Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Continuum, Season 2, Episode 10: Second Wave

In the future, in prison, Travis and Chen meet, discussing life, death, beliefs and doing things that go against your beliefs; which Travis calls part of being a soldier. It’s before their execution and Travis makes some ominous pronouncements about Kagame and Theseus.

In Alec’s lair, Alec hasn’t entirely forgotten all about Kiera’s brush with being a murderer and endorsement of torture and they talk about not just finding Liber8 but also Gardiner who has disappeared (recap on Gardiner – who was the guy who was suspicious of Kiera and ended up investigating the Freelancers and their stealing of the bodies of time travellers as well as killing each other off). She also wants to add Julian to this huge project of illegal scans and searches through Alec’s computers. She also insists she didn’t hurt him so that makes her a good person (you hunted him down, had to be talked down from murdering him – oh and watched and helped people torture him. Yes, Kiera, this is who you are). Alec doesn’t seem to be especially impressed by this – nor the fact she cut off his communication and wouldn’t listen to him. Further examinations are put off by Alec’s computers spotting Jasmine Garza

Elsewhere, Sonya meets with Kellog who is trying to get her suspicious of Escher (Escher is another time traveller who is a big corporate bigwig in the future and is trying to ensure his company will still be big and powerful and has tapped Dillon). At the same time Lucas is seeing Curtis – who died a while ago – this seems to be a continuation of the hallucinations he had last episode.

Following up on Alec’s lead, Kiera and Carlos go raid Garza while she’s in the middle of an arms deal – and Kiera uses super tech to stun her and her associate. They end up with Garza in custody. In the police station Dillon lets Kiera take the interrogation – and turns off the cameras and recordings. Carlos is extremely uncomfortable with this highly illegal and deeply unethical turn of events; but Cameron is fine with that.

Cameron goes in and beats Garza, slamming her head into the table. Garza responds by talking about Alec, about the message he sent and about Kiera’s purpose – which she won’t share with Kiera. Kiera loses it and starts strangling Garza and Carlos charges in, grabs her and pulls her off. Carlos pulls Kiera from the room while Garza tells him there’s a military chip in Kiera’s head that makes her “loco” and suggests that maybe they start thinking for themselves.

Kiera leaves Carlos to handle Garza but realises by what Garza said about the chips, she must think all CMRs are military – which means Travis may have his own CMR. Which means Alec can activate it and maybe find where it is.

Travis is beginning to feel them messing with his chip and has his gangs looking for Garza – especially with the police acting like a private army rather than a police force. And Alec is joined by Emily (his girlfriend, working for Escher) and he shows off his super shiny technology to her when she plays ignorant and praises his brilliance; she’s also got a new phone for him (oh I wouldn’t trust that). Emily leaves and he turns on Travis’s CMR – causing a jolt of pain for Travis – and allowing Alec to track him.

It lets him track Travis, but doesn’t it also give Travis the huge advantages of a CMR?

As Kiera moves in on Travis she comes across a rally against a corporation threatening low income housing. On the edge of the crowd she spots 2 men – Freelancers who stole the bodies of the time travellers. Kiera plans to lure them round the corner into a trap – which is when Alec also tries to narrow down where Travis is. He sends out a pulse which hurts Travis and Kiera – and then his CMR comes online – and he can hear Alec and Kiera – and they can hear him. They have a conference call! Alec quickly disconnects them – Kiera worries Travuis could use the link to track her or Alec – but then the Freelancers arrive and attack Kiera.

They’re skilled fighters though, Kiera is better. It’s actually a decently choreographed fight scene because, while there is a moment in the beginning where they take turns, she generally fights them by pulling them into each other’s way and using each one to shield the other – rather than the usual “wait your turn” ode of multiple combatants we see on TV. She knocks them both down and then runs, using the stealth mode on her bodysuit; which they turn off with their own future technology. She runs back to the crowd

Where, on the podium, Julian steps up. He’s initially booed as a terrorist, but he invokes a long line of freedom fighters and quickly turns the crowd in his favour. When a large group of riot police appear, he urges the crowd to form a line, linking arms, chanting “rebel”.

In the crowd, the Freelancers find Kiera and one tries to grab her, but she injects him with one of her future techs instead (in the future, she used this to inject a criminal that would cause him pain until he arrived at a police station). It knocks him unconscious. Kiera can’t contact Alec, she is disconnected – so to get out decides to throw a rock at the riot police, which leads them to charge the non-violent protestors. Kiera pulls on a gas mask as tear gas comes down – and the leader of the crowd (Rebecca) points to the second Freelancer as a cop to set the crowd to push him away while leading Kiera to safety.

Carlos questions Garza, using the angle of Travis attacking the precinct when they now shoot to kill and she throws back that Carlos is part of a police state. He leaves - and she gets to picking her cuffs.

Emily reports to Escher, giving him all the information she has about Alec, his technology; but Emily has developed feelings for Alec and believes in what he’s doing – she doesn’t want to spy on him anymore. A great line follows, he says he doesn’t pay her to think, she counters she isn’t paid to be a zombie. He still keeps her as a spy and tells her to get him out of his lab and go to dinner that night – claiming he’s doing it to protect Alec

Kiera arrives at Rebecca’s safe house- and Julian tells everyone she’s one of his father’s killers. This leads to Kiera being tied to a chair and Julian asking why she was ready to murder him (she says it doesn’t matter and that he’s alive - which has to be the most pathetic answer ever). He asks her why everyone is talking about the future as if it had already happened – her and Kagame. And she pushes the idea that he can change the future, which is a bit late from her. Alec is also still out of contact with her.

Rebecca gives Julian a gun and encourages him to kill Kiera. He takes her out to the big crowd of his followers and tells them that the corporations sent an assassin (a reasonable interpretation of Kiera’s presence). He points a gun at Kiera and asks if she’s willing to die by her own sword – and pulls the trigger. Nothing happens, there are no bullets in it. He tells the crowd you can’t make a man listen with a bullet – it takes words, ideas; it takes education and the corporations cannot destroy their ideas. 3 points for an awesome moment and speech. He tells his followers to untie her.

At the police station, Dillon sends in his pet torturer, Martinez and Carlos tells Dillon that he’s worried and uncomfortable about what’s happening, but he drops it when Dillon tells him to “get off that fence you’re sitting on and do your job.”

Travis’s gang finds where Garza is been kept and Travis sets off. In an excellent line they ask him if he’s just going to waltz in and get her – Travis says no. Gaza will waltz right out. When he leaves, the gang he’s tapped starts plotting against him, using the way his chip has been acting up as evidence of erratic behaviour to undermine him.

Martinez goes to question Garza and she’s successfully picked her cuffs. Martinez is efficiently and impressively pinned to the desk with his own gun pointed at his face.

Emily takes Alec on the date and she’s clearly very nervous and hiding something. And Alec is silly and insecure and sweet  and just makes Emily’s job 8 gazillion times harder. And Escher joins them at their table – asking what Alec wants. Not money, but what he wants his legacy to be, how he wants to be remember – and leaves his card for Alec to consider it. Very dramatic – and all witnessed by Kellog – including Emily agonising while Alec goes to answer a call from Kiera. Emily goes outside and is confronted by Escher who points out she followed his lead and pretended to be a stranger, if Alec finds out otherwise he won’t trust her. He asks again about what’s in the lab and, again, she doesn’t mention the shard of the time travel device.

At the police station, Graze uses Martinez as a hostage to get to the lift, she takes the lift down while all the police run down and plan to seal the building – Garza texts Travis. The lift reaches the bottom – and there’s a gunshot; the police come down to find Martinez’s body. Yeah, not missing him. The police realise there’s access to neighbouring buildings through tunnels under the lift shaft and move out to check them – while Travis moves to meet Gaza

But back at Alec’s HQ, Alec realises Kiera’s chip has been drained and prepares to charge it – which will cause a painful power surge; doing so hurts Kiera and Travis. While Travis is injured, the Freelancers come out of nowhere and drug and kidnap Garza

Back in the lab Kiera is worried about the Freelancer’s ability to shut down her system so easily and Alec realises they’re from an even more distant future than Kiera. She and Alec also rebond a little, re-establishing their friendship.

Lucas is mainlining oxycotin but it doesn’t make his hallucination of Curtis go away; Curtis points out all the times that the others have lied to Lucas – how does Lucas know Curtis is dead? Because people told him? And he wants to “enlighten” Lucas.

At the police station Carlos tells Kiera about Garza being kidnapped – and asks Kiera why the Freelancers are interested in time travellers; Carlos seems to be carrying a whole boatload of stress and frustration.

And Travis is walking around with a working CMR. We move to the future – and Curtis thanks Travis for giving him something – not hope; but the knowledge that his fight isn’t over. How long was Curtis playing his own game? Between Curtis’s fingers is a black dot tattoo – the mark of the Freelancers.

The problem with Continuum, even with its massive strides forwards this season, is that I feel there is too much going on. There’s Escher – and his minions Dillon and Emily. There’s the Freelancers, related to Gardiner’s investigation. There’s Travis and his Liber8. There’s Sonya and her Liber8. There’s Kellog and his own agenda.  Then there’s Garza and Lucas, each separately seemingly to play their own games. There’s Julian who seems to be his own agent but, through Rebecca, is connected to Travis. Then there’s Carlos and Betty somewhat caught in the middle of it all and not knowing where to jump.

Frankly, part of the reason I’ve been so down on Continuum is the simple effort of trying to keep up with all of these characters – as well as my dislike of Kiera and the previous (but nicely changing) presentation of her side as the good guys. Now they have introduced a whole lot of grey – yes Liber8 is ruthless in achieving their goals, but so is Kiera – and when you see the brutal, truly evil dystopian police state she is protecting, she resembles more some horrendous secret police than any kind of force for justice. We see a lot more richness in the world with each episode.

I also didn’t see Julian fitting the role as leader – but impressively both the excellent writing and his acting has pulled it off. I can see it

I also quite like how Continuum has tried to draw the audience into the ongoing debate between the corporations and Liber8 – especially with their campaign here and on twitter. It’s a relatively new nifty element that we’ve seen most strongly in Defiance, pulling the audience into affecting the plot, expressing active opinions and engaging the story. It’s an excellent – and actually fun – marketing campaign

As should surprise no-one, I’m definitely #Liber8 Now.