Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Continuum, Season 3, Episode 4: A Minute Changes Everything

Time for another insight to the future to remind us what a terrible terrible terrible place it is and further make us question why Kiera was such a big fan of the system. Kiera rescues a child from a burning building with her nifty shield suit – but  there’s another little girl in need of rescue. She starts to go back to save her when her boss says, basically, forget the child there’s some rich guys needs rescuing! And the fire-brigade is delayed because they’re at another fire with even richer people who are, obviously, far far more important.

Back to the past and Carlos is all kinds of conflicted and tortured and decides to meet up with Julian Randall who is a naughty boy for various reasons and in future is going to be some kind of Messiah figure against the corporations. Carlos is all conflicted – apparently about whether people can change (does he think Julian needs redemption?) and he orders Julian to keep his head down – something he links to T-shirt with Julian’s face on it in a classic revolutionary style that are apparently becoming popular.

From there to a big party full of teenagers and young adults who are great Liber8 fans. It’s pretty non-threatening, music and dancing and the police arrive to shut it down. There’s an argument, the students are outraged, one of the cops pulls a baton and violence breaks out and the campus police get their arses handed to them.

To Dillon’s police station where Dillon announces the university has responded to Student outrage over their gathering being shut down by shutting down any future gatherings, leaflets with extra profiling of “suspicious” students. Because just because you’re professors doesn’t make you smart. Carlos snarks away at what an awful idea this is. Kiera speaks up – how could Carlos think of letting them tear down the system – and Carlos responds with some actual perspective. There’s also a gun missing because one of the campus cops lost his – Carlos questions why, in the name of common sense, was he carrying a gun. Kiera, of course, speaks up – fearful cops carrying guns in case of escalation is a good thing (uh-huh) and she tells Carlos that campuses is where it all starts with Theseus rising.

When Carlos goes to pick up the list of people to harass off Betty’s desk, he finds she has a phone SIM card taped to the bottom of her stapler.

Time for some drama – Emily drops in on Alec in his nifty new lab at Prion and Alec is very very bitter and angry about the secrets she kept, with the video of her violently attacking people playing in the background. She responds by hitting at his sheltered existence – he just hasn’t found the part of himself that will do anything to survive. Though he hits back that she knows nothing of his experiences and feelings (he was involved in an armed siege, for example) before she leaves because he has a meeting. A board meeting – which he attends and is awkward and is quickly shuffled out the room to go do some research while the board handles matters.

Kellogg is there to poke Alec while he’s down and offer his services for dealing with the board. He hands over the research he’s dug up on the board members and points out they’re bullying because they have a weak hand and are trying to make Alec back down.

Carlos and Kiera go to the campus where they’re not popular (and Kiera declares the whole thing so unthreatening), and likely to become less so when Kiera runs down and chokes a student who she has seen with Theseus in the past. After checking the CCTV they find absolutely nothing to hold the girl – or anyone else on especially since the college isn’t pressing charges thanks to a Professor who happily comes to talk to them and isn’t impressed by Kiera’s “AAARGH TERRORISTS”, pointing out that an awful lot of groups have been called terrorists over the years. He adds as well that, in the name of combating Liber8, the powers that be are becoming more and more oppressive.

Kiera is amazed at all the complaining and Carlos points out with the tanking economy and people coming down on them for merely mentioning Liber8, that the students actually have a legitimate complaint.

And, unsurprisingly, all the attempts to make them shut up has provoked another protest by the students against censorship and silencing. There are smoke cylinders, loud noises, firecrackers, police moving in, camera phones… in response to the firecracker one of the cops screams gun and just shoots into the smoke, killing one of the students.

In the aftermath, Carlos questions to cop about the shooter he saw – and it’s really clear that he saw no such thing. Kiera looks at everyone’s hands and realises no-one has any powder residue. Carlos mentions parallels to the Kent State shooting – only to realise Kiera’s future has completely edited the event into a “failed student revolution”

The media tracks down Julian to try and get a soundbite – asking where his outrage is. He expects them to twist it but asks “where’s yours?”

Kiera and Carlos return to report to Dillon with the increasing evidence that there was no shooter and the police killed an innocent, though Kiera is holding out. They have no mobile phone footage because Piron has a new device that uses GPS to cut off all cameras in phones when the police move on protests – and they used it. Because that’s not creepy or suspicious at all. Dillon sends them back with more names and a job to “clear their man.” And Carlos avoids taking Betty’s help, a little suspicious of her.

Kiera goes to sit with the cop who fired and he asks how many people he killed – three. Of course, before he has any kind of debriefing, Dillon wants to talk to him. Kiera then goes on to explain her philosophy to Carlos “the system protects the people, so to protect the people you have to protect the system.” Uh-huh. Carlos asks about the truth – pointing out everything Kiera did in 2077 was recorded, they don’t have the same certainty (they also miss the part where the police shut down any attempt to record the protest). Carlos pushes her to question what she believes in – slogans or what she feels.

The journalist continues to follow Julian around, eventually provoking him to make a statement – that the killer cop was a murderer under orders from Carlos – since Carlos had taken the time to drop in and tell him to keep quiet.

Betty finds a youtube video a college student posted with a police baton they assume he took from the cops and shows it to Dillon. Kiera and Carlos raid his dorm room, waking him up and brandishing guns. They find the baton – and they find a gun in another student’s room, though the student professes ignorance. Kiera still believes that someone shot at the cop and it’s their fault the cop killed 3 people. The gun has been fired twice.

At the police station, Inspector Nora Harris is back investigating the shooting – and notes that after Dillon’s briefing the killer cop’s story is very very very neat – as are the other police witnesses and their identical stories. She notes how wonderfully “tidy” everything is with a whole lot of sarcasm that she also includes Carlos and Kiera in. Kiera realises she saw the suspected shooter at the demonstration – and he had no gunshot residue on his hands. In a flip, Carlos says he has his statements that corroborate (all police) but Kiera, whatever her love of the system, knows the man is innocent (and has just been told how neat those statements are). But Carlos can’t exactly use “my super tech says so).

Back to Alec who pulls an all nighter trying to get up to date with Piron, even as Jacqueline, his dad’s former lawyer/assistant/whatever tries to reassure him and encourage him to sleep. He goes on to call someone for help.

Julian has an interview with the nice journalist woman and goes on TV accusing Kiera and Carlos of murder and rejecting the idea that the killer cop is a hero. The journalist loves it – ratings gold.

A conflicted Carlos goes to commune with Kiera’s body (Other Kiera) and talks about his problems with trusting new Kiera or even knowing what he’s doing or why.

While Kiera talks to the professor who throws in a quick lecture about why the police and universities needs to be free from corporate control, before taking her to see the student leader of the rally who tells her he found the gun. He brought it to the professor who dumped it in the quad, called the police and waited for them to come get it. The police took it. The police planted it. And the professor has footage to show the police take it.

Next day Kiera delivers her news to Carlos that the suspect, Batista, is innocent. But Carlos is more concerned by what they found in Rebecca’s phone – an untraceable number she talked to a lot, and Betty as a mole.

Carlos and Kiera confront Betty and they hand her to Dillon. While Carlos and Dillon question Betty, Kiera talks to the killer cop about how terrible it is when police lie. And gets an admission from him – he was confused, there was no gun and he shot first. And she adds the gun plant. Dillon is furious – because Nora is going to think he orchestrated it – Carlos wonders that himself which just annoys Dillon further

Despite that, they’re all happy to have Cantor come (which Dillion thinks is “throwing him to the wolves” um… responsibility for the deaths you caused isn’t being “thrown to the wolves”). Then they can focus on what matters far more to them than 3 deaths and a cover up – Betty.

She’s not going to gaol, they’re going to monitor everything she does, hide that she’s a mole – and use her as bait for Liber8. Carlos feels betrayed (which, on top of losing Original Kiera, is not surprising).

Away from the police station, it’s over to Piron’s board room. And Alec speaking up with Dillon’s support, to speed up several of their military contracts and hand some of them to the police to test – Dillon speaks up since he sees police as soldiers needing new weapons to face civil unrest and Piron thinks they’ll be the cutting edge of the oppressive police market! Because that’s not horrible at all

Jacqueline complements Alec for making an ally out of Dillon. But she also complicates things by showing him footage of his “experiment” in the anti-matter lab which is stopping the insurance pay out. That “Experiment” is alternate Alec travelling back in time.

And Julian goes to confront Carlos this time about the latest trainwreck of a police case. He calls Carlos a hypocrite for his apparent beliefs clashing with his clear actions and that future conversations will be far less friendly. He doesn’t seem even slightly menacing. How many takes did they have to do which had Carlos fall about laughing?

Cara turns up at the vigil for the three dead students – and so does the killer cop. She tells him he’s doing the right thing being there, personally I think it’s in the worst possible taste. But she’s rejecting her previous “the system needs defending” ideal and replacing it with a heavy dose of dedication to the truth. But killer cop has changed his mind – he’s been told if he says nothing the whole thing can be ruled inconclusive and he can get away with the killing.

Flashback to the future – and Kiera saved the child! And her superior is annoyed because saving a child destroyed “16 quarters of sustained growth.” Which means more training for Kiera – and the cost for that being added to her life debt. But as she walks by a line of her colleagues all extend their hands for her to hold as she walks behind them, hidden from their superior.

And the two Alecs meet – Original Alec and Future Alec. Or maybe, looking at how they’ve been dressed, it’s Corporate Alec vs Free Alec. And Free Alec won’t tell Corporate Alec anything and they draw lines in the sand – they don’t like each other at all. After they’re showdown Free Alec goes back to a hotel – where he’s staying with Emily. She’s chosen her Alec.

This episode, even while continuing to show that Kiera was conflicted in the past, they’ve also remembered that Kiera was a willing participant and an avid defender of that system through season 1 and 2. After showing her conflicts with the system, they’ve backed away from the idea she was so disapproving and reminding us that, yes, she did fully buy in, she was a willing participant, she did defend her future dystopia even if now she’s having doubts and conflict – even if then she wasn’t always happy about what she did and what she was part of. It’s better to see the conflict and how people, even decent people who have doubts, can continually defend a system they know is wrong.

 I am glad we’re going this way and showing the future dystopia in its full scope and what the implications of a corporate republic are. It adds a lot more power to Liber8 and really raises the profile of that whole storyline – which is the more interesting storyline Continuum has.

Kiera also has an odd idea of “where it all starts.” It doesn’t “all start” with the protestors and the rebels – it starts with the system that provokes the rebellion. I do like them also beginning to look at the ongoing corruption in the police department there –Dillon presents Nora as looking for scalps and throwing a killer to the wolves – he even focused on clearing the killer’s name not finding the truth. And, of course, the killing is covered up. The descent has already happened.

Also, I kind of do not even slightly care about Emily and Alec.

I do like the questioning of her mantra because the question of the truth adds the necessary extra dynamics to the motto. The system protects the people so they should protect the system. But if you need lies to do it, if you have to deny the truth from the people then what are you protecting? Are you protecting the system from the people? And are you feeding individual people to the system?