Continuum review – 1×04: ‘Matter Of Time’

Courtesy of Showcase

Continuum‘s fourth episode veers slightly away from its formula of focusing on the Liber8 crew to explore a procedural with a twist. What are the results?

Let’s bitch it out…Last week was the show’s best episode to date as the alliance among the Liber8 crew began to crumble and Alec (Erik Knudsen) and Kiera (Rachel Nichols) continued to develop their relationship. It’s challenging to compare last week’s episode and this week’s, however, since ‘Matter Of Time’ takes a different approach. Instead of exploring a Liber8 crime of the week, Kiera and Carlos (Victor Webster) spend the majority of the episode tracking down the murderer of a scientist working on clean energy project.

While the case itself isn’t overly interesting (in our CSI/Criminal Minds/NCIS world pretty much every conceivable case has been covered), the byproducts of the case are quite revealing. Many of us have wondered whether Kiera’s time in the past will force her to compromise her black and white morals from 2077. Although ‘Matter Of Time’ doesn’t quite accomplish that, it does demonstrate that Kiera is really no better than Liber8 when it comes to manipulating processes to ensure an outcome. The difference, of course, remains that Liber8, now guided by leader Kagame (Tony Amendola), are primarily driven to alter the future. We now know that Kiera is just as driven to ensure that her future does occur, even if it means allowing a killer to escape to Costa Rica with stolen (potentially deadly) technology.

I especially appreciated that Alec doesn’t simply let her off the hook for making such a monumental decision on her own. This isn’t simply the case of one scientist stealing another’s work; Melissa (Mayko Nguyen) conspired to kill another human being but Kiera rationalizes that her importance to the future justifies her escape in the present. This is interesting for two reasons: 1) Kiera’s decision to follow Carlos’ advice and trust her “gut” (instead of relying on her futuristic tech) leads to her first truly questionable moral decision and 2) this is the first time that her knowledge of the future has compromised instead of aided an investigation.

Courtesy of Showcase

It’s telling, then, that both Kiera and Kagame’s future scenes revolve around kids. If both parties are being driven by their desires to affect change for their children (Kagame to prevent what he considers a terrible future for his son; Kiera to protect her son’s), these are  emotionally driven actions. Kagame’s memories of the future are surprisingly melodramatic, as though the show wants us to relate to him because his child is taken away during a peaceful protest (the Buddhist temple is a little too on the nose). Kiera’s memories of the blackouts of the mid 2070s – caused by Kagame’s terrorists – provide important intel about shady husband, Greg (John Reardon). It seems that his promotion gives him important information about the inner working of the government, lending further credence to the belief that he’s involved in the time travel events of the pilot.

Between the two flashforwards, there’s an interesting parallel developing between Kiera and Kagame, so it should be interesting to see what will happen now that he’s back in charge of Liber8 and ready to start his “war.”

Other Observations:

  • Showdown in a public space featuring the exchange of a criminal for a baby = Continuum writers recycling an overused trope. I think there’s a lot of good on this show, but the laziness in some of these plot conventions is very frustrating
  • Kellog (Stephen Lobo) continues to pursue personal advances as he pays off his grandmother’s mortgage and buys her a nice dress. I’m surprised that Kiera let Kellog go after last week’s events and even more surprised that it isn’t really addressed by the show. Anyone else wonder what Kellog is up to?
  • What to make of the fact that Greg was ultimately responsible for pushing Kiera into service as a Protector? Perhaps this whole time travel escapade is more of a long con than we knew?
  • Alec and Kiera’s finally meet and…it’s a touch anticlimatic. I expected Kiera to make a reference to how young he is, but instead she just seems to accept that Alec is a kid. Clearly now that they’ve met face to face they’ll do this a little more often, but it is surprising that their first interaction is only a minute or so long.
  • Everyone keeping track of the continued rivalry between police tech, Betty (Jennifer Spence) and Alec? They both manage to find Kagame within seconds of each other, thereby proving that she’s nearly as good as he is.

And that’s episode four. What do you think of Kiera’s big decision: is she morally compromised now, or do you think that her actions remain justifiable? Do you feel closer to Kagame because we have a better idea why he’s so mad? And were you disappointed by Kiera and Alec’s first meeting? Sound off below!

Continuum airs Sundays at 9pm EST on Showcase in Canada

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

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