Sunday, October 18, 2015

Continuum - The Final Hour



Continuum continues no longer.

The sci-fi entry from the great white north ended it's fourth and final season (US market) this past Friday night and more than one character (cork) screwed themselves out of the future.

As I write this I'm still wondering if I should subtitle this blog post, "The Price of Love" or " No Good Deed Goes Unpunished."  There were a couple of twists (befitting a corkscrew) and by and large the series ended up on an up note albeit one that was slightly off key.

Was I satisfied with the way Continuum ended?  Not particularly.  I can't argue with the vision of a better world was made manifest, no para-military police, no corporate congress and lots of fountain work.  (Hey, was all the imagery a tribute to Rand's "The Fountainhead" or Aronofsky's, "The Fountain?") But the finale and it's predecessor was so action laden it made me yearn for a little more exposition into the struggle of changing the future and the implications thereof.


No, I didn't want everyone sitting around the table drinking beers together (although I love that part of the final season) and arguing the merits of changing the past and future.  I just thought we got that action set piece out of the way in "The Desperate Hours."

So, I'm going to editorialize a little here.  

You'd think in a age where "Black Lives Matter" and "Blue Lives Matter" there would be a little more sensitivity to the body count from this show.

Particularly the amount of policeman that were snuffed out in extreme fashion in this past episode and the penultimate one.  One of the stars characterized a policeman's ending as "epic" on Twitter.  He was decapitated in grisly fashion.  I have an image of it but you know, no, not gonna post it.

The Twist

 
With the editorializing out of the way let's get to the twist ending and how the series wrapped things up.

So, spoiler alert from now on.

Keira makes it back to the future and in doing so she is reunited with Sam.

Sort of.

She never left him.




Keira did such a wonderful job of inspiring everyone in the past that apparently she never had to travel back in order to right things.

Ouch, the "Price of love" indeed Alec.

Keira 2.0 made it back to the future to witness the self that never was shot by Brad.  Brad and Alec had warned her the future may not be the same one she left and Sam may not even be there when she returned.

They didn't say Keira may be there though.  Twist!


One could argue Alec waited sixty years to break her heart.

I thought there might be a paradox with two Keiras running around.  But as we know, at one point we had two Keiras and two Alecs at the same time too.  Did the Traveler have anything to do with this?  At face value I would say absolutely not.  (More on him later.)  No, Keira made her own future.

I had posited in a crackpot theory that Keira should grab Sam from the future and return to the past via moving the wormhole.  Rebuild the future from the past with all the people you've come to know and love and have your son with you.

Then again, I expanded on that theory in my comments to reader Chris when I said, "Ha, that would make it possible for Keira to grab the wrong Sam in a future where she never left him. Ouch."

Ouch indeed and very close!  

So now Keira 2.0 is stuck in a future where she doesn't belong.  Most of the people she knew from the past are dead and gone those who are left are in their twilight years.

Maybe Keira 2.0 can tend to the Fonegra fountain park collecting coins from well wishers and dreaming of being sent to the past.

She does have a timeball and time travel should still exist considering there is a "time tunnel" in the past.  Maybe this the Continuum spin off we've been hearing about lately.  (I cringed at some of the possible clues to this during the episode.)



It looks as though most of the players on the right side of history got the happy ending they deserved.  (I guess Brad didn't deserve his as much.) Kagame, mentored by his uncle Julian and compatriot Alec flourished in a peaceful future.   Alec got to spend his time with Emily after all.  Carlos became so beloved they memorialized him with a freaking park.   

Jason?  Alec not his dad?  Is that what the note was about?  Was there a spliter-in-time dad with a different mother?  We'll never know.  (Cough, spin-off.)

All in all it looks as though Keira got the most bittersweet ending of them all.




No good deed goes unpunished Protector.


The Other Twist



Cork screwed yourself didn't you Kellog?

So in the end there was nothing redeeming about Kellog and ultimately nothing to be redeemed.

He was always a selfish character, at times funny and other times personable and charismatic.

But someone had to take the fall.


While trying to save his own butt in the present and cheat his fate he ended up killing his future.

Kellog murdered Vasquez when she wouldn't accede  to his plans.  In the cruelest twist of fate she turned out to be his own daughter.  Both she and his future self knew what he was capable of and planned accordingly.  If they only factored in the lengths he was willing to go to.



"I choose me."

I did laugh at this moment.  Typical Kellog.  Irredeemably selfish to the end.  Laughter not at him murdering his own daughter but his utter self absorption as he tap danced into time. 


And what a time it is!

Alec managed to reprogram Kellog's timeball and send him to the distant past of Canada's ancestral forebears.   That's not to say he's dead.  Knowing Kellog he is at least the shaman of the tribe now if not its chieftain.


The Spin Off Series 


This is definitely not carved in stone.

I would think it would be difficult for Simon Barry to sell this series considering he was barely able to finish Continuum.  He was granted just six episodes in order to wrap things up.   What makes us think he'll get another shot with a similar theme?

The unanswered questions are, what happens to Keira now?  Sam stalker?  

Or Time Cop?

She can't exactly go back to the Carlos past.  They formed the future thinking she may be dead and the lessons she left behind inspired them to build a better future.

What was the great Traveler mystery?  What did he fix?  Does it involve Keira?



She did leave a few people behind.




And group like this with their kick ass capabilities should not go unwasted.  

If the Traveler returns coupled with Keira's time ball, she could get the band together again (minus Carlos, Alec and Julian) and right all the wrongs any mischievous character might enact with the wormhole device or any other time machine.

Works for me.


Odds and Ends


 

I did love Continuum's vision of a time device.

Those physical planes slamming into each other perhaps evolving into multidimensional branes that allowed a wormhole to be possible was great fun.



The spitting of light particles from the other end of the device was pretty awesome too.  As if a chrono-chromatic light effect stabilized the wormhole and allowed it to develop and hold while it went through its tethering function.



Pretty neat.

That should be one selling point to a future series Simon Barry. 


Familiar Faces




Can Rachel Nichols be convinced to come back to TV?  She just did a stint on "Chicago Fire" and her movie vehicle "Pandemic" is in post production.  Seemingly, the world is her oyster.





 


We grew fond of a lot of the faces we got close to via the box in our living room.  Oh wait, no one calls it a box anymore.  A plane?  A panel or brane?  That's it.  TV is our traveling device that takes across time and the universe.  It won't be long before we see all our friends again.  And if the band can get back together, all the better.


In the meantime, just turn on the TV and you'll find Roger Cross anywhere!  Right, Travis Verta, Six (Dark Matter), Kevin O'Donnell (Bones), Reggie Fitzwilliam (The Strain), Matt (The Returned), Boyd Bloom (Motive), Detective Luca Hilton (Arrow) Cartlton (Orphan Black), and on and on.

Thank God for him!

12 comments:

  1. Dave,

    I am in nearly complete agreement with you. With only six episodes, there should have been less action and fighting; although I will say they still managed to take care of most major plot threads despite it. I am glad for your editoralizing. We are becoming way too desensitized to killings, and it seems each new show tries to make them more brutal than before.

    As to the ending, I am amazed we didn't see it! As we knew all along, the old timeline was gone. So, for Sam to exist, a different Kiera would have to be born in the new timeline, whether Alec steered it away from the bad Corporate Congress or not. I assume Alec made sure her grandparents then her parents got together to produce Kiera as before, then she married the same guy. We did see Kiera's one teenage grandmother in season 1. It is interesting to think there is now a version of Kiera without the cmr. Bet she doesn't do those Observer-like head tilts.

    I like to think Alec sets up Kiera 2.0 with a new identiy and she moves to a new city with comfort knowing Sam is okay.

    I forgot about Jason's note, they never really went back to it. I can see why he would want to stay in the past and have many more years with his younger father Alec rather than his more elderly one. You're right, there is much room for movies. I really wanted the Traveler story, but not at the expense of the main characters, so all in all, I am pleased with the bittersweet finale.

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  2. Hear, hear Chris. Desensitized is the word. You'd think TV would get it by now but all they do is pour gas on the fire. I like realism but know when to say when.

    I wasn't too surprised the way the series ended. A nice little twist that made things a little bittersweet if not sad. I was hoping for something larger or more impactful. At least it didn't end like Lost or Battlestar Galactica!

    I don't think setting up Keira in a new city will help with the pull of motherhood. Alec needs to send her elsewhere in time. Knowing Sam is always around would surely drive her crazy. Unless she becomes Saint Keira or "Mother Freaking Theresa" as Alec would say.

    I finally got around to reading that io9 article you guys were tweeting about Saturday. I didn't get to watch the show until late Saturday afternoon and again that night. I try to stay spoiler free. That writer really savaged Keira. I can't disagree with most of it either but at least I'm not that harsh. She was truly selfish and putting her actions into context like getting all those policemen killed was an interesting perspective.

    I think her making her the inspiration for a better future was the writer's way of painting her out of her selfish corner.

    Thanks for all your feedback Chris!

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  3. That was brutal... absolutely devastating. I think most people don't understand how incredibly cruel a fate that is. A few seconds of happiness followed by a lifetime of torment. After a huge loss, most people have to wonder what might have been, but shades of the life wrongfully stolen from her stare at her right in the face, every day.

    From a recent Blastr interview:

    "At first there was a discussion about using the Traveler to "merge" Kiera with the one that was born into the new timeline, but it didn’t have the gut punch of complication we are always looking for in the show.

    We finally settled on the ending we used before any scripts were written. It seemed to fit what the show had been about all along. Sacrifice for an idea that is bigger than you are."

    This isn't "complication". It is PURE HELL, especially to a parent. As you note, something like this would easily drive a person insane. Selfish or not, she did not deserve that. And it's difficult to argue that devotion to one's family can be considered 100% "selfish" anyway.

    Kiera did have a point about not wanting Carlos to raid them earlier, even if her motives were questionable. With more power armors and soldiers able to use them it could have been much more of a pointless blood bath than it already was. People have needs and limits, and are subject to wishful thinking. What differentiates her own selfishness from Kellogg is that he knows who he's directly screwing over (except Vasquez, and himself) and is perfectly okay with it.

    And as for the "sacrifice" thing, maybe it was due to the shortened season, but it never really came into play. The most important things Kiera did in relation to the endgame were sabotaging the key, and tricking Kellogg into screwing himself over. She did ultimately decide to destroy the machine, which would have made sense for this context, but by the time she got to it Kellogg had unwittingly solved the problem anyway, making the decision irrelevant.

    And the Traveler... how is he any less selfish than Kiera?! He wants to restore his own future, but for all we know it's only incidental that it's a "good" one for almost everyone else. What's to say he wouldn't do the same if his future required the world to go through hell and back? He messed up at some point, and a bunch of other people have to suffer for it.

    If we are to take Alec's encounter with his bad-future self at face value, it was the Traveler that set up Kiera to have her life ruined in the first place. After she did her part, he just left her to her awful fate. And he got everything he wanted in the end. Making other people suffer because of your mistakes without giving them a choice isn't "sacrifice", it's abuse. Taking it this way, he puts Kellogg to shame.

    Early in the show's run, I wondered how it would be resolved given the inevitable changing of that timeline. The splitting "O" in the title foreshadowed multiple timelines, which was confirmed in season 3. The Traveler putting Alec in contact with his bad-future self implied that timeline still exists, and that he could have sent Kiera back if he cared the slightest bit.

    I thought the multiple timelines could allow for a vision of a new future while still giving Kiera her own life back, possibly giving a blueprint for improving her own timeline's future going forward.

    I always hated the cruel twist endings in the Outer Limits, but those only had you attach to the characters for an hour. This has a far greater scope.

    So to say the least, I feel betrayed. Punished for my emotional investment.

    I can imagine a "war between worlds" spin-off where they manage to open a gate between the two futures. That could finally give Kiera a chance to earn her happy ending. But based on Simon Barry's comments, that doesn't seem likely.

    You put a woman through hell, and then you leave her there. What a world...

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    1. Sorry for the rant. It's just been bugging me a lot more than it logically should.

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    2. I welcome rants quantumence no need to apologize. (Some of my blog posts can be defined as rants.) I've read your feedback twice now and I am formulating a response. Stand by!

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    3. Hey there quantumenace,

      As I said earlier, no need to feel sorry for your response. All feedback is welcome as long as it isn't profane.

      So as to your feedback. I feel your pain! Your reaction actually kind of reminded me of some of my post game reaction to some particularly painful Red Sox losses. I was absolutely disgusted they way Lost ended. Betrayed in fact. Battlestar Galactica's ending left me confused. I guess I should be thankful I didn't watch the Soparanos.

      It was a cruel twist of fate. Poor Kiera. I always thought they "drew" her character as too selfish. In fact, I think they painted themselves into a corner with her selfishness and had to scramble to get her out of it.

      The inspiration to a better future!

      Then they stab her in the heart. I wonder how on board Rachel Nichols was with all of that?

      In a way I suppose you could define it as "courageous" by the writers to end things that way. I doubt you see as such but maybe Simon Barry needed to end it that way in order to sell his next series.

      Fearless, ruthless and dare I say it, clever?

      I know, you're calling, "B.S.!"

      Sometimes that's the way it works. I swear the mystery behind the Traveler, Jason's note and possibly Kiera's fate has something to do with a spin off series. It doesn't mean it's going to happen but it's the way they think as opposed to the way the viewers think.

      We may never know how "selfish" the Traveler was acting because we never got to know him. I am thankful for that. I didn't like his introduction anyway. To me it added an element of "magic" to everything. Why distract from our core characters and add some mystical being? Let our players figure it out for themselves and fix their own futures.

      The Traveler was a needless distraction.

      The splitting of the "O's" reminded me of a Venn diagram. Things were different or perhaps separate but there would be some commonality. What do you suppose the commonality was? Everyone else except Kiera 2.0?

      What a world indeed quantumenace. It's not Kiera's world anymore. She doesn't belong there. Painful.

      Thanks for the impassioned feedback. Not sure what I'll be covering next, Some Flash, some Arrow. Definitely "The Man in the High Castle" and definitely "The X-files." Hope to see you out there!

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    4. Selfish perhaps, but not in a way that was not understandable. Any mother worth her salt would move heaven and earth to protect her children. It's also pointed out that she never asked to be put in that position; some mothers will indeed risk their lives for a worthy cause, and from her perspective she did this with her job, but it would be hard to find any who would accept being forced to live without their children instead, much less risk their children's entire existence or end up the way Kiera did. It's even arguable that it wasn't her place, or anyone else's, to change history.

      It was painful to see her gradually lose hope. Even the toy soldier, the only physical memento of her stolen life, was stolen from her and she never got it back.

      The way the series started out, it was interesting to see the hard decisions she had to make based on their potential implications. But as it turned out, things were far murkier than anyone expected. Actions had unforeseen consequences, which is both fair and realistic. It was eventually spelled out that nobody really knew what they were doing, which is fair to a point, but taken to the extreme it results in nihilism; if all the effects of your actions are unpredictable, there's no point in trying to act responsibly. This almost made Liber8 give up, and hinted at a larger problem.

      Most of Kiera's tough decisions had ambiguous impact on the future or were shown to be irrelevant.

      She tried to stop the bombing even though it could upset her own future, but failed anyway.
      She decided to unseat monster-Alec and stop the Halo project even if it would prevent her future, but it was irrelevant: Kellog was ready to take over anyway.
      She eventually decides to destroy the portal, but it's irrelevant again. Because Kellog.

      In fact, it's implied that if she had left at any point before the finale, Kellog would mess up the future. Which brings me to the cruelest realization of all:

      She never even had a chance.

      Kiera was condemned on a meta-level, both before the first scene, and before the first script was even written.

      The only way she could have had the slightest possibility of re-creating her own future would be to gun down Kellog long before realizing how dangerous he was, and take out the remaining Liber8 members by any means necessary, casualties be damned. She'd have to pursue her goal as ruthlessly as Kellog, Liber8 or the Freelancers. Even then it probably would get screwed up by unforseen circumstances, and she actually DID get her happy ending this way she would not deserve it.

      Probably the closest Kiera was to having her old future falling into her lap was when Kellog got poisoned. If she were like him, she'd consider that Kellog was the guy responsible for ruining the future and that letting him die would also get Emily killed, leaving Alec with a resentment he wouldn't really blame Kiera for, but could make him into the Alec she needed to make her future. Of course, Alec would probably just use the time machine on himself again, but she never even considered doing that, because she doesn't think that way. She put herself through humiliation to protect Emily instead, and didn't let thoughts of revenge consume her either. I know it doesn't excuse forking over Alec to the Freelancers earlier, though.

      And apparently Kiera was selected, or "sacrificed", by elder Alec and the Traveler because of her signs of not being ruthlessly self-interested. Saving the children from the fire despite knowing she would be punished, and her compatriots sharing the burden: THAT is true sacrifice. She would have been left alone in her life otherwise.

      Let that sink in: Kiera could only get her happy ending by not deserving it. "No good deed goes unpunished" indeed, or as I think of it, backwards Karma.

      (continued due to length limit)

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    5. It looked like Kiera just being there for Alec influenced his path more than anything she did actively as a conscious decision. This is fair, and the idea that just showing compassion can change the world is poignant, but...

      The whole "Kiera's sacrifice as a motivator for a better future" thing didn't make sense, because her disappearance/ apparent death had nothing to do with that. It would have made sense if, say, Zorin went nuts and rigged the thing to blow up half the city, and Kiera had a chance to escape through the portal. Instead she could activate her shield (did that still work?) and put the incomplete ball into the beam, so that the excess energy would be shunted off to infinity like the other Kiera's remains. As the energy was almost depleted she could add the last piece and disappear, leaving her intent clear and her fate uncertain to them.


      The more I think about the Traveler's meddling, the more it undermines the philosophical underpinnings the show started with. It was about choices, and how to try to be responsible with them even when they never seem to turn out how they're supposed to.

      But the Traveler doesn't play fair.

      It looks like he knows everyone's choices before they make them and what to have Curtis tell them so they do exactly what he wants. This sounds an awful lot like a philosophy antithetical to choices: Calvinist predestination. The idea that everything anyone ever does was fated from the beginning, and free will does not exist; the only thing that can change a person's fate is the whim of a fickle God. In this case, EVERYONE is just a tool to the Traveler, to be used and cast aside as he sees fit. It is, as Travis would say, "turning people into things".

      The idea that a person can be "sacrificed" against their will for "the greater good" has horriffic implications. Most of the world's atrocities had a basis in this.


      I enjoyed the series as a whole quite a lot, and The Desperate Hours was probably my favorite episode. But that ending and all its implications retroactively poison my experience with the entire show. Fitting, for something about time-travel.


      Anyway, thank you for the discussion. It helps just to be able to vent.

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    6. Oops, I meant "Rush Hour", not The Desperate Hours.

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    7. I'm not sure how long you've been reading my blog but I reached a similar conclusion as you did as far as fixing the future was concerned.

      Kill Kellog. Here's a link you'll have to copy and paste.

      http://interdimensional-dave.blogspot.com/2015/10/continuum-zero-hour.html

      I've been thinking about a scheme where Kiera could return to the future and still be Sam's mom without a double hanging about. It has something to do with Brad not killing her and Kiera version 1.0 returning to the future to retake her original spot. That being said, it would still have to take place in a multiverse scenario I would think. Here's a handy chart.

      http://imgur.com/gallery/bc8Du

      Great discussion quantumenace. Thanks for all the feedback and I hope to hear from you in the "future."

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  4. Here are my thoughts about the finale: First, I thought what happened to Kellog was hilarious. He was such a monumental jerk. I loved what they did with the time device, very cool visually. Now on to Kiera, her son and her quest to go home. Too bad she didn't have any ruby slippers handy. She went through a lot to get her hands on that time travel ball and a lot of people died. Her logical desire to go back to her son ostensibly justified much of what she did in the current timeframe. It was her character's motivation, but not what I saw as the emotional center of the show. I thought that was her relationship with Alec. Her reunion with the older Alec was very sweet and poignant. Maybe It's my fondness for William B. Davis, but I loved that scene. Lastly, I want to mention how much I liked Carlos. He really cared for Kiera, but sadly it wasn't meant to be. I hope we see Victor Webster in another in another series real soon. So sadly, Continuum may be over, but we still have 12 Monkeys! :D

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    1. Hello Laura,

      Ha, yes, poor Kellog. Not! He should have gotten a crueler fate. Yes, he is in a society free of technology but now he can re-engineer that society from the ground up. With his face on it. He's a survivor.

      I can agree Kiera's relationship with Alec was the emotional center of the show. One could argue her relationship with Carlos was almost as important. That's why I wanted her to stay in the past. But, they had to return her to the future so they could stick their landing.

      Speaking of William B Davis, he used to smoke Morley cigarettes on The X-Files. I notice that lady that got it at the beginning of the last Walking Dead episode was smoking Morleys also. The operative word being, "was."

      Here's for Victor Webster for season three of 12 Monkeys then!

      Thanks Laura!

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