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Continuum: Minute by Minute

"It's a popular strategy, going back in time for selfish reasons."

Or what I probably should have gone with is: "Holy shit." Wow. Just... wow.

I love a good time travel story. Continuum has turned into a terrific time travel story, which is why I finally decided I had to review it. What happened in this episode was like Terminator timey-wimey-ness tied into temporal knots.

Who are the bad guys here? Terrorism is always wrong, but Liber8's goal is to free the people enslaved by corporate evil, and that is so not wrong. We don't know what future Alec has in mind, but I have gotten the impression that he wants to change the timeline for the better, even though it will wipe out his entire personal past and change the lives of billions of future people. And Kiera is an agent of the corporate evil, isn't she? Is Kiera the inadvertent bad guy in this story?

Kiera is a terrific lead, but while I completely sympathize with her primary motivation (I'm a mom myself), I've never really liked Kiera all that much as a person. This episode showed how single-minded and heartless she can be. Killing her second self was cold. (I'm assuming Kiera did it, since the problem was the existence of two Kieras and two Alecs in the same timeline.) Her friendship with Alec is one of the best things about the series. Is she about to kill Alec? If so, which one? And how could she?

Alec, who is my favorite character in this series, may be a genius and a future mastermind, but in this episode he was just a teenager in love. By going back in time a week and trying to save Emily, Alec has unknowingly created temporal havoc. But changing the future is what future Alec wanted in the first place. Kiera and Alec have conflicting goals, and I mean, big time (pun intended).

My favorite bit in this episode is what happened to Garza. That scene in the stairwell where mortal enemies Kiera and Garza exchanged a glance and were immediately on the same page – I love it when writers and producers trust the viewer to "get" it like that. Their truce and the escape sequence was so much fun to watch, and I loved that Kiera kept the truce and gave Garza that second opportunity to be free. Garza may be a violent criminal, but it's hard not to enjoy her as a character. Maybe she and Kiera have a lot more in common than I realized.

I thought the freelancers were timecops, but instead, they're more. Gotta love a secret time travel cult; it's giving me Freemason vibes a la Sleepy Hollow. Jason was trying to create a spherical thingy awhile back – was he trying to create a temporal panic room? And just like the rest of the characters and factions in this series, I still can't tell what's going on with Jason. Does he really have temporal dementia like Lucas, or is he faking it for his own reasons? We can assume that Jason's primary motivation is in line with future Alec's, right? That Alec sent Jason back in time to protect his existence if the timeline changed? Or if Jason is a fruitcake, is he just helping young Alec because he loves his father?

I can tell right now that my Continuum reviews are going to contain a whole lot of questions and not many answers, but I'm okay with that. I love a complex story that is an enjoyable challenge to the viewer. And the continuity so far has been excellent, considering the circumstances.


— A hundred years after Kiera's birth, a war started over time travel. A man went back a thousand years to establish the time travel cult police force. They may be policing time travel to preserve the continuum, but really – are they? Why would they want the future in which the war over time travel occurs?

— How did Katherine the keeper get her job? Where was the time prison? Somewhere in the city? And those prison undies – who makes those? Does the Timecop Cult contract out for them?

— The design on the future prison wall and the painting Escher was sitting in front of echoed the spherical temporal panic room. Or was it the Grapefruit of Death?

— One-week-ahead Alec buried the Grapefruit of Death somewhere. But aren't there two of them now? I'm so confused.

— Emily killed Escher in this timeline. Did Kellog have her do it? Like I said, I'm so confused. Plus we never got an explanation on the "time travel is the family business" thing. Will we meet Escher again?

— So how come Curtis is still alive? They still haven't answered that. Or anything else, I guess.

— I liked the parallel of the two extra Kieras and Alecs having a facial injury. It's a simple way of making sure the audience knows which is which.

This season opener was a wow. Four out of four prison undies,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. So...I love time-travel stories, especially ones that get all timey-wimey. But I wasn't drawn in to this show after the first episode of the first season. Should I give it another shot?

  2. Josie -- yes, yes, yes. I tried the first few episodes and dropped it when I thought it was just a procedural with a time travel twist. I'm now kicking myself that I didn't stick with it just a little longer.

  3. Yeah, for me the sign of a good episode is that when the credits roll you're holding your breath with an expletive ready to tumble out of your mouth. Continuum reminds me a lot of Fringe, not in concept, but in the fact that it too had an enjoyable but average first season, only for the writers to focus on what worked for the second and never stop running with it. That is my hope for Continuum, that it keeps on doing what it does best, and if this episode was anything to go by, it's heading in the right direction. Holy shit, indeed.

  4. These discussions are going to be so much fun! I'm so glad to have this show back. I love how we are supposed to be rooting for Keira, but the timeline she wants to preserve leads to that awful corporate future. Should we just root for the Freelancer ideal of preserving history, no matter what awful outcomes it contains? It is an interesting moral question.

    I completely missed the thing about how the Freelancers were the descendants of the ones that originally traveled back the 1,000 years, and weren't (in general) time travelers themselves. Katherine said they originated at a point in time 100 years past Keira's time, right? 2177?

    I, too, think that Freelancer Keira killed Other Keira. I guess it could have been Emily or Travis, or maybe even Jason or Kellogg, but my money is definitely on F.K. at this point.

    Re: the family business. Escher (Mark Sadler) was shown to be a Freelancer at one point, right? Didn't he have the tattoo? The cult seems to have knowledge of how things played out down the line, so perhaps he was privvy to that knowledge. And as Alec's father, he'd then know that time travel is the family business. Or something like that, right? I frequently have trouble putting all the pieces together on this show, and I'm sure I'm forgetting key details that weren't in the "previously on" trailer.

    Re: Curtis --- I'm confused on that one, too. Because Keira killed the version of Curtis from her time period, right? The one that traveled back with the prisoners. So where did this one come from? Is he originally from this time period, but traveled to the future at some point, then came back with the prisoners? What the ...? How are there two? I can't remember the details from the episode where we learned that Curtis was a Freelancer. Ack!

    So many questions. I'm hopeful the comments can help sort them out!

  5. I am SO GLAD you are reviewing this show! And I feel so much better that I am not the only one with a million questions.

  6. "I am SO GLAD you are reviewing this show! And I feel so much better that I am not the only one with a million questions." Same, Sooze. Same.

    GRAPEFRUIT OF DEATH. (Personally, it always reminded me of those chocolate orange things you smash and then pull apart)

  7. It's totally a chocolate orange, sunbunny! I always thought that, too. But "Grapefruit of Death" is so funny! :)

  8. Mmmmm, chocolate orange, mmmmmm.

    Yay for Continuum reviews. Now I can share my crazed bewilderment with everyone else.

  9. Man, because of that double "wow" on the beginning of the review now I'm so curious to know what happens...

    Anyway, great to have Continuum reviews. But I still have one season ahead to catch up.

    Billie, I too almost dropped the show because some of the episodes on the first season were way too procedural. But there were always some details here and there that just kept me hooked even on the weaker episodes.

  10. Goodbye to mysterious Escher
    In the time travel series refresher
    It was Em did the whack
    But Kellog talked the smack
    With a smile reminiscent of Cheshire

  11. Love the return of the pucklady eulogy limmericks!

    I keep thinking about this premiere, and I now realize that I need to go back and watch at least the last couple episodes of S2 to remember what led to some of the final developments. I seem to recall some pretty momentous stuff with the police captain initiating the proto-CPS and Carlos aligning himself with Julian. But I can't remember quite how they got to those points, and now that F.Kiera and Alec are mucking about with the timeline, I'm not sure if we'll get to those same places or not. So much to keep track of on this show!

  12. Thanks so much for all the comments. So glad so many are into this show.

    pucklady eulogy limerick! woohoo!

    What Jess said. Seriously. I have a reviewing disadvantage because I haven't rewatched and reviewed the first two seasons -- I just zipped through them. I'm sure there's a lot I'm going to miss. But it'll still be fun to review and discuss.

  13. I just finished watching the season premiere. Wow, indeed! I think there's no doubt that Kiera shot her other self, but I have a hard time believing she'll do the same to one of the Alecs. My bet would be that one of them sacrifices himself to save the girl. (I wouldn't go all in, though!)

  14. I know that my brain will explode sometime before the end of this season. It's already making rattly sounds after just this first episode.

    But you know what - I think the person who makes the sacrifice they referred to (and travels back a thousand years to set up the time cops), will end up being either Alex or Kiera.

  15. I am finally getting around to watching Season 3...not sure why I waited so long! I forgot how good this show is. Great characters with intricate relationships and a puzzle of a plot. So confusing, but that is why I like it!

  16. I enjoyed this episode a lot, particularly the Kiera/Garza stuff, but Kiera really bugged me when she laced into Alec. Seriously, why should she expect Alec to prioritize her need to get back to her own time over Emily's life? I'm tired of her expecting Alec to drop whatever he's doing to help her all the time. She's so monumentally self-centered.

    As far as why preserve a continuum in which the war over time travel occurs, it's probably in part a philosophical fear of the law of unintended consequences. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Also, the knowledge than excessively paradoxical timeline can make the universe wink out of existence would be something of an incentive to preserve the current line warts and all. The fact that other timelines still exist that might be better isn't much of a comfort.

    By the way if you really want a time travel series that will make your head hurt, the German series Dark is probably the most complicated show of all time.


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