Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Continuum, Season 2, Episode 3: Second Thoughts

We open with a glance back to the future, to Kiera’s time, when she acted not as a cop – but as a sister to try and stop her little sister from buying drugs. She destroys the drugs she’s just bought and it’s clear that her sister, Hannah, agrees with Liber8.

In the present, Liber8’s little civil war continues with Sonya recruiting the Coalition Kings, a criminal biker gang, to be her soldiers. She gives them a package as payment, but Travis is watching and kills one of the gangers – both Liber8 teams flee the scene.

In the street, Jason, our accidental/independent time traveller, babbles randomly before going to the police station to try and talk to Kiera. Oh silly Jason, Kiera doesn’t hang around the police station, that would imply she was an agent working within the system rather than a random loose cannon. He meets Carlos instead to pass on the essential information “I think we have freelancers” which is nicely random and cryptic.

Alec is out with his house mate and some friends and his house mate is telling him all the wonderful amazing things about a new drug that lets you relive and experience memories – real and fictional ones – in vivid detail. Alec is the only one of his friends who doesn’t take it and they drive off with their house mate, their drugged house mate, in the driver’s seat.

One crash later and a slightly battered Alec is getting a lift home from Kiera. Kiera tries to lecture him which he doesn’t accept, but she also says the drug, Flash, is actually made with knowledge from the future and shouldn’t be around for decades yet; originally used to treat Alzheimer’s but people get lost in their own lives.

In prison, meanwhile, Julian gets a visit from his mother with books, his dad’s diaries and hailing him as a hero in light of recent corporate scandal exposes she says was prompted by his actions, though he doesn’t accept that he was more than a tool.

At the police station, Kiera tells the boss man Inspector Dillon and Carlos all about Flash – which is totally in her non-existent remit of “oh hey, interesting random crime, I’m gonna call it Liber8 and get involved!” that this police force accepts for some bizarre reason. Her excuse for why Flash is Liber8? Because Sonya has medical knowledge… yeah by that logic you could blame it on Medecins Sans Frontières. Anyway, they’ll co-ordinate with the drug squad rather than, y’know, letting the drug squad do its job.

In the prison, Julian has a new friend to keep him safe, Sonya’s Coalition Kings will protect him from the Aryan nationalists he annoyed last week.

On to Kellog’s boat and a massive great big product placement for Garmin. Kiera accuses Kellog of peddling drugs using her “who is capable of making this drug – MUST BE THEM!” deductive nonlogic. Kellog points out he’s actually really really rich now and doesn’t have to stoop to drug dealing – hence the boat.  He responds by not-quite taunting her about his business overture to Alec – she’s furious and assumes it’s for revenge against her. He reminds her not everything is about her, he’s rich, he wants to be richer and he knows Alec is a super-genius awesome investment – simples! She declares that exploiting 18 year old Alec is immoral (only she can do that!) and Alec needs to fulfil his destiny – and really if you were still backing this character, the mere fact she can say “fulfil his destiny” with a straight face should be sufficient reason to drop her.

Before more melodramatic pronouncements, Alec, using his super-psychic computer skills, has found a multiple shooting before the police.

At the crime scene there are 6 dead bodies with guns near them, all the bodies are Coalition Kings. While Dillon and Carlos discuss a gang war and how this may bring the already shaken city to its knees, Kiera does her brain computer thing and declares that only one King had a chance to shoot and all of them were killed by one person from one position with super-soldier skills before the others had time to shoot. Which points to Liber8’s Travis, of course, who just escaped from prison. They put 2 and 2 together and realise that Sonya has the Kings and Travis is killing the Kings – that means Liber8 is fighting itself.

I love how she performs this incredible forensic feat and beyond the odd “that’s impossible!” everyone totally accepts her version of events (even while declaring it impossible!). No “how do you know?” no “the forensic team hasn’t even checked bullet trajectories yet!” Nope, Kiera has spoken, this is good enough.

To Sonya and Lucas and he doesn’t think she’s taking Travis’s threat serious enough – she rejects that given she’s working with gangsters which goes against her – and Liber8’s – every value. She wants a non-violent solution and Lucas points out they tried that. Sonya says Kogame’s message was that ideas are stronger than guns - that’s how you beat a stronger opponent. Lucas says yes, but then he blew up a building.

Which really kind of combines to show how shoddily Liber8 has been portrayed – because they have to make this group the villains so Kiera is the good guy, they had to make them do things that didn’t make a lot of sense like blow up buildings because otherwise, when it comes down to morality, causes and end goals, Liber8 is blatantly in the right.

Kiera goes to see Jason playing 3 different chess games against 3 different opponents and he tells her about Freelancers that are after him. Freelancers are time travellers protecting the timeline/abusing the timeline (depending on who you ask); he blames major, sudden advances in technology on their interference and Mr. Escher (who again?) is another Freelancer. They’re after him because they can only operate if no-one knows about them. Kiera sees a chance to go with them since they can travel back and forth but Jason warns her she will have changed, she won’t be the same person when she returns home. Oh and while maintaining the conversation, Jason continues playing chess and wins at least one game.

At the police station, Dillon is getting tetchy about the drugs deaths and Betty has a lead on a high level Coalition King called Gabriel but Kiera’s worried – if they can track him, so can Travis

Speaking of, he and Jazz talk about the fight, Jazz doesn’t think it will end until either Sonya or Travis is dead and more lamenting about not being able to end it quickly.

Alec goes to see his friend Nadia in the hospital and asks her what Flash is like. She talks about how it completely recreates a memory, as if you’re back there entirely. She thinks she chose the memory but isn’t sure. Alec wants to know so he can better understand what his dad told him before he died. She says he could use flash to see the memory, but the drug may not be trustworthy – her visions were too perfect, too good, too idealised and you may end up seeing what you wish were true rather than what was true.

Carlos and Kiera meet Gabriel and try to convince him to co-operate, that working with terrorists is foolish and that more of his men will die. Gabriel isn’t exactly open and fluffy and willing to work with them. As they drive off, Kiera shoots Gabriel’s car with a tracking chip.

They follow them to a clandestine meeting with Sonya where Gabriel is very Unhappy by the people Travis have killed. Carlos wants to call for backup but Sonya leaving prompts Kenya to move in now.


Kiera and Carlos pick off Coalition Kings one by one as bullets fly. Carlos takes a glancing hit or a hit to a bullet proof vest and at the end just saves her life. Or her from being shot anyway. But Sonya has escaped while they were fighting.

Sonya returns to Lucas and she is done getting her hands dirty. It is by example and principles and inspiring their followers that their cause out lives them. They will no longer deal with criminals or those willing to steal from or exploit the people they’re trying to save and sacrifice should only be a last resort. Lucas disagrees – you need to crack eggs to make an omelette and he who will not yield to reason will yield to “persuasion”. That is Travis’s lesson; she hands him his shotgun and asks what he’ll do when Travis comes to “persuade” him?

Travis is meeting with his own gang, the rivals of the Coalition Kings. Travis has a message – there’s enough room in the city for all the gangs, time to make peace. So he says on behalf of all the gang heads. And how can he speak for them all? Because he has a case full of the severed heads of all the gang heads. He calls on all the gangs to unite, they have disagreements, all they have to do is come to him and they can work it out peacefully – united the gangs will own the city.

At home, Alec takes a dose of Flash to remember his past. He remembers a man arguing with his mother – and it’s Jason.

Kiera and Alec rebuild their relationship some more and Kiera asks him to research Escher, not trust Kellog and to not keep secrets from her which are none of her damn business.

In the prison, Julian’s Coalition King bodyguard gets shanked. Julian’s ok though – because he was shanked by the Syndicate who has been told by Travis to keep Julian safe. Are they actually fighting and killing each other for the right to protect Julian?

Back to the future and Kiera sees her sister dance on the edge of a rooftop, high on drugs. She talks about their father, how he wanted her to be perfect before saying that at least he has Kiera – then she jumps

I have a feeling we’re developing into “good Liber8” with Sonya and “bad Liber8” with Travis. Which may introduce some nuance into a show that is still really simplistic in its politics. I’d actually rather they delve into that more than introduce odd unexplained asides with Alec, Kellog’s random randomness or the Freelancers and whatever they mean or are.