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Continuum S02E08: “Second Listen”


The case of the body snatchers continued! But not without an interruption from everyone’s favorite psycho Liber8 operative, Garza, who we learned in flashbacks was tight with 2077 Alec in the delightfully apprehensive way everyone from back in the future seems to be. She was sent by Kagame to end Alec and he countered by banking on the time-travel shtick, asking her to make the call in the past and only waste his younger self if he failed to change his ways. So she essentially became an insurance policy.

Like a nice, sane person, Garza slaughtered Alec’s geeky roommates and took Alec hostage, forcing Kiera to abandon the quest for the missing corpses and come to the rescue. Gardiner continued the search without her and found his way to a shady law firm that seemed to specialize in clients with stolen identities and weird finger tattoos. He also found his way to a bullet in the face because I really liked the Kiera-and-Gardiner-manage-to-play-nice-for-like-five-seconds storyline and I’m not allowed to have nice things. Bye Gardiner, we'll miss you forever. (Well, not really.)


"Second Listen" managed to address an issue with Continuum that I didn't even realize I had—or rather, an issue that I previously couldn't entirely define or put a name to—and that's the importance of Alec's autonomy in the present. I was never completely comfortable with the control that Kiera, Kellog, and now Garza have sought to hold over Alec's head. The revelation that the Alec of 2077 had a hand in orchestrating the whole time-travel thing and seemed to want these various parties to influence his life and change his future (okay, except for Kellog) added greatly to our understanding of why it's essential to allow some level of control, but the fact remains that the Alec of 2013 is not yet the Alec of 2077—and at this point may never become the Alec we see in the future. Even with the order to tamper with young Alec coming from an older and seemingly wiser Alec, those two Alecs are still unique individuals with different feelings, motivations, and responses. That the Alec of 2013 is so horrified by the idea of the man he could become simply reaffirms this. Our Alec has no connection to 2077 Alec beyond their matching DNA, and while Old Alec's warning was certainly weighty given the source, for Alec himself, if was also probably a lot like getting a cryptic warning from a stranger. 

Alec has gone along with the status quo for almost two seasons now. Currently, he sincerely doesn't want to become that bad guy he hears so much about, and that fear has allowed various different people to influence and control him to some extent. Alec isn't a dumb kid, though—that point has been made abundantly clear on numerous occasions—and he knows that not everyone wants what's best for him, and that everyone, even Kiera and our "good guys" have their own goals in mind. 


Alec's drive to change the future for the better and to be "good" because he chooses to be and not because anyone makes him goes hand in hand with his constant quest for independence. Despite being the "geeky guy" on a show full of brawn, Alec is hardly helpless. He regularly utilizes the tools around him to eke out a win—whether that tool is a crappy retail job, a piece of shattered time machine, or his partnership with Kellog. Alec is innovative, and even though he's needed Kiera to come save his ass more than once, she's needed him, too. If you examine the situation with a brutally honest lens, she needs him a lot more than he needs her. That time machine ain't gonna rebuild itself... as far as we know. 

First with leaving home, then with the decision to partner with Kellog, and now with his mission to figure out whether or not Jason really is Papa Sadler in the Crazypants Flesh, Alec has grown increasingly proactive this season; everything finally culminated in "Second Listen," while Garza held him over a railing, arguing with Kiera about who really knows the guy. 

In truth, they both know Alec—or rather, a part of him. Garza probably knows the future Alec much better than Kiera ever could, but while Kiera gets credit for her relationship with young Alec, the reality of that relationship is that it's largely based on Kiera's understanding of who she thinks 2077 Alec is and who Alec may become. Her concern is almost entirely dedicated to shaping Alec into what she needs him to be so that she can return home, and when Alec finally broke down and confronted both women with that reality, it became clear to her. 


When Garza described Kiera to Alec in 2077, she emphasized Kiera's "motherly" traits—which in 2013 actually coincide with Kiera's treatment of Alec up until this point. Sure, he's her ally and her tech guru and her one true hope to get back home, but that's all been filtered through the context of what Kiera knows about the future. She needs Alec to evolve a certain way and she's made no secret of it, acting like a stern mother to him numerous times by dictating who he should associate with, the types of jobs he should work, and so on. It's the sort of sentiment a mother would have. After all, no one wants their kid to grow up to be an ax murderer. 

Still, even moms have to step aside at some point and let their kids become whoever they'll become. That doesn't mean they can't offer guidance, support, and opinions, but eventually that autonomy is going to kick in and there will be a pink-hair-and-piercings phase, and possibly an I'm-eloping-with-Mick-Jagger phase, or, in Alec's case, an I-just-want-to-be-normal-dammit phase. Alec has all (okay, most) of the tools he needs to make the right decisions. No one else can make them for him. 



NOTES

– “He’s a loose cannon and the woman in the coffin was a friend of mine.” And yet despite being the ‘loose cannon,’ Gardiner was totally, weirdly the ‘good cop’ in this situation because Kiera is scary.

– Aww, Kiera made a 2001 reference. So proud. I also loved the dig that Alec just didn't get her pop culture references because she's the ultimate hipster. She liked that band before it was even invented

– Yeah, the CMR dead-cam was pretty creepy.

– Elena encouraged Kiera to make a life for herself in 2013. Now Alec has his "we chart ouf own course here and now" monologue. Pretty prophetic, methinks. How about you?

– What do you think Gardiner's death means for Kiera's future? 

– So Escher totally has the "freelancer" tattoos. Thoughts? He said they don't like people like Kiera, but then he helped her. Did he defect or something?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 10/16/2015

Season 4 : Episode 6

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Thought the actor that played Alex stepped up big time this episode, loved the conversation err monologue with Gaza. Gaza is now up there with Sarah Connor, Ripley and River Tam as badass sci-fi women IMHO.
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although reviews of this show are pretty far behind schedule and that detracts from it's value a bit.
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my other prob with the previous ep...since i just watched these last 2 back to back.... was Syfy blurred out Alec's chicks nips in that once scene where she comes out of the bedroom. seriously Syfy...I understand cutting out the swearing, but nips? seriously?

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can't believe that dude died already. guess i shoulda saw it coming when him and K started working together nicely.

after the ep was over, i actually said out loud...to no one else but me in the room..."this show is so awesome!"
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Excellent review MaryAnn =) This was indeed a very interesting episode about Alec, Garza and Keira. Again, Continuum FTW!
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I always try not to get confussed, but now I can´t. What about Emily and her bold Boss? What about the men with the tattoos between his fingers. Are they from the future to? What are they planning to do? Julian... you are what you are. Point

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I just saw ep 12 and the answers are coming...
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I saw it, what a mess ! xD
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Love this show.
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This show really just gets better every week. I have to say I didn't see Gardiner's death coming. That was awesome. The new bad guy is interesting. Alec's girlfriend is interesting and I have to wonder if Kiera stopping being the doting mother like figure ends up bad. Kiera can tell she is lying, but about what, which side is she working for and what is the angle. Initially I thought she was working for Escher, which is how he managed to get the guy away from Kellog. But I am not sure.
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Oh man, I was hoping Gardiner would become one of Kiera's allies. He was a jerk sometimes, but I never got the impression that he was a bad person.
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Freelancers be freelancin'.
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I was sad to see Gardiner die - it felt as if he could have been an interesting partner for Kiera's off the book missions where Carlos can't join...

Garza is a weirdly compelling character, so badass... I liked that she taunted Kiera for being too prudish... I think one of the best things in this show is that the characters are multidimensional, nobody is totally evil or totally good, there are nuances thanks to pretty good writing and great acting
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I must be a conspiracy theorist because I'm not so sure Alec sent everyone back in order to change the future. For one, he obviously recognizes Kiera and Garza when he meets them in a way that says, "I knew you a long time ago," and even his encounters with Kagame have a circular cause-effect. I think he's sending them back because that's what happened in his past and he wants to make sure it still happens. If he really wanted to change the world, he is apparently super duper rich and powerful so he could just buy up any other company and dismantle it but from the flash-backs it doesn't look like he's very eager to change the present.
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There's a difference between wanting to do something and wanting to have done something. For example, reading War and Peace.
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True but what I'm saying is I don't think he wants to have been a good guy. I think he is just preserving what already happened so that the future ends up exactly the way it is in 2077. So far nothing anyone has done has changed events in the past or the future.
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The 30 lives saved cited elsewhere on this page is one concrete event changed in the future. Then the butterfly effect. The future should now be completely unrecognizable. Different children born. Different people killed by the people who wouldn't otherwise be alive. Likely different corporate managers and entire corporations exist, different politicians. The future they keep flashing to is the original future. There's no basis for saying events in the future haven't changed. It's certain that many have and possible that all have.
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This is a great show about something that is impossible and never will be possible in this universe we live in. But stories about time travel have fascinated fans for more than a century because it really makes you think. Shows like Fringe and now Continuum will become classics in the genre for a very long time to come. If you don't believe me, just travel to the future and check it out. Double-u double-u double-u dot historyoftimetravel dot com.
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Time travel and parallel universes are common elements in almost every sci-fi show
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You've conjured up a lot of great thoughts in my head about all of this, MaryAnn. But first I wanted to say, holy crap I did not see Gardiner getting killed like this. Not disappointed, as he was a real dick, but nonetheless, it was quite a surprise. Although, at that exact moment it was going down, I thought, "Are you really that stupid to let him leave to look for something in storage? You deserve to die for that." Wish granted.

So, time travel.... what if time travel is only possible one direction - going back into the past? If you think about time in a linear fashion (a straight line), then going back in time would be relatively easier to do as everything that has happened previously would be a fixed point along your existing timeline. However, if you try to or could go into the future, any major event could potentially be a branch off of the primary timeline, every branch then has the possibility to branch off again and again, creating endless possibilities of the future. So how could you possibly know where you would end up? The counter argument to this is, of course, fate or some form of that. The idea that everything is destined to happen in the exact same way. Except, in this show, we know that's not the case. Kiera has already definitely changed the past (and future) by helping Carlos solved a serial killer case that was supposed to have gone unsolved (oh, and saved 30 peoples lives in the process - not a small impact). Given the crazy amount of influence that's being applied on Alec from all sides (Kiera, Kellog, Garza, Emily, his family, etc) and given that Alec seems to be the most important person in the construction of the techie future we've seen in flashbacks (not flashforwards, as it has happened in Kiera's personal past), it's hard to fathom that 2077 won't be radically different from the future that Kiera left behind. So I'm going to just go ahead and say it: Kiera can never, ever, ever go back home. Never. Ever. Even if they do somehow invent a time machine that can go forward in time, she could go back to 2077, but the likelihood that it would be the same 2077 that she came from is incredibly infinitesimal.
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This may sound a bit pedantic but we time travel every second of every day moving forward in time isn't the problem. you can even speed up time by going really (really) fast or drop your self in a very strong gravity well and hope you survive (black hole). all Kiera needs is a fast moving vehicle.
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Current theory is that you can travel forward but not back in time. There is no math out there that I am aware of that covers the paradoxes of travel backwards in time but the future is mutable and unformed according to the theories I have read.
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In the context of this show, time travel to the past is clearly possible (which is why I wondered about one way travel). It's whether or not Kiera can return to her former life in 2077 that is the big question.

To your real life theory, Futurama did a show last season about only being able to travel forward throughout time. They ended up going all the way to the end of time, when the universe started over and they saw everything happening all over as it did in their past, except they made changes along the way, like the Professor stopping to shoot Hitler, that screwed up the future. So they were forced to go all the way around a third time, back to 3012, where they had to kill their doppelgangers to avoid any paradoxical issues.
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I loved this episode very much. Alec is my favourite and he was amazing this episode. I love the intrigue in the competing Alecs desires and and the differences of having Garza and Keira as allies in different times.
Awesome episode.
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Yep - not only he is a genius but he is a pretty mature reasonable teenager in spite of all the crazy around him...
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This is the first time I got a sense of maybe they are good guys vibe from Esher and Emily. Like I have no doubt there are ulterior motives and I am baffled at Escher's reaction to the phrase time traveller. It wasn't like he was stonewalling or anything it was like he never really considered the term before. My immediate crazy reaction was how sci fi fantasy is this show going...like are these people variations of the observers from Fringe. Then I wondered if Emily has some sort of rudimentary cmr device because she went from wondering about Kiera to sort of recognizing Kiera kind of the family Alec's girlfriend needs to win over. I actually don't remember any Kiera and Emily interactions before this episode.

I was surprised at Gardiner's end and actually worried who was dialing his phone since I imagine those bad guys are from the same group that the guy whose ass got kicked by Emily last week.

I am still waiting for a Carlos and Kellogg meeting now that Carlos knows. Is there not a new episode next week?
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glad someone can point out the good guys in this show :-).
I have a really hard time seeing any good/bad guys
Kiera is good, but her motivations are selfish (keep the timeline intact and go home)
Liber8 are bad, but there motivations are to bring down a totalitarian regime.
Esher and Co. I think I have a good idea what they're doing and I would put them in neutral.
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