Continuum Season 2 Finale Review: Time-Travel, Freelancing–The Family Business!

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Aug 31, 2013

Continuum S02E13: "Second Time"


OH MY GLOB, CONTINUUM, YOU CAN'T JUST LEAVE IT LIKE THAT! 

Except Continuum can, and Continuum did, and IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. 

TV shows tend to operate under their own logic and their own rules, because sometimes certain things have to happen a certain way in order for the writers to tell the story they want to tell. Sometimes that's painfully obvious—like when a character acts in a way that's ridiculously outside of his or her established norm in order to get the story from point A to point B. Sometimes real-world logic is completely thrown out the window, or established continuity from a series' history is completely ignored for the sake of this one story. I think every show is guilty of fudging things to some extent—even Continuum—but one of the things that separates well-written shows from their poorly written siblings is the ability to move between plot points with a minimal amount of brain pain. 

Ultimately, several characters made several stupid decisions to get Continuum to where we ended up in the finale... and that's okay. Even though many of the big decisions that Kiera, Kellog, Alec, and others made along the way (and certainly many of the small ones, too) were obviously poor life choices, at no point during "Second Time" did I catch myself thinking, "Wait a minute, Alec would never do that," because Continuum's writers have done a stellar job at crafting characters that are detailed, conflicted, and human enough to do just that-- whatever "that" is at a given time. 


Alec betrayed Kiera this week, claiming that her selfishness regarding the time machine, and her tunnel-vision when it comes to getting back to 2077, all led to Emily/Maya getting killed.

He's right.

Kiera countered with the argument that Escher's manipulation ultimately put Emily in the line of fire. 

She's right. 

And to be fair to all parties involved, Emily was the dumbass who decided to stand up from behind her cover, knowing full well that there were probably guns pointed at her, in order to make her big, grand gesture with the tossing of the time-travel device. If there's one moment from the lead-up to Continuum's finale that could probably be filed under "Painfully Obvious Plot Point," it was Emily's actions on the rooftop—but even then, we could chalk it up to the fact that she was a lovestruck teenager with a lot of emotional baggage who probably wasn't thinking too clearly while running from the bad guys right then. Stress is a killer, man. 


"Second Time" also gave us a huge info-dump that thankfully didn't feel like one. Jason and Alec are totes related, but not the way Alec (and I) assumed. Kiera's hubby was a SadTech employee. Old Alec knew about the freelancers all along, and Escher was a freelancer but currently is isn't one. Aside from the body count, Liber8 has pretty much always been the "good" side—in theory, at least. And Escher got to do his best Darth Vader, and Alec actually took the news of his daddy's identity better than expected—and certainly better than Skywalker did. Whew. Okay, now that the Continuum landscape has been fundamentally changed forever, where does that leave us during the long, cold months until Season 3?


I have no freaking idea. Look, I watch a lot of TV; I can usually manage at least some kind of educated guess as to where a storyline is headed and land somewhere near the realm of correctness. "Second Time" left us with Kiera, Kellog, Liber8, and Jason in some kind of plastic freelancer prison—though, honestly, the set-up reminded me much more of a museum exhibit than a jailhouse, thanks to the way the freelancers' captives were being kept in what basically resembled display cases. 

Things got weird because "Second Time" featured a scene in which Kiera tried to escape and was caught, drugged, and dragged back to her cage; it was a scene that we'd already witnessed in an earlier episode. At the time, Kiera dismissed it as a dream, but said it felt more like a memory. if it was a memory, then this already happened—but what does it mean? Maybe this wasn't 2077 Alec's first attempt to change the past? After all, this week, 2077 Alec definitely seemed to know a LOT more about what was going to happen when he sent Kiera and Liber8 back to 2012 than he seemed to in previous flashbacks. 


The seeds of the future that Old Alec was (possibly?) trying to prevent have also begun to sprout—Kiera's very own City Protective Services were created as an initiative of Piron, apparently with Dillon in the lead role. The freelancers revealed themselves to be some sort of timeline police who stop anyone from tampering with the timeline, so Alec's sucky future is supposed to be set in stone. What this means with regard to him going back to save Emily, I'm not entirely sure. 


And finally, one of the most satisfying (for me, anyway) turning points of Continuum's finale: Carlos joining Liber8! With Betty! Looks like he's our only hope. I'm excited to see how the show handles this development when we return; Carlos is in an interesting—and potentially crazy-important—position where he's aware of time travel and the high stakes that everyone's fighting over, but he's never left his timeline. That should make him untouchable by the freelancers, right? Maybe? He's now essentially Kiera's man on the outside, except he has no idea where Kiera's gone. 

SO EXCITED. What are your theories? 

Thanks for reading (and for playing along even though these episodes aired awhile ago for many readers)! It's been fun! Mwah!



NOTES

– I couldn't help but giggle at the fact that the protector suit was clearly designed to showcase female anatomy. Kiera looks like a total babe when she's rocking the outfit of the future. The guys always look like they're wearing Halloween costumes, even in flashbacks. 

– So Alec is Jason's dad. Who's his mom? Do you think Alec succeeds in saving Emily?

– What do you want to see in Continuum's third season?

– How do you plan to survive the hiatus? 

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  • worldpax Mar 02, 2014

    Everyone seems to be assuming that Alec went back to save Emily. What if "her" is Kiera?

  • skiwii9 Feb 07, 2014

    So are the Freelancers just protecting the corporations in the future that have all the power?

  • Fantazim Jan 07, 2014

    Here are my comments...

    It has yet to be determined which version of time travel the show is built around, and they've said that much in dialogue between Alec and others at different points across the first and second season.

    A lot of the discussion on this thread seems to span from the "Back to the Future" view of timetravel - that it's all one timeline, and making changes in the past will affect the world around them in the future.

    But we've seen with the killing of Kellogg's grandmother that this view of timetravel doesn't pan out - as he didn't de-materialize or instantly die as soon as that happened.


    So it would the stand to reason that the time travel element of the show follows a logic where the moment that time travel happens, that thread of reality that spans forward from the point of travel is then cut "forever", and a new thread takes it's place. Certainly, elements will continue forward as normal, and seem to be the same or pre-destined.... But other elements could violently change, forever altering the landscape of the future exhistances. IE... there will only ever be 1 Kellogg now in the future.. the one that currently exists, UNLESS someone travels back and saves his grandmother.

    So, using this concept that altering time does nothing more then delete the current timeline and create a new altered reality of time... then it's very possible the people in the freelancer prison are stuck there "forever"... as they no longer fit into the current timeline. The next version of Kiera we meet will be an entirely different version of herself then the one stuck in the prison. It's quite possible that her vision was a type of deja vu allowing her to see what happened in a separate timeline/reality.

    Anyway, food for thought. Unless alec does something to save them, or Liber8 does something to free them, I believe the people in the display cases will be there until they die or can be recruited into the freelancer time police force ;).

  • lou2000 Mar 07, 2014

    They left that door open. Alec told Kiera that maybe that wasn't Kellog's grandmother. we can't be sure.
    Kiera once said of Kelogg, if his mouth is moving you can be sure he is lying.

  • halfmybrain Jan 05, 2014

    I wondered why the Freelancers didn't just show up right when Liber8 and Keira showed up, and snatch them up. The answer may be in the last spoken lines of this episode: The damage has passed. Meaning, they needed to allow the influence of Liber8 to be injected into the timeline, but only until the point of "the damage" working its full course. They didn't want to PREVENT the timeline from being affected, they wanted to LIMIT it.

  • halfmybrain Jan 05, 2014


    The freelancer shot at Alec right when he was vanishing. Alec will appear, the bullet will fly past him and shoot Emily. Time travel's a *itch.

  • noortjejanssen92 Jan 17, 2014

    I hope so. I really didn't like Emily.

  • halfmybrain Jan 05, 2014

    (slightly off topic) From ep 12, what was Jason trying to get to on the roof? The way he fiddled with the lock, I expected him to whip out that giant gun Agent Colson used in The Avengers, or stop time like Professor X (yeah I'm a Marvel fan).

  • Heidelberg69 Dec 04, 2013

    One thing that no one is mentioning here is the episode in Season 1 when Kiera meets her grandmother who is pregnant with her mother. Did anyone notice Alec's reaction when he saw Kiera's grandmother? He definitely knew her, and I think he may have impregnated her, making him Kiera's grandfather. Could this be true?

  • ZephyrWildes Dec 30, 2013

    Hm...considering the father went with Kiera's grandmother on a boat, I'd say no.

  • KrashTest Dec 04, 2013

    I've read quite a few of the comments below (though not all of them, so forgive me if this has already been mentioned . . .). Does nobody want to question the fact that it appears in the "real" timeline, Alec didn't exist?

    Let's assume he really is Escher's son (which I'm not entirely convinced of yet). We know that Escher is a time traveler from the future, but it appears Alec was born in the past after Escher decided he wanted out of the "freelancer" game. If these freelancers really are working to maintain the timeline, and Escher really is Alec's father, then that really leaves only two possibilities; If the timeline can be altered, then Alec has to be seen as a problem by the freelancers because he's not supposed to be there, and they need to eliminate him, since we already know he has such a huge impact on the future OR if that's not the case, then it essentially proves the timeline can't be altered. In other words, if the freelancers come from a time that already had Alec all but running the world, and Alec was born from one of the freelancers, then the only way to avoid paradox is if the timeline is all perfectly linear and unalterable; the freelancers would HAVE to go back in time, and Escher would HAVE to have Alec, in order to set the events in motion that lead to the freelancers going back in time.

    And here are some of my thoughts on some of the speculation I've already read, a decent amount of which seems either far-fetched or downright ridiculous.

    First, regarding freelancers . . . if you're trying to figure out what/who they are, don't go by the name. The one who called them freelancers was Jason, who's all cuckoo for crazy puffs, so you can't put much stock in what he knows. And the people that do know more keep saying things like "The 'freelancers,' as you call them . . ." I do believe that they are trying to protect the timeline, though to what end we don't know. In all likelihood, some person or group has control of the world and doesn't want to give it up, so when time travel is discovered, they employ the freelancers to maintain the status quo. But it could as easily be that somewhere in the future, mankind has developed completely beyond war, poverty, disease, etc. and every single person is living fat and happy, so when time travel is discovered and begins to get abused, they decide to protect their perfect world by any means necessary.

    But lets not forget, we still don't even know if it's possible to alter the future. With regards to the freelancers claiming they're protecting the timeline, they may not even be sure it can be changed, but they're not willing to take the chance, just like how Kiera isn't willing to take the chance that Liber8 can't alter the timeline. So far, all the events that have unfolded due to Keira and Liber8's arrival seem to be pushing events closer to the future Kiera left behind; We have the beginnings of the CPS shown as an initiative from Escher's company, we have Julian being pushed into a more active and militant stance first after hearing Liber8's message, which leads to his father's untimely death, and in turn pushes him into the confrontation with Kiera. There was even the bombing in the season 1 finale which was infamous from Kiera's timeline, and now we see it being caused by Liber8.

    Then again, it could be that many of these events have unfolded multiple times because, as somebody else pointed out, this wasn't the first time old-man Alec tried to change the past, but simply the latest attempt. And maybe he's managed to cause some changes (like the bombing) but not enough for the better, or perhaps has even made things worse.

    Personally, I don't think we'll get any definite answers anytime soon on whether or not altering the timeline is possible. Initially I thought otherwise with Alec time traveling at the end of season 2, but now I think either he'll fail to save his girlfriend, or he'll save her but in such a way that she appears to be dead when shot (like maybe she's wearing a bulletproof vest, Doc Brown style).

    I've read a number of comments from people who have brought up the point that in the season 2 premiere, we see Kiera trying to escape and failing in what we now know is a freelancer prison of some sort, and people wondered why she then woke up remembering the prison and dismissed it as a bad dream. I think you need to go back and watch that premiere again; she doesn't actually remember the cage. In fact, the two scenes (her escape attempt, then her waking up in the future with a headache) we know now have nothing to do with each other. Part way through season 2, we see old-man Alec in his sky-mansion-thing press a button after reading her profile, and then immediately she wakes up with a severe headache. Her hubby looks at the window at Alec's sky-mansion, seeming to know it was Alec's doing. Later still, we discover that Kiera found evidence of the time travel device that CPS was trying to cover up, which leads to the same scene of Alec pushing the button and Kiera waking up with a headache, which we now know was due (at least in part) to Alec erasing that memory of her's, since she suddenly didn't recognize the time travel device the next morning.

    About Kiera being imprisoned . . . Jason clearly yells that he "doesn't want to go back there" or whatever, so it seems fairly clear that he was imprisoned himself before by the freelancers. If he got out once, he can do it again, which may be how Kiera or even Liber8 escape. As to why the freelancers don't just kill them, maybe they need to use the other time travelers to fix the timeline. Perhaps they plan to wipe Kiera's memory back to the point of her first time traveling (wouldn't be the first time they wiped her memories), and then drop her off back in her own time, so that they have even less of a risk to their own time which seems likely to be even farther in the future from Kiera's.

    Some people seemed oddly surprised to see Chen alive at the end of the episode. First of all, in the flashbacks where he and Travis are talking in prison, they show his hand and you can clearly see he has the markings of a freelancer already. In fact, their whole conversation seems to indicate that both he and Travis are freelancers, and that perhaps the freelancers have a way of 'cheating death' through technology. After all, at first Chen thought their mission was over but after Travis paid him a visit he did a total 180. So after he died in season one, perhaps he was rescuscitated. Or maybe the Chen we saw in the finale was simply a younger Chen, before joining Liber8 (which itself could have been out of disillusionment with the freelancers, like Escher, or perhaps as a double agent still working for the freelancers).

    Is the writing on the show perfect? Not by any stretch. But, all things considered, I think the writers are doing a decent job of teasing out just enough information to keep us interested and guessing, without actually answering questions, thereby leaving doors wide open for whichever way they want to go in the future episodes.

  • bneikes Jul 11, 2014

    The next show has to follow up with Alec and Kiera, Carlos and Betty, and Theseus. Nowhere has ANYONE DOUBLED as the same person occupying the same space our meeting their past selves.

  • lou2000 Mar 07, 2014

    Wow. really well thought out analysis.

  • kittytaylor50 Nov 20, 2013

    In the episode before the finale, when Alec was trying to get some sense from Jason (when he thought Jason was his dad), Jason mentioned in his mumblings something about being in a cage ;)

  • fawazshak Nov 17, 2013

    the show is definitely phenomenal and one of the best sci-fi shows I've ever encountered... the comments here are proof of it which makes it even more awesome! Respect to Simon Barry and his cast and crew!
    My thoughts, Alec's dad smiling when Alec threw the arc into the reactor, it seems like he was expecting it to happen, or wanted it to happen most likely. We all knew deep down that Kiera would be stuck in 2012 somehow, else if she went back to 2077 the plot would end abruptly....having her thrown into a plastic cell is a surprising twist... which gives the writers many possibilities for season 3... in a way it reminds me of Alias season 3 I believe, when Sydney Bristow gets kidnapped at the end of the season...
    the freelancers, we still dont know how they fit in the overall plot, they are simply adding more to the core conflict but they are not siding with liberate nor Kiera, however, it seems they are operating under strict orders from a higher power that still remains a mystery... I have a strong feeling that Alec's dad knows who controls and orders the freelancers... he may just have something to do with it...
    what we know, Old Alec sent the Liber8 terrorists back in time to re-write history. He sent Kiera back in time with them to help balance the act of good vs evil... the conflict between the 2 creates an amazing plot which is leaving all of us salivating for whats going to happen next... sending Kiera with Liber8 back in time levels the playing field...

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