Continuum season 1 episode 3 review: Wasting Time

Review Rob Kemp
12 Oct 2012 - 07:44

Continuum reveals itself to be much more than a show about a woman and her hi-tech suit in this week's episode. Here's Rob's review...

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 Wasting Time

After the somewhat cliché-ridden opening two episodes, Continuum has seemingly become more comfortable with its own concept and by so doing, has allowed more time for its characters to develop.

Initial concerns that the members of Liber8 were suffering from an overdose of the generic were reduced as this week we got to see more of their internal dynamic, although we’re still far from sympathising or at least understanding the motives of their past atrocities. It’s good to see that not all ‘terrorists’ want to blow things up, and Stephen Lobo seems to be playing Kellog with an intelligence that could make you believe that there is more to the Liber8 ideology.  His handling and setting up of Curtis demonstrates his untrustworthy and unpredictable nature and as such, his scenes with Kiera constantly have an edge that has been missing from the show so far.  

Similarly, it’s good to see that Alec is more than a geek in a farm shed full of computers (although I would still love to know just how he funds his tech habit). We are starting to get hints that his future could be connected with his current family dynamic. This is what time travel shows are all about – thinking about how the past will impact our future while wondering if the journey is merely fate or what we make it. Big questions, and although there aren't any answers yet (it's far too soon) this is the first time we get a hint that the show will examine larger issues and will not reduce itself to ‘cop chases terrorist and repeat’.

Kiera seemed to have got all her crying done in the last episode, and this week, we saw a more cunning and selfish side. The smile on her face before shooting Kellog was nicely played by Nichols as it challenges the audience - Kiera is not a character that you can get a handle on, nor one pigeon-holed into stereotype. Her ethics remain as complicated as her situation, and she’s seemingly happy to work alongside Liber8 as long as it serves her purpose. Although we’ve yet to see this put fully to the test, it remains perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the show.

Carlos, however, was largely relegated to following Kiera and getting beaten up. This is a real shame as last week you started to get a feel for the dynamic between them. His covering for her at the end of the episode lacked resonance because we haven’t be able to appreciate that he’s anything more to Kiera than a means to an end. Should  Carlos continue to get short-changed in the characterisation department, he runs the risk of not only becoming overshadowed by more minor characters, but also he will rightfully earn the title of TV’s most stupid cop. Surely he would want to question how she managed to take out Curtis, surely he must be a little curious how she can match DNA by one simple look and surely he must want to know why she continually wears the same golden suit? If they’re not careful, Kiera and Carlos could develop a Lois and Clark dynamic that will undermine both the drama and themes of the show.

There are a few other niggles – the future still doesn’t look that bad and we’ve yet to be told just what the motives of Liber8 are. Yes we know in the future the corporations are bad (and the fact Kiera mentions that the phone company becomes the government, is  a truly horrific thought), but I want to understand the ‘freedom fighter’ element to Liber8, thereby bringing a little more drama and uncertainty as to why they’ve returned to the past and what they aim to do whilst they are there.

If I had to summarise this episode in a word, it would be - better. Wasting Time has given me real hope that concept alone would not be the sole surviving grace for the show. Better characterisation and the hint of bigger ideas waiting to be exploited are beginning to convince me that it’s more than a show about a women and her suit. 

Next week's episode hints towards Kiera facing a true dichotomy about her actions in the present and the impact on the future. If properly realised, it would seem the show is starting to payback on that early promise.

Read Rob's review of last week's episode, Fast Times, here.

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