Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Continuum, Season 3, Episode 3: Minute to Win It

Start in the future, with a roving firefight between Kiera’s squad of enforcers and Liber8 – it a resembles a war more than anything. During the fight she runs across their informant – but they don’t need him any more so her bosses order her to murder him; when she balks they use the CMR’s mind-control override (which is apparently a thing) to make her do it.

In the present, Kiera consults Catherine, head of the Freelancers, voicing suspicion of Curtis (who tried to kill her in the other time line) and worry about the killer of her double still being out there. Catherine is happy, though, that the newly rejiggled police force is increasingly resembling the one Kiera remembers from the future – a sign the time line is on the “right” track. Towards a dystopia.

In the mental institution, Lucas seems to have got better. And he’s also reminding us he’s an utter genius by repurposing random stuff around. His inventions cause rather a large amount of chaos, mind control a dog and allow him to escape to where Garza is waiting with a getaway car.

Carlos and Kiera investigate the escape and find that at least some of the parts were smuggled into Lucas – and that he was experimenting on cockroaches. And Carlos is still confused as to which Kiera is which.

Meanwhile men with big guns and big, ominous looking electronic vests rob a bank (and spray out the CCTV cameras in the vault). There’s an electronic buzzing around one of the robbers and he drops his gun in shock and starts reassuring a hostage. She grabs for the gun and he snaps back into violent robber mode.

As they leave the bank one of the robbers walks into something which seems to fry his circuits as well; only this one becomes even more aggressive – and then he pushes the button on the bomb he’s wearing (screaming “no” as he does)… the button doesn’t just make his bomb explode – but all the robbers’ bombs go up as well.

On the plus side, the vests don’t see to do any damage to anyone but the robbers themselves. Carlos and Kiera are called in and apparently this is a second bank robbery with respectable looking thieves in suicide vests (the thieves in the last robbery were identified as white collar criminals). They try to figure out why the thieves exploded themselves before leaving when they were definitely getting away with it, though Dillon points out that in the last bank a number of safety deposit holders with the bank are claiming on insurance: after all, how do you prove something wasn’t stolen when only the owners know what’s in the boxes? They do find a Liber8 connection.

To Liber8 and Lucas who is using drugs to control himself, much to Travis’s disapproval. But they do have safety deposit boxes from the bank – apparently containing ill defined by compromising secrets of certain corporations.

At the bank Carlos and Kiera focus on the boxes – and realise that CCTV cameras were obscured only in the vault to hide what they were doing, not their identity. The bank reluctantly gives up the identity of those who held boxes with them. On to question them – but the company they talk to is quick to lie and pretend nothing was in the box. Which seems to be common – half the companies are claiming for losses without proof, the other half are pretending their boxes were empty.

Kiera and Carlos go to the morgue – and I love the pathologist already, he offers pop rocks to people over the dead bodies (and a little respect for Kiera for accepting – even if she is slightly traumatised by pop rocks). The bombs were designed to implode – the blast directed inwards.

Alec – ignorant Alec, has a meeting at Piron along with his mother. The dead Escher’s lawyer reveals that Escher was Alec’s father (which is news to this Alec). His mother confirms this while Alec is all garbled and shocked – so she’s the one who asks about his inheritance: a controlling interest in Piron. Once they’ve battled the board of directors to make sure they don’t relegate him to a silent partnership; Alec is more concerned with the papers he’s given, including Emily’s real name and criminal record.

Kiera takes the chip from the autopsy to Alec who is surprised by the cerebral fluid all over it which they speculate is a Liber8 mind control device (basically), which they have more than enough expertise to pull off. Kiera also talks a bit about the future – including that robots, cyborgs et al were all destroyed in the future because Liber8 hacked the system and turned them into weapons.  And Alec talks about his dad and being the head of Piron – which is, of course, not the future Kiera comes from. Sadtech (Alec’s company) and Piron are separate businesses. Alec hasn’t become Escher’s biggest fan either – seeing a man who tried to insert himself into Alec’s life, tried to control Alec and never once felt the need to reveal he was Alec’s father. Kiera convinces him not to just sell Piron straight away.

Liber8 goes out and “recruits” some new robbers.

Considering the case, Kiera is sure Liber8 must be looking for something suspicious and Alec talks about back up encrypted hard drives. Also that a number of high level corporate officials are visiting the Bregenzer bank and clearing out their boxes just in case. Kiera suggests demanding to know what they’re hiding. Because the fact they won’t tell them AFTER the items are stolen makes it really likely they’ll tell before?

As Kiera leaves, Emily arrives and Kiera has a huge “happy to see you” moment because, of course, in her time line Emily is dead. But Alec is less pleased to see her and confronts her about spying on him. Angst and sadness time… She leaves sobbing – and is approach by Alternate Alec. Who tries to explain time travel to her and alternate realities and… yeah that doesn’t go well. Until second Alec approaches and she starts hyperventilating. Alternate Alec is leaving Emily with the choice of which Alec to choose. Original Alec catches up with Emily to explain that yes he’s betrayed and no he doesn’t trust her – but he also knows his father was a colossal arsehole who used people – so he just needs a little space to get his head in order. Which is… a very mature rational decision. I’m shocked.

Alec goes to his father’s office where he runs into Escher’s lawyer who tries to convince him to take on his inheritance. She shows him the laboratories and the super duper tech they’re researching

Kiera still tries to get the corporate people to reveal their secrets – just as another robbery happens while she and Carlos are inside the bank. The executive Kiera was talking too recognises one of the robbers as an employee. Along with everyone else, Kiera and Carlos are herded in as hostages while the other robbers hit the vault. Kiera notices wires from the vests into the robbers’ brains and realises they’re being controlled – and if they pull the wires it will stop them (or kill them).

Kiera manages to sneak away, evading even Liber8 watching everything through the mind controlled people’s eyes. But as Kiera gets closer to the robbers, the signal from her CMR interferes with Liber8’s video feed – and they get a feed showing Kiera in her suit. Liber8 up the ante and we have a firefight. Kiera and Carlos disconnect the wires of the 2 remaining robbers – having a little extra tragedy because one of the robbers cannot walk – but Liber8’s invention gave him back the use of his legs.

The aftermath seems to be solved – but then Kiera notices a policeman (who was at all the scenes) talking to a bank employee who was also hacked. They get the employee but the policeman Leaves and they follow, hoping to get to Liber8

The policeman passes the bag he got to Garza and she returns a bag full of money. Carlos and Kiera step in – no the police isn’t hacked, he’s just good ol’ bribed. Garza and Kiera fight – and Garza pins Kiera down at gunpoint – but doesn’t shoot. She considers them even, hits Kiera and leave. Kiera sees she’s dropped something shiny from the bag though – and stops Carlos who is now brutally beating a restrained suspect because he wants me to hate him.

Kiera takes the item to Catherine and the Freelancers because she doesn’t recognise it

Liber8 loves all the information they’ve got which they’re sure they can use to damage the corporations. But Travis is unhappy – both with how their actions will have hurt their reputations and the vileness of turning people into things; though Lucas thinks some people deserve it.

The executive from one of the companies approaches the man who couldn’t walk and offers him the Liber8 box, which he somehow got his hands on through no doubt nefarious means.

Alec is warming up to owning all his father’s shiny stuff – when he finds another file on Emily. This showing her vast criminal record and a video file of her brutally beating someone while in a cell.

It’s interesting to see the extra elements of dystopia the show is bringing in because it was something we talked about in season 1. But I almost feel like it’s going too far now; it was already clearly a dystopian to anyone who hadn’t bought the party line or who could see beyond the façade. The death of the informant was just unnecessary to add to that and seemed more like they had to go all out for super-evil more than anything. Especially since they’re depicting Kiera-as-she-was-then as being clearly uncomfortable with some of the things the state made her do which doesn’t gel with her character as it was in season 1.

We’re also getting a love triangle between Alec, Emily and Alec which is slightly twisty and I would be interested if the whole show isn’t already so overflowingly full that it really doesn’t need another mini storyline.

Is there a reason why we had Carlos beat the restrained suspect until his hand was covered in blood? Was there one story reason beyond trying to make Kiera “we-kill-suspects-in-the-future” seem like a good brutal fascist enforcer? Are we going to see consequences for Carlos brutally beating a suspect?

Is there going to be an ongoing theme of what people do to support their causes and ends-justifying the means – or is this going to fizzle out? And if the Liber8 storyline is raising up again, at what point do we see the conflict between Kiera restoring the timeline and the evil future that will create?