Continuum – Season 4 Episode 6
The last ever Continuum episode – ‘Final Hour’ – finishes the show on a moment perhaps geared for the parents in the audience. The final message is one of sacrifice: you should give of yourself to build a better future for your children.
Now, I said that I wasn’t looking for a perfect happy ending for Continuum and I admit that we didn’t get that. Kiera has sacrificed her connection with her son, Sam, such that he can have a good future, one that has no Corporate Congress and one that has his mother by his side. Her sacrifice is pretty high: only the new-future version of herself will ever get to spend time with Sam. Despite that one twist though, everything else came up roses.
The final shots of the surviving main cast that are still in our present reminded me very much of the old He-Man cartoons I used to watch as a kid. There’s no shot of them all lined up together but they do pretty much get the last laugh as the villain is defeated, the day is saved and they all realise they have the power in themselves to do what’s right. Chen, Garza, Alec, Jason, Brad and Carlos are thus all happy, all magically on the same team and all get to win together.
So for me, it’s a solid ending where I felt I got what was needed. Kellogg was set up to be the main bad guy and he was defeated by the tricks of the heroes. The future soldiers were set up to be the secondary villains and their plan to bring back an army to the present was stopped. A new future was created by the remaining heroes who had all learned their lessons and it was a nice future for all. The Traveller got to go home. And Kiera’s son gets to grow up in that bright new future.
It’s only the fact that Kiera doesn’t get to be with her son though, that stops the ending being that He-Man – heroes all share a laugh – finale. It’s a single message and a message that we’ve all heard before. Now, it’s a good message. I’ve heard a few people I know say that they don’t care about global warming because they’ll be dead when the consequences hit – a bit grim of them but there it is. Better, I think most would agree, to consider those people that will come after you as well. But as good a message as that is, as good a rule as this is to live by, I think there’s a stronger message halfway through the episode.
At the point where Kiera is talking down Brad she says “time travel screws with our notions about what is supposed to happen. It gives us a false sense of control but really we’re all just pawns.” This is arguably the show proposing an answer to the question of how we should live our lives that the earlier episodes of this season posed. It might suggest that the best way is to focus on the present and trust that the right future will naturally come about if you live well now. This doesn’t even have to be definitely true to be a good proposal – one that leads to discussion.
Maybe you agree because you think there are too many people to influence that you can only control your own actions. Maybe you think instead that one person can take on such a position of influence – be a leader of people – that they can change the whole world. Either way it creates a discussion point, and one that ‘we should be prepared to sacrifice for the sake of our children’ does not. And, whereas I can’t say that Continuum promised me it would be old-school sci-fi, I had seen elements of that in the show and had come to want more of it. It’s because of that, I think, that I say I would have preferred an ending based on Kiera’s mid-episode speech to the one we got.
Beyond that, the Liber8 characters this season have been getting ‘a good end’ and the remaining heroes of the show didn’t seem to get much in that vein. Alec perhaps, and Julian too, as they were instrumental in creating the bright new future. That’s the ending they would seem to want. Jason just gets to retrieve the device and to listen to a little talk describing how work he must have done off camera lead to the defeat of Kellogg. I wouldn’t say his handing over a message to future dad was much stronger. But Jason did get a good run in episode four, I admit. Chen and Garza’s end then, this is definitely weak: In their final scenes Chen talks to Garza and says: you know how great Kiera is and how much you’ve come to respect her; how about letting her give it a good go, eh?
Certainly the show has been running out of time in as many ways as that phrase can have meanings, so I acknowledge that there is a need to focus down on certain people and that had to be Kiera and Kellogg. The main hero gets the final end scene and the main villain gets their comeuppance.
I was starting to feel a bit sorry for Kellogg towards the end. Being reduced to just being a forced organ donor would be an ignominious end for his ego and it’s not like the other characters hadn’t been at least a little selfish along the way. His defeat in the end too, was almost throw-away, him being outsmarted at the final turn by the heroes’ clever ploy. Not that this was inconceivable – Alec and Jason are clever boys and they did have previous access to Kellogg’s systems – it’s just that we’ve seen Kellogg read people so well before. He’s predicted other people’s plans, he’s seen through lies and he’s even worked all the angles by the last episode to have deals going with Kiera, Chen and the future soldiers all at the same time to make sure he gets what he wants. Then at the last moment to have just forgotten to run the numbers…? Fine Kellogg needed defeating but I’d have preferred something where he just started to trust but someone then betrays him or at the last moment he can’t go through with his plan because he learns of his daughter.
So, Continuum ends differently to how I’d hoped – more of an action ending than one of character choices. Nonetheless, it did tidy everything up and the action scenes and visuals were entertaining enough. I’m not sure I needed quite so many headshots, particularly the one to the random police officer, but the visual effects of the super soldier suit and the time travel device were worth their screen time.
I also liked everyone getting their goodbye scenes here and there. Especially when they’ve done a few and then it seems like it’s going to be Kellogg’s turn but Kiera refuses to do it. This makes perfect sense, as he’s not given anyone a reason to really trust and like him – still good to see actions having consequences.
All in all I’ve really enjoyed season four. There aren’t that many shows these days that get a chance to have a proper ending and we’ve been glad Continuum got that chance. The show has for me filled that need for a real science fiction show, really filled a gap in the latest TV offerings.
It’s definitely still a shame that it could only have a six-episode final run, as you can see where some plot has been really cut short. Kiera’s flip at the start of the season is unfortunately necessary to set up the finale. The Traveller is reduced to quite an unimportant figure in the end – he just gets to go home and that talk of creating the right future vanishes into physics, as his real future is destroyed but he seems happy to go along with the new future that Kiera has created in the end. And of course – of my own personal wish – I never got to see anymore of Mr Fairweather talking to Kiera.
With only six episodes to play with though, I would say that we got a good end. Previous episodes summarised the ideology of the show: discussing how we should live to create a better future and warning us to watch out for those financial institutions that almost broke the western world. Those episode then also discussed how difficult these choices can be in the face of what we actually desire. Then with the ‘Final Hour’ we see a choice and its cost. This is good sci-fi and I will miss it.
The grand finale of Continuum is one for the parents: Kiera creates a bright new future in which her child is safe. It’s not the most powerful final moment I’ve witnessed just because the message of sacrificing yourself so your children can have a better future is quite a common message. Nonetheless, it is a fitting end for the show’s main character and one that isn’t a twee happy ending that would have been disappointing.
I would have preferred Continuum to have had a final episode based more around character choices than action scenes. Kiera gets a line halfway through the episode that I’d have preferred to be more influential on the ending: “time travel screws with our notions about what is supposed to happen. It gives us a false sense of control but really we’re all just pawns.” I find this directly connects back to the previous episodes that have posed the question on how we should best live our lives to create the best future. Her sentence leads us to what Kiera’s own answer to that question would be and gives us something that we don’t all immediately agree on to discuss.
I also would have preferred that the trend of previous episodes for characters to get a good end had continued. I thought Garza and Chen getting a short discussion that ends on ‘we must trust Kiera’ to be a little weak. I thought it a shame that Kellogg was defeated by a jolly little plot twist instead of something more of a play on his character and personal choices.
Nonetheless, I acknowledge that it’s been great that Continuum got a chance to finish – an opportunity that many shows do not get – and I appreciate that some corners needed to be cut to get any kind of decent ending at all. By last count the hero did create a good future but at a realistic high cost to herself that is also consistent with the physics of new timelines the series set up. Also, the main villain of the piece was defeated and the day was indeed saved.
And despite not getting more of the show’s ideology in its ending I recognise that there’s been plenty of this throughout the four seasons we’ve had, so I can still say that I’ve had something good to discuss because of Continuum and I will miss this show.