Kellog decides he can better effect the future by remaining in the past and using his knowledge of the future to shape the events to come. It's exactly what I'd suggested last week, but most of the group appears to be so one note homicidal that they can't even stop to consider what would best accomplish the goals of their organization. In fact, they're killing so ridiculously indiscriminately that it would be a wonder if they didn't accidentally off one of their own ancestors in the process. Of course, the beauty of a time travel story is that we don't know if they're even in the same universe as the one they jumped back from.   

Is anyone else a tad bit confused by the faction portrayals thus far? Kiera may be a noble protector, out to arrest "the bad guys", but she works as part of the system in a corporate dictatorship. Why have we been shown none of that oppression? It's possibly because we're seeing flashbacks from her POV, which regards the system as right or correct. But then why are we also only seeing one note negative portrayals of Liber8? A far more interesting show would muddy the waters, confuse the sides and challeng the characters' established viewpoints. Perhaps they'll get there in time. I just hope the ride improves by then.


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.


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lusiphur 1/23/2013 6:25:45 AM

 I think the waters will be muddied within the next couple of episodes (I hope).  Maybe Kiera experiencing life in 2012 will show her just what the Liber8 is fighting for.

As for the low parts of the episode, I'm giving it some leeway because, as is the usual with TV series, they are still in the character introduction phase.  Ater three or four episodes, we should get into the meat of the story.

So, I'm assuming the Alec from 2077 remembers Kiera from 2012 and made sure the time jump happened and she would be in the room.  Perhaps the actions of the Liber8 help facilitate the corporate takeover at least North America.

One thing I do like is the fact they actually are setting the series in Vancouver.  Billions of series over the past 20 years have been filmed there, but it seldom gets the credit.  Since the opening scene of episode 1, we know that in 2077 Vancouver is part of the North American Union(?).  

I've enjoyed the first couple of episodes and look forward to more.  I'll just wait until episode 7 or 8 to become overly critical of its shortcomings. Thanks for the review Chuck.  

monkeyfoot 1/23/2013 7:50:00 AM

I also enjoyed the episode in that it helped add more general plot advancement. And though I also agree that the first episodes of a series are often awkward as the writers and actors get into their grooves, I'm still getting that - I'm not sure what to call it , "emotional distance" from the main characters. I'm supposed to feel with her but I just can't identify with her. Perhaps its because of the way its directed or her acting.

I've seen this in other show made in Canada with mainly Canadian producers and writers and I wonder if its just the way they like to do drama. But this style doesn't let me "get into the show". I'm mainly enjoying it for the interesting idea of the show but not its execution. I'm not sure if I'm making sense in how I feel. I just think that if this show were being made by Americans in Canada, like Stargate SG-1 and BSG I'd really be more emotionally involved. Still, I will continue to watch.

blankczech 1/23/2013 9:46:43 AM

 I'll also continue to watch and I'm not sure why because I think Chuck Francisco's review is spot on.  Maybe I'm watching because the show has a certain style and pace that I'm comfortable with and I like the actors or perhaps it's refreshing to follow something that doesn't involve super heroes, vampires, werewolves or zombies (especially zombies).  I may just be looking for things to hold my attention until Game of Thrones returns.  I must say the show doesn't have the cheesy look of most SyFy series.  I wonder if Mania will continue to review it on a weekly basis if it never gets higher than a "C' grade or if Mania commenters pass on it.  I think the grade is justified but I'd like to see all movies and television offerings critiqued by Mania in the same way.  Let's face it...if this series was based on a comic book...and / or  had lots of cool / gross special effects, guys in spandex outfits, robots, monsters, or old musclehead actors...everyone would let  the flaws and predictability in the story / plot slide.

mellowdoux 1/23/2013 10:22:02 AM

 I agree.

It's nice to see that the character of Kellog was not played off as flakey...

rkngl 1/25/2013 11:06:41 AM

Since I have already seen most of the episodes (SPOILER WARNING), I can assure you all that most of your doubts will be slowly answered through the next episodes. The oppression of the future society is pervasive, people grow thinking the system is right and flawless - and even Kiera,as a cop, has a flash of how corrupt the future corporations are, but then noone cares about it so... she doesnt either. With time she will slowly loose all her tech, become more of a 21st century cop, while LIber8 guys leave the warrior path as soon as Kagame resumes his Leadership. Their ideals become muddled as LIber8 and Kiera interact in the 21st century, discovering that maybe none of them is right about anything, and all resistance is fuitile...

Still two episodes to see, and I am eager to find how it ends.

It is not one of the best series ever, but it makes you wonder how "ficcional" that story is, and how we may be in the path to become the 2077 society this show depicts.......

rkngl 1/27/2013 5:06:19 AM

 I just saw the last episode! Wow! I want the second season to start soon!!!



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