At long last, time-traveling cop show Continuum is coming back — and the first episode launches with a bang. Check out a 10-minute sneak peek, and then read on for our absolutely spoiler-free impressions.
We get lots of answers. The good news is, without giving anything away, the season opener of Continuum does a lot to answer the nagging questions we've been wondering about on this show. Like, what are the Freelancers exactly? Why are they putting time travelers into see-thru cages? How does time travel actually work on this show? Can you change the past? And so on.
And this show has a pretty reasonable and coherent idea of what happens when Alec decides to go back in time and save Emily, his girlfriend, from being shot. I drew some diagrams while watching the episode, and found that it was making a pretty high degree of sense. And incidentally, the conundrum Alec faces in this episode also explains why the Freelancers weren't just willing to send Kiera back to 2077.
This episode is fun as hell. The first episode is thrilling as well as mind-blowing — there are a few "holy crap did you see that" moments that you will be rewinding and watching a few times, just to savor the awesome. In particular, Kiera gets a few moments of badassery and it's fun to see what happens after Alec travels back in time and introduces a new layer of chaos into the world.
Kiera is still kind of dense. She's a badass, but she often seems to be the last one to understand the time-travel stuff and a lot of the plot mechanics. I've been noticing this for a while, but it's especially true in this episode, to the point where it's obvious the writers want Kiera to be kind of slow on the uptake (and quick to action). It sort of makes sense, since she's not Ford Prefect, she's Arthur Dent. But it's still funny how people can explain a time-travel thing to Kiera, and she immediately comes up with a left-field and somewhat bonkers interpretation.
The mythos gets bigger. Back when this show introduced the Freelancers and Escher at the end of season one, it was starting to pull back from the "Kiera vs. Liber8" storyline to reveal a bigger canvas. Something similar is hinted at in this season premiere, showing that the Freelancers are just a small part of a bigger storyline.
Most of all, our faith is justified. I hadn't been sure how adroitly this show was going to handle time travel once it became a running plot device rather than just the thing that sets the show into motion. But based on this episode, the time-travel stuff is incredibly well handled, and used to tell a compelling story without any needless sleight-of-hand. Not only that, but some stuff that didn't seem to make sense back in the first two seasons now does seem to make sense, retroactively. I had some nagging doubts about Continuum's ability to keep spinning out a bigger and bigger mythos, but based on this strong episode, they're largely gone.
The most obvious comparison to make is Doctor Who — but this show is actually reminding me more of Fringe on its good days, when the universe-jumping and time-travel was used in the service of good, coherent, character-driven storytelling.
Continuum airs this Sunday on Showcase in Canada, and April 4 on Syfy in the U.S.