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Continuum S02E09: "Seconds"

Issues of destiny, personal freedom, and autonomy reigned supreme again in "Seconds," except this time the focus swung around to Julian—the future Theseus—and admittedly, Kiera's mom-ness was lacking when it came to the more bloodthirsty brother. Her willingness to engage in outright torture to get Julian to spill details about Liber8 and her insistence that Julian is evil incarnate, regardless of the fact that many of his more infamous crimes have yet to be committed, put both Kiera and us (as viewers who are expected to side with her), in a tough position—kind of like that serial killer episode from earlier this season. 

We can't deny that the special insight that comes with being a transplant from the future gives Kiera an edge over the unenlightened folks who look at Julian and just see a troubled, messed-up kid who tends to make unfortunate decisions as opposed to the terrifying terrorist mastermind that Kiera knows him as in her future. However, as Carlos readily pointed out when Kiera started to go all vigilante justice, since Kiera's arrival in the past, so much has already been altered that to assume the future she came from will still play out as though perfectly scripted by a really crabby god is just plain narrow-minded. 

Then again, we don't know for sure what Continuum's "laws" of time travel are, so we don't know whether Kiera and her fellow travelers have actually changed the timeline or whether they're the ultimate creators of Kiera's timeline—which makes Keira's horrified realization that she could have been the one to send Julian running into Liber8's welcoming arms through her interrogation, and the reveal that Julian did indeed meet up with his crazy little hero-worshiping colony after Carlos dropped him off—so chilling. 


"Seconds" was one of the darker episodes of Continuum to grace our screens so far this season, and its bookend flashbacks were a perfect representation of the increasingly complicated worldview we have to adopt in order to interpret Continuum's scenery—both past and present. 

By 2035, the public governments had collapsed and the corporations were starting to move in. New Pemberton was a "factory city," or rather, a gigantic prison complex where debtors were brainwashed via implanted chips and forced to become perfectly productive and docile workers for, as we soon learned, none other than Sadtech. In 2013, Kiera waxed nostalgic for the good old days of efficient, automated courts, but something tells me that if she had the whole story about New Pemberton instead of what I'm sure was some squeaky clean Orwellian retelling, she wouldn't have been so gung-ho for insta-sentencing. 

Although she was pretty hunky dory with the torture and totally ready to waste the future boogieman of the corporations. <3 Kiera, but she can be a total tool sometimes. 


So the thing is, New Pemberton was an awful terrible place that stood for so much that was wrong with the world Kiera insists on preserving, and it needed to be destroyed. Enter a grown-up Julian shooting his way into the prison with some idealistic young Liber8tors like the big damn hero they all thought he was... until he ordered a lackey to switch off the prisoners' microchips, essentially murdering them because I guess undoing the brainwashing wasn't an option or it was too hard or something? New Pemberton and the corporate government were awful, but the Julian of the future is no savior either. It's a unique position to be in as a TV viewer, to be completely incapable of taking a strong stance with one side or the other. Both options suck. Everybody loses no matter what. 

And I love it. 

Elsewhere, Dillon returned to the police department backed by Escher and Piron. He seems kind of slimy now—what do you think? 

Momma Sadler also ended up taking a bullet for her favorite little monster-angel when a distraught dad opened fire at Julian's release. I question the judgement of everyone involved in turning the controversial setting-free of a generally hated figure into a media circus. What did they think was going to happen?

Whatever, she's apparently gonna live. 

So... Julian is a free man and apparently embracing his role in Liber8. Alec is clinging to his "create your own future/master of your own destiny" mantra, which is really starting to break my grinch heart as it becomes more and more clear that the future is a suckfest no matter who wins, as evidenced by Kiera finishing the episode with some drinking, as you do when you almost waste a teenager to prevent a Blade Runner future and then find out it's probably going to happen anyway.

Happy thoughts, kids! Happy thoughts!



NOTES

– Lol @ 2035 Julian's beard. 

– How do you think time works in Continuum-world? Is the future being changed or are we ultimately creating the future that Kiera came from?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 10/16/2015

Season 4 : Episode 6

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This has got to be the most ridiculous episode of a TV show I have ever watched. So they torture the kid, chase him through the woods at gun point then threaten to blow his head off and then just drop him off on the corner by his home and nothing happens?! He doesn't go to the police, he doesn't call a press conference, it defies logic. Then Alex says to his mom in the hospital "Maybe you can make him feel better"...WHAT???? Make him FEEL better??? You just watched your brother be tortured and maybe your mom can "make him feel better??? Who wrote this travesty?
There are some very interesting issues raised in the episode and I can't, in fairness, say they are overshadowed by this fumble, but this was one hell of a fumble. Great show...very strange choices in this episode.
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Can someone please help me.
1. Kiera says her parents had friends in the pemberton factory .. Um what?? Soo - is A. The Future changed and now those people in the factories are mindless drones OR B. is Kiera just completely out of touch and didn't know they were drones (which makes no sense cause how did her parents not know their friends were drones? Obviously they never talked to them after they got to the factory? So confused) OR C. Did Julian kill a different set of tens of thousands of people (probably not .. Seems to be the same group kiera mentions in the beginning)
And 2. Kiera mentions that she is the reason Julian is who is because of what she did ... This makes me upset ... You can't have it both ways .. You can't change the future (kill the serial killer before he does all the murders you know he got away with) AND say that the future is the way it is because of your past involvement (meaning the future can't change because your past involvement is why the future is the way it is) stick with one time travel plot don't ruin the rules of time travel !!! Plot hole free falling !! 3. Is there a site I can just read that explains everything .. I'm feeling super lost and I want someone to just spoon feed this stuff to me lol.
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1. Drones aren't born drones! :) Those people had families and friends before being sentenced, imprisoned and brainwashed. They were just regular people "guilty" of having debts with the corporations. So they left families in the outside. Kiera's parents knew some of those families.

2. There's no plothole, what Kiera says is the moment she realizes that what she thought so far might have been wrong, and this might be what was always supposed to happen, in a sort of self-regulating time continuum (you can also see it as a different iteration that brings the same results). But nobody can really know, so the two options are still both on the table, until someone goes back to the original timeline and check (and I don't think as a viewers we've been privy to that so far: everything we saw in flashbacks happened "before" Kiera and the others went back, so before the 2077 in the original timeline).
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Is it weird that I can totally see corporations / politicians justifying much of what we have seen in Keria's future...scary. Liber8 is definitely looking not so bad lol
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The more I see of the future the more I side with Liber8
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Very good episode. I like how as soon as you make up your mind about who is "good" and who is "bad", something happens and you have to rethink everything. Everyone is flawed and everyone has redeeming qualities. Except for Kelog who as far as we know (for now), just wants to enjoy this present and become rich.
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I like dark badass Kiera. She is awesome. The great thing about this show is the varying perspectives. Kiera's perspective of being from the future and "knowing" what is is going to happen. But then not really knowing. Kiera thinks Julian is a monster because he killed all of those people. But come to find out that he and his silly beard just really kind of put them out of their misery, if they were event capable of feeling misery. Depending on what the group did to their brains, they could have potentially not felt anything in the explosion. So what he did really effected the bottom line of the corporation rather than the people. But Kiera doesn't know that. She thinks she would have ended Julian and Theseus and what they did but technically she would have just strengthened the corporations.

But what I find interesting is that she needs to not only watch what she does to Julian, but she also needs to watch what she does to Alec. He sees this as well and it could result in him being who he was and not changed.

i really like this show. Good Job Canada.

Also, totally kill HItler.

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I 'liked' seeing Kiera go dark and tolerate, even encourage torturing Julian because that is the way of thinking she's been taught in her time. Restraint is not encouraged in 2077 law enforcement so it would make sense she acted this way knowing what she knows. This makes her into a flawed heroine but I prefer her this way. Just as the alleged bad guys (especially Julian) may not be as bad as we have been told esp. as we have seen everything from Kiera's point of view and what she knows is clearly very limited and one-sided. I am still waiting for some big reveal about her husband who seems to have been involved with security stuff (with future Alec i think).
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I was confused during some of this episode, but by the end I got the impression that Julian isn't the monster history made him out to be. Since all those people he killed were mindless slaves, he probably thought they were pretty much dead already.
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In my opinion, no one really is the monster. Corporations made mistakes and apparently do the 1984-bit, but they also bring back stability and prosperity. I was under the impression that the Pemberton-thing was only for the duration of the crisis, but I could be wrong about that.
While Julian and Liber8 do have a strong point and want freedom, they also don't care about how many people have to die for it, and are trying to put things in disarray again - break down to build up. It is quite extreme, and that makes me understand so well why old Alec is trying so hard to undo this impossible stance by wiping the board. Neither of them do it right and neither of them have right solutions. How they are going to solve it is my biggest question, and that's what makes this a good show.
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But yes, concerning the characters we've been introduced to on the show, no one has been completely good or completely bad. . .
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I don't know how the corporations are in this fictional world, but since they're generally pretty damn evil in the real world, I tend to assume that's the case on the show as well. They own the world governments now, but just imagine when they can figure out how to eliminate the governments entirely! Scary.
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You have an interesting take on things - it's okay to make individuals slaves in order for the few to have stability and prosperity. I'm not sure it's a choice many people would make for themselves but it is certainly a pretty good deal if you are part of one of the corporations.
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No, I meant that their ultimate goal of corporate rule wasn't enslavement, but that it was a temporary extreme measure to force back stability, in which case it could arguably be sanctioned by the circumstances. We don't know how dire the circumstances have actually been, though, because we don't have that information. We know what the people have been told, just as we only know what people have been told about the Pemberton-thing. The point of the comment was that both sides are portrayed as being equally in the moral grey area and it differs for people's point of view which you find worse, or if you can even decide between the two. I myself find them equally bad options, both having shown a disregard for human life - en masse and individually, and that is why I think that Alec is trying to go for a third option that doesn't involve either of these two evils. And that is the point of view I'm expressing.
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Given what happened so far, seems like History made Julian a monster only because he was on the losing side of the battle against the corporations.

It was sad to see Kiera go out of her way going after the allegedly future Theseus. Thank god Carlos was there to serve as a proxy for us the viewers.

Anyway, the whole part about New Pemberton reminded me of Cloud Atlas and Soonmi 451. Anyone else noticed?
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I'm enjoying this season, but this episode worried me a little in that it seemed to be taking the story off at a tangent. I'm more interested in Kiera and the problems that were unraveling for her from 2077, and the comparison to the present.

Also, I personally don't believe that Julian would become a different person due to that incident. If the suggestion was that maybe Kiera created him, I find that silly, and too simple.

The show will get far too complex if each move is second guessed as to whether it helps improve the future or helps create it. This is a part of the story, but it shouldn't be used too much. Other shows have shown that too much complexity with time and science can lose an audience.
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Awesome review MaryAnne! It was indeed the darkest episode of the series so far and also one the most intense. Continuum FTW!!!
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why are you reviewing now, episodes that aired almost a moth ago?
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screw you CANADIA (yes i did that on purpose) and all you early-syfy show-getting.

i think u guys got some stargate eps first too.
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Plus, they got full frontal super awesome nudity in the pilot episode (of SG-1).
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plus all the swearing and nips (cant believe syfy blurred out alec's chicks nips in that one ep)
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I totally missed that. I don't recall seeing them either blurred or not blurred.
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They're reviewing the episodes as they're aired in the USA.
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I said it already they changed the future by finding the serial killer who in Kiera's future was never arrested.
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There's been several major changes. The most obvious one was that Kellog's grandmother was killed before she even got pregnant with his mother. They can't get around that by saying that she wasn't really his grandmother, because Kellog knew her when he was a kid.
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Great point!
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To me it looks like if you want to create a monster, what Kiera did is exactly the way to go. Imagine you could go back in time and scare the hell out of teenage Stalin, really terrorize him, perhaps kill his dog in the process, and warn him to change his ways. I bet he would change all right, and would come up with unthinkable ways to terrorize his people.

Another thing that calls my attention is that Kiera seems to be out to change all the future she knows. Yeah, what Theseus did was terrible, but that's one of the things that shaped her corporation-ruled future. It seems to me she should be trying to make sure things went exactly according to plan if she plans to see her family again. But if she, on the other hand, wants to change things for the better, she should think of what kind of reality she lived in before she came to the past, and how much that should change as well. Does she still want a future ruled by corporations? Does she have any opinion about that? Where does she stand in that major issue? And what is she willing to either change it or maintain it?

So far Kiera's motivations have been to go back home and uphold the law. The former ship has long sailed, in my opinion, and just blindly following the law may work for a while, but sooner or later you start questioning yourself because the law is only as good as the lawmaker's agenda.
Continuum is definitely keeping me hooked. So Alec ends up mass-producing brain-washing chips? Julian kills tens of thousands, but those zombies already seemed dead, right? So he didn't really kill anybody, right? Oh, and one more thing, he looks really cool with a gray beard.
Can't wait for the season finale!
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I quite enjoyed the Kiera in this episode. I found her determination to do whatever needed to be done to be sort of Terminator-esque (travelling back in time and killing someone who will be important(EVIL) in the future).

I do think that time within this show is sort of circular, Kiera did begin Theseus' reign but the Kiera in the future wouldnt know because it hadnt happened to her. Kiera was never meant to continue her life in 2077 and will never get back. I love for them in season 3 to have a flashback to 2077 with a mysterious woman talking to her and referencing something that happens to Kiera in 2012-3 and it turns out that that is Kiera who had lived long enough to see the future she had before she went back begin again.

Or she'll just get a Delorean and solve a lot of problems.
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The writers don't know how time travel really works and I don't think they have even worked out how it works on this show. They need to keep the storyline open ended as they do not know when the story will end. I am happy that they have greenlit a season 3 and hope that they do with this series what was done with Chuck: give it enough advance notice before it ends that the writers can tie all the plotlines up and give it a satisfying ending.
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This was a very intense episode that shows that there is a very fatalistic element to the show. If my thoughts are right, something similar will probably happen with Alec to make him more ruthless and into the same character as old man Alec, which was his plan all along. He needed to send them all back because it happened before and the people who made him him had to do their part.

Or it could just be that the show is showing that even if you try to change the future, fate will always find a way to prevent it.
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Kiera felt very out of character in this episode,
I mean, just that people started calling him whatever they were calling him means that he is gonna kill thousands of people(i know that he is going to (or did) kill a bunch of people because we saw the flashforwards(or flashbacks)) but Kiera didn't know that, she just heard the people calling him with the same name that was used for a known terrorist in the future (or the past future?),
I mean i would most certainly suspect him, but kill him out of suspicion, no i wouldn't i would just keep a very close eye on him and see if he makes any suspicious move(buying guns and explosives) then when i am sure without reasonable doubt that he is gonna kill innocent people and only then i would kill him,
And from what we have seen from Kiera i don't think that she would try to kill someone out of suspicion , but sadly she did in this episode, which felt to me very out of character,

And for the Hitler time travel murder thing, i don't believe in time travel at all, but if i was alive in Hitler's time, and i knew that he was going to be an evil SOB in the future someway and without any reasonable doubt,
I would definitely kill him if he was an adult, but if he was a child i would try to manipulate him first(to be a good person(who knows all of his tyranny might be because of Mommy issues), and then when he becomes an adult if i succeeded i would -be happy of course- keep an eye on him till the day i die(and make someone promise me to keep an eye on him after i die and so on till the day that SOB dies),
But if i saw any Nazi Hitlery signs from him the day he hits puberty, i would kill him with no remorse, so yes and no depending on Hitler's age +15-18 or no

Mamma Sadler is a Dick, who would cheer her son for being ready to blow up a building full of people??(excluding Satan), (if he killed some evil company's CEO i would accept her not disowning him),
But if he was my son i would f**k the shit out of him(not physically(or actually maybe i would) but emotionally) and if he tries again(to blow up a building full of innocent people) i Will kill him with my OWN hands and hug his dead body and weep over his cold face while looking at the sky while being wet because of some rain maybe (and then make a tens of millions of dollars budget movie about it)

I am not sure if Julian is a totally evil person now(he sure was an evil person when he tried to blow up that building),
I mean he refused Liber8 ideas after he got out of prison, and in that flash-whatever- we see him killing people who we don't know if they are actually alive or if they can be revived to their normal state of being,
All we know that a bunch of people were mind wiped to be the new age slaves, and we don't know if there was a way to "bring them back" to being normal people, so it depends on this, if there was a way and Julian knew of it when he killed them, so he is an evil person who should be killed, and if there was no way for them to be back normal, then some people might see him as a good person, and some would prefer if he kept them alive(where??), i would go for killing them, and weep over their dead corpses at the aftermath(and make a movie about it)
the show is very vague when it comes to that point(it's probably intended to be vague(they don't people to know which side is good and which is bad))

And i am not sure how the time travel thing works in Continuum(but it's not like in the "Looper" movie though)
It may be that when someone timetravels a new reality is created, so what happens in the new "timeline" doesn't affect the old one, just the new one.
Or that time travel happens inside one timeline but when someone timetravels, he becomes outside it and unaffected by what happens to the timeline, so if A time travels to the past and kill his parent's, he will still be alive because when he timetraveled, he left the regular object time affect(or something)
But i don't think that Kiera "made him(Julian)", because if she made him , then he - originally - wasn't "evil" and didn't kill all those people, which contradicts with Kiera's version of the future,
So if she did indeed make him then her original timeline isn't very original, because somebody also "made him" in her Timeline,(maybe a Kiera from another timeline for some reason did??)
My head hurts now :(
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Um...I thought we all agreed not to discuss the holy batman paradoxes after Kellogg's grandmother was killed and he didn't disappear like Marty McFly.

This was kind of a depressing episode. I wonder when it will occur to well someone that maybe try and stop whatever caused the public government (oh Canada) to collapse in the first place. I know someone will now cite Terminator 3 where we learned judgment day was just postponed in t2 not avoided.

Maybe Carlos becomes some sort of humanistic leader. Or maybe altering Alec's trajectory is what Escher is doing through Emily with hopes Kiera will be assisting.

Good thing there will be a third season.
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I wish they had have cleared that bit about ancestors up a bit more. To me it seemed like the girl was probably not his grandmother, just someone he thought was because she was living at the place he expected her to live, I don't think they ever even said her name. She could have been in the family that just moved out.
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Kellog must have known his grandmother's name, and he mentioned that she got mad at him for something when he was a child. So if they decide to go with "she wasn't really his grandmother", I would consider it a major plot hole.
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The beard was comically bad. We've already seen the future being changed with the serial killer thing, but I think the writers are going both ways on this and she also creates Julian.

Now, I find myself supporting both sides this episode. The Hitler question is a no-brainer. You can't not kill Hitler on the off chance he'll just paint, so given Kiera's available information, she should have killed Julian. On the other hand, given the truth, Julian is on the right side of this conflict. The factories needed to be blown up. The people in them, well, the argument wasn't presented well, but essentially for every one of them he killed that was thousands of people who wouldn't be mind-wiped with a chip they hand-made for some reason, a death of its own kind. So, both sides were intent on killing to save the lives of orders of magnitude more people. Both present-Kiera and future-Julian were justified.

I was amused again, as I often am, that we are supposed to be rooting for the Kiera and Alec, who are the bad guys.The bad guys mostly have the good methods and the good guys mostly have the bad methods, so somehow this makes Kiera the one to root for even though she is working for the worst outcome.
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Lol yes it was my one blah moment that beard made me LOL, in an otherwise powerful episode.
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I can't say that I didn't see this coming. Julian didn't look like he wanted anything to do with Liber8 after he was freed and blamed them for setting him up. So at the most he could have started his own anti-corporation/government movement but it is unlikely that it would have become Liber8.

Kiera should have been smart about it and used her knowledge of what was supposed to happen in the future to keep tabs on Julian and catch him in the act. Then he would have been obviously guilty of something they can keep him in jail for and she would have prevented mass murder in the future. Instead she just made it worse.
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Oh, and point of note, I will always be on Rommy's side, even if she didn't have the best balance of outcomes and methods, which she does.
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