Continuum – Season 4 Episode 5
‘The Desperate Hours’
‘The Desperate Hours’ are those of Continuum season 4’s fifth and penultimate episode, in which the characters fall into desperation as they fear their plans may fall apart. Kiera needs so many pieces in place to arrange her trip to the future and only Alec remains steadfastly by her side. Brad is torn by his feelings for Kiera but is swayed by the chance to save his sister’s family – he must use the portal to bring them back to safety in our present. Even Carlos, who has no – personal – time travel concerns to deal with, comes under threat from the internal affairs department. Oh, and of course there’s Kellogg, always desperate to save his own skin.
Throughout this episode most characters’ selfishness is called into question. Much of the season so far has gone to questioning what future they should be trying to create. With that in place this episode then considers what might control their answers. Many of the characters might like to think of themselves as idealists but when it comes to the crunch, can they live up to their own measures?
Throughout the previous seasons I’ve often felt Kiera was more selfish than she would like to admit – not a problem to watch, it’s a human trait – and this episode calls her out. Kellogg sums it up for me in a two great lines after Kiera shows she wants to have her cake and eat it too. Her plan to return home fully known, she challenges Kellogg to say what he’ll do when she’s gone and I loved his answer: “I don’t think that’s any of your concern. You made your choice: You chose you.” It’s enough to have her check her actions with Alec and when she asks Alec if he thinks she’s selfish he has to dodge giving an answer.
Characters being called on their choices and actions is something I really like to see. I think I’ve tended to see it more in Canadian writing than American. Most recently I saw it in Dark Matter (for those who also watch that: when the android calls Two after her ‘we all need to tell the truth’ speech). I’m wondering now if it’s a reason why I seem to often prefer Canadian television.
In ‘The Desperate Hours’ most of the main characters have their decisions – previous or current – called into question. The sheer volume of it was quite cathartic in fact. Kiera has pushed Carlos so far that when given the chance to arrest Kellogg, Carlos takes it straight away, not waiting for the end of Kiera’s plan. Carlos in turn then gets challenged for selfishly trying to stop Kiera’s plan because he doesn’t want her to risk her life for what he sees as a doomed mission. Then Alec gets his fair share after a seemingly innocent defence of Emily: Even when he challenges the police corruption at the hands of Pyron he has to realize that he’d happily turn corrupt if it would save his love. The most interesting challenges for me though, will always be against an ideology under threat of falling down. ‘I want to see my son’ is good motivation, as is ‘I want to save the girl I love’, but this all started with Liber8 for a reason.
Travis has been the front face of Liber8’s ideology this season and he’s had a couple of good speeches this season alone. I’ve really liked Roger Cross’s delivery of them and he’s been just as good in the action scenes as the philosophical ones. After his last speech, he is called out by Kellogg in a nice little back-to-Liber8 moment. Travis has tried to stay honest and focused but Kellogg manages to get to him nonetheless with the threat of how Travis will be remembered: the source of great violence and terror and the source of the most dangerous war technology that Kellogg can draw out of a super soldier body.
In the last two seasons the Liber8 members have been getting ‘a good death’. First Sonia, desperate to find the truth of her cause in the face of a worse future, sacrifices herself in an attempt to take down someone she saw as a dangerous enemy. Then Lucas steps up to save his allies in a situation more dangerous than those allies had a right to expect him to be in. Finally now, there’s Travis. Heeding Kellogg’s words, Travis takes the opportunity to destroy his own body so it can’t be used as a Terminator’s hand.
You have to wonder what will happen to Garza…
Travis’s final action scene and the precinct assault around it was something I really enjoyed. I don’t know if I could say it had the technical fighting wonders of some of the previous episodes but I won’t say it was worse for that. Even then, I don’t know if I’d call it quite perfect though. I wondered if the whole Terminator-like fail-safe was a step too far? What’s so safe about killing all the precinct’s officers? Where’s the purpose? Perhaps off camera Rollins was able to communicate with Brad so all could know about the rooftop standoff but it’s not like the police all needed silenced and the others were pretty much in charge of the situation already.
Still, I admit it gave me what I thought I wasn’t going to get. Travis gets such a short initial fight with Nolan and Vasquez that I suddenly felt I wanted more super soldier vs. future soldier – and then in comes Rollins. I wanted it and I got, so fine: thank you.
And also, seeing as it’s the second police precinct assault with large police officer casualties scene I’ve seen this week, a quick word. This assault was better than Gotham’s because of its timing. All those consequences I railed at being needed after so many officers are killed should get in the way of Gotham’s plot, the assault happening at the start of the season’s plot. With Continuum having it happen at the end of a season there’s no time for an FBI-equivalent or other greater power to step in before the finale, so it’s not an issue.
All in all I loved this build up to the finale. I’m not quite as convinced as Alec and Kiera that there’s a small chance Kiera’s future will reappear around her when the portal events create a new timeline but I can believe that they hope so. Either way, I definitely glad that Kellogg brought the subject up, as it’s been a burning issue in my head all season.
More important to me is that this belief from Kiera could lead to a finish I’d really like to see. I want to see Kiera have to make a choice between getting what she wants and setting up a better future for everyone else. I want to see these questions of selfishness and ideology come to head and she’s the main character, so it has to be her choice. This whole episode and the in fact the whole fourth season seems to be building to this and I want – need – it to play out.
Dillon’s words tease the choice perhaps too, as he says after one of Kiera’s speeches causes him to turn back to the better path: “With all her mysteries and missteps she’s always trying to do the right thing.” Also, the episode hangs on the lesser form of the same choice: will she give up Brad and also the portal machine?
Whichever way Kiera goes in the final episode, I do feel that I’m going to enjoy it. I only hope that we get to see Mr Fairweather again somehow – a choice between going home and making things better for all other people would certainly a big and stressful decision for Kiera…
In ‘The Desperate Hours’ all the characters are faced with possibility that their plans for the future will fall apart. All are faced with the choice over whether or not they should chase their selfish desires or give them up so they can side with what they say they believe in. Throughout the season so far we’ve seen the question raised: what future should you try to create? In this episode we see the characters have to decide whether they are prepared to stand by their ideals or to go for what they selfishly want.
Throughout the whole episode most characters are called on their decisions and this is a really cathartic watch for me. I’ve found that characters in Canadian shows get challenged much more often on screen by other characters than in American ones and I like to see it. It’s less abstract that way and when it doesn’t happen I feel like there’s something missing. Certainly here when Kiera challenges Kellogg to behave after she’s gone home his response sums it up nicely: “I don’t think that’s any of your concern. You made your choice: You chose you.”
A second highlight for me from this episode is Travis. It seems like the surviving Liber8 members are all getting a good send off with ‘a good death’. Watch out Garza. I’ve enjoyed watching Roger Cross’s Travis throughout all the seasons. He’s as good with an ideological speech as with an action scene and this episode he gets both. More than that, in his final moment he stays true to his ideology: to stop his body being used as a Terminator’s hand he takes down Rollins and himself with a future grenade that ensures no-one can use his remains. Travis’s choice here – in fact Sonia, Lucas and Travis’s choices this season – give Kiera a lot to live up to for me.
Season four is setting up an ending that I really want to see. The questions of ideology verses selfish choice let me think that the final scenes could be something like Kiera has to choose between herself and everyone’s better future. I’m still really hoping to see a bit more Mr Fairweather as well though.