Continuum 2.11 "Second Guess" TV REVIEW
Writer: Sam Egan
Director: Simon Barry
THE ONE WHERE Lucas is under the influence of a hallucination of Kagame (who later turns out to be Julian, surprisingly enough). He hacks the city of Vancouver and causes chaos: everything from making ATMs spew out money, to traffic lights showing the wrong signals, to emails and texts being open for everybody to read. Alec is concerned that his Arc technology could do the same thing, so destroys it for the good of the world – although Emily manages to steal it. And after a giant double-cross, Travis and Sonya face off... but instead of a bloodbath, they team up again. That can't bode well.
VERDICT Continuum creator Simon Barry directs this week's episode and soon proves that he's a pretty powerful force behind the lens. “Second Guess” is endlessly kinetic, barely stopping for a second as we're propelled from character to character, the camera always moving. He uses CCTV shots interspersed with the action to remind us that computers are always watching over us (a trick Person Of Interest has honed to perfection); or he'll shoot a scene from above so we get the same feeling of something staring down at us. It's all very clever.
And amazingly, it's also so very, very current. We're not sure when this episode was conceived and filmed, but we'll bet you a big, shiny dollar that it was before the Edward Snowden affair and the revelation that the US government had been snooping around in our private lives. Which means that it's almost unbelievably prescient – from the secrets being leaked to the press in the present day (such as the news that the Vancouver Police Department is now funded by Escher) to Kiera asking what happens to the memories on her CMR chip in the future. It's a terrifying thought, actually; she finds out that her details aren't erased and points out, shocked, that her entire life is on that chip... and anybody could see it. You almost want to pipe up, “PRISM, maybe?”
Elsewhere, Omari Newton has fun playing a slightly cuckoo version of Lucas; Julian is getting more sinister by leaps and bounds (although seriously, is he thinking all this stuff up himself? How did he figure out how to manipulate Lucas?); crooked politician Jim Martin shows he's not scared of the Liber8 gang after all (and then gets elected Mayor for good measure) and we realise that Escher could be one hell of a Big Bad. The final scene of him watching multiple TV screens, the embodiment of the mysterious presence watching us all (PRISM personified, even), is truly chilling.
WAS IT JUST US, OR...? Kiera witnessed a traffic accident – two, in fact – yet stood chatting to Alec instead of helping the people who'd just totalled their cars. And we thought cops were supposed to care...
COOL TECH Kiera figures out that Lucas’s van was parked on a spot ten minutes beforehand by its heat signature. The time-travel device is also activated again in a rather cool FX shot.
TAKE THAT, PRISM! Again, we have no idea if this was filmed before or after the Snowden affair, but at one point Kiera says of Arc, “What good can come from a program that tramples individual privacy?” Take that, NSA!
PSYCH! When Travis and Sonya are set up by Martin, there’s a tense stand-off during which it looks a dead cert that Travis is going to end Sonya, there and then. He pulls out his gun. He holds it to her chest. She tells him, “Do it.” And then... they snog. The stunned expressions on the faces of Travis's henchmen are priceless. Also, there's something rather comforting about these two being back together, don't you think? In a bad way, obviously.
BEING KAGAME In a peculiar homage to Being John Malkovich , bonkers Lucas is transferred to a mental hospital and, in an epic panning shot, we see through his eyes as he views a room full of Kagames. Brilliant!
BETTY WATCH She's still un-rumbled. This is driving us nuts! When is someone going to figure out the truth about her?
Kellog: “What does he want with antimatter? And try not to say it in ‘nerd’.”
Continuum season two is currently airing in the UK on Syfy, Thursdays at 10pm