Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Continuum, Season 3, Episode 8: So Do Our Minutes Hasten

I know Continuum has a theme going with these episode titles – but they’re really really struggling now.

Flashback time – Kiera and her fellow fascist storm trooper protectors go into an “illegal political meeting” with big guns; the locals are committing the dastardly crime of trying to preserve a historic building. And Kiera’s mother is part of the group. Kiera tries to get her out before she’s arrested, but mother is awesome and so much better than her daughter – and protests that Kiera isn’t the only one who gets to take a stand for what she believes in.

Oh awesome mother, how did you produce Kiera? She tells Kiera there are other ways to rebel against her mother – and it’s ok to be wrong but eventually you’ve got to own up.

To the present with Curtis calling Kiera to taunt her with his escape for random reasons. And on television both Julian and Dillon being interviewed on television by Diana the sound bites reporter. Dillon tries to justify selling out the police to Piron and further how he cannot possibly show his budget to the public. Of course, there’s absolutely no real challenge to Dillon’s corruption and Dillon uses his reputation as police chief to silence Julian.

To the board room of Fermitas with a man making a big corporate speech to his fellows – and then gas coming through the vents. They try to leave but every door is sealed – they collapse, coughing then into unconsciousness.

At Piron, Alec has his own speech to sell a new product – Halo. Something you wear that constantly monitors your health and body and updates the information to Piron servers to help treat diseases as soon as they’re detectable (and, of course, cache all kinds of data about you). To prove his invention does what he claims, Alec has a doubting board member put it on and it diagnoses many basics and colon cancer which he had 2 years ago. Though he says he’s in remission – so Alec hopes. He leaves abruptly. Another board member proposes 2 months funding though Alec says 2 months is not nearly long enough.

After the meeting Dillon praises Alec for his performance – because it was a lie. Halo doesn’t work, Alec check the man’s insurance file to discover the man’s cancer.

To the crime scene, Dillon, Kiera and extras, Dillon is sure that the dead board room was caused by Liber8 but Kiera realises it doesn’t make sense – not with the good PR Liber8 has been working on. Carlos is on another case (a whistleblower case with Sonmanto) – it’s just Kiera and Dillon.

Speaking of that whistleblower case, Betty shows Carlos that his whistleblower was in touch with Julian. Betty’s also happy to show off her ankle tracker because she’s not even going to pretend to hide. Carlos decides the way to handle this is to go and try to arrest Julian for stealing Sonmanto property – huh, even Dillon was calling this a whistleblower case 5 minutes ago.

She tells Kiera and Dillon that Liber8 has released a statement denying all involvement with the Fermotas gas attack – and there has been no online planning of it that Betty could find at all. Kiera and Dillon still thinks the technological expertise to pull it off was Lucas so want her to be active in chat rooms in the hope Lucas will reach out to Betty again.

Kiera has her own task for Betty – use her contacts to try and find and track Curtis. Betty claims she first got involved with Liber8 because she was a hacker who got in over her head. She adds that doing the right thing matters to her which makes me laugh since it doesn’t matter all that much to Kiera and certainly not to Dillon.

Meanwhile, Kellogg is plotting. He cleans up Jason and plans to send him into Piron to help Alec come back to Sadtech. Jason goes to Piron, interrupting Alec telling Kiera that he would need a little more to work on before he can say Liber8 unleashed the gas. Jason recognises Halo – he had one in the future (he thinks it’s great, it caught all of future Alec’s heart attacks. Which isn’t that reassuring). Corporate Alec is quick to get Jason to help him with Halo – even calling him son (which looks so wrong). And it’s all being recorded by Kellogg who sneaked a camera and microphone into Jason’s glasses.

Kellogg gets a visit from Curtis, which comes with a whole shock that he’s not dead – Kellogg is “recruited”.

Betty comes up with an Elton Bibby, a guy who could and likely did make all the components of the gassing. He also had the whole place wired so they could watch and hear the whole thing. Dillon still thinks Liber8 bought it – but why would they? They have the skill set to do it themselves?

Anyway, time for an armed police raid, because it’s not a Continuum episode if some cops don’t charge in somewhere better armed than special forces – but Kiera recognises Bibby outside doing his shopping just as the cops run into a booby trap. There’s also some unknown suspicious guy watching them from a window (we know he’s suspicious because the camera looked at him). She grabs him and suspicious guy reports to someone else

At the police station Bibby claims complete ignorance over his exploding house. So Dillon hits him and threatens him with torture (Kiera, of course, is totally fine with this) because under the usage of the word terrorism, they can do anything no matter how wrong. Bibby’s duly scathing of the chief of the private police. He threatens to basically kill Bibby then gives him Liber8 names to feed back. Dillon backs it up with “consideration” if Bibby names names

Even Kiera realises how utterly ridiculous it is to trust testimony like that – pointing out Bibby only suggested names AFTER Dillon gave them to him.

Betty reports that Lucas has contacted her – he wants her to question Dillon to find a question between Sonmanto and Fermotas (and no, he doesn’t mention the gas attack). Kiera asks if there is a connection but Dillon dodges. And then Lucas says don’t bother they got it. Uh-huh because that makes sense.

And Garza beats up the suspicious guy, telling him not to mess with her people. He says “clocks ticking” they fight some more – everything being recorded by numerous passers by. He is taken to the police station by Kiera and Dillon so they can ask why he was attacked – he claims no idea, but takes the chance to put a little electronic box under a desk. When he’s gone both Kiera and Dillon are convinced he’s involved – and Dillon assumes Liber8 hired him as a mercenary – though Kiera again points out that Liber8 recruit, they don’t hire.

Back to Julian and Carlos, Julian hands over all the information about Sonmanto breaking all kinds of rules and laws – and Carlos says the info is stolen. Again, whistleblowing is a concept that Carlos doesn’t seem to grasp. He meets with Adele who really does push for, y’know, whistleblowing protection. Since it’s fairly basic when exposing blatant and repeated criminal activity. Carlos asked why she trusted Julian and she points out he’s not owned by anyone.

It seems that they came to some agreement and Adele is interviewed by Diana who accuses her of theft. Because, y’know, someone stealing documents for no personal gain to expose someone selling experimental food products without legally required testing is such a terrible thing. The agreement is that Carlos had to pretend he didn’t find Adele…  there follows angst, flirting and she kisses Carlos.

At the news network, Sonmato claims that they planted the documents to expose corporate espionage and Diana blames Julian and stomps around angry that her network’s in trouble for it (eeerr…. How does this even remotely work? How is it corporate espionage? She didn’t sell the information, she exposed criminality! That’s not espionage! They planted documents that incriminated them to expose… what? Someone who is honest enough not to cover them up?!)

Garza sneaks into a meet up with Kiera to basically protest Liber8’s innocence and point out someone is doing this to try and discredit Liber8. She promises to pass on info to Kiera, there’s a bit of duelling in which Garze preys on Kiera’s doubts.

Kiera goes to Betty with her info and they find a purported Liber8 webpage that clearly isn’t in their usual style. Betty is shocked – is Kiera switching sides – but she looks out and sees all the Piron equipment being delivered and says “this doesn’t feel right”. Betty agrees and is quite happy – showing she still has her Liber8 sensibilities. Betty also reports that Liber8 appears to be recruiting Dillon’s daughter, Christine (which is all a trick, of course).

Julian calls Carlos to warn him the papers are fake – but when Carlos looks in the bed next to him, Adele is already missing, she’s ran. He finds her and she says her boss told her to do it, and she doesn’t say no. No-one has the luxury of saying no to their bosses any more, no matter how crooked. But hey, Dillon’s happy because it helps discredit Julian, even if it was all created by Sonmanto.

Kiera delivers all the news to Dillon, including that the truck with Sonmanto’s lethal waste had most of the waste accounted for (missing elements can easily be accounted for with transport and spillage) and about his daughter, but he dodges round it. Betty brings more info about Neelon, the guy Garza beat up, but Dillon doesn’t want to hear any investigation or police work – it’s Liber8, it must be Liber8, always Liber8! Kiera wants Betty’s help actually pursuing criminality but if Betty ever wants Dillon’s good graces again, she needs to toe the party line and stop actual police investigation.

So they consult Alec – he knows that Sonmanto tried to buy a controlling interested in Fermotas (not in the news, but Alec was informed because Piron owns 5% of Fermotas) and negotiations failed because Fermotas wouldn’t budge on their stock price… guess what happened to the stock price after the gas attack? Yup, stock plummeted and now negotiations are back on. Alec is shocked – surely no corporation could do such a thing.

Carlos has words for such ridiculous naivety. Betty adds that Sonmanto owns the security company Neelon works for. But all of this is picked up by the little black box that Neelon planted.

Kiera and Carlos realise the whole fake whistleblower plan was used by Sonmanto so they could be seen as victims and therefore free from further accusation while Dillon would focus obsessively on Liber8. Kiera also realises that it could be far more than one criminal actor in the company; Carlos also realises the whole plan would have fallen if Kiera had been with him with her lie detector – he thinks Dillon split them up on purpose and may have known it was coming. (Ok this works – if you remove the lie detector thing Dillon doesn’t know about and replace it with Adele sleeping with Carlos – something far easier to achieve without Kiera around).

They go to speak to Dillon and he even suggests Kiera is protecting Liber8; he says no to any investigation as “witch hunts” and “speculation” which is pretty stunning hypocrisy right there.

They leave and Carlos is thoroughly pissed – when Kiera says she thinks Dillon is a good man, Carlos points out she’d say the same about her fellow protectors who imprisoned people for thinking the wrong thing. Hey, whoa, don’t put that on “other” protectors – Kiera is as guilty. Betty joins them for a drink – she’s free from her ankle cuff.

Julian is all mopey over the disaster so Garza drops in on him to give him a reality check and a swift kick up the backside to get him back on track – and an offer to help him toughen up and become stronger and more in charge.

At the bar, Betty thinks Dillon will come round. They get a meeting with Bibby to see if he has a link to Neelon and Betty asks to go alone (“nerd to nerd”) and Kiera agrees. Carlos questions whether they can trust Betty but Kiera has transformed – how can Betty trust THEM? She saw what was happening with Dillon months ago and had the courage to do something about it. “She was right then. She’s right now.” Carlos acknowledges that the rights of citizens aren’t even a close second in priority now – and points out they’re sounding like Liber8; but Kiera is ready to learn from Betty

Betty goes outside to meet Bibby – and they’re ambushed by Neelon. He drives by and shoots them both – Betty and Bibby. Carlos and Kiera rush out, but it’s too late, they’re both dead.

This whole story, especially the whistleblower line, just doesn’t work – it doesn’t make sense that people believe and think what they say they do. IT MAKES NO SENSE! AHA behold that Julian is so willing to fight corruption that he is willing to show evidence of criminality – sure it’s not real because it was fabricated by the corporation – but how is that discrediting? How is anyone seeing Sonmanto as the victim here? How does that even work as a distraction? WE WERE VICTIMISED BY OUR OWN PLANTED EVIDENCE! Uh…. No?

Kiera – we learn more and more of her past and questioning – is this supposed to redeem the character? Because it fails badly. By all means redeem Kiera from the brainwashed drone (I’m overjoyed that she’s admitting Betty was right) – but she needs to be fully redeemed (y’know, death threats = bad and not just because they produce inaccurate testimony) AND you can’t retroactively redeem her. I love that Kiera has finally accepted that Betty was right and her future isn’t the wonderful thing she thinks it is – this is great. But we can’t have her have those doubts in the flashbacks, it doesn’t work. Because if she had doubts back then, it shows an awareness of the evil she was wilfully participating in – and perpetuated through 2 seasons.

Aside from Kiera being a shaky protagonist this episode does do an excellent job including important issues like using “terrorist” and “protection” to completely run roughshod over human rights – and fixating so much on one “enemy” that even the possibility of another actor goes under the radar. I will miss Betty but I think her character death is going to be an immense turning point for Carlos and Kiera – but Betty deserved to be more than a turning point (especially since it’s a form of fridging to have minority characters die so other characters can grow and learn).