Continuum's True Detective Moment

Spoilers for Continuum and True Detective.

"F***, I don't want to know anything anymore. This is a world where nothing is solved. Someone once told me, 'Time is a flat circle.' Everything we've ever done or will do, we're gonna do over and over and over again. And that little boy and that little girl, they're gonna be in that room again and again and again forever."

- Rust Cohle, True Detective.

Continuum had it's True Detective "flat circle" moment during it's season three premier, "Minute by Minute."  We find the character of Stan Escher sitting in an art gallery contemplating an eerie looking circle.  I couldn't help but think of True Detective and the nihilist musings of Rust Cohle.  I wonder if Escher was thinking the same thing as Cohle as he stared at the circle.  As in, where we're all doomed to repeat our actions and free will is just a fantasy as we march endlessly through our existential crises over and over.

Escher soon met the same fate as Reggie Ledoux in True Detective.  Reggie had told Cohle that he seen him before in a dream and started rambling about black stars and doing it all over again.  Reggie soon caught a bullet from Marty Hart and so it was with Escher.  Escher revealed to Kellog that he knew who he was and it wasn't long after that he also caught a bullet at the hands of Emily.

Normally, I would have thought we have seen the last of Escher.  But considering we've already seen Keira up and about and standing behind Alec after Alec finds her dead with a bullet to the brain in his week old time travel flashback, then I guess not.

Keira had thought  the same thing as me as she gave Curtis Chen a bewildered look and she wondered aloud to him that she had killed him. (The "time cop" prison scene.)  How could he be alive if she shot him in the past?  That question was answered, as I just mentioned, when Keira glowered at the grief stricken Alec as he stood up over her lifeless body.

The only answer to this is time streams, or if you wish, splinters of time.  You can be alive in the future and dead in the past as long as you've existed in one or more of both.

That makes total sense.

But doesn't that mean Keira's family in the future of 2077 is a different version than the one she left?  How different?  If time can be fixed and history preserved, as Curtis Chen and his cohorts would have us believe, then how could he be alive without being in a different timeline?  Dead is dead right?

Eh, maybe not.

Of course now we have and had two versions of Alec and Keira existing in the same timeline considering Keira is staring at her own lifeless body.  

Rust Cohle's flat circle was easier to understand.

If I read this correctly Escher will return, it will just be a different version of him from a different timeline.  His flat circle is repetitious with the option of being from a different circle even though your are cognizant of that previous circle.  Cohle's flat circle exists in the same timeline but you exist as different characters, or if you will, characters that have been reincarnated and only vaguely aware of their past if at all.

Someone hit me in the head with a frying pan please.

 Time is a flat circle and I have a feeling I'll be writing about this again.


  1. Hey Dave,
    Glad you are writing about Continuum! It has established itself as my favorite show currently. I like your answer about how one can be dead in the past while alive in the future -splinters of time - but it seems to only generally answer it. Specifically, Chen is still enigmatic. Kiera glowering over her dead body makes sense because it was past Kiera who died. But with Chen, assuming he was a freelancer in 2077 (he had the tattoos in prison when talking with Travis), he time travels back with Liber8 where he is subsequently killed by Kiera. So who is the present Chen? I suppose present Chen could yet to have traveled to the future, but he answers Kiera's question about why he didn't stop Liber8 and seems to have full knowledge of events. Hopefully someone or the show can straighten me out.
    Going to be a fun ride watching season 3!

  2. Great catch on the flat circle imagery Dave, I confess I am embarrassed that it didn't occur to me at the time. Of course! Circles are always part of the symbology of time travel shows. It fits perfectly here.

    I posed a question to you on twitter regarding Keira and her confession to Carlos about all things time travel. I haven't done a rewatch recently so I don't recall when exactly that conversation happened. I am wondering if it happened during this one week loop that we are in, and if by killing her other week ago self she negated it from happening, and thus has not yet spilt the beans to Carlos. I hope not as that was one of the most emotionally resonant scenes of the show to date and I would hate to see it undone. I guess she could just do it all over again with some more knowledge this time.

    The time cop cult. The idea of someone in Keira's future traveling back 1000 years to create it reminds me of Jeffrey Sinclair's arc on Babylon 5. (Which was pretty freaking cool!) I'm thinking her son is the one who did it.

    My head is spinning (like a flat circle) considering the possibilities of how many alternate timeline versions there may be of certain people. The show is going to have to keep a leash on this looping or the narrative will get impossibly convoluted. I have to say I am not terribly thrilled with the idea of a carte blanche get out of death free because time travel.excuse. Restraint in using this device will be the key.

    Overall a solid and exciting season premiere! I really loved the bonding between Keira and Garza too. I would love to see them kick butt together :)

    1. I just wanted to say I love the Babylon 5 reference! Just finished watching it recently (20 years late) and can't believe I didn't think of it.

      As to when Kiera told Carlos about time travel, it was before this week's events with capturing Lucas in the van. Carlos intentionally looked the other way so that Kiera could take the time travel device.

    2. Yes, well done on the B5 reference. I really, really enjoyed that show. Geez, will future Keira undo her time travel confessional? Chris added some insight to that with his comment. It seems as though it will be preserved. How will she re-introduce herself to Carlos? Will she have to or will she just fake it? He doesn't need to know which one she is.

      Ugh, you're right, this could get very confusing.

      The old saw of "killing your grandfather" in the past seems to have evaporated. Thanks a lot String Theory! Continuum is off and running with as many possibilities as they can think of. I wonder if they keep a chart with all those threads attached to each picture in their writers room. I hope so. We should keep count on how many characters have returned from the "dead". Think we'll see Kagame again?

      Hold on to your spinning circle of a head ( I just got a flashback of the guy with the spinning plates on the Ed Sullivan show, kind of like that yes?) and I'll try to hold on to mine.

      Thanks Lynne!

  3. Chris, what you need is a frying pan to the head. Then everything's cool. Well, except for that ringing sensation, it never goes away.

    I'm not so sure I can continue on the Continuum bandwagon, blog wise that is. I wanted to give myself a break but I couldn't resist the flat circle imagery so down the rabbit hole I go.

    It was an amazing episode, so intricate and dense yet only slightly confusing! I was afraid I was going to get lost in it all but as it turns out I loved it instead. Must be the frying pan factor. The end of last season seemed so, bizarre isn't the right word, maybe confusing will do. Anyway, they managed to tie it all together and smooth out the bumps despite the byzantine nature of time travel.

    What a relief.

    I meant to comment on the ultimate tag team partnership of Keira and Garza. (You don't want to cross those two in a dark alley.) But it just didn't fit into the theme of the blog post.

    Next time. And I do think there will be a next time for those two.

    I need to know more about Chen. Faking the tattoos for some prison cred? I think he's been a time cop all along (or whatever they call themselves) and he's been keeping tabs on everyone through various iterations of himself. Hmm, immortality through time travel?

    It'll be fun all right Chris, thanks for the feedback.

    1. I will get someone to hit me with a frying pan a.s.a.p!
      You deserve a break, amazing how much content you blog about. I was blown away by the end of last season. It and the premiere this season are two of the better episodes of sci-fi tv as one gets.

    2. Didn't they use a frying pan on "Throw Momma From the Train"? That seemed to be her weapon of choice if I remember correctly. The success of Helix and Continuum should really give SyFy a boost and what's good for SyFy is good for us!

  4. Great Write Dave , we have seen some of the best drama on television in the past twelve months, that has ever been broadcast.

    Sherlock, True Detective, Continuum, and Breaking Bad. I will put these four shows up over the last 12 months against anything else on television history.

    Its really that good.

    1. Yeah, this is definitely the golden age of TV. The production values are fantastic and the talent it attracts is amazing. Who needs to go to the movies!


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