Continuum: Season 2
Like most lifelong science fictions aficionados one of the concepts that continue to remain intruding through all the technological advances turning fiction into fact is time travel., while there is some serious discussion of affected the proverbial arrow of time down on the Wonderland level of quantum mechanics in practical terms such journeys of traveling between past, present and future lies firmly contained in the imaginative minds behind Sci-Fi. The perennial problem with writing stories that permit movement in time is the always popular danger of temporal paradox. A slight change made in the past will ripple forward altering the time line changing the future. Several television series have employed time travel in their premise but one on the more recent and interesting hails from the gentle folk to the north of our borders, Canada. Their series ‘Continuum’ is a time travel story with a decidedly emotional heart and strong socio-political undercurrents.
Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) is a young woman with a reasonably stably life. Her life in Vancouver with her husband Greg (John Reardon) and ten year old son Sam (Sean Michael Kyer) they enjoyed a nice upper middle class life style. The year of this idyllic scene is 2077. The political environment is restrictive. The elite corporations of the time have supplanted traditional governments. Aided by advanced technology it is now possible to monitor the city and its inhabitants closer than anything we experience currently. Part of this new social order is the front line of dealing with urban crime, is the City Protective Services (CPS). Not only are they armed with sophisticated weapons and aided by advanced computer forensics, much of the technology is worn. Each Protector is issued a customized, skin tight bio-mechanical suit. It monitors the officer, scans the vicinity and provide on board resources including the ability to connect to any available data source. Other functions like cloaking are disclosed as required, at least to the viewer, the CPS Protector is naturally fully trained. During an assignment attending the execution of a group of terrorists known as Libr8 a device is set off propelling the people in the immediate area back 65 years to 2012. Kiera is trapped in the past, cut off from her family not knowing if her family and timeline still exists.
In the first season every episode included the word ‘Time’. This has been replacing with titles using the word ‘Second’. It is indicative of the change in focus of the overall story arc between seasons. In the initial season Kiera had to cope with the temporal shift, learning to contend with living in the past while worrying about the future. In season two Kiera has more or less accepted her situation and realized the only thing she can do is continue to fight the members of Linr8 and hope to find a way to return to her time and family. Her main ally in 2012/2013 is a teenage boy, Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen), an incredible genus who created the technology that made the future controlling corporate counsel. Even at this age Alec is brilliant, beyond other computer scientist he has been helping Kiera since she first arrived but just recently came to the realization of his part as the architect of the future society. While Kiera tracks down the future terrorists and the movement they started in our time, Alec is being plied by Matthew Kellog (Stephen Lobo), a former core member of Libr8 who left in order to utilize the knowledge of the future to guide Alec and ensure his own prominent place in the future. as part of her cover in the past Alec created an identity for her so she could pose as an agent of the top secret, and nonexistent, Section 6. Working with Vancouver police detective, Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) they are assigned to track down the terrorist. His boss, Inspector Dillon (Brian Markinson), had many suspicions over Kiera’s back story but looked the other way for the positive results. To shake up the story he is place early in season two by Nora Harris (Catherine Lough Haggquist), who is ostensibly there from Internal Affairs to locate mole leaking departmental information. Kiera is her obvious first choice which is exasperated by a near nervous breakdown triggered by the date, her son’s birthday, or at least what will be his birthday in about fifty years.
This season has no lack of new twist to keep the story lines fresh and moving along. As it turns out Alec may have been the primary discoverer of the quantum mechanics behind time travel but the device deployed at the execution in 2077 was not its only use. A group of individuals came back in time for their one purpose, the Freelancers. They planned to alter the past to remold the future according to their design. One of the most interesting, and ultimately pivotal of the second tier of time travelers is Jason Sadler (Ian Tracey). He was at the prison during the thwarted execution but he landed twenty years earlier, 1993. Living on the streets and fending for he has taken its toll on his sanity but he still retains sufficient lucidity to help Kiera on several occasions. He managed to make some crude sketches of the time machine which he shares with Alec in order to reverse engineer a way home.
There are several factors that work in conjunction to make this series better than the usual use of this plot device. The main reason is how the issue of the paradox is handled. Up to this point it is adeptly side stepped. There is a lot discussion and concern over how the changes in 2012 are manifested in 2077 but no concrete evidence as to what our future might look like. This grayness makes the evolution of the series possible. If we were given scenes of the post-execution world then any semblance of suspense would be destroyed. The way the situation is handled everyone, audience and the characters are uncertain of how the world they knew changed. We are kept guessing as to the effects generated. This opens doubts as to the motivations of the many characters of dubious intent. Alec receives indications that in the future he wanted to change or perhaps prevent. We know that in 2077 Alec is one of the wealthiest and powerful men in the world but not knowing precisely what he is intending maintains the ability to shroud is actions form the usual pitfall of time travel scenarios, inevitability.
Unlike most time travelers in entertainment Kiera is exceptionally conducive to audience identification. Yes, she is a cop and representative of the ruling regime but her part in the CPS is her job, it doesn’t define her. That is accomplished by how she primarily views herself, wife and mother. The emotional impact on her jaunt to the past overshadows even her dedication to a strong innate sense of justice. It is only natural that she would pose as a government agent; not just for access and the freedom to act but it is an intrinsic part of her personality. There is plenty of action, intrigue blended with a touch of political commentary but ultimately this is a character driven series.