Continuum : Second Listen Review - Mania.com



Continuum Review

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Info:

  • Episode: Second Listen (Season 2, Episode 8)
  • Starring: Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Erik Knudsen, Stephen Lobo, Roger Cross, Lexia Doig
  • Written By: Shelley Eriksen
  • Directed By: David J. Frazee
  • Studio: Reunion Pictures
  • Network: SYFY Channel
  • Series:

Continuum : Second Listen Review

Does the enrapturing nature of Continuum's time travel dynamic finally fail?

By Chuck Francisco     July 30, 2013
Source: Mania.com

Full spoilers below

One of the prevailing mysteries which makes Continuum so enrapturing is the nature of its time travel. The very nature of the plot's time travel continuum is kept from audiences; the guesswork becomes an ongoing subplot of its on making. It really isn't clear if fate is immutable or if nothing will alter the course that's been set. The characters alternate between both theories as more evidence becomes available, and they seem so certain, but I don't believe viewers can share that level of certainty. 

This week young Alec makes the case that he is already a changed man, adapting to his knowledge of the future and the actions of time travelers woven into the fabric of his life. To Garza he cites being in love as a reason to be better than the elder him ever was, and it's this trigger word which saves him from her summary judgement and execution. That love though is built on a false pretense; Emily is an agent of Escher, planted for some as yet unknown purpose. The revelation that this woman isn't whom she appears could push young Alec right back into the path of his older self, illustrating a self fulfilling prophecy. All of this tangential speculation is integral to Continuum's mystique, and the show runners are brilliantly leveraging it to craft a can't miss series.

On the subject of Emily, there is no denying that she's a career woman working an espionage agenda, but Kiera's CMR confirms that there's more below the surface. What may have begun as a standard assignment has perhaps become actual love. If not, Kiera's lie detection suite would have clued her onto deception during their conversations. Information is being withheld, but it's likely related to Emily's employment, since the two women openly discuss their feelings for Alec. Considering it from another angle, perhaps Emily is specifically assigned to Sadler protection duty? Many details are still obscured by the fog of war.

Escher is incredibly deft in avoiding giving Kiera the kind of direct lies which would allow her CMR to catch him in a falsehood. It demonstrates a deep comprehension of her abilities and a familiarity with her tech. I was nearly about to place his status as a time traveller under suspicion when he reveals the time travel cult's distinctive knuckle tattoos. This is followed by an ominous zoom onto his very own coding, painting him in a disconcerting light. A fanatical cult of time traveling lunatics is considerably more destructive than a terrorist group who aims to topple a corporate dictatorship. Fascinating. 

 Never would I have figured that Gardiner and Kiera would combine to form a ruthlessly effective tandem, yet here they are bringing the bad guys to task. Gardiner is still a hardass, but some of his more likable qualities have been showcased as of late. And so it became only a matter of time before he was eliminated from the board. I didn't expect it quite so soon, but Continuum's modus operandi has been one of a continually rocking boat, which never allows it to settle into a comfortable routine. Sadly there can never be a resolution scene between Kiera and Gardner; something which I was greatly anticipating. 

Erik Knudsen is given center stage to shine this week, and he does not disappoint. Even whilst suspended high above the deck by the dangerous and lovely Garza (Luvia Petersen), Knudsen demonstrates solid acting chops and broad range in what will likely become a defining moment for the character of young Alec Sadler. The effects are near immediate, with the computer genius adapting a much more assertive demeanor against Kellogg (someone needed to take him down a peg). This may be the first of many course corrections for the character arc which everyone from the future will be closely monitoring. 

I find it fairly amazing that older Alec covered so many bases in his contingency planning. We have to wonder if Jason is Alec's actual father, which if true means that the man in charge of the world may very well have engaged in a Terminator like time paradox. His backup plan with Garza is a calculated danger, since she very well could plan to murder young Alec in all cases, rather than judging him based on the prescribed criteria. 

This is another intriguing and entertaining entry in the Continuum saga. I must sound like a broken record, but any and all self professed fans of science fiction should be watching this show.   

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.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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monkeyfoot 7/30/2013 7:42:52 AM

Geez, how is it possible for nearly every single episode of this show to be really good!?! I've been reluctant to do so for fear of learning too much (especially with the delay in episodes from Canuckland) but I should look for interviews with the producers. I want to know who these people are and how they could do what many sci-fi shows have not always succeeded at. Namely, having a definite plan that has been well put together for their series that is intelligent and thought provoking all the time. They don't seem to  be flying by the seat of their pants in anything.

I'm starting to get confused about something. Did everybody, known and unknown, who is a time traveler from the future come back at that one event at the execution or are people randomly popping back from completely different places and times from the future? Is time travel tech easily done? And are they all coming back deliberately to a specific time or did they just show up somewhere and then decided to work out an agenda?

You are right. I wish so many more genre fans were into this show. It deserves the following of other cult faves like True Blood, Fringe, or BSG. Hell, it deserves more mainstream attention as well.

CyanideRush 7/30/2013 8:23:02 AM

 Monkeyfoot, I *think* the freelancers are from a point further in the timeline, when travel get out of Sadler's hands. So there's two distinct groups: Those who where thrown back from the execution chamber, and those who came back after (but since it's time traver they could have arrived before). 

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