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Continuum: A Test of Time

"It's not every day you get chased by a terrorist. It's very Terminator."

Yes, it's the Sarah Connor episode. They had to do one. Fortunately, it was a good one. And this is the episode that finally piqued my interest in this series.

Kagame decided to delete Kiera from existence by killing her young grandmother, and of course, he didn't know which Lily Jones was the right one. It was sort of fun (or it would be, if one of them hadn't died) that Kiera didn't know which one was her grandmother either, even though she of course had more information to go on than Liber8. Kiera was certain that the normal, upright, achiever-type Lily Jones had to be her grandmother, because that is how Kiera sees herself. Instead, it was the homeless tattoed rebel with the nose rings. Cool.

Good casting, because Lily was the same size as Kiera and had much the same coloring. Lily and Kiera also shared a couple of defining characteristics: they're both tough, and they both instinctively help others. It's interesting to ponder the possibility that there might be a rebel inside Kiera waiting to come out. I liked the quiet scene between them where Kiera shared how she had initially reacted to her own pregnancy, and talked knowingly about how much love waited for Lily in her future.

Kellog's turn in this episode was surprisingly sympathetic. He arrived at Liber8's new digs bearing gifts of fresh fruit and money, and at first appeared to be playing Kiera and Liber8 against each other by telling them both stuff they already knew. And yet, Kellog obviously loved his grandmother and was devastated by her death. That scene on the ground with Kiera and Kellog and their teenage grandmothers was quite moving. I don't know that I'd trust Kellog with my grandparents, but watching him take Lily and Jake away into hiding in his shiny, expensive new boat did have some symmetry. It's a shame Lily can't hang around so she and Kiera could spend time together.

It seems obvious to me that Mattie really was Kellog's grandmother, and since her death didn't make him vanish in a puff of smoke, Kiera and Liber8 have probably created a new timeline. Either that, or maybe time travel doesn't work that way? Kellog told Kiera that she may have been sent to the past on purpose. In the pilot, old Alec certainly didn't seem surprised when she disappeared with Liber8.

The other surprise in this episode was Kagame, and not just the part where his pregnant mother turned out to be the ace in the hole. (Superhuge checkmate. Was that Kiera's idea, or Kellog's?) Even though Kagame decided to eliminate Lily Jones, he was also determined not to kill anyone else unless he has to, and he was furious that Travis killed Mattie anyway. Kagame wants Liber8 to use strategy, to think about how to change the narrative, not to kill indiscriminately. It certainly makes him a little more likeable than the others.

The episode began with Kagame either praying or meditating. Did he come up with the Lily Jones thing as a time travel test, just to see what would happen?

Up until this point, I was under the impression that Continuum was going to be a case-of-the-week procedural with time travel trappings. This episode made me hope that the series was going to explore the more interesting elements of time travel, and that is very much what I wanted.

Bits and pieces:

— Not much Alec this week, unfortunately. Loved that they showed Alec actually shoveling shit. What a waste of time for such a brilliant mind.

— Alec thinks his stepfather Roland is a conspiracy freak in a tinfoil hat. His stepbrother Julian is a believer, though.

— Instant DNA test, which is cool. But would Sonya stab Kiera when Sonya didn't know Kiera's supersuit was on the fritz?

— Alec said that Kiera has been different since her suit shorted out. Maybe she feels a bit defenseless.

— The flash forwards showed Kiera taking a very futuristic pregnancy test, and her boyfriend proposing. That was sweet. It also mentioned that Kiera was right out of the military and ready to start a new career. And that an abortion would cost 1400 "life credits."

— In the flash forwards, SadTech was saved from a Liber8 attack because Alec Sadler changed the location of the meeting at the last minute. That was a bit prescient of old Alec, wasn't it?

— A personal note: one of my own great-grandmothers was named Lulu Jones. I kept thinking about that as I was watching this episode.


Kiera: "I'm complicated."
Carlos: "You think?"

Kellog: "I'm just coming by to say no hard feelings about leaving me to die with a bomb strapped to my jewels, Travis."

Kiera: "You're still alive."
Kellog: "You think I care about that?"
Kellog is fascinating, isn't he?

Three out of four butterfly tatts,

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


  1. Great review Billie. The time travel piece is very interesting and I liked that they had Alec talk about all the possibilities. It would have been a very short and/or bloody show if you actually could erase people. The rest of the series would just be an endless run of killing grandparents. I was really glad it didn't work. I actually think it is good for geniuses to shovel shit. It keeps one grounded. Too much time in the head can be bad for people.

  2. On Netflix, this episode is called “A Waste of Time,” but it has the correct name on Amazon. My little brain got very confused there for a minute.

    Anyway, this was my favorite episode to date. What a great choice to make Keira's grandmother a street kid. The through line with the butterfly necklace made me tear up at the end.

    Doc -- your comment made me laugh. I agree about too much time in one's head.

  3. I took one look at the street kid and thought to myself, that's definitely the right Lily Jones--as you say, they got the casting right. She was a fun, feisty character, too. As well as being enjoyable, it was an interesting "test" of how time works, as the title suggests.

    Both Kiera and Liber8 appear to be operating on the assumption that there's a single timeline and changing the past changes their future. But there are other schools of thought and some of them seem to be ruled out or at least made less likely by this episode. The fact that they were able to kill Kellog's grandmother suggests Continuum's not going to be in the fatalist school of time travel fiction (e.g. Twelve Monkeys and Slaughterhouse Five where the past can't be changed). Nor do we seem to be in what I think of as a "paradox-aversive" universe where some mechanism prevents paradoxes. In Michael Moorcock's novels, for example, people who attempt to change the past get flushed forward in time. If there's a single future, it doesn't correct by vanishing people whose birth is negated, so it may be a "paradox-tolerant" universe. Maybe Kiera and Liber8's future still exists, just without Matthew Kellogg which may have some consequences down the line. Another possibility is that maybe we're in a "branching multiverse" cosmos, where there are no temporal paradoxes because Kellogg is simply a visitor from another universe, not the future of this one. If that's the case, Kiera's situation is likely hopeless. And Liber8 won't be able to rub out that future, but it may be able to create that is more to their liking.


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