Continuum: Time's Up

Kellog: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

The more I see of the future, the more I am on the side of the terrorists and I guess that's where the writers are trying to take us. Corporations stockpiling food to raise prices is nothing new even in places where people are starving. Science fiction is particularly useful for commenting on the present without getting into hot water because it is all supposed to be make-believe. This show is becoming an obvious vehicle for commenting on the power and corruption in corporations. It is also making more ambivalent comments on the justice system, particularly the police. It is an interesting choice to make your leads a part of something you are critiquing. But part of this show's charm is its complexity.

For example, we have Kiera. She is obviously not totally in line with the corporations but then she will say something about people having to stick their necks out when they are hungry in such a cold way that I'm not so sure about her. I think she wants to stick to her moral high ground of being a 'protector' but the evidence has been piling up, even before her time travel, that she might just be on the wrong side of this confrontation. It was wonderful when she forced Sherman to tell the truth even though she had figured out that there was no bomb.

Then we have Alec. He obviously has no patience for the protesters but is appalled by some current trading practices. He is just a kid but we all know what he is going to grow up to be and I can't help but wonder how he managed to go down that path. He obviously thinks his stepdad is wasting his time but he's not all that supportive of corporations. Will Liber8 get to him? Have they already done that in the future? I was disappointed that he turned on his step-brother so quickly especially after his comment last week about action. I guess he couldn't take being unfavourably compared to him. He also kowtowed to Kiera fairly quickly. I think he has a crush on her.

My biggest peeve this week was with how they portrayed the protesters. In most places the Occupy camps were very well organized. And they were mostly organized by anarchists who despite what this show portrays are not usually violent. There is only one group of anarchists that believe in violence - the Black Bloc and they believe in property damage. They do not hurt people. The one exception is the police. They believe in fighting back when the police start moving in on them. They are often at the front of a protest by agreement of the other groups involved in the protest. There is no way that they would incite a riot as it was portrayed in this show. Talking about protesters as poor, dumb, harmless hippies really denigrates the hard work and anger that went into the Occupy movement. And talking about anarchists as violent thugs just shows that the writers didn’t do their homework.

But the writers do seem to moving us towards sympathy for Liber8. Sherman, the CEO of Exotrol, obviously an evil oil company (that supports environmental causes on the side) was a nasty piece of work who stole from her investors and employees. She wasn't originally kidnapped by Liber8 but hired by her rival so he could steal the company right out from under her. So those at the top are evil, even now and definitely in the future. But I'm not so sure about Liber8 as the good guys, with Travis still killing people and Kagame referring to the rest of us as pawns. Kiera is in some kind of moral limbo and Alec is a sometimes stuck-up genius. I'm feeling pretty ambivalent about all of them. The one character I do like is Kellog who isn't ambivalent at all. He is out for himself and pretty cocky. I couldn't believe his nerve, talking to Kiera on the phone as he rifled through her place.

Bits and Pieces

Alec always has technology with him as he does his chores. I have no doubt that he will eventually invent something to do the chores for him.

Kiera's reaction to the horses was priceless. I was very sad that there were no horses in the future.

Yikes to the truth serum that Kiera used. Big brother taken to the max. How terrifying that all someone had to do was shoot you up with a drug and you would spill everything and follow them around like a puppy. That totally creeped me out.

Roland lost the family farm, probably because of corporations. No wonder he isn't happy with them.

Poor Alec, having to let someone else take credit for his work. That was a very geek moment.

I particularly enjoyed the bit at the end with Kiera looking into the camera and Kagame's reaction. He can tell she is smart and he seems to like her but will he still try to kill her?


Henrietta Sherman: “I’ll do whatever you say.”
Travis: “I know.”

Carlos: “These Occupiers are gonna make some noise then they’re probably going to go somewhere sing Kumbya, smoke some weed and eat soy burgers. They’re harmless.”

Kiera: “Transparency? I didn’t know they had the technology for that yet.”

Frank Bolo: “I served with military intelligence for two years. I have access to more resources than the police.”
Carlos: “And yet your queen was stolen from her own castle.”

Kiera: “That’s the thing about hunger. They have to stick their necks out to get fed. That’s when they’re vulnerable.”

Alec: “Kiera, what’s going on?”
Kiera: “Theatre."

Alec: “That’s just the sound of me crying inside because I’m letting someone else take credit for my work, never mind, continue.”

Carlos: “I admire your dedication but are you frigging nuts?”

Partner: “It’s best not to ask hard questions. Let someone else figure it out.”
Kiera: “But if not us, who?”


Billie Doux said...

When I started watching the series, I was initially turned off by the terrorism stuff. As the series progressed, I started to get it. Liber8's cause is just, but their methods are not. Kiera's methods are good, but she's working for the ultimate evil. It's a fascinating way to run a series.

I was also thinking this time that the antagonistic relationship between young Alec and his stepbrother Julian was a microcosmic reflection of the future conflict of the corporations versus the people. Alec is still just a brilliant kid but we know where he's going.

I thought it was funny that they had a head of security named Bolo. :)

ChrisB said...

Great review, Doc. I completely agree with your take on the ambiguity of the characters and the situations in which they find themselves. It's tricky to know whose side we are meant to be, all of which creates a good story.

The Bolo name made me smile as well, Billie. I've watched far too many procedurals!

topher said...

I started watching this show because I like a good time travel and I glanced through the positive reviews from time to time. However, it was the obvious anti-corporation push that kept me watching.

I appreciate your defense of the Black Bloc, Doc. They wouldn't put the other protestors at risk just so they could break shit. As Kiera said tho, things typically escalate. It's usually on the part of the cops though in order to break up the crowd and get it over with. But in the context of this show, it seemed to be that Liber8 paid the Black Bloc kid from the tattoo shop to incite chaos. Altho that's not the Bloc's objective, it was that kid's and people are drawn into an escalation when the adrenaline is pumping. So I think it was fair.

And I appreciated Kagame's tactics, such as letting the people decide to kill Sherman and not do it but expose her instead. And it appears that he can see that he's getting to Kiera. When the heroine of the show turns against the gov't/corporation, that's when the show will have me solidly hooked and recommending it to my friends.