By Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)
When looking back at a series, typically there is one episode that every fan can agree stands head and shoulders above the rest. It was that show’s turning point. It was that show’s emotional pay off. It was that show’s “Aha!” moment. For Continuum, “Waning Minutes” will be that one episode.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
The thing I love most about excellent sci-fi is that it takes real-world fears and builds a fictitious world around them, of course aided by extremely complex characters. For Orphan Black, it’s about cloning and the controversy surrounding it. For the 2004 Battlestar Galactica, it was about terrorism, holocaust, and technology. For Continuum, it’s about government, capitalism, and revolutions. All of these shows aren’t shy about discussing moral and political questions and Continuum dove head first in “Waning Minutes.” The episode mainly focused on the philosophical struggle between who’s worse off: the people who live in fear of the Corporate Congress or those who follow society’s restrictions.
Instead of using the series’ normal formula of bookending episodes with scenes from the future, this episode flipped that and used present scenes to bookend the episode while 90% of the episode was based in the future. Even as I watched “Wasted Minute,” I thought to myself, “I wish they showed more of the 2077 stuff,” and an episode later I got what I asked for. And, it really worked. After seeing this episode, I have this whole plot in my head of Kiera somehow getting back to 2077 and helping Liber8 take down the Corporate Congress. It would be glorious. Hey, a girl can dream.
For weeks, Liber8 has become the most sympathetic group, so to see a different group, the Gleaners, with a different perspective on 2077’s “system” was mighty refreshing – a fringe group just trying to live with organic vegetables, bread, and clothing. They were part Corporate Congress, part Liber8 with one foot outside the boundaries of society and one within. It was appalling to watch elder Alec give the order to destroy the Gleaners a mostly passive people.
Kiera’s cheater husband, Greg, popped up again. I can’t muster up any sympathy for his character. He has been downright unlikeable from the start and this was a missed opportunity to grow that character.
This was the episode Kiera became a hero again. In the first handful of episodes in the series she was the clear hero, trying to take down terrorists who fled to our time. Two and a half seasons later, the story has changed. Liber8 is no longer the clear-cut villain and Kiera has almost been painted as the real villain of the story, pawn of the evil Corporate Congress.
What makes her awakening even more interesting is the prospect that her CMR could have influenced her thoughts. At this point, she had been disconnected from the network for some time so her memory could have actually triggered something in her now-free brain.
Not only was Kiera made a hero again, this was Sonya’s origin story: a woman who was swayed by Kagame to read and consider Theseus’ message. Obviously it took. To see a Sonya who had her own thoughts on government and was a compassionate woman, it was gratifying.
With Arrow, I’m one of the few people who think the fully flashback episodes are kind of boring, but with Continuum it worked. Kiera needed to be woken up from her sleepwalk, her blind loyalty to Alec Sadler, and the future’s broken system.
Rating: 6 out of 5 stars