Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Continuum, Season 3, Episode 5: A Minute to Air

As ever we start with a flashback to the future (which sounds so wrong) in which Travis, a fugitive, pays a dangerous visit back to his wife and daughter (romantically nearly giving his wife a heart attack). They’re all very touching together – but him being there leads the Protectors right to them and ultimately causes Travis’s capture.

To the present where activists unfurl a banner on an office building owned by Fermatas – a major arms dealers. Carlos isn’t impressed by the idea from Kiera that they should get involved in this – a little civil disobedience is hardly exclusive to Liber8 and she can’t decide any and all protests are Liber8 covert actions. He hangs up on her

Which is when Curtis (he was a Liber8 but actually a Freelancer) pops up to say “hey Kiera, need a friend?” since Carlos and Alec are not all super happy with her at the moment (hmmm… must be something about joining secret cults and upholding fascist states. Funny that). Kiera responds to this overture of friendship by reporting him to Catherine (Freelancer head) because she suspects Shenanigans. After a brief comment on how they recruit people and Catherine seeing herself as a mother figure, she really clumsily dodge’s Kiera’s question about what’s behind an Ominous Door. Seriously “none of your damned business” would have been more subtle.

At the police station Betty, the new mole, gets a call from Lucas that Dillon won’t let her answer. Wow, someone needs to explain to him what the purpose of a double agent actually is.

Now for an extra twist, they’ve arrested one of the activist who unfurled the banner – and it’s Dillon’s daughter Christine. And she’s really not happy with her father or his brutal, police state tactics. Unlike previous suspects he was happy to torture, he pushes his daughter to demand a lawyer.

Of course, having a pro-Liber8 daughter leads to investigation, but now with Prion’s funding and the utter and complete corruption of the police force, Dillon cannot be removed, even by Inspector Nora. So it’s spin doctor time. And an argument with his, I presume, ex-wife who is very not happy with the corrupt Dillon for being so corrupt but not willing to help their daughter.

Over to Corporate Alec and Kellogg slithers over, sniffing for a job to join his team. C. Alec says no. And further he’s going to buy out Kellogg’s involvement in Sadtech and show him the door. Kellogg freaks more than a little and brings up a random book on corporate management (steamrolling) which, apparently Alec wrote. Or will write.

Anyway, Dillon’s spin involves and interview with Diana, the same journalist who interviewed Julian last episode. She’s certainly good at spin and manipulating people. The interview is pretty awful – Bolton focuses entirely on Dillon’s daughter and Nigel, her fellow interviewer, continually tries to talk about the corporate corruption and police failings and everyone ignores him.

And then Travis and the rest of Liber8 arrive, with guns. They shut down the tv feed, booby trap all the entrances. They want to make a broadcast (using satellite codes) which, outside, Kiera doesn’t understand. Liber8 has always been skilled at hacking into communications networks, this is unnecessary. They look at ways in, but Kiera wants to negotiate – not because she generally approves of that, but for Dillon. Carlos stamps on that – you don’t have VIPs in a hostage situation; they want to rescue everyone.

Inside we have some banter between Travis and Dillon, with Dillon trying to poke non-existent holes in Travis’s concept of freedom while Travis points out Dillon arrests people who dare to disagree – including his own daughter. And Travis shoots someone who speaks up in support of Liber8 in the leg because… reasons. He uses Diana to talk to Carlos over the phone, while scorning her and her show with simple reactionary soundbites rather than analysis as part of the problem. Dillon tries to take one of Liber8 guards hostage to make Travis deal – so Travis shoots the man Dillon grabbed. Dillon, you do not know the rules of this game, stop playing.

Carlos is having trouble getting the satellite codes – and Betty reveals why. The network is owned by Fermotass, the arms dealer – they bought the network after it produced a critical piece on them, muzzling the press to their control. They try to talk to Fermotass who, obviously, won’t help but Carlos reminds them of the safety deposit box they lost that Liber8 could still use against them.

With the codes, Travis makes his broadcast which seems… generic Liber8 speech.

Kiera infiltrates and sees the bombs that Liber8 has rigged the place with and makes a call to Alec for info – and Corporate Alec realises that Kiera thinks she’s talking to Free Alec – which also shows Kiera he knows there are two of them. Oopsie. Corporate Alec is not even slightly forgiving – when a partner betrays you, you buy them out or shut them down. He hangs up on her and cuts her off. Saying goodbye.

The problem is that the codes were bullshit – Travis thinks he broadcast, but he just uploaded. It hasn’t been broadcast. Carlos isn’t happy – when Travis finds out people will die – to which Fermotass offers their mercenaries to help. Uh-no.

Inside, Lucas discovers the truth and Travis lines up the hostages.

And Kiera creates her distraction, police go in, there’s smoke and alarms and gunfire and the hostages run, chased by Travis’s minions. While outside Carlos has Betty send the full (hacked) codes to try and save the hostages. Lucas uploads and passes the knowledge to Garza

Who is elsewhere and launches a raid against a base and steals a hard drive. The drive reveals massive espionage on the part of Fermotass, including against other corporations. Sensitive information that is now in Liber8’s hands. Including Piron.

At the studio, Travis’s message gets out, the hostages are safe and Travis and Lucas use their future tech to escape. Carlos and Kiera realise what Liber8 got and confront the Fermotass agent about the whole thing but he won’t tell them anything. Carlos snarls that they should just call them “Protectors” – like the Corporate Congress calls the police in the future. Kiera is very troubled by that line – but it’s another great sign that Carlos is not liking the future Kiera is from.

The next day, Diana produces a fluff piece on how wonderful Dillon is. While Kiera praises Carlos for being an excellent leader through the process.

And Dillon meets with his daughter – he’s using his daughter as a mole to get into Liber8. Though she is sympathetic to some of what Travis stands for – but she supports Dillon more. He leaves with her pretending to hate him for the cover story and Kiera goes to comfort him. Awwww.

Meanwhile Free Alec is having problems because Corporate Alec has cut off all his money. Emily is shocked how cruel Corporate Alec is but Free Alec points out the differences. He got to stay with Emily, the woman he loved and in a situation where her past wasn’t so jarring. Both of them lost their father – but Free Alec had the chance to learn that he didn’t actually like him that much.

Kellogg also clues into the two Alecs when Free Alec returns to his lab and knocks back his high quality whiskey. Kellogg is pissed about Alec’s time travel screwing everything up.

We close with another flashback to Travis saying goodbye to his daughter – apparently he intended to be captured. I think they’re supposed to be drawing comparisons with Dillon but it kind of falls flat.

There are elements of excellent commentary in Continuum - the interview of Dillon – everyone’s focusing on his daughter but completely ignoring the real criticism of corporate take over of the police. Something our own media does far too often, focus on a personal scandal rather than a systemic issue. And Travis’s criticism of the reactionary soundbite “news” station, even the corporate ownership of the media – all are excellent points. All need more development and focus. But I’m hopeful this may come; so long as it isn’t distracted

Needless to say, I’m Team!Liber8

Also, while Carlos pokes at the idea that anyone demonstrating against corporate dominance doesn’t make them Liber8, it would nice if the show would remember that as well.

Corporate Alec has transformed in an incredibly short time. I get their handwaving attempt to fast forward his character development, but it is a handwave because the development HAS fastforwarded.