Continuum 1.02 “Fast Times” Review

As you may or may not have heard, Continuum is a new show on the Canadian network SHOWCASE that premiered on May 27. Continuum has been generating buzz since it began filming, and the interest has only grown since it debuted to the highest ratings the network has seen for a single episode. The show features Rachel Nichols as the time-traveling cop, known in the future as ‘Protectors’, Kiera Cameron. The pilot saw Kiera ripped away from her son and husband in a fascinatingly high-tech 2077 and thrown back to present day Vancouver. In an interesting twist, the show is both filmed and set in Vancouver — a definite rarity.

The glimpses of 2077 that we’ve seen so far are intriguing, to say the least. But the future isn’t perfect: there’s a terrorist group known as Liber8 that is fighting against the control that corporations seem to have. Given the actions of Liber8, the future may not be as utopic as it first appears. The Protectors, Kiera included, are all outfitted with a device known as a CMR (cellular memory recall) that functions to record everything a Protector sees, hears, and smells, turning the agents into passive recorders of everything around them, in 36 hour periods. The CMR interfaces directly with a Protector’s cortex, and is only one of the tools in their arsenal: Protectors also wear a suit that, so far, seems to be able to do just about anything. Even though the tech is remarkably cool, the writers will need to walk a fine line to ensure the tech doesn’t become a crutch that gets in the way of effective storytelling. As the show progresses, I’m hoping that the usage of the CMR emerges as a pivotal issue. It’s technology that could easily be abused, even with the right intentions.

Kiera found herself thrown 65 years into the past when she was accidentally pulled through a portal that Liber8 created: the terrorists were trying to jump back to 2071, but something went wrong. I’m curious as to whether there was actually some event in 2071 that they’re hoping to prevent, or whether it was simply the point from which they felt they could alter the course of the future without completely obliterating it. In jumping back so far, it would be nigh impossible to tell what effects their actions in the present could have in shaping the future. The paradoxes inherent in time travel are one of many things I’m finding highly intriguing about Continuum so far. Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen), the young genius in the present who’s helping Kiera, points out that there are two theories: first, that in travelling back through time the future has already been altered, and every action changes it further; or, second, that the future came about because of the actions of the people who travelled back in time and thus this was supposed to happen. I’d argue that there’s a third theory involving parallel timelines but Continuum seems to be avoiding that approach.

One thing that was highlighted in last night’s new episode was how utterly alone Kiera is in the present. She is driven by a desperate need to get back home, to her husband and son. Even though she’s now working with the police to try and stop Liber8, there’s only one person she can talk to without a faƧade. Curiously, Kiera’s CMR locked onto its network even though she’s in a time before the technology was invented. This is because the inventor, Alec Sadler, is in the process of developing and testing his technology, which brings him in touch with Kiera. Alec has an odd home life, which I can’t help but think is somehow tied into Liber8; he also knows Kiera in the future, and seemed to have at least some forewarning in 2077 of how the terrorists were going to time travel. It’s too early to say whether that’s because he’s involved with Liber8, or because he knew it would happen since he met Kiera in 2012.

I found myself pleasantly surprised that the issue of Kiera impersonating a police officer to help the Vancouver Police catch the terrorists was so quickly resolved. It had actually been one of my main complaints about the pilot: what kind of precinct would welcome a stranger without first checking their story? Luckily for Kiera, Alec was able to hack into government files and make it appear as though Kiera were an undercover federal agent. Kiera is partnered with Detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster), who remains obviously and understandably curious about his new colleague’s past; the two got off to a rather rocky start since Kiera has managed to run rings around him a couple times, but as of ‘Fast Times’, the Detective finds himself officially assigned a new partner.

Thus far, Continuum is off to a great start, and I hope that they’re able to keep it up. Kiera’s flashbacks to her life with her family make Kiera’s willingness to do absolutely anything to get back to 2077, including collaborate with the terrorists stuck in the past with her, much more tangible, and endear her to us. ‘Fast Times’also left the Protector with leverage against the terrorists in the form of a piece of the device needed to send them back into the future.

This show is making a great summer stand-in, and I hope to see them develop the mythology of the show even further: I want to learn more about Liber8 and their agenda, about the course of action they’re trying to take, and about the future in general. Well on its way to being a fantastic science fiction show, I can’t wait to see what Continuum has in store. B+

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