Continuum 2.08 "Second Listen"(opens in new tab)
Writer: Shelley Eriksen
Director: David J Frazee
THE ONE WHERE Agent Gardiner is killed while trying to track down the people who stole the corpses in the last episode. Gasp! Meanwhile Alec is threatened by Garza, who we discover was sent back in time by Old Alec to kill him in order to avoid the wrong future unfolding.
VERDICT If there’s one thing that’s wonderful about time-travel stories, it’s that they’re so d amn chewy . Take this episode. We have an assassin, Garza, sent back in time specifically to kill a man – the very man who sent her back in time, no less. We have another woman, Kiera, sent back in time by the same man, only her job is to save him. There’s a mysterious chap named Escher who has time-travelled to the past to gain power, and another two guys who might be working with him, but possibly against him, who’ve done the same thing and aren’t averse to a bit of murder to get their way. And then there’s the time-conundrum of Alec and Jason, who could be father and son despite the fact that Jason wouldn’t have been able to travel back in time to father Alec without Alec being born in the first place. Phew!
What’s remarkable is that all of this actually makes sense ; Continuum can introduce all these concepts without losing hold of any of them, or talking down to the viewers in the process. Magnificent!
But enough of this episode's chewy time gubbins. What about Gardiner? His death comes as a tremendous shock: the second such jaw-dropper this season after Betty’s betrayal. When he hits the floor you're convinced it must be fake: he was wearing a vest, or the bullets aren't real, or... or... or... But no. Gardiner's gone, and with true pathos this happened just as he'd started working with Kiera and they'd figured out a fabulous “bad cop, bad cop” partnership. Okay, so he wasn't quite turning into a friend, but he was definitely handy to have around and could even have become an ally as the show progressed. Add to this the fact that his death was so low-key – shot while standing in a grubby lawyer's office – and it's a proper shocker. Clearly, these “freelancers” from the future are not to be messed with.
One thing that is becoming annoying: this is the second episode which has featured Kiera meeting with Mr Escher, and she still seems astonishingly laid-back about his presence in 2013. Kiera has become way too used to her fellow time-travellers, hasn't she?(opens in new tab)
IS IT JUST US, OR... Was anyone else left wondering about the dog we saw at the start of the episode, who was licking up the drugs spilled in the car? What happened to the poor pooch? Hopefully Kiera called Animal Control and got him seen by a vet.
COOL TECH Kiera spots that both prisoners are ill before they even realise they are, as well as tracking down Alec using the Slice. Her skills also come in handy for reading fingerprints and analysing corpses.
FANTASTIC FX! The opening sequence features a ship flying into a dock high above Vancouver – and it's bloody brilliant.(opens in new tab)
WISE UP, KID Okay, so the audience knows that Emily is Up To No Good, but Alec doesn't. In fact, he trusts her so much that he's telling her everything about himself and allowing her to hang out in his lab. It's only a matter of time before he's spilling his guts about Kiera and time-travel at this rate; shouldn't he be showing a little more caution? He's only known her for ten minutes!
Also, to pick up on a theme we mentioned in our last review: is Emily really just using him, or does she actually care? She seems genuinely distressed by his kidnapping. Hmm.
APE-TASTIC A moment of respect for Alec's fantastic t-shirt, please.(opens in new tab)
TERMINATOR WHO? The Arc project is an all-powerful computer. Alec says of it, “You can’t write code like this overnight. What I’m trying to create is essentially sentient!” Really, Alec? Did you learn nothing from SkyNet? Kudos to Kiera for using a 2001 reference, by the way. And for Alec's delighted reaction to the fact.
BUILDING CHARACTER Garza gets a ton to do this week, appearing in the present as Alec's kidnapper (although I'm a little baffled as to why she's only just decided to kill him, although perhaps Kigame wouldn't let her before) and also in the future alongside Old Alec. She's always seemed borderline psychotic, so it's interesting to learn more about her: that she was/will be a prostitute in the future, and one so bloody clever she attracts the attentions of super-genius Alec. Additionally, there aren't many women who can disrobe for a nude scene and still remain utterly terrifying despite having nowhere to hide a gun – well done to Luvia Petersen for glowering so powerfully at Kiera. Later she mentions that Kiera was unnerved by her... she wasn't the only one!(opens in new tab)
HOW VERY GALLIFREYAN Mr Escher says that “freelancers” use the time continuum as their chessboard. Time Lords, perhaps?
Alec: “You’re asking me to remotely trigger the com-channel of a dead person and use their CMR to see through their dead eyes?”
Kiera: “Technically it’s possible…”
Alec: “It’s weird and it’s creepy and I feel like I’m reanimating the dead! [Pause] Actually that’s kind of cool.”
Continuum season two is currently airing in the UK on Syfy, Thursdays at 10pm