Last weeks episode of Continuum was hardly the shows best. The plot felt a bit too forced as the writers tried to push the characters into a new direction. Alec quitting his job to work for Kellog and Liber8 turning on each other are examples. However, against all odds this weeks episode of Continuum is able to capitalize on this new situation by seriously putting every character out of their comfort zone. I must warn anyone before viewing this episode, there is some serious violence, gore and mind-fucking going on in ‘Second Thoughts’.
The plot of ‘Second Thoughts’…
In a flashback to 2077 we see Kiera (Rachel Nichols) having trouble keeping her younger sister from using a very dangerous drug. This drug allows people to relive their most intense memories. In the present Alec’s friend are also using this ‘newfound’ drug and call it Flash. Alec (Erik Knudsen) doesn’t use it but does allow his friend to drive and they subsequently get into an accident.
Vancouver is meanwhile being gripped by a series of gang assassinations. The problem of the drug ‘flash’ seems to only add to the list. Jason, the time-traveler revealed in the season 1 finale has a warning for Carlos that there are freelancers at work. Carlos (Victor Webster) doesn’t understand the warning but seems to think Jason is an informant of Kiera.
Julian’s stepmother Ann visits him in prison. She says that the bombing killed a number of CEO’s of pharmaceutical companies that wished to form a illegal monopoly on hard to get drugs. Kiera meanwhile pushes Kellog to leave Alec alone. Something he refuses to do as they are teaming up to change the future.
Kiera finally seems to make time for Jason. While questioning him about ‘freelancers’ he tells her that pretty much all the big inventions of the past were brought from the future. Kiera seems skeptical but does listen to his warning that there are more time-travelers from the future here in the present.
Alec meanwhile visits one of his friends that was injured in the car crash. He asks her if it is really possible to see the past in a completely lucid state. She says it is but warns him that the past might seem to be better than it really was for real. It is later shown that Alec has kept some of the drug for himself. Kellog meanwhile wants to know what Alec’s answer is to his offer.
After Carlos and Kiera’s failed discussion with the gang leaders they track the car the gangsters are using with a tracker that Kiera planted. This takes them to the warehouse Sonya is using to make the drug ‘flash’. Despite Carlos’s objection Kiera decides to take down Sonya. After a lengthy gunfight Sonya manages to escape while Kiera seems to be overwhelmed by the number of gang members. Carlos and Kiera finally manage to put down the shooters and take the warehouse.
After Sonya loses her drug lab we see Travis entering a gang nightclub. With a dozen guns trained on him he proclaims himself to be the new head of all the gangs of Vancouver. To proof his power he opens the case he brought along with him and presents the three heads of the previous gang leaders. One by one the gang soldiers lower their guns showing that they accept him as their new leader.
Alec finally manages the courage to take ‘flash’. While in a lucid dream state he see presumably his father. As the man turns it is shown to be Jason.
Julian while incarcerated is protected by a quick succession of gangs. After Travis manages to become head of the underworld we see this change of guard presumably for the last time.
The last scene of the episode shows Kiera’s younger sister dancing on the ledge of a building, despite Kiera’s pleas she jumps to her death.
This episode is just fantastic on so many levels. Not only does it continue the surprising level of violence (for a mainstream show), it also shows how drugs can affect everyone’s life so intensely and disturbingly. This episode pretty much moves everyone firmly into the dark side, even Kiera and Alec. For the first time the show acknowledges the possibility that Kiera will never make it back to 2077, or at least, the 2077 as she knew it.
The major gunfight between Kiera, Carlos and Sonya with her gangbangers is the most intense and realistic that I have ever seen on a TV-show. The violence proofs to viewers that bullets really do kill. The choreography shows that the director really does know what he is doing. Alas, I am not familiar with any other credentials of William Waring, but if you are, then check out his work!
The scene whereby Travis becomes the de facto head of all the crime syndicates by presenting the heads of the bosses to his soldiers was totally unexpected and came as a big shock. Only TV-series such as Hannibal show the same level of gore while shows such as Game of Throne tend to be a little bit clean in comparison (preferring nudity instead). The scene is effective in establishing the Travis/Sonya faction of Liber8 as the most violent one while Sonya and Lucas actually swear off associating with gangs. As such the lines have been drawn in the sand. The rest of the season will show us how things unravel.
After Alec takes the drug ‘flash’ it is shown that his mother knew Jason, the time traveler revealed in the season one finale. That Jason is Alec’s father has not yet been established but it is strongly alluded to. I am not sure if I find that revelation at all convincing because if so time-line organization becomes very difficult. I already have difficulty in believing that Kagame blew up the building in 2012. Because, if during the very first 2012 timeline he was just being born than Julian would have fulfilled his destiny by performing the bombing, yet we see Julian as being alive in 2077. If you enjoy reasoning about this (if you enjoy mind-fucks that is), then you should definitely view this episode.
The episode did have a number of issues. Julian’s incarceration seems to offer little of interest to viewers. The visit of his stepmother in prison was a surprise as was her approval of the deaths of 5 CEO’s of pharmaceutical companies in the terrorist blast of the first season’s finale. Perhaps future episodes can straighten things out. One question that needs answering is why she choose to marry Julian’s father Roland as she before seemed to show little interest in his anti-capitalist beliefs.
Score; 9 / 10. Showcase and Syfy try to make some good TV, for a change….