Continuum season 1 episode 9 review: Family Time

Review Rob Kemp 23 Nov 2012 - 07:22

Continuum's penultimate episode might be a mixed bag, but Rob's still enjoying the season...

This review contains spoilers.

1.9 Family Time

As we near the season’s end, its still far too early to say if Continuum’s been a great show or one of missed opportunities. So far it’s been uneven, but even so-so shows can pull it out of the bag at the end (I’ll put both Terra Nova and Alcatraz in this category – although for them it turned out to be too late to convince the networks). There were indications at the end of the last episode, Playtime that momentum was starting to gather, and I’m pleased to say that Family Time continues to build to what hopefully will be a fitting climax.

A lot happens this week, almost as if the show was making up for its slow beginnings. The episode centres on a hostage situation at Alec’s farm and somewhat unsurprisingly, Kiera and Carlos become involved in a situation that will have a fundamental impact on the show’s future.   

Positives first: pacing and character development. Yes the whole hostage at the farm scenario was a little too convenient, but that can be forgiven as it becomes an effective catalyst for events to come. Although well in the shadows at the beginning of the season, it was becoming clear that the dynamic between Alec and his family would be a key component in Alec’s future and larger story-arc developments. That played out well, with Julian stepping up to be an interesting villain for the future and will hopefully provide added interest in how Alec’s relationship with Kiera will develop. The character development didn’t stop there either, with a bookend appearance by Kellog giving some much needed back-story to arguably the show’s most interesting character – so it was satisfying to learn that Kellog may not be the man we’d pegged him for. Now you could argue that by keeping this valuable development till later in the season gave it more impact, and to some extent it did. However, I feel it could also have been given space in an earlier episode, especially one severely lacking in pace (and there were a couple), and then we would have benefitted from this more interesting development for longer – but really it’s only a minor niggle.  

Performances remain strong all round, yes even Webster’s Carlos, although yet again the writers failed to give him anything more interesting than being cannon fodder.

The negatives – the suit returns, and as those of you that have been following my reviews will know, I have a strong dislike for a suit that can give Kiera the ability to seemingly get out of any situation. This episode was no different – invisibility, armour and the ability to shock – all there and accounted for and all used to get Kiera out of seemingly impossible scrapes. I’m disappointed because I honestly had thought that Kiera’s, ‘must learn to live by my gut’ storyline meant we would see far less of this. I’m not against super suits or powers or advanced tech saving the day – but its use must be organic to the story as opposed to being built around it.  The acid test – would Kiera have survived if she didn’t have the suit – no, and the suit just happened to be ready in time – yes. It just distracts from the natural flow of the story, and I hate to say it, seems sloppy.

The plot also has it fair share of problems. I get where the show’s taking us, and the relationship between Kagame, Julian and the events on the farm will undoubtedly be a pivotal point for next week’s finale. That’s all fine. The unexpected relationship between Kiera and Kellog however just didn’t make sense. In many ways it undermined Kiera’s attempts to get back to the future and her family. I just hope this isn’t resolved in a future flash forward because that wouldn’t resolve this development in anywhere near the manner it deserves.

Oh yes – a point to would-be terrorists everywhere – locking your hostages in a pantry – with windows and what looks like a healthy supply of make-shift weapons isn’t a great idea (especially when Kiera and Carlos break out using a can of beans). Doing it twice is just stupid.  

Family Time still ranks as one of the season’s best and considering the time-travel themes were almost non-existent,  I think that this says a lot for the show’s general strengths and bodes well for next week’s concluding episode. I feel that much now rests on how the show chooses to close its first season and, ultimately, how we’ll see the season as a whole.  

Read Rob's review of the previous episode, Playtime, here.

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