Fantastic action, excellent writing and emotional performances by Rachel Nichols, Erik Knudsen and Victor Webster. Cold, calculated and thought provoking performance by Steven Lobo plus an ending that will leave us talking
We’d have liked to see several storylines play out more deeply, but it would appear some of those elements just weren’t in the cards for a six-episode run. The ending was somewhat flawed in it’s time travel logic, but made up for it with a thematically perfect period to the series.
One last dramatic clash is the stage upon which Continuum ends its run. It’s been a wild, wonderful and inspiring ride and this show did not disappoint in its Final Hour.
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD IN OUR DETAILED REVIEW
Continuum — It all comes down to one final confrontation as Carlos (Victor Webster) and the VPD look to end the threat of Zorin (Michael Eklund) once and for all. But the danger is far greater than anyone knows. Future Kellog (Stephen Lobo) has planned all along to use the portal for a full-scale invasion to end the war in 2039 before it even begins. With far more than just her son at stake, Kiera (Rachel Nichols) may have to make the ultimate choice between being a mother and a Protector. In order to prevent a dark future for everyone, she may have to sacrifice her one chance of reuniting with Sam (Sean Michael Kyer) in 2077.
Not one to be cast aside as organ donor for his older self, Kellog has dark plans of his own to return to 2012, eliminate Liber8 and the Protector when they arrive, and claim a new future for himself. Secrets are revealed, agendas clash and ultimately everyone must decide if they serve the good of everyone or just themselves. Who lives? Who dies? And what future is left once the bloodshed ends? Questions are answered, new ones are asked, and everyone’s lives hang in the balance as Continuum comes to a dramatic close!
The ripple of a reluctant hero makes a tsunami.
Kiera Cameron from day one has only had one true desire—to return to her son and live out a quiet life free from all the complications she’s been tangled in time and time again. But the part of her that makes her a good mother, also makes her an equally good Protector. Her heart has always been in the right place, even if it detoured at times and needed a bit of guidance to get back to center. In short, she fits the bill as the classic reluctant hero. She’s the only one that traveled back in time with no plans to change anything and yet she’s worked the hardest to make things better by working against those who traveled back with the flawed notion that they could somehow “fix” the future. When Curtis (Terry Chen) stops Garza (Luvia Petersen) he puts Kiera’s role into crystal clear perspective.
“She left 2077 against her own will and she’s done more to change the future than Liber8 could have ever done. At the end of the day she is our best weapon.” ~ Curtis
The role of Kiera Cameron needed someone who could be strong when Kiera overcame odds to win and equally vulnerable when her limits were tested. Rachel Nichols has been exactly that and it’s telling that her emotional performance in the finale didn’t detract from her strength one bit. If anything Kiera is stronger for letting her emotions show at times and as she did so often in this series, Nichols truly nailed the nuanced balance of both mother and Protector in this finale. Curtis was right. Kiera’s ripple effect had cast waves of influence on those around her and her profound sense of justice wasn’t lost on anyone that entered her sphere of influence. That was most especially true of Alec who, just as much as Kiera, played the reluctant hero as well.
“We imagine our future, we make moves and decisions that lead us in that direction. But you changed that for me. You gave me knowledge of what would be. The life that I was supposed to have, the future that I built that you came from. A profound regret is what you spared me. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you enough.” ~ Alec
“Alec. The simple fact that you want to change is all the thanks I will ever need.” ~ Kiera
Erik Knudsen has very much been the emotional equal of Nichols. His character has gone through a dramatic evolution and been given rare perspective that none ever really get. Alec has seen first hand the results of his future decisions and Kiera’s very presence in his life has changed that perspective dramatically. These two characters, tethered by fate and bizarre circumstances, ultimately made the future a better place than where things started. Not because they wanted to do so, but because they were both thrust into the situation and felt it was the right thing to do once there.
Both have had their selfish detours and both have had their flawed moments. But that’s true to life. No one is perfect or above reproach and Continuum has done a better job than most series ever hope to do of painting their characters on a canvas of reality. The heroes and villains of this show are all people fighting for agendas they perceive to be the right thing do either for a greater good or themselves. Many shows try to do this, but Continuum succeeded in spades and it didn’t lose that perspective as the show came to a dramatic close.
Kiera’s abrupt shift from giving up on returning home and suddenly becoming fixated on it above all else is forgivable with the shortened season to wrap her story, but in the end she was willing to destroy the one chance she had to get home in order to do the right thing for history. Her constant struggle between being selfish and returning home, no matter the damage it might do, and her desire deep down to do the right thing and build a better future was the core of her reluctant hero status.
But through her struggle, her ripple effect was real. She was the pebble cast into calm waters that became a tsunami. She did change the past which rippled into crashing waves generations later. Her influence was to change those she left in order to ensure a better future. In that regard, Kiera Cameron was a hero above all others and the message sunk in with everyone she left in 2015.
“Look, what we do with this is up to us. All of us. We have a chance to build something better. For her.” ~ Carlos
The only person more devious than Kellog, is Kellog.
Did any of us guess correctly that Kellog, or maybe Kellog, would be the main antagonist of this series when it began? Points go to anyone that called that one from day one. Alec and Julian (Richard Harmon) both had to have let out a small sigh of relief that they were at least partially off the hook for causing a devastating future. They both have the opportunity to change things, but Kellog’s path seemed destined for trouble. And though he is at his best when his dry humor and fleeting glimpse of nobility shows up, Steven Lobo was quite good in making us believe this darker place was very real.
It’s been somewhat obvious as Season Four played out that Kellog’s story was the central opposition to everyone else, but that emerged late and up to now we didn’t know just how self-centered and evil he could be. But just about every way he could show it in this final episode he certainly did. We’ll say this. We didn’t see him committing two murders in cold blood and wiping out an entire timeline in the process, but that’s exactly what he did and he barely blinked when one of them, Vasquez (Kyra Zagorsky), turned out to be his daughter. The other, though not as much a twist, was even more brutal. Kellog nearly emptied a clip into Dillon (Brian Markinson) without hesitation. That was cold and a much darker Kellog than we’ve seen, but then from the beginning he’s only looked out for himself so he’s been consistent. And when the portal gave him the chance to go back in time before this all began and win before it started, he took it.
“I choose me!” ~ Kellog
But in a beautiful twist of fate by the writing team, Alec out smarted him. The timeball that Kellog used was programmed from information gleaned from Alec’s time at Piron programming Kiera’s. With one twist. It didn’t send Kellog to 2012 to stop Liber8 and Kiera when they arrive. He got much more time travel than he bargained for going all the back to early Native America. Somehow we don’t think Kellog’s shrewd and quick talking skills would do him much good with the locals in that situation.
Kellog’s fate brings us to our only real nit-pick of the episode. He reached a fitting end that obviously didn’t affect the timeline of 2015 or 2080, but couldn’t he have devastated humanity even more effectively from that early in human history? If he killed even one person it could have eliminated countless millions generations later. It’s a small flaw, but one that’s eaten at us since the episode aired. The smarter play would be to send him so far back that he predated man and couldn’t influence anything in human history. Lunch for a T-Rex sounds about right. But even this small detail didn’t take away from what was a complex and genuinely epic series finale. Kellog’s selfishness led directly to his demise and that’s the kind of ending he deserved.
The perils of time travel are not for the faint of heart.
Time travel has got to be the most dangerous technology every conceived by the mind of man. If it does ever come to be in reality, we’re all in deep trouble. The butterfly effect, or as Continuum describes it ‘the ripple that becomes a tsunami,’ could be far more devastating than splitting the atom. Even in innocent hands the potential for disaster is enormous with the fate of the entire universe at stake.
Continuum, better than most, has shown time and again the perils of time travel as each successive attempt to fix the future failed resulting in a cataclysmic shift in how the future unfolded. Up until the finale, these shifts have been logically sound. Each change altered the timeline and began a new future with an unforeseen end.
But the idea of ever repairing the timeline is a flawed logic trap that all time travel shows and movies have fallen into. Even the slightest change in the past could make it impossible to correct all the variables altered and in fixing the past unforeseen consequences could arise just from the time traveler’s presence alone. It’s enough to make one’s head spin.
“Brad. You want clarity, and clarity is a luxury in this business. Time travel screws with our notions about what’s supposed to happen. It gives us a false sense of control, but really, we’re all just pawns.” ~ Kiera
But thematically, time travel represents our ability to change things we wish we could if ever given the chance. We all work to keep the darkness at bay and build something better. We just don’t have access to time travel to do it. All human beings have their “date” as both Zorin and Brad mentioned in the previous episode. Moments we’d go back and change if we could. But not having that ability is a defining part of what makes us inherently human. We make choices and must live with the consequences. Time travel might give fictional characters the ability to change things, but ultimately the flaw still exists from the perspective of the time traveler themselves. When they go back in time, they must hope their actions will change the future for the better. Unless they have the opportunity to go back and forth in time at will, they won’t know the true effects of their influence until it actually happens.
Kiera Cameron was given the rare privilege of seeing first hand the changes she made as she spilled into the future from a past she had a significant hand in changing. The idea that her son would still exist in an alternate future after all that happened to change the past she left is flawed logic. If one second passes from when Sam was conceived would the child Kiera has not ultimately be someone else? We think so, but despite that we still commend the writing team for making the decision of theme over logic to have Sam as he was and an alternate Kiera there to prevent our Kiera from reaching out to him.
“This is the price for making the world a better place. This Sam will grow up in a world free of violence, free of revolution, free of corruption. His future is bright. And it’s because of you, Kiera. That’s the price of love. Real love. You’ll understand in time.” ~ Alec
We were disappointed that The Traveller didn’t play a bigger role in the events of the finale, but given the shortened season, we’ll forgive that to a degree. Ultimately the focus of the finale was very much on Kiera and her choices to save the future by acting in her present. The fact that after she did that, she still had a chance to go forward was fortuitous. Following her efforts to stop Warlord Kellog from invading and young Kellog from winning the future, Kiera was still given the opportunity to move forward in time to reach a changed and unknown future. Wouldn’t any devoted mother do the same and take the chance? Before that moment, her role as Protector still came first. She’d been willing to sacrifice everything to stop Kellog, but after all was said and done she still had the opportunity to go forward to the future in the end.
The ultimate heartbreak of Kiera Cameron is that in order to give her son what every mother hopes for—a better life, a better future and true happiness—her only option was to erase the world that created her and for her to not exist. In the final moments of the series, Rachel Nichols captured that anguish perfectly and gave us plenty to debate regarding what she might do for the rest of her life. To ever interfere in the life of a young Sam that isn’t hers would be the most selfish thing she could do. He’s unaware of the horrors he’s missed and to complicate his life, and alternate Kiera’s, in that way is something we don’t think our Kiera is wired to do. When things get really tough, she’s made the very hard calls and we suspect deep down she would do the same here just as she did time and time again in the past. The question is, if not that, then what next?
FINAL VERDICT: An intelligent, thought-provoking, and emotional finale brings Continuum to a close in what can best be described as the perfect ending to a series focused from the beginning on a reluctant hero.
Summing up a series in a final episode is a daunting task. But time and again, Executive Producer and Writer Simon Barry has stated that the ending we got was very much the one conceived from the beginning. It was the only ending that made complete sense. Kiera changed the past to make a better future, but in so doing, she eliminated the possibility of reuniting with her Sam because that Sam was never born. In his place was a different Sam born of a different Kiera. Both of which have a much brighter future because of our Kiera’s unfortunate circumstances and sacrifice.
That’s a brilliant and bold conclusion that had the potential to alienate fans who hoped for a happy ending for Kiera. But how could this show have ended any other way? Kiera didn’t ask to be the hero, but Curtis was right. By influencing those who would spread the ripple far and wide, Kiera was the pebble that set things right again. Kellog’s influence was eliminated and The Traveller’s “good” history was restored. Whatever darkness The Traveller invoked by changing something was corrected by the one person that didn’t want to go back in time to do so—Kiera Cameron.
The legacy of Continuum will be long lasting. This show was smart, nuanced and grounded in reality despite its fantastical elements. Stars Rachel Nichols, Erik Knudsen and Victor Webster time and again delivered thought provoking and emotional struggles in ways that felt very grounded in reality. From top to bottom the cast, writers and crew of Continuum have created something that challenged viewers to engage, think and feel. Few shows have evoked such complex dialogue and if there’s a legacy that Continuum can be most proud of, it would be that the ripple effect of this show will be as strong as the one Kiera left in 2015. Fans haven’t stopped talking about the finale after it aired and likely won’t for a long time to come.
A higher standard of SciFi show has been set by Continuum. One where characters can’t be thin and tropes can’t be used with no substance. SciFi fans are incredibly savvy. They have been disappointed more than once over shows with great promise and poor execution, but Continuum proved that the right talent and dedication can build something intelligent and real out of the most extraordinary of science fiction circumstances. Time travel has been used in many a science fiction story, but few will equal Continuum’s emotional and intellectual depth.
Most importantly, as fans (and we are fans at TVAfterDark) we’ve invited these characters into our lives for four seasons and gone through the emotional highs and lows of this series with them. Regardless of the mind-bending unlikelihood of time travel, characters, and their struggle on the path right in front of them, has been a hallmark of this show. Yes, future implications have always been in the background, but Continuum has maintained excellence by keeping us focused on what is right in front of each character as they’ve lived in the now. That’s brilliant writing and performances at work. SciFi has had its share of excellence, but Continuum marks the farewell of one of the best.
Thank you Simon Barry, Director Pat Williams, Rachel Nichols, Erik Knudsen, Victor Webster and EVERYONE else that had hand a hand in making this series special and bringing it to a close in such a thematically perfect way. We bid you a fond farewell. But know that Continuum will live on in the hearts and minds of devoted fans who have been changed by this remarkable series. That is YOUR ripple effect.
Questions, Comments, Concerns and My Reaction on Twitter…
- Way to take one for the writers @J_L_Walker. #LostYourHead #Continuum
- “Thanks for all the bloodshed, heartache and pain to get me home! I’m out!” ~ The Travaller
- “Oh that little shit.” ~ Kellog
- I just noticed that Alec got taller as he got older. #Continuum
- The price of love. Real love. You’ll understand in time. And all of our heads and hearts just did a Bradley ~ @J_L_Walker.
- Thank you @SimonDavisBarry for pouring your heart & soul into something that has inspired so many. #Continuum will be missed. ~The #NuumNuts
- The #Nuumnuts are forever in your debt @RachelNichols1 @webstervictor & @ErikKWKnudsen for making #Continuum something so special
Continuum Series Finale Review: 4×06 “Final Hour”