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 eighth episode in the series: “Playtime” featuring the cool song “I’m on Fire” by “Stateless!”
The episode opens with an executive and a computer expert/scientist providing a scientific explanation of how the state wants to curb violent/aggressive tendencies in criminals. On the surface, this would seem like a great idea. No one wants to be the victim of crime, especially violent crime.
It seems as if those in charge have found a way to silence the dissenters of our time. You know the ones, the bleeding heart liberals who complain about freedom and individual rights. As this show progresses, we learn more and more about who actually controls the state.
As Stefan Jaworski (Mike Dopud), the test subject, begins to experience the effects of the experiment, he moves around the stage area and closer to the observers. They react nervously as he approaches. Why not? They are complicit in the attempt to remove the monster within. Interestingly, one of the scientists involved is Lucas Ingram (Omari Newton), who ends up on the side of the bad guys.
Lucas is able to stop him with his gizmo and apologises to the audience, “We still have a few kinks to work out, but I can assure you, this will be as safe as a baby lamb”.
Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols), one of the individuals charged with ensuring that no one gets hurt, seems to be attempting to process what is going on.
Kiera seems unsure about the veracity of those individuals conducting the experiment, or even the experiment itself.
The scene switches to a game of paint ball in a mock-up battle zone. An ordinary looking young man walks into the middle of the battle, identifies one of the players, and shoots him. Then he turns the gun on himself and commits suicide.
We are brought back to the present. Matthew Kellogg (Stephen Lobo) is having breakfast in his very fine boat. Kiera enters. She has been invited to breakfast. She does not sit down. It seems that Kellogg has ambitions for Kiera’s heart.
Kiera, on the other hand, is only interested in the technology that he stole from her. Kellogg identifies the piece as a symbol of hope for Kiera; that it represents her way to get home. Then he asks her, “how do you know that it (home) will be the same as the one you left”? Kiera receives a call on her cell phone. End of discussion.
Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) fills Kiera in on the details of a new crime, “a shooter walks into a corporate paintball game, kills the CEO, then shoots himself”. It turns out the company is a visual effects software company, as in what we see often in this series; lots of visual special effects.
Was this a joke on the visual effects guys that work for Continuum? A subtle hint maybe? Very funny, guys. The two ask the usual questions, did the CEO have any enemies, and so forth. The answer is, “no”.
Then it happens again, a woman approaches a man on a train platform. She identifies him by stating his name. The train approaches. He reaches out to pull her away from the edge of the track.
Instead, she pulls him onto the track in front of the train. This is definitely something I would not want to witness first hand.
Carlos and Kiera, back at police headquarters, are attempting to piece together why a young guy with no priors would kill the CEO when Betty Robertson (Jennifer Spence) presents them with another weird case; the two deaths at the train platform.
Thanks to the geek in Betty, they discover that both killers were beta testers at the same company. Betty gets invited along on the investigation by Kiera.
Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen) makes his first appearance of the episode. He is in his computer lab in the barn, working on Kiera’s suit.
We are introduced to the supervisor of the two dead beta testers, Fred Nettinger (Aaron Craven), who seems to enjoy being the center of attention for the police as they question him. As the questions proceed, they are introduced to Irene who states she knows very little about the two dead testers.
Kiera focuses her tech on Fred, picking up that he seems anxious. She calls him on it. He has a ready excuse. Betty redirects his attention to the new game they are working on. Fred perks up.
It is time for a ‘demo’ of the new system, despite the glitch that the tech guy warns Fred about. Fred hands two helmets to Kiera and Betty. They enter the virtual world and begin shooting at the computer generated enemy.
We know something is about to happen, and it does. Kiera gets shot and knocked out of the game. Betty also stops playing, worried about Kiera, who says she is fine. Fred, naturally, looks for a way to deflect blame. It is not their fault.
Why do people in films and television always say they are fine when they are clearly not? A writer might tell you this device is to show how tough and dedicated the hero is. I just find it annoying. We already know the hero is the hero, and, by definition, is tough and dedicated. This simple sentence now seems more likely to inform us that something bad is about to happen; the opposite of what is intended.
Kiera leaves the virtual reality area for air, attempting to contact Alec. It seems that the VR system has done some damage to her tech. She cannot contact Alec and is virtually blind. On Alec’s end, he discovers there is something wrong as well. His screens are blank.
Alec immediately reaches for his headset so he can contact her. Nothing. The genius grabs his cell phone. Low tech, compared to Kiera’s high tech always works. He may have to reboot her. What a great line. How many guys get to say that to a woman?
With Alec fixing Kiera’s problem, she returns to Carlos as he and Betty discuss their current case. The two killers had amphetamines in their systems. Betty identifies the legal substance that was probably used. She saw lots of it at the video game company. She tells Carlos and Kiera that is commonly used by beta testers.
Kellogg approaches Lucas. The plan is to provide information to Kiera about the gang. If his motivation is due to his hots for Kiera, he definitely needs to re-examine his motivations. Kellogg enters acting as if he did not know Lucas was there. This leads to Lucas offering to buy them both drinks to make peace.
Take notes, those of you who want to learn how to manipulate like a pro. As the day progresses, Lucas gets more and more intoxicated. He almost spills the beans to Kellogg, but stops short. Kellogg is smart enough not to press. As they say their goodbyes, he does, however, follow Lucas in his cab.
Betty finds out some more information for Carlos and Kiera about the drug she was explaining earlier. She informs them that the remaining stockpile was bought up by Gabriele Cosgrove (Venus Terzo).
We also find out the big reveal, Lucas is working with Fred. Kiera’s fried tech was all planned. Fred’s reward is a laptop with circuitry specifications for liquid chip technology. Whatever it is, it sounds cool. Lucas explains that once it is placed in someone’s head, he would become the puppet master. In exchange, Fred has given Lucas the information on Kiera’s tech embedded in her head. He will now be able to fry her brain. Naturally, Kellogg overhears everything.
After an interview with Gabriele Cosgrove and some information from the medical examiner, Carlos and Kiera determine that the drug being used by beta testers is not the reason for the killings. They are back at square one. In the midst of all this, Kellogg calls Kiera and leaves a message that states, “Urgent”. She ignores the message.
Kiera heads to a secretive meeting with Alec while Betty informs Carlos that Gabriele Cosgrove had a connection to the dead CEO. He had fired her for being difficult to work with. So, Carlos is on his way back to the gaming company to have another word with her.
As Kiera gets rebooted, a conversation meant to pass the time, causes Kiera to come to a conclusion she would not have otherwise thought about. Kiera wonders if the tech of the future, the ability to control another person would be possible in the present. Once Alec is finished, and informs Kiera that her HUD will take an hour to reboot fully, she is off to meet Carlos.
Carlos comes across Kellogg as he waits in a cab. Why is he waiting in a cab anyway? To move the story along, perhaps? Carlos recognises him. I love the following conversation:
Carlos: “Who are you?”
Kellogg: “I’m uh, I work with Kiera”.
Carlos: “You’re Section 6?”
Kellogg: “Section 6…she told you about Section 6?”
Carlos: “Hmmm. No, no, she doesn’t tell me anything(he extends his hand in greeting). Detective Carlos Fonnegra”.
Kellogg: “I’d tell you my name, but you know, Section 6.”
Carlos buys this story completely in an innocent way that is endearing. Kellogg seems to have been born under a lucky star. Everything is coming up roses for him, except for his relationship with Kiera.
Elsewhere, Edouard Kagame (Tony Amendola) and Lucas Ingram are working on accessing Kiera’s HUD so that they can control her. Since she is not back on line fully, they are forced to wait an hour until her systems come back on line before they have full control of her, says Lucas. Kagame smiles.
At the software developer, Carlos is in the process of questioning Ms. Cosgrove with her lawyer present. She has answers to every question. Her final answer is that her company would have gained more if the CEO had lived, since they were in discussions over the sale of his company.
Kiera is back on line. She contacts Alec. Her head has begun hurting again, just as it did before she lost her connection to the HUD. Her phone rings. It is Carlos. He has nothing regarding the software developer and tells her so.
As he disconnects, she talks to Alec. Kagame and Lucas can hear everything. At first, Kagame thinks she is talking to them. As she continues to confer with Alec, Kagame asks, “could another protector have gotten through? Run a trace to find out”. They are about to discover Alec.
As Alec and Kiera continue to discuss what is going on, Alec tells Kiera that the person responsible for taking over people’s minds must be Fred Nettinger, since he wrote the code. She shares that information with Carlos.
Once Kagame overhears this, he decides that Nettinger has become a liability. Once Kagame and Lucas gain control over Kiera, Kagame orders Lucas to have her eliminate Nettinger, her partner, then herself.
Kellogg has arrived and made contact with Nettinger on the pretext of doing a magazine interview with him. It is not surprising that the arrogant dork is so pleased that he does not even ask for I.D. Carlos and Kiera arrive.
Kiera, completely taken over, raises her weapon and aims it at Nettinger. Fortunately for him, Carlos is not asleep and manages to deflect her aim.
Kiera turns on Carlos. A fight ensues. Kiera takes Carlos out and heads straight to Nettinger again. As she approaches, Kagame sees that Kellogg is hiding beside Nettinger. At that moment, Alec regains control of Kiera. That does not last long. Seconds later, Lucas gets her back and she is again under Kagame’s control. He tells Lucas to have her kill Carlos.
Kellogg approaches Kiera from behind. As he tries to get the gun from Kiera, Alec realizes that Lucas cannot hack Kiera if he turns her off. Kiera drops to the floor unconscious. As Alec dances in victory, Kagame and Lucas work out that only one person could out-hack Lucas.
It is night, and Kiera and Carlos are back at the office. Carlos explains the information he has discovered, “Nettinger confessed to writing a code that creates a visual wave pattern that brain washes a person so that they kill somebody and they commit suicide.
That must be what happened to you, right?” Kiera responds, “yeah”. Carlos mentions that her friend from Section 6 had the same assessment about Nettingers motives for the code that he wanted to kill the competition and put the blame on Cosgrove. Carlos also mentions that he owes his life to her buddy from “Section 6”.
The final conversation Kiera has is the one with Alec. He will create a firewall so that she will be safe from future hacking. He has also found some old memory files that she might be interested in. The concern that neither of them has realized yet, is now Kagame realizes that Alec is a threat. Will he attempt to get rid of Alec or would that affect things in the future?
We may also not agree with Kagame’s methods at terrorism, but, is the world that much worse in the future that terrorism was Kagame’s only choice. Or is Kagame another froot loop with an agenda at self-aggrandisement? We will continue to learn more as season 2 kicks off. It will be interesting to see how art imitates life with real terrorism all around us.
We look forward to seeing more of you here at our review site dedicated to our wonderful science fiction series Continuum.
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