Continuum's fast-paced storytelling has gotten pretty exhilarating since the more episodic first season. This show burns through plotlines at crazy speed. But sometimes, the result can feel kind of rushed. Exhibit A: This week's episode, which tore through a ton of plot twists in a bizarre feeding frenzy. Spoilers ahead...
Seriously, I kind of despair of summarizing this episode, "Revolutions Per Minute." It's not just that a ton of stuff happened. It's also that situations that had only just been set up got flipped around so quickly, it was hard to feel any impact from them. And also, some of it was kind of confusing or hard to interpret, even on a second viewing. No doubt, some of this stuff will be clearer in a week or two.
Anyway, the ostensible "A" plot of the episode has to do with a new corporate player, Gautuma Pharmaceuticals. They're a tiny company now, but eventually in Kiera's time, they'll be a major part of the Corporate Congress. And Kiera decides they're probably the next target for Liber8's new strategy of discrediting corporations.
Kiera and Carlos investigate, and discover that Dillon's daughter (who's undercover with Liber8) is working at Gautuma. And then Kellog hints to Kiera that Gautuma's new breakthrough dementia drug is actually Flash, the memory-recall drug from the future that Liber8 distributed for a while there. Kiera confirms this, and winds up blowing the whistle on Gautuma, while pulling Dillon's daughter out of her undercover assignment.
Here's what I think was going on there — even though Kellog was buying tons of Gautuma stock, that was just a ploy to get Kiera's attention. He (or someone from Liber8) had given Gautuma a sample of Flash and encouraged them to develop it as a memory therapy. And he wanted Kiera to blow the whistle on Gautuma, to weaken another of Liber8's targets because Kellog is secretly in cahoots with Sonia. Kellog also wants to take the opportunity to make it seem as though Piron is attacking the other corporations, as part of his scheme to undermine his new partner Alec.
Anyway, here are the other 1,000 things that happen this week:
We learn a ton about Kiera's amnesiac houseguest from the future. Like, a ton. He's a relatively new character, but his mystery wasn't kept simmering for too long before being put on the boil. He had a key sewn into the cuff of his jacket, which opened the safety deposit box where he stashed the mysterious piece of future tech before Liber8 robbed the bank and the tech fell into the hands of the Freelancers. Also, he apparently comes from a future where Kellog is a "big deal" but he's never heard of Alec Sadler. (Another timeline, that Kellog has been creating? Seems like it.)
After Kiera gives him some Flash, he gets all his memories back: his name is Brad Tonkin, he's a field commander in a militia, and his wife and daughter are dead. He volunteered for the mission of visiting the past, which he knows is a one-way trip.
Oh, and when Alec studies the CMR which he pulled out of the other Kiera's dead body, he gets a way clearer playback of Kiera's murder — and it wasn't Curtis who shot Kiera, it was Brad Tonkin.
We meet some new corporate "star chamber"
Alec's finally got Halo working, thanks to the cloned chips he took out of Kiera's CMR — but everything is behind schedule. Overseas suppliers, approvals, etc. It's all because Alec has been putting off a meeting with the old white guys who secretly run everything — and when he does go see them, it doesn't go well. They tell Alec that he's been shaking everything up, and he needs to "slow your roll," as the youngsters say.
Alec kind of freaks out about this, but then Kellog says he'll handle the secret society of stuffed armchairs. Kellog's idea of "handling" the Illuminati, however, is to call them up and taunt them about Kiera blowing the whistle on Gautuma and the other setbacks that non-Piron companies have experienced lately. Making it seem as though Alec and Piron are responsible for everyone's misfortunes. (And Kellog does this while sitting next to Sonia on a park bench.)
Kiera gets a viking funeral
Carlos is pissed that Alec stole Kiera's dead body. But after blowing Carlos off for half the episode, Alec comes up with a cover story: He wants to give Kiera a proper sendoff, without an actual funeral that would raise questions. Through a wacky set of circumstances, Kiera gets invited to her own funeral, and gets to watch as Alec uses a partial time-travel device, and the antimatter power source, to scatter the other Kiera's atoms across time and space.
But this backfires for Alec, because Kiera notices that her other self is missing a CMR, and figures out that Alec is trying to cover up his grave-robbery. She confronts Alec, and he says the Alec she knew is dead — or locked up by the Freelancers. And she's so disdainful towards Alec that he winds up not telling her that her houseguest murdered her other self.
Julian gets a big break
Meanwhile, Kellog convinces Alec that he needs to turn Halo into more than just a product that prevents you from ever getting sick — for some reason, that's not enough. It needs to be a social movement, something that engages people's identity in a way that's never happened before. And in a couple breaths, Kellog convinces Alec he needs to hire his half-brother Julian, aka Theseus, as Halo's spokesperson. Or something.
(This show has portrayed Kellog as a great manipulator in the past — but this episode has a few scenes where he literally says like three words, and convinces people to go on huge, complex new trajectories.)
So Alec goes to see Julian, just as Julian is already entertaining guests. Sonia has dragged Dillon's daughter along to meet Julian, because she's feeling frustrated with her inability to make real in-roads against the corporations and disappointed that there's not more outrage. She feels like the movement needs a new leader — so Julian shows her the manifesto he's been writing in the basement before dawn, and she's pretty stoked. "It's Theseus," she says. "It's me," Julian responds.
But meanwhile, Alec offers Julian a job as Piron's "VP of social responsibility" and "brand ambassador," in exchange for mad perks. As a downpayment on the mad perks, Alec gives Julian proof that Sonmanto deliberately leaked false information to embarrass Julian a while back — proof which Julian is able to use to discredit Sonmanto and regain some credibility for himself.
Jason goes nuts in a brand new way
Jason — who's still wearing glasses that video Alec's every move for Kellog — asks to be the first test subject for the brand new functional Halo. And after Jason tries it, he suddenly becomes totally sane and poised, for the first time since he came back in time. For about 30 seconds. But Jason says that Alec can't show off his improvement because it would raise too many questions. (So why not just try the device on other people, who won't raise questions? Also, Alec just promised a working prototype within 60 days, not a mass produced product, right? So he's already won.)
But shortly after showing such amazing improvement, Jason goes off the rails in a whole new way, making crazy intricate drawings and then flipping out, throwing the papers around and then hyperventilating while staring at his hands. Is this a problem with Halo? A sign that Jason is just losing it in general? Both?
Dillon changes his mind, and then changes it again
Dillon's plan to use his daughter Christine as a mole within Liber8 barely even gets off the ground before he starts to undermine it. He has a long flashback to his first meeting with Betty, whom his carelessness just got killed, and then has a crisis of conscience. He tells Kiera about Christine's mission, and begs Kiera to get Christine out, whatever it takes. He seems to be having a meltdown.When Kiera and Carlos find Christine working at Gautuma (under the assumed name of a Liber8 martyr) they're not sure if they should tell Dillon — because he'll prioritize saving his daughter over catching Liber8. But when they tell Dillon, it's the opposite: He's decided once again that his daughter can take her chances, and he's willing to risk everything to nail those bastards. (Raising the stakes somewhat, Sonia promises Christine a throat-cutting if there's any sign of betrayal.)
Later, when Kiera yanks Christine out of there and brings her to Dillon, he's kind of pissed — but then he decides his daughter's safety is paramount, after all. Or maybe that's just what he pretends to decide. It's really hard to tell with Dillon.
The Freelancers are pissed at Kiera
Remember the Freelancers? Kiera is working for them now, sort of. Except that all they've done for most of the season is fail to keep Curtis locked up, and encourage Kiera to choose corporate Alec over free-spirit Alec. They've seemed pretty unconcerned about all the chaos that's been spiraling out of Alec's time-trip.
This time around, Kiera visits them and asks for the device which Brad Tonkin put into that safety deposit box, which Kiera had given to the Freelancers. They won't even let Kiera look at the device, and when they ask Kiera about her house guest, she says it's none of their business. They mention that there were multiple unexplained time signatures several weeks ago — meaning maybe others arrived along with Brad — and they're investigating. Kiera basically flips them the bird, which seems like it's going to work out absolutely great for her.
So much happened in this episode, and so many big storylines were reversed and double-reversed, that it's hard to see where any of this is going. I guess Brad is from a dystopian future where Kellog is a supreme overlord, and it's Kiera's fault. And this relates somehow to the war that the Freelancers say they're fighting. And Kellog is massively playing Alec and Liber8, in a way that will lead to both of their destruction and his triumph. But this is all just guesswork, honestly.
Oh, also... the press photos for this episode included a scene with Old Alec in the future. I guess that had to be cut, because of all the other stuff in this episode?