Entertainment Magazine

Review #3549: Continuum 1.3: “Wasting Time”

Posted on the 13 June 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Bronzethumb

Written by Simon Barry
Directed by David Frazee

The title of this episode is somewhat misleading, but unfortunately it’s tough to think of a time-based pun to do with regrouping and laying the groundwork, because that’s what the bulk of the episode is dedicated to. The action slows down and things start to settle into a status quo of sorts, yet it’s not a comedown or a letdown in terms of quality, just a natural next step for the overarching plot and a sign of how well these writers understand storytelling in the small and long term.

Review #3549: Continuum 1.3: “Wasting Time”

With Liber8 gone to ground in 2012, Kiera briefs Carlos and the rest of the VPD on the group’s personnel and skills and they start investigating any leads that might turn up the group’s location. Meanwhile, Liber8 medic Sonya works to get the supplies necessary to heal Travis, while Curtis and Kellog jockey for position within the group. On paper, both these stories sound kinda thin, and in execution they have more in common with classic procedural formulas, but that kind of storytelling becomes infinitely more compelling when the show has taken the time to set up the characters and their conflicts, and by spending the previous two episodes on getting Kiera and Liber8 embedded in 2012, the episodic stories are elevated.

For the most part, things are very low-key as the episode unfolds. Kiera gets into the minutiae of 21st century police work and how to deal with Carlos and Alec on the job — the Bluetooth scenes were hilarious, brilliantly smart and addressed something that too many shows will just take for granted. Liber8 recovers from the explosive developments of the past two episodes, particularly Travis, who looks closer to death with each passing minute. They expand their resources, but on the down-low, trying not to draw attention. Things are relatively straightforward and the conflict between the police and Liber8 takes on the guise of cat and mouse, with each side chipping away at the other. For every clue that leads the police closer, there’s a scene like the one in the diner with Kellog at the beginning. There’s something that feels right about how this all very deliberately unfolds: after a strong sprint out of the gates, “Continuum” is settling into a steady pace for the marathon that is a season of television.

The chief benefit of a slower-paced episode is that audiences finally get a proper introduction to the members of Liber8. Some pulpy monikers aside, hearing names and specialities helps round out the kind of threats the group are capable of posing: not just the kind of violent threats we’ve seen in previous episodes, but the potential for technological, biological and sociological warfare as well. Finding out that Kellog is a conman by trade fleshes out his actions in this and previous episodes, as well as the reason for his split from the very dogmatic group of baddies. After two episodes of getting into the nooks and crannies of the three main protagonists, this chance to get to know the baddies was very welcome.

There was also a strong sense of laying out how Liber8 are going to battle Kiera and the VPD in the future. The last act of the episode ramped things back up again and made one thing about the show very clear: between training, knowledge and a healthy dose of applied phlebotinum, Liber8 would run rings around Kiera or the police department individually, and it’s only through this team-up that either group stands a chance of taking down these terrorists. Some further nuances are introduced into the conflict, from positives like Kellog’s sneaky methods and fluid loyalties to the dangers of Kiera destroying her one-of-a-kind technology, especially after it’s been so useful in cracking cases and fighting bad guys.

The name of the game in “Wasting Time” was getting into the nuts and bolts of how this conflict will be fought. The audience knows a lot more about who these villains are, how they operate and what they’ve capable of, just like they’ve seen Kiera and the VPD’s ability to bloody them when given the opportunity. There’s more nuance to this story, more cogs in the machine that can affect the outcome, and it means that when scenes like the one in the last act come around there’s genuine tension and surprise. This is how to do a breather episode right, and it hurdles the very strong baseline of quality that “Continuum” has been setting.

Rating: 8/10

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog