Superb action sequences. Crisp dialogue and clever subtext. Surprising character moments for several and solid performances throughout.
Curious decision by Emily and how did Dillon heal that fast??
A deeper exploration of moral cause and effect snuck in the back door of a taut suspense thriller and that’s exactly the kind of complexity we’ve come to love about Continuum.
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD IN OUR DETAILED REVIEW
Continuum — Elder Kellog (Stephen Lobo), in the form of a recorded hologram, urges his younger self to trust the time traveling soldiers and help them secure a better future than the one they left. Younger Kellog (Stephen Lobo), relishing the title of Commander, has more pressing immediate concerns—trading Emily’s (Magda Apanowicz) life for the Piron data stolen by Alec (Erik Knudsen). Kellog takes advantage and insists an indignant Keira (Rachel Nichols) not only deliver the data in person but join him for dinner while Piron engineers check that the data is intact. Little do they both know that Travis (Roger Cross) and Garza (Luvia Petersen) plan to act on Curtis’s (Terry Chen) advice to eliminate Kellog while he is exposed and in the open.
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Meanwhile, with the help of Lucas (Omari Newton), Alec uses stolen Piron information to track down Emily’s whereabouts and risks his life to rescue her by himself. Nothing is that easy and they end up in a fight for their lives to escape the thugs holding her captive. With Alec away, Lucas gets a taste of being the hero helping a desperate Kiera save the life of a poisoned Kellog. Before Travis and Garza can move to finish the job, a watchful Carlos (Victor Webster) crashes their party and the intensity ratchets to eleven with nearly everyone’s lives hanging in the balance on this episode of Continuum!
Subtext. Just how far toward the dark side is Kellog willing to go and can he choose a different path?
Kidnapping Emily was one thing, but a willingness to kill her is an entirely different level for Kellog. Stephen Lobo has created one of the most deviously likable characters on this show. One minute he’s someone you loath, the next he says something so clever you have to laugh. That’s the Kellog we’ve come to love through three seasons and Lobo has done a masterful job of building a character we can both love and love to hate. But has Kellog finally pushed too far toward the dark side?
As we watched Warlord Kellog convince his younger self that the soldiers sent back were to be trusted to ensure a better future, two things immediately popped into mind. For one, others have fallen into the same trap of hubris thinking they could manipulate the past to improve the future and the results were disastrous. And as this series wraps is Kellog, both old and new, the true antagonist for Keira and Alec? Curtis’s cryptic maneuvering implied that the answer may still lie in Kellog’s court to decide.
“You don’t know everything. You and that radio transmitter friend of yours.” ~ Kellog
“Agreed. We all know there’s so many paths, with so many outcomes. A hero on one branch, a villain on another. But you can’t achieve either all on your own.” ~ Curtis
Kellog may have been on to something deeper when he slipped in his confrontation with Carlos and had to back pedal to explain that kidnapping was simply an understood subtext. Everything in this episode suggested an unspoken subtext where each character struggled with their choices and actions. Everyone has selfless and selfish tendencies that constantly battle inside. Alec seems to have come to that realization already. Seeing first hand how easy it would be to let himself fall prey to his own self-centered agenda can change a man. That’s a rare gift few get to see and certainly not to the vivid level that Alec witnessed.
Oddly, his older self gives Kellog a similar opportunity. Which side will he ultimately choose? We don’t know, but the fact that we’ve dug so deep into asking the question means it’s damned good writing by Shelley Eriksen in this episode.
The ripple effect.
The ripple effect on Continuum is real. In fact, it’s one of the show’s best qualities. Time and time again, characters make decisions and the consequences of those decisions hit home in some way that shows them just how much the moments that matter can change a person’s future. And if someone is prominent enough, it can change everyone else’s future with it. With numerous choices and paths to follow, a person can quickly become something completely different and that can have a lasting effect on everyone around them.
“Actions have consequences. We all know where I end up.” ~ Julian
“I’m getting Emily back. And I don’t have to become asshole me to do it.” ~ Alec
Case and point? SadTech Alec and Piron Alec were only a week apart, but through their actions and things that happened to them they split into drastically different directions throughout Season Three. In many ways Continuum has become the ultimate character study of nature versus nurture. How much of who we are is simply because of how we are born and how much of us is shaped by our experiences and choices? It would seem that Continuum is firmly in the camp that actions and choices define a person.
“Other you—was you all the way through. Other you changed fast.” ~ Jason
“He certainly embraced his inner shitheel.” ~ Lucas
So the question for every character may ultimately present itself. Which side of their inner struggle do they lean toward? Alec has been given the rare opportunity to alter his path with knowledge of where he will go if he doesn’t. He’s embraced his selfless side and that meant he cared more about getting Emily back than his own safety. That’s a different Alec than Prion Alec for sure, but Lucas was right. It was a pretty reckless endeavor to go and do the saving himself. Behind the keyboard was Alec’s strength.
“This is your superpower.” ~ Lucas
But the ripple effect is indeed real. Had Alec not left to find Emily, Lucas would not have had an opportunity to see himself in a different light. With Alec gone, Lucas got a glimpse of a different path as he helped Kiera save Kellog. He did it because Keira showed him it was the right thing to do to ensure Emily survived.
Lucas hasn’t always made those choices, but it’s entirely possible that he tapped into part of himself that he’s often kept suppressed. We certainly felt the small glimpse of joy as Kiera thanked him. Credit Omari Newton for the subtle emotions we needed to see and feel in order to understand this step of potential growth for Lucas. If actions do define a person then it will be interesting to see where Lucas goes from here now that a positive ripple has influenced him.
No one has a monopoly on doing the right thing.
First things first, we did a happy dance seeing Dillon again. Brian Markinson’s powerful presence on this show leaves a bit of a vacuum when he’s not around. Sonya’s (Lexa Doig) clapper bomb seems to have left a mark, but the man still stands. Granted, if that was only a few weeks back in “real time” we’re not sure how he healed (and scarred) so quickly. Television magic?
Timeline issues aside, in addition to the scars we could see, perhaps the near death experience also made a mark we can’t yet see. Dillon was on a path of power and corruption and it’s still quite possible that Sonya’s sacrifice wasn’t in vain if Dillon’s choices from here influence the future for the better. We don’t know if that’s the case, but it would bring this character full circle and make her loss still have meaning.
“Everyone makes their choices.” ~ Garza
Fitting that Travis and Garza discussed this just a short while before Dillon made his own choice to shoot Travis and save Carlos in the process. If a man is defined more by his choices and actions then Dillion would seem to be on a path to redemption based on his actions alone. Is that the real reason he’s working for Kellog? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?
“I know what I’m doing.” ~ Dillon
That certainly sounds like a man who has an agenda he’s not yet willing to share with others (doesn’t everyone on this show?). We look forward to seeing where Dillon’s arc lands. He’s had one of the more frustrating rises from a character we loved to one we no longer trusted and then one of the most dramatic falls with Sonya’s attempt to kill him. All of that has to change a man and we’ll be interested to see exactly how his choices define him in the next few weeks.
FINAL VERDICT: As many characters weighed choices and outcomes, each had to decide for themselves who they might become. With just four episodes left, those answers may not be far away after this intense entry punctuated by a surprising emotional departure.
Continuum continues to ask the tough questions about the cause and effect of morality. It’s yet another reason why this show is considered such smart television and why loyal viewers have connected with it so strongly. But where some shows muddy the themes and things only get more confusing over time, somehow Continuum keeps nailing the right tone and character choices make sense. They’ve achieved something unique that isn’t confusing moral ambiguity, but rather an intelligent sliding scale of moral cause and effect that viewers can relate to and understand.
In the case of Kellog, would he embrace his selfish desires or wake a some point to realize he can change the future to be better for everyone and not just himself? At the moment, it would certainly seem Kellog is only concerned with himself. That doesn’t surprise anyone. Kellog protecting Kellog has been his number one priority all along. He sees the bigger picture for everyone. He simply doesn’t care. He’s only focused on himself. Time will tell if something can change his tune and get him to find something selfless in himself again. In the mean time, he’s aligned himself with the number one threat against a good future for all in the time marines.
On the surface, this was a rescue story with several characters making unexpected choices to move the plot. Alec isn’t typically the guy who will go in and make the play in the field and Lucas doesn’t often have Kiera’s back. But that’s where Continuum sets itself apart from most series. It can deliver action-packed thrills and still have layer upon layer of subtext that keep viewers asking questions and playing “what if” games for hours afterward. A show about the moral implications of time travel could easily lose it’s way and fall into a swirl of confusion, but by moving forward in ways that make sense, that’s exactly where Continuum succeeds instead.
Creator Simon Barry, Writer Shelley Eriksen and Director Pat Williams collaborated to bring something deceptively clever to the screen in this episode. An intense, thriller that kept us on the edge of our seats in the second half hour was a curious thought experiment in disguise. What happens when characters know their futures and have the chance to make different choices to change their destiny? That’s intelligent writing and well-crafted television. We were entertained by kick-ass action and suspense, but then left thinking about the implications long after the credits rolled.
As the episode closed, Alec realized on his own what Older Kellog may have been trying to teach his younger self. You can’t always focus solely on your own agenda and you can’t always do things alone. The people around you matter. The camaraderie of the dinner at the end was certainly an odd collection of people to laugh and share a meal. Carlos might have given more than a stern look to Kiera for Garza’s inclusion, but it did fit with the story that Kiera is infiltrating Liber8. At least for now. Time will tell if that story continues to hold water.
But it was the final choice by Emily that might have been the one element that struck us as curious. We get where she’s coming from. She sees herself as a weakness for Alec to be removed. The real question is if Jason (Ian Tracey) were telling her the truth. If she’s not his mother, who is? He certainly seemed to weigh his answer carefully in Jason’s own eclectic way. Was he telling the truth? Does Jason see the danger in being too honest about how the future will play out? Is he trying to change that future in a way we can’t yet see? Either way, her departure was difficult to watch. Again. Leaving seems to be her M.O. when things go sideways, but deep down can she really believe that her absence is the best thing for Alec? We don’t think so, but we don’t plan to miss a minute of the final four episodes of Continuum to find out!
Questions, Comments, Concerns and My Reaction on Twitter…
- It’s kinda creepy the way HoloKellog follows you now matter where you are. 🙂
- I love it. Alec’s Kellog Alert is the #Wilhelm scream.
- Uh .. he’s kinda got the Frankenstein chocolate orange Keira.
- Great. An arranged dinner date. He may be twisted, but Kellog hasn’t ever lost his fixation on Kiera.
- Commander. (Kellog is having his business cards changed now)
- Um. Why THAT building?
- If you didn’t tell you, I can’t. Lines that only “work and make sense” in #Continuum
- Other you was you all the way through. Other you changed fast. Nature vs Nurture. Our choices matter.
- In a heartbeat .. If these two “actually part” it’s going to be heartbreaking.
- We’re only going to get through this if we trust each other. This relationship is a bit tense. :/
- Kidnapping. I said disappearance. Subtext. It’s all subtext with Kellog.
- Boy, Dillon healed quickly (and not to cleanly!).
- I wonder if Dillon gets jumpy when people applaud? 😉
- Kiera has a way with .. A way with what? Um..nobody else knows I take it. 😉
- THIS is your superpower. Haha! Best LINE of the night!
- I hope that was expensive. Bottoms up. lol That woman has sass.
- You’re out of your own loop. You don’t even trust … you.
- Alec? Hellloo.. Nerd swap. 🙂 @OmariAkilNewton
- I’m wondering. Does @whatsupkimani do his own stunts? 🙂 @MagdaEh #AwesomeSequence! My money is on yes.
- Didn’t see that coming did you Travis?
- I don’t think Yankee Candle sells that fragrance btw. o.O
- Oh, hi honey. I’m just beating the crap out of this guy. How you doing?
- What? I get to drown Kellog? I’m in.
- Holy shit! That gun, hand swap was BADASS!
- Damn! How many times do you have to shoot Travis before he gives up??
- Kellog is going to regret being dead for that kissing part.
- You got to kiss me. So we’re even. Ha! He really does have a ego doesn’t he?
- And Lucas? Thank you. You’re welcome. 🙂 See that look? Lucas makes an awesome good guy. 🙂
- Young version of mom in tub. #Awkward!!!
- Killing Kellog meant killing Emily. Lucas gets it I think.
- Jason thought long and hard about that answer in his own eclectic way.
- No one saw this dinner party happening on screen when this series began!
- Everybody’s got a goal, hey zombie man? Curtis is the most cryptic character on this show.
- Um. You notice how Curtis didn’t answer when asked if sending Kiera home were possible?
- This hurt to watch. @MagdaEh
Continuum Review: 4×02 “Rush Hour”