Brilliant peformances, by Erik Knudsen and Ian Tracey. Crisp, solid writing with tremendous depth. Intelligent dialogue that didn’t spell out everything in detail, but made each scene move with spoken and unspoken clarity. Big reveals and character moments we’ve been waiting to see.
Even as the truth about the future becomes a little less murky, everyone can’t help but wonder what personal decisions will ripple into tsunamis as the future unfolds.
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD IN OUR DETAILED REVIEW
Continuum — When Alec (Erik Knudsen) and Jason (Ian Tracey) theorize that the device the future soldiers are building may be a bomb capable of wiping out the city, the stakes get exponentially higher and tension between Kiera (Rachel Nichols) and Brad (Ryan Robbins) over his loyalty reaches an all-time high. Curiosity isn’t limited to just those on the outside. Kellog (Stephen Lobo), finally fed up with being in the dark, insists upon seeing what he is funding firsthand. After being denied information by Zorin (Michael Eklund) about the machine being built, Kellog begins to investigate on his own and in a clash with Vasquez (Kyra Zagorsky) learns that his future self is dying and needs a transplant from a perfectly matched donor.
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Meanwhlie, Jason admits Emily (Magda Apanowicz) is not his mother and at Alec’s insistence Jason reluctantly shows him the young woman that eventually will be. As Alec contemplates his future, he and Kiera are confronted by Curtis (Terry Chen), who insists that the Traveller (Vladimir Ruzich) and Alec may have the power to set things right. Alec isn’t convinced, until the Traveller connects current Alec with his future self (William B. Davis) in a conversation to compare notes across time. When a renewed Alec realizes the device is actually a bridge to bring others from 2039, agendas may need to become irrelevant in order to protect the present from a future invasion on this episode of Continuum!
Murder doesn’t buy much goodwill with anyone.
The swirling trust issues that erupted in the previous episode got pushed to the brink. Kiera and Brad had serious issues to deal with and those issues cut much deeper after Brad killed Lucas. Regardless of what Brad may want, he’s inadvertently dug himself a deep hole where Kiera is concerned and no matter his good intent, she’s not convinced.
“I wish we never triggered that beacon. I was out, walking a new path with you. You can’t always run from your past. Sometimes you have to confront it head on. Risk everything for a new future.” ~ Brad
“I want to believe you.” ~ Kiera
“Then make that choice.” ~ Brad
But try as he might, Brad has been in the dark too. Up to now, he’s been blindly following the orders of Marcellus (Ty Olsson) and now is falling in line behind Zorin. When things reached a fever pitch, Zorin seemed to know exactly what to say to sway Brad. The survival of his sister and nephews, whom he though were dead, now depend on this mission’s success to bring them to 2015.
“If you sabotage this, they die for sure. Is that what you want?” ~ Zorin
The two main questions are, is Zorin telling the truth about Brad’s sister and does this now change Brad’s priorities by putting family over Kiera? Given that he didn’t mention his family to Kiera in their final confrontation, it would seem that he’s leaning toward the latter.
Ryan Robbins has played Brad Tonkin exceptionally well. We genuinely feel Brad’s conflict and frustration. He does care deeply for Kiera, but family is family. Which choice will he make? Carlos certainly seems to have painted Brad in much more black and white terms and said as much to Kiera when the three came together in a gunpoint confrontation.
“He murdered the other you. He’s not your ally. Open your eyes.” ~ Carlos
“Kiera, after everything we’ve been through I need you to hear me. You get him out of here or he ends up like Lucas.” ~ Brad
Carlos is no fool. He’s a savvy detective and has known for some time that Kiera has been withholding information. We give him credit for holding back until this point. Victor Webster has been at his best portraying Carlos this season. His subtle emotions and pointed conversations with Alec and Kiera have shown his depth and talent. Acting is a craft. Like everyone on this show, Webster is as talented as he is dedicated and it showed in these critical moments.
In the end, we don’t know exactly where things will head for Brad, Kiera and Carlos. One relationship certainly seems on the mend with Kiera and Alec eventually coming clean and planning next steps with Carlos, but things may be falling apart fast with Brad. This pained us to watch, but it’s also a natural evolution of both characters given the circumstances. Had they made the one simple choice to not set the beacon, none of this would have taken place. But they did set the beacon and it may not only represent the end of their relationship, but Kiera’s only shot at getting home.
“Maybe I can’t trust him [Brad], but I need him.” ~ Kiera.
There’s no guide to parenting kids that are twice your age.
Let’s just take a moment to marvel at just how brilliant a performance Ian Tracey gave us as each scene played out in this episode. We’d love to know if Tracey’s lines were written so brokenly or if they were ad-libbed by Tracey during filming. We suspect some combination of the two given the pure stream of consciousness of meaningful words and gestures that Tracey delivered. One thing is for certain, he’s a fantastic actor that has Jason absolutely nailed.
It was a joy to watch Tracey work as Jason stumbled through the details of Emily’s disappearance and the revelation that another woman was his mother. But the true fun was simply watching Tracey struggle through the awkwardness of the meeting as he and Alec sat in Annie’s (Tess Atkins) diner during a decidedly Marty McFly moment.
“Sure, sure. You could introduce yourself. Hey, I’m your future husband. The older guy here is our future kid. Yeah, she’ll fall for you straight away.” ~ Jason
“It doesn’t have to get that weird.” ~ Alec
“It’s already a supernova of weird. There are things I haven’t told you.” ~ Jason
Things apparently got way too weird for Jason as he literally slunk away from the counter after Annie made a family reference that was simply too close to home. The comedic tone of the moment was genius by all three, but Tracey stole the show.
“The apple pie is great. Just like mom used to make it.” ~ Annie
“Ok, that’s not good. No, no. I gotta go.” ~ Jason
[Jason slides away from the counter.]
“Is he ok?” ~ Annie
Credit, Writer Jonathan Lloyd Walker for brilliant dialogue and Ian Tracey, Erik Knudsen and Tess Atkins for creating one of the most memorable moments of this series to date. There have been lots of surprise reveals in four seasons of Continuum, but none more touching, and hilarious, than this oddity of father, mother and son in one of the sweetest and weirdest first family meetings one could imagine.
As good as the encounter with Annie was, the moments between Alec and Jason working to decipher the machine’s meaning and what trouble lie ahead were equally as good. Ian Tracey and Erik Knudsen owned nearly every quality moment they shared together in this episode. There were no weaknesses in the narrative, the performances or any wasted second from end to end in this Continuum entry, but these two actors shined above what was already a bright spot among all Continuum episodes.
Sliding doors. Every moment is a crossroads.
All those details shared between Alec and Jason also served the larger plot as well. As Alec contemplated his encounter and just what it meant, Jonathan Lloyd Walker dropped a nice subtle hint to the butterfly effect in the very next scene. Alec, watching a young couple, realizes just how profound one small decision could be in the life of anyone and explains to Kiera the effect of—sliding doors.
We can hazard a guess that Alec is referring to the 1998 movie by the same name staring Gwyneth Paltrow. Sliding Doors explored two separate universes where one moment sent the same person down two dramatically different paths (i.e. the butterfly effect). Curtis’s surprise visit further emphasized this point in a manner that hit home for Alec. Kagame’s words from the end of Season One came full circle.
“With help from the traveller we can prevent the ripples from becoming tsunamis.” ~ Curtis
But the realization that the Traveller himself had been the first to break the time continuum was a jaw-dropper. As advanced as he undoubtedly is, he must not thought through very carefully how the observer effect could so easily impact time travel observation. It would be nearly impossible to observe the past without changing that which you observe in small ways you don’t even notice. That’s the number one reason time travel is so dangerous. Even the smallest change can ripple through time and become the tsunami that alters everything. The kicker? You never know what that small thing is.
“He came from a time hundreds of years from now. He was chosen, sent back to observe history. To chronicle it, but not to interfere. Somewhere in time the Traveller changed something. His future ceased to exist. With no clear path to repair it, he went further back in time.” ~ Curtis
After Curtis, the ghost of Christmas Present, nudged Alec, the ghost of Christmas Future (and Past) got him to truly think. The Traveller allowed Alec to talk to his future self (William B. Davis). If Alec meeting the mother of his child weren’t bombshell enough, having a conversation with himself certainly was.
In a white-room, Harry Potter-esque moment, Alec and Alec exchange wisdom and details that send both on a clear path afterward. Older Alec hasn’t yet invented time travel at this point and his younger self encourages him to do just that. The timeline can’t be repaired without it.
“Yeah, you’ve made mistakes, but your instincts are right. Time travel, the power to change things? It’s not an experiment. It’s the answer. Do it.” ~ Young Alec
But it was Annie that was the trigger point for change. When young Alec learns she committed suicide because of who he becomes—a different future became even more important to him. After encouragement by his younger self, everything else by older Alec takes place as planned. Time travel is invented and everyone is sent back setting up the 2012 we’ve already seen. But will young Alec now refuse to make the same mistakes his older self made the first time? His denial of Annie to Jason later suggested he may be choosing a different path. So what fate awaits Annie? And what did the Traveller change that rippled so massively? If there is any show on television that gives you pause think more deeply, we’d like to see it.
FINAL VERDICT: Continuum continues to build toward what feels like an epic conclusion, but as pieces are maneuvered toward a dramatic endgame clash, will personal agendas sabotage the greater good?
With no wasted moments or useless dialogue, there’s no way a review of Continuum could ever completely cover all the layers and angles each episode introduces. This episode was not only no exception, but perhaps more densely packed with such details than most, especially the character conflicts that have taken center stage in Season Four. That’s what happens when a show full of talented cast and crew execute a script that’s on par with the best in this series’ four-year run.
Case in point, Writer Jonathan Lloyd Walker wrote Kellog into a predicament. That moment you realize the one person you can trust least is your future self who is dying and needs your organs to survive, you’re in a pickle. Especially when your older self has the means to come back and take what you have. That dramatic realization, a myriad of character conflicts and two of the most memorable scenes in Continuum’s four-year run made this a script to remember. In the fourth chapter of what is essentially a six-part movie, the stakes needed to start making sense and Walker nailed every moment.
Capturing all those complexities and meshing them into a cohesive episode was no small task, but Director David Frazee squeezed the most out of every look and every second to weave together a dense narrative that felt like it blew past in a hurry. Time flies when Continuum sucks you in. In an episode that could have felt oppressive with so many conflicts, Frazee finished his middle chapter of this season by finding a good balance of humor, intrigue and tension. No one emotional state dominated the hour and that allowed each moment to breathe as it should.
It would seem that 2039 and 2015 are on a collision course. In a show about time travel, that’s exactly the kind of epic ending we’d expect. But with the exception of Warlord Kellog, are the soldiers he sent back in time evil or simply dedicated to saving those they love and care about? Is anyone other than Kellog and Kellog really cut and dry selfish? Everyone has agendas, but everyone is also human. Everyone from 2039 seems painted as a dedicated group on a mission to do no good, but that’s exactly where someone as sharp as Simon Barry wants us. Thinking one thing while the truth is something different.
Perhaps everyone is simply trying (with varying degrees of morality) to create a better future from their point of view. One without strife, danger and horror. One where they can live out their lives and enjoy a world without pain. We could easily make a case that no one on this show is bad at their core. Everyone has been shaped by bad things they’d like to undo—even Garza (Luvia Petersen) and Travis (Roger Cross). That’s the beauty of Continuum. Everyone is shades of gray. With perhaps the exception of the Kellogs. They really only look out for themselves—even at the expense of the other. We can see Alec’s response now to Kellog on battling himself, “Welcome to the club.” However it plays out, we are locked in and don’t plan to miss a minute as the last two episodes of Continuum finish our story and undoubtedly hit us with something we didn’t think of at all!
Questions, Comments, Concerns and My Reaction on Twitter…
- We’re on the home stretch of #Continuum. Things are going to get sticky from here I think.
- If two Alec’s a week apart can be so different, how different are Alec’s that are decades apart?
- I changed time to be with her. I love her. #NerdDreamLine #MicDrop
- I’m not your father Jason. He’s an old man in another timeline that left you behind. Maybe that’s for the best..Ouch. Daaaamm
- Darkness always conquers light. Kinda morbid there Alec??
- Lucas’s murder didn’t buy you any goodwill? Ouch. #ThatLook #IHeardYou
- I’d have taken a swing at Brad if it were me Kiera.
- Quantum computers actually exist. Don’t know how much they cost, but I’m with Carlos. I screams our bad guys. 🙂
- Water. Duck’s back. I just want to know if #IanTracey ad-libs this brilliant stuff or if it’s written this way @J_L_Walker.
- Do we hug, shake, walk away?? #AwkwardFatherSonMoment
- At that bank, the pen is not mightier than the shotgun @alekspaun!
- Never bullshit a bullshitter. Kellog needs that as his tagline. Get that man a name tag with that on it!
- Unattainable women were always your Achilles Heel. I’m guessing that’s her way of saying “no way bub”?
- Boyfriend staring at the camera. #Awkward
- Who the hell else is he going to assign this case to?? Nobody has a clue but her. lol
- I love how Alec’s “mapping unknown energy patterns to incomplete infrastructure” is better than most people’s best guess period. #Continuum
- That look. @webstervictor doesn’t look happy AT ALL.
- Man, that’s one hell of a ray gun! Does this thing shoot aliens? Lines Kellog gets that no one else does.
- Mu-uma. Why did I just hear Stewie?:) #FamilyGuy
- I wanna touch the hand—but I can’t. That summed up all the frustration between them in one second.
- Times like that make me want a CMR too. Other times (mind control) not so much.
- I’m pretty sure I’d recognize my own mother. Wouldn’t you? Things Jason says. Ian is brilliant.
- This is over the edge, no parachute. #IanTracey stole the show in this episode.
- Will there be a skateboard chase and a manure accident after this scene? #WheresBiff
- Jason asked for milk from his mom with a pucker. Things just went from supernova of weird to Big Bang of weird. #Boom!
- Is he okay? Yeah, he’s always this way. No biggie.
- With help from the traveller we can prevent the ripples from becoming tsunamis. Sound familiar #Continuum fans?
- Sliding Doors. #GwynethPaltrow reference @J_L_Walker?
- You invented time travel. Doesn’t it make sense that you help put the genie back in the bottle? What a heavy burden.
- Holy shit. I don’t think I could say anything more elegant in such a moment.
- I haven’t done anything .. yet. That’s a profound statement. Things can .. change. 😉 Or can they?
- It’s not an experiment. It’s the answer. Do it. You can’t fix the timeline without time travel. 😉
- This is the coolest explanation of how things were set in motion that they could have come up with. Alec influenced Alec. 😉
- Having some second thoughts Dillon? #DontTrustKellog
- Did we just time travel back there again? I just laughed out loud!
- It’s treatable. Huh. If he gets a transplant. Wonder where he can find a donor?
- So I never get born? This is NOT #BackToTheFuture 😉
- You genius! Somehow I think that’s the hug (and appreciation) that Jason never got from his father before. #BeautifulMoment
- Funny how Kellog doesn’t do the right thing until he is threatened. #StillSelfish @MrL080
- I (2039) am the last person in the world you should trust, which is why, in this case, you have to trust me (2015).
- Family vs Love. Which does Brad choose? And—is Zorin even telling the truth?
- He murdered the other you. He’s NOT your ally. Open your eyes. She’s been asleep again. #WakeUp
- So. Is it an Invasion or a true lifeline? Who are the REAL bad guys here?
Continuum Review: 4×04 “Zero Hour”