You have to give it to Continuum. Most shows would have made us wait a whole season for the meeting that takes place in the clip above. But the Canadian time-travel show just jumps straight ahead... although the meeting doesn't play out the way we'd have expected. Spoilers ahead...
So yeah, the two Alecs have met — and we've found out what happens when you make physical contact with yourself from another timeline. Absolutely nothing. Sadly, this is not an occasion for Man Who Folded Himself sexytimes. Instead, the two Alecs become enemies right away, in the sort of rapid status-quo alignment that usually lasts three or four episodes on this show.
The two Alecs don't get along, partly because they disagree about Emily — Future Alec traveled back in time to save her, but Alec Prime doesn't trust or even like her at this point.
But they're also very different people at this point. Future Alec has been humbled by his mistakes, and apparently wound up with a bad taste in his mouth after his father-son interactions with Escher. But Alec Prime didn't get to know Escher enough to dislike him, and isn't as aware of the trouble that Escher's arrogance got them into. And Alec Prime has only just started taking on his father's legacy and becoming a corporate mover and shaker.
This episode moves at bullet-train speed to get Alec Prime to the point where the two Alecs look like totally different people — it's a little rushed, to be honest, but still exhilarating.
A lot of the episode deals with Alec Prime trying to come into Piron, the company he inherited from his dad, and take some measure of control. In an utterly brilliant scene of extreme dorkitude, Alec Prime shows up for a board meeting with a bunch of note cards to give a high-school valedictorian-style speech, and gets put in his place by the Chairman, who basically tells him to run away and make himself useful in one of the labs.
Alec doesn't realize how fully he's been smushed until he talks to Kellog, who points out that the board has a weak hand and all they can do is try to bully him. Besides the thing where Alec has a controlling interest, there's the fact that the board has no great leadership — they don't have a Kirk, a Picard or even a Geordi, as Kellog puts it. Alec needs a "shark" to help him dominate these clowns.
So in a clever twist, Alec finds a shark — but not Kellog. Instead, he recruits Dillon, the latest addition to the board, who is very happy to make an alliance. Especially since the wedge that Alec uses to take over the board is fast-tracking civilian applications for their military projects. Thus increasing corporate profits — but in the process, giving the Vancouver cops military-grade equipment and probably weaponry. (And hastening the militarization of the cops, which we see in Kiera's future.)
So Alec wins his showdown with the board, but in the process he becomes more of a stereotypical corporate douchebag, the sort of person it seems like his older self in 2077 regrets having become. And Future Alec, meanwhile, looks at Alec Prime as being basically a child — he's only a week younger, but he's missed out on a lot of experiences that made Future Alec grow up.
A really telling scene comes early in the episode, when Emily comes to visit Alec Prime at his office, and he shows her the tape of her jail-cell fight. She tells Alec that he's never really touched that part of himself that will do anything to survive, the feral desperate part. And that self-protective portion of yourself is the same part that gives you the strength to do anything it takes to protect someone else — to put another person first. (The way Future Alec did, when he came back for Emily.)
Emily says that Alec Prime could use some of that right now, that extreme loyalty and fierce devotion. But he's not interested — and in effect, he chooses pure utilitarianism instead, when he makes an alliance with Dillon, someone who has zero loyalty but a lot to gain. And in the end, Emily goes to visit Future Alec and wears his shirt, telling him, "I choose you."
The other part of the episode deals with the cops being kind of evil — the end result of the kind of deal that Alec pushes through to win points at the Piron board meeting. This week's future flashback involves Kiera inside a burning building, where she can either rescue an innocent little girl or two high-status CEO types. She chooses the little girl, and is told that the sunk cost of those CEOs' education and work experience has been added to her life debt. But as she gets into line with the other cops, she touches each of their hands, in a sign of shared loyalty or comradeship.
And in the episode's main plot, Liber8 is active on the local college campus — not the thuggish guerilla Liber8 crew from the future, but the young idealistic group led by Alec's step-brother Julian. Julian's face is on T-shirts and kids are throwing parties in his honor, but he's still hanging back from being a spokesperson — something Carlos encourages him to do.
After a campus protest turns ugly, with three kids being shot, the cops try to pretend that the kids shot first. (In fact, it was a firecracker, and probably kind of a setup.) Carlos is all ready to accept the official story, bolstered by the gun found in one of the kids' dorm rooms, and so is Kiera at first — she says that you have to protect the system, in order for the system to protect people. But then Kiera gets encouraged by the Internal Affairs lady and some of the college people to dig deeper, and she realizes it's a setup.
Kiera almost convinces the cop who shot the kids to come clean — but after mulling it over, he decides not to, because he's got a family.
And meanwhile, in the middle of all this, Carlos finally figures out that Betty is the Liber8 mole (something that was severely rushed in the earlier timeline at the end of last season.) But Betty isn't arrested — instead, she's put under house arrest, with a tracker on her ankle, and the cops are going to use her to lay a trap for Liber8, next time she gets contacted.
And Carlos, for his part, can't trust Kiera any more now that he's got the dead body of her alternate self stashed in a freezer somewhere. For some reason, he feels as though his partner is dead, even though she's still alive. And Kiera's habit of talking in unnecessary vague phrases and making things more confusing than they actually have to be definitely doesn't help. Kiera is incapable of ever being straightforward, even when she's not actually hiding anything.
Oh, and this episode is chock full of one of my least favorite writing tics in movies and television — the thing where Character A says something to Character B, and then Character B repeats it later, either back to Character A or to a third person. It's supposed to show that Character B has learned something or is turning the tables somehow. Or to show that there's irony. But it usually just feels like a cheap screenwriting trick, and for some reason this episode overuses it a ton.
All in all, though, it's great to see the long-running thread of the Vancouver cops becoming corporate-controlled super-thugs continuing. And to see that dovetailing with Alec's corporate rise to power is also fascinating. Now I just want Julian to have drinks with both Alecs.