Welcome back Continuum time travelers!
Do not be fooled; the main premise of Syfy’s beautiful hit show Continuum leaves enough brains in a twist with the sheer number of options it provides.
Perhaps one of the most talked-about theories, however, became the focus of the fifth episode in the series: “A Test of Time” featuring the beautiful music “Where We Are” by Billy the Kid (Billy Pettinger)!
A Test of Time:
I am starting off early: here come the spoilers!
Theoretically, if they can kill her grandmother, Kiera will cease to be a problem for them as they continue their struggles to incite a revolution 65 years ahead of its time!
Of course, it is clear no one in the Liber8 group knows much about time travel itself, because they would likely have the knowledge that not only is this a mere theory, there are literally dozens of other theories that counter, work with, and alter the outcome of said grandfather paradox.
The grandfather paradox and its friends are favorites among science fiction writers. Invoked in a number of different ways, the paradox can highlight the underlying theme of the dangers of time travel or the corruption of someone playing God.
It is seductively logical in its premise: if you go back in time and kill your grandfather, you cease to exist. It is frightfully simple in theory, but of course once undertaken, it becomes explosively and exponentially complex, branching off into a dozen different options to the point that the main one becomes unclear.
Michael Crichton traveled one of these branches in his historical fiction novel Timeline. Scientifically, it is known as Novikov self-consistency principle, which states that the laws of nature (or any other intervening forces including the not-so-scientific ‘Fate’), would basically prevent the murder of said grandfather.
A shot fired would miss. If you were to get up close to kill him face to face, perhaps you would not be able to actually do it.
A bomb would be detected by its intended target (or by police). The end result of this theory is that the paradox is impossible and cannot actually happen. This, of course, is not the path traveled by Edouard Kagame (Tony Amendola), and the other members of Liber8.
One of the more favorite theories is the predestination paradox, where one is destined to go back in time in order to make future events possible. Of course, that one in and of itself is a brain twister, especially as the person going back in time doesn’t remember that they did it in the first place, or at least that point of view is rarely if ever shown as it is considered to be quite a disappointment entertainment-wise.
If you know what is going to happen, what is the point of watching? Predestination paradoxes also give rise to the famous ‘self-fulfilling prophecies’ in that by learning the future, you set yourself on the path to make it happen. This is also very thinly related to the well-known Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which states, (in layman’s terms), ‘that which you study, you also change’.
Self-fulfilling prophecies and predestination paradoxes suggest that once you know the future, the future becomes unknown because you know, and consciously or otherwise edit your behavior to what is coming. In the case of time travel, it can be argued that ignorance is bliss.
But where is the fun in that?
Perhaps my favorite variation of this theory is the one the writers of Continuum seem to have chosen to create in this episode, (it is not officially proven, but it has the strongest case so far). The possibilities just opened up at the end when Kellog realized he was still standing, and the fallout from his grandmother’s death is on a grand scale equivalent to the destruction of Vulcan in Star Trek.
Quite frankly, the variation is that of the parallel universe, invoking both the multiverse theory and the many-worlds interpretation (theorized to be two different ideas).
Trying to distinguish between these two ideas will spin your brain, (it sure did mine), but from what I understand the writers are taking the ‘many-worlds’ approach, as basic laws of physics have not changed from the focal point of Mattie’s death, (and if there are any scientists reading this article, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section).
In short, the many-worlds interpretation, (also called the ‘Everett Interpretation’ after Hugh Everett, the original physicist to propose the idea), states that all possible alternate histories and futures exist, creating their own ‘world’.
At the focal point of change, another future ‘opens up’, (so to speak), and the timeline being experienced is pushed in that direction, thus diverging from its original path and off into a whole new universe.
For Continuum, that is just a terrifying thought as relief. The idea behind Liber8’s escape was to go back in time a mere six years and alter events to avoid their execution and wake up the people to the corruption they are experiencing.
Now with Madde’s death, assuming she is Kellog’s biological grandmother – there is always the chance the writers will say she is not and then this whole theory will be put back into the pool, the original timeline may be completely gone.
If that is the case, then Liber8 is literally in charge of the future, assuming the other theories do not step in and cause problems for them. In Star Trek (2009), the arrival of Nero created a whole new path branching off of the timeline Roddenberry created back in the 1960s, with new outcomes and new causes.
Liber8’s own arrival back in 2012 led ultimately to Maddie’s death, possibly creating an alternate universe that they can now control. It is possible that the original timeline we saw in the premiere is now just marching along without them, (minus Kiera Cameron and eight terrorists), completely untouched, and the paths of the future are now spread out for the writers, the characters, and the viewers to explore.
This theory comes from a lot of assumption, but come on: is it not at least a little exciting?
This episode, aside from its brain benders, was actually quite fun, definitely showing a departure from what I originally worried would be the focus of the series. The premiere seemed to focus exclusively on action, taking audience members’ breaths away and hurling them into a high-tech/low-tech battlefield with an adrenaline rush as high as Kiera’s must have been for the whole episode.
This episode dove tails into character interaction and reaction, giving people on all sides more exposure to show themselves and the kinds of people they are. Even after watching all five episodes, I find it hard to dislike Matthew Kellog.
When the chips are down, he is no Templeton Peck, but he would do well as an apprentice. Con men, especially selfish double agents, are hard to like because they are so difficult to trust (and of course their sociopathic behavior nips at our moral and ethical taboos).
Kellog, to me, is definitely after his own ends, and yet there is something childishly desperate about everything he does, as though he is seeking not only to find his protection, but his purpose.
While it is clear that Kagame talked Kellog into joining Liber8 to further Kellog’s own love of hedonism, the discord between Kellog and the group had made a rogue of the con man. Just how much longer is he going to be of use to Kagame working both sides?
In terms of character development, Kiera had a lot of fun in this episode. On the hunt to protect her grandmother Lily Jones, (Katie Findlay), from the murderous Jasmine, (Luvia Petersen) and Travis, (Roger Cross), Kiera slams into a number of obstacles.
First, she rounds up a number of Lily Joness that are nothing more than innocent bystanders, (much to the chagrin of her guarded partner Carlos Fonnegra [Victor Webster]). Then, once she finds her grandmother, the woman is not even close to the image she has.
Lily Jones is beautiful, spunky, paranoid, rebellious, and bold. She’s also tattooed, pierced, and pregnant at seventeen. Kiera finds herself shaking off her preconceived notions and coming to terms with raw reality, especially as Lily makes several attempts to escape, (she is quite the troublemaker).
Finally, Kiera has to make a case for her own mother’s existence as Lily reacts to her pregnancy in a manner typical to most seventeen year old girls. Lily is determined to have the abortion, and Kiera, fearing that the abortion will have the same effect as killing Lily, quietly works on convincing the frightened teen to keep the child.
During these persuasions, we see more flashbacks to Kiera’s life, including her own discovery of being pregnant by a boyfriend and not a husband. She is ultimately successful, and Lily and her boyfriend slip away with help from Kellog to start their new life.
Kagame may have a lot to catch up on, but never let it be doubted that he is the man with the plan. Despite Travis’ deep dislike of his methods, Kagame is determined to sow the seeds of revolution in mind instead of action. It is a clever ploy, relying more on strategy and brute force, but it also requires more trust than some of the Liber8 members may be willing to give.
Kagame himself questions the loyalty of Sonya Valentine, (Lexa Doig), who nervously placates him by promising her loyalty to Kagame is greater than her loyalty to her lover, Travis.
Kagame does not seem to believe her, (as well he should not), which no doubt will lead to future altercations. Ultimately, Liber8 is a group of exceedingly diverse terrorists. One wild card could split them all up.
Speaking of wild cards, our last bit of excitement comes from Alec Sadler, (Erik Knudsen). Oddly, Liber8 has chosen to leave him alone, though there are plenty of reasons why this would come up, (not the least of which is the theory that he built the machine that sent them all back).
It is totally possible that Sadler in the future has seen the corruption that he himself helped create and funded Liber8 in order to fix his own mistakes.
In 2012, however, Alec is a determined if somewhat bothered kid, trying to avoid his stepfather’s conspiracy theories and keep what he is doing hidden from his stepbrother. Unfortunately, this is not going to last.
Keep an eye on your TVs, everyone – this just got real!
Please feel free to leave a comment here or if you prefer, click the social media icons below to share this news article. Or as many of our readers and visitors often do, visit WHR on Twitter, WHR on Facebook or visit me on Twitter by clicking the text links or images avatars in this news story.
I and the WHR team look forward to and will be Seeing You on The Other Side“!