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July 23, 2014

'Continuum' Thrills - Down to the Last Minute

**This article originally appeared on the Yahoo Voices content network on July 2, 2014. It has been republished here due to the shutdown of Voices and YCN.**


Of all the shows on television today, Syfy's "Continuum" may arguably hold the honor of dishing up the most mind-bending season finales. It's not unusual for a dramatic show to seemingly wrap up most of the season's grand dilemmas in the season closer or even to unveil the beginnings of an impending threat or problem waiting to reveal itself more deeply in the upcoming season. We do love to hate those cliffhangers, after all! Here's where "Continuum" adds a twist - they take the aforementioned formula one step further. In the last five minutes of the season finale, everything turns upside-down, and whatever new calamity is lurking always presents itself in a way that leaves you with absolutely nothing but elaborately erroneous theories, as you wonder exactly what it is that you even saw at that final moment. It's the cruelest of cliffhangers, and it leaves you practically drooling for more. The third season's epic finale, entitled "Last Minute," stayed true to form, in a roller coaster ride of gut-wrenching twists and turns.



Since the season's initial glitch in the continuum, there have been two Alec Sadler's competing in the current time line - one seems to be on a path to dystopia, while the other appears poised to correct his destiny. While the 'enlightened' Alec is struggling to find sanctuary with Emily, his misguided alter-ego is stepping clumsily into his role as the next Steve Jobs (so to speak). As the head of Piron Corp., he prepares for the ill-fated launch of his brainchild - HALO.




Kiera rounds up a formidable faction aimed at stopping Alec and HALO. In a jaw-dropping twist, she joins forces with Travis to win the trust and cooperation of the remaining members of LIBER8, telling them with conviction, "I was asleep. I've been fighting for the wrong side for a long time. Now, I'm awake".


Brad informs Kiera and the group that he possesses a means to measure the success of the mission they're plotting. "The beacon sends a signal marking a point in time as a critical nexus point of change".

In other words, once their mission is complete, Brad activates the beacon. If nothing happens as a result, they have succeeded in their attempt to correct the wrongs of the future, and are free to live out their lives in this "new history."


The plot unfolds as Garza cleverly slips into the HALO presentation with a gun. A LIBER8 recording interrupts Alec's speech, providing a distraction that puts Garza in firing position. Typically such a perfect shot, it's an instant head-scratcher when Garza misses both shots taken in Alec's direction. It soon becomes evident that this was exactly the intention. Alec is whisked away by his entourage into an elevator that begins filling with fumes, knocking everyone unconscious. The group begins to revive soon after, just as Fonnegra arrives on the scene. Appearing dazed, Alec is ushered into a waiting vehicle and carted off protectively.

But not all is as it seems, naturally. Twist meets turn as the perfectly orchestrated switcheroo is revealed. During that brief moment in the elevator, an 'Alec- swap' was flawlessly maneuvered. The Piron-running Alec was safely in the grasp of Kiera in the elevator shaft - with some help from Carlos Fonnegra. The one surprising result of the entire scheme: in the chaos that unfolded, Emily was arrested.

Once left alone at Piron, 'good' Alec begins a frantic search for the time travel device. In the process, he destroys the anti-matter lab for good measure. Fonnegra is tasked with securing 'bad' Alec, but he is caught off-guard when he discovers that Alec has an implanted GPS chip, and his security detail is fast approaching. Fonnegra is forced to surrender Alec, who immediately sets a course for Piron, arriving just as 'good' Alec has located the device. Predictably, chaos ensues.


The long-anticipated face-off between the two Alecs comes to a head on a towering rooftop. With both appearing identical, down to the hoodie and the hair part, the head-over-heels tumbling rumble elicits a who's who confusion as Kiera closes in. Remind yourself to breathe, because it takes a moment to figure out which Alec has lost in this showdown to death. Kiera closes in just in time for the doomed Alec to gurgle the condemning words "your future dies with me".


Kiera tearfully turns to the surviving Alec saying, "I chose you because I believe in a better future than mine - one that I know you will build."

Even though it appears that a heart-wrenching sacrifice has been made in the process, it may be worth it. The immediate threat seems to have been eliminated and the future is open and unwritten.

Alec steps into place at Piron, calling security to remove Kellog at first sight. Where has Kellog been all this time, anyway? He was the one conspicuous missing link throughout the episode's unraveling. As Alec announces his plans to dismantle Piron, Kellog reveals that he has been a very busy man. After a series of deceptive steps, he has taken control of the company. In an instant, it is Alec who is forcibly removed, as Kellog takes the reins of authority at Piron Corp., and thus - the future.


Meanwhile, Kiera and Brad plant the beacon, to reassure themselves that wrongs have been righted. Brad needs to know for certain, regardless of Kiera's optimism. Just as it appears that all is well, the pair receive an awakening of their own. The city begins to black out all around them, just as a gang of obviously hostile, robotic creatures appear out of nowhere. "It has begun" garbles a menacing voice masked elsewhere, in the shadows.


"Continuum" season 3 featured stand-out performances by Stephen Lobo (Matthew Kellog) and Roger Cross (Travis Verta). Lobo's Kellog just felt important from the beginning of the series, although it was never truly obvious as to why. Season 3 brilliantly weaves a trail of clues confirming his prominence, and it all seems to slither to the forefront at the season's end. Lobo has taken an unassuming character and portrayed him in a way that makes deceit look so alluringly easy to disguise. Similarly, Cross's Verta keeps viewers guessing. Cross has a history of portraying solid, driven tough guys, but nothing compares to the brutal force of nature and science that is Travis Verta. Cross performs action sequences with a sophisticated ease, facing challenging choreography on top of script delivery. Put in perspective - Verta's physical threat of force is parallelled to Kellog's threat of deception. This makes Verta an undeniably exciting character to follow as the benefits of his loyalties have been known to jump the lines in the sand. Any Verta appearance is reason to celebrate, as this a guaranteed show of force, brawn, and a spectacular plan revealed.


The questions and concerns lingering to plague viewers during the show's extensive hiatus:
  • What exactly does Kellog have in mind for the future and Piron? If the 'transformeresque' creatures we met at the episode's close are a part of it, we can only hope his plans can be thwarted.
  • We last saw the remaining LIBER8 members preparing to "set up" in the extensively damaged anti-matter lab. It remains to be seen what their end-game may be, but their interest in reconstruction of the high-tech equipment raises more than a few red flags.
  • Where will loyalties and relationships unfold into season 4? With Emily detained, Alec tossed, Kiera and Brad cornered, Kellog in control, and LIBER8 at work, anything is possible and everything is unknown. Which leads me to another puzzler to ponder - Julian Randol! 

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