Tonight marks the U.S. premiere of Continuum, which has already been through its first season on the Canadian channel Showcase and was renewed for thirteen more episodes in August of 2012. The story is set in 2077, where a group of eight terrorists known as Liber8, responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people, is about to be executed, but escapes by traveling back in time to 2012. While trying to stop them, City Protective Services officer Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) is sent back as well. Cameron must not only try to stop Liber8 and return to 2077, but keep certain events from happening that could drastically affect the future.
The episode opens with the leader of Liber8, Edouard Kagame, recording an announcement saying that his group of terrorists will stop at nothing to protect their liberty, but he is interrupted by a raid and is quickly arrested. As Kagame is cuffed and walks past Kiera Cameron, he ominously tells her, “You’re too late.” Almost immediately, the officers watch in horror as a building outside the window explodes and collapses to the ground.
Six months later, during a gathering at her home, Kiera and her friends hear of a “call to arms” on the eve of the execution of the members of Liber8. Kiera feels that this is being done to create hysteria and she reassures her young son that the bad guys are in jail and won’t be harming anyone ever again. He gives her a police officer figurine for good luck. As Kiera and her husband take a train to the execution the next day, we discover that she can use her technology to detect when criminals are nearby (which should pretty much drive all the conspiracy theorists among us into a full on frenzy) and she pulls some serious, kick-ass moves on a punk who is wanted for property damage. After that, all she has to do is zap and tag the guy and tell him to make sure he turns himself in to the nearest City Protective Services station (apparently they’ve abandoned the whole “innocent until proven guilty thing” in the future).
The prisoners are placed in a circle for their execution, with Kiera and other officers inside the same room. Each prisoner is given a small wedge of something metallic and just before the execution takes place, they throw the pieces into a central vessel and the room lights up. While trying to stop it, Kiera gets caught up in the middle and disappears with the rest of Liber8. She wakes up surrounded by fiery wreckage, chasing after a couple of the fleeing terrorists when her weapon fails. Kiera calls for backup, but the only person to respond is teenager Alec Sadler (Eric Knudsen). Each of them thinks the other is joking, until Alec realizes that he is talking to Kiera on an experimental frequency that shouldn’t even be working. One of the Liber8 members, Lucas, is arrested by the Vancouver police; the others end up meeting at a military supply store, stocking up on everything they need to begin wreaking havoc on the city.
As Kiera explores Vancouver 2012 (given the Vancouver location we’re hoping the minds behind Continuum will be able to channel some of the best parts of The X-Files) , she continues talking to Alec and uses her technology (some of which still works) to extract cash from an ATM and get a hotel room. Kiera is able to record audio and video directly into her brain (how IRRITATING would that be?)…information that can be used for evidence and is submitted to CPS headquarters at the end of every day. She replays video of the last breakfast she had with her son, shutting Alec down when he asks her too many personal questions.
The next day, Detective Carlos Fonnegra (smokin’ hot Victor Webster) is at the scene of the “crash,” where the criminals landed. Kiera is there as well; she pretends to be a police officer from Portland, Oregon,and doesn’t tell Carlos anything about coming from the year 2077 (generally the way to go in these sorts of situations). She knows so much about Lucas, though, that Carlos is intrigued and offers to let her talk to him at the station, where she knocks out the camera and uses Alec to get some private information about Lucas’s family. Lucas agrees to tell Carlos everything. When Carlos asks Kiera what she said to him, she tartly responds, “We talked about his future.”
When the inspector asks Kiera to predict what will happen with this new, powerful gang of organized criminals, she explains that they are starting a war they already lost and that they will start taking over already established gangs. Just as she finishes, a call comes in that two officers are dead and there are six bank alarms going off, so they head to the most recent one. The Liber8 members start a shootout with the cops; Kiera (with no 2012 firearms) follows them into an empty building alone and unarmed. She gets shot, but her futuristic bodysuit is bulletproof and she is able to send an electric shock through some metal cable to knock out one of the gunmen. When Alec hears the shootout, he’s concerned and Kiera tells him that no matter what happens, she has information stashed in her hotel room that will help him prove that the war has begun (haven’t we heard this before? In a hundred other movies/TV shows?). She and Carlos survive, but return to the police station to find that it’s been attacked and Lucas has escaped. Carlos is furious with Kiera, not sure if she’s playing hero or genuinely crazy, but it’s clear that she has information he needs to help stop the carnage that’s begun and is obviously going to get worse.
Alec wants to know what happens to him in the future, but Kiera refuses to tell him (“NO MARTY!” – they’re hitting ALL the time travel tropes on this show). As she replays a scene from the future in her mind, she sees herself being introduced to her husband’s boss, an older gentleman named…ALEC SADLER. But the scary thing is, judging from the scene where Liber8 gets zapped back in time, HE’S THE ONE WHO HELPED MAKE IT HAPPEN. Mind. Blown.
After watching just one episode, I can see why Continuum has already been picked up for a second season and I think it will be able to maintain the momentum. There are already plot twists that will have to be unraveled. You can see tension between not only the good guys, but the bad guys…some of the members of Liber8 clearly don’t like each other. I, personally, am all about the love interests and I’m already wondering if Kiera will have a moment of weakness and hook up with Carlos, since it’s not like her husband is going to know about it 65 years in the future. (Come on, they’re both gorgeous…how can it NOT happen?) My biggest question, though, is why the future Alec Sadler would send Liber8 back to 2012. And what is up with his notebook, that has the SADTECH logo in it? Guess we’ll have to wait until next time…
With Fringe winding down to its conclusion, Continuum might be seeking to grab at least some of that audience. While the time travel here is not entirely the same thing as the “alternate reality” of Fringe it does bring a certain similarity to the storyline jumps. Although we are fans of whacky scientists who keep cows in their laboratories . . .