Entertainment Magazine

Review #3605: Continuum 1.8: “Playtime”

Posted on the 25 July 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Bronzethumb

Written by Andrea Stevens
Directed by Paul Shapiro

“Continuum” is back in fine form twith a tightly paced and well-plotted episode that managed to hit just about every note a viewer could want. It addressed the big complaint of last week’s installment by giving things a focus, pointing them towards the myth arc even when a connection wouldn’t be readily apparent, and it kept tensions high throughout on an arc that looks to lead right into the next episode.

Review #3605: Continuum 1.8: “Playtime”

In “Playtime”, Kiera and Carlos investigate a pair of suspicious murder-suicides that link back to a video game company and its progressive new VR technology. The link goes even further towards Liber8 and virtually every character is needed to help resolve things. And right there is part of why this episode builds much better on the series’ arc than last episode’s instalment: everyone’s involved. The tapestry of characters and action is coming together in one big story that feels epic and real at the same time. It also amps up the tension because the audience knows how many secrets Kiera is keeping from various people, and the more these disparate elements come together, the more these secrets risk spilling out.

Speaking of tension, some major credit needs to go to the writer and director team because during the climax, even though virtually every character involved was part of the main cast, there’s a real feeling that everyone’s in danger. It’s a hard thing to pull off, but it comes from the show’s consistently good portrayal of smart heroes and dangerous villains, so that we believe the protagonists are in danger and feel genuine relief when they escape with their lives. On the whole, it’s the major strength of the episode, from the first scene in the future that opens with the promise of something going horribly, violently wrong. On top of that expectation, the scene broaches the show’s continuity and provides a Liber8 touchstone for the audience to see how this seemingly-disconnected A-story ties into the larger plot from the first scene (something “The Politics of Time” sorely needed to do).

The relationship between Kiera and Carlos is continuing to develop — or to be more accurate, Kiera is growing more reliant on Carlos while he continues to question his partner’s origins and motives, both of which reflect the sometimes-subtle but always-consistent characterisations. Carlos in particular is capitalising on the new dimensions we saw in the previous episode, because the audience knows that despite his usual water-off-a-duck’s-back attitude that can seem simplistic and lazy, he’s deeply emotional and doesn’t let these nagging questions go, merely letting the answers present themselves.

Kellog had a banner week as this wild card character got to show off his conman skills repeatedly and put them to use for Kiera. The audience gets to see just how dangerous Kellog can be, not because he fights or shoots guns but because he can get seemingly anyone onside and spin lies with ease, but that only makes him more interesting and a more integral part of the story. His scene in the taxi at the episode’s midpoint pushes things even further towards a big reveal later down the line. Similarly, Alec got to show off all kinds of technical skills and integrate himself further into the mechanics of things, and he leaves the audience on a fantastic cliffhanger.

After a lacklustre episode, “Playtime” is a huge upswing that regains the momentum of the season so far. This show is a real, proper saga for science fiction television, full of great characters and a compelling mythology, and it always leaves the audience hanging on for the next episode. That’s certainly an accurate description.

Score: 9/10

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