It’s season finale time for Continuum, but I trust you weren’t hoping for answers because this tenth and final episode of S1 ends with a giant question mark.
Let’s bitch it out…
Throughout the season, Continuum has struggled with the question of whether or not Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) can prevent Liber8 from altering the past. In this final episode of the season (written by showrunner and series creator Simon Barry), the answer is both “No” and “We cheated.”
“No” because despite her best efforts, Kiera is unable to prevent the destruction of the building in Vancouver’s City Plaza, an attack that we’re told kills thousands of people, include Kagame (Tony Amendola) himself.
But more problematically, this is also a big cheat. We’ve never once heard that the Liber8 attacks began in 2012 even as it’s clear that this attack is not the result of an altered timeline. We know this because Kiera admits that she can’t remember which building falls (meaning she knew about the attack back in 2077). This is frustrating for viewers for two reasons: 1) this attack should have been the driving force for Kiera throughout the season, but it’s conveniently never been mentioned until the day of and 2) Kiera can’t remember “specifics”? If this was the first, huge attack by Liber8 – the one that initiates everything and kills thousands – she would remember those details. Consider this question: where were you when the first tower was struck on 9/11? Tragic events sear themselves into our memories, so it’s unfathomable that Kiera would not make the connection between Liber8 and 2012 and done her homework. The result is that the entire explosion feels like some kind of revisionist history created by Barry – an “explosive” finale concocted to titillate viewers, but one constructed without laying the appropriate groundwork.
Logistics aside, the finale also spends time confirming elements we’ve longed suspected. Circling back to the pilot, we revisit the rationale for why both Kagame and Kiera were sent back in time. Or rather we get confirmation of who was involved in making the decision, but not the why. The conversation between Alec (Erik Knudsen) and Kagame at the Liber8 safehouse anticipates the “twist” that future Alec from 2077 (William B Davis) is responsible for initiating these events. That’s hardly surprising: Kagame recognized Alec’s handiwork back in 1×08 ‘Playtime’ and we saw in 1×01 “A Stitch In Time’ that future Alec knows about the time travel device. The result is an acknowledgement of our suspicions as opposed to an OMG moment (something I think the show was aiming for). What we truly want to know is why, but instead of an answer, this is the cliffhanger that ends the season.
The result is an episode that confirms many of the suspicions that we’ve speculated on throughout the season, but leaves us with very little to discuss moving forward.
- The finale introduces Canadian actor Nicholas Lea (of X-Files and Kyle XY fame) as CSIS (Canadian equivalent to the CIA) Agent Gardiner. It’s easy to see how Gardiner could be incorporated into the show should it move forward next season since he figures out that there’s more to Kiera than she’s letting on (including her ability to disappear using the suit). I find it pretty amusing that in a single episode he’s able to do what no one else has been able to do in ten!
- We’re also introduced to Jason (Ian Tracey), a man who claims to be from the future who was sent back to 1992. I’m unsure what to make of this character: he’s clearly crazy but Kiera trusts him because he has a lot of information. Naturally at the end of the episode it’s revealed that his time travel machine is a sham (there’s even a tinfoil hat!), but it’s clear that we shouldn’t dismiss his information. The most important piece is mention of “freelancers” people from the future who are there to profit from the past (of whom we can likely include Stephen Lobo’s Kellog). I think if the show moves forward, we’ll meet more of these people
- Our mini Liber8 cliffhanger involves lovers Sonya (Lexa Doig) and Travis (Roger Cross). After implementing Kagame’s plans – thereby ensuring his future – Sonya turns her gun on Travis, though it’s unclear if she kills him. I hope not since there’s been very little development of the remaining Liber8 crew, so I’d like to see expanded roles for them in a hypothetical S2
- Julian (Richard Harmon) gets his big moment in the spotlight…as a pawn in Kagame’s plan. I’ll admit that after last week‘s episode pitted step-brother vs step-brother I was hoping that there would be more fireworks between them. Even though those never developed, it’s good to know that Julian is kicking around in 2077 to educate Kagame on the ins and outs of his step-brother
- Finally, one of my biggest disappointments of the finale: the way the show sidesteps the impact of Kiera’s decision to sleep with Kellog last week. I’ve been hoping that Continuum would revisit the storyline exploring Kiera’s crooked husband, Greg (John Reardon) and it seemed like the affair with Kellog would be a useful way to go about that. Instead Greg goes unseen and the affair with Kellog is casually dismissed as though it’s no big deal. Considering Kiera is crying over her inability to return home a scant thirty minutes later, it’s uncertain what the show wants us to think. By not addressing her reaction (be it elation, guilt, remorse, denial, etc), Continuum suggests we shouldn’t make a big deal out of her decision to cheat on her family with Kellog. But since the entire sub-theme of the show is her desire to return to them in 2077, this doesn’t make much sense
So that’s the end of the season. Did it live up to your expectations, or were you – like me – disappointed that the episode primarily served to confirm our expectations without giving us new elements to care about? Would you like Agent Gardiner to return in S2? Do you even want a second season? And, either way, why do you think future Alec sends both Kagame and Kiera into the past? Hypothesize away in the comments.
Continuum has now finished its first season. Showcase has not made a decision whether or not the show will return for a second. *Update: S2 will premiere in Canada next season
*Don’t forget to read my interview with Victor Webster from earlier this week about what he hopes will happen with his character if the series is greenlit for a second season.