Continuum – Season 4 Episode 4

Sep 26, 2015 | Posted by in TV

“Zero Hour”

Continuum season 4’s fourth episode – ‘Zero Hour’ – is the hour of answers. Some characters are perhaps still to show their hands and the physics of it all might still be a little in question but we’ve now been shown most of the background.

The soldiers are building a portal to the future to bring people back to the safety of the past. Chen has now completed his rounds. He’s been speaking to everyone, trying to put them back on track to the ‘right’ future, and this episode he catches up with Kiera and Alec.  Presumably because this is his last stop he now feels comfortable telling his secret: Chen is in fact… Chen: the energy of his consciousness from another timeline being infused into this timeline’s dead body in order to revive him. And the Traveller? He’s pretty much another Kiera or Alec: albeit he’s a historian from the future sent back just to chronicle the past, through some accident he changed time and is now just trying to put things right.

There’s a certain neatness to all this that just makes sense and I appreciate that this is a season to wrap up all the previous threads into a nice little bow. However, I’m left wondering if it’s all a little too neat. Maybe some threads would have been better left untied, leaving us with something to debate after the fact?

Saying that, we don’t get to know what the Traveller’s accident was – how he changed history. I assume that it requires Kiera’s history to come back because of the focus on getting her home but that’s a pretty grim ending: We need you all to suffer for the sake of the timeline. Still, she might still choose to give up her timeline in the last episode…

The Traveler: a historian from the far future

The Traveller: a historian from the far future

Leaving the accident unstated adds to the spiritual mystery of the Traveller. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of this being a spiritual show though. Religious, spiritual characters? Yes, great, that’s very human, but a religious show? I hope it doesn’t go too far that way at the end. I really liked Alec not buying into the spiritual pseudo-science when he gets the reveal but then almost immediately he’s given ‘a vision’. This ‘past builds the future builds the past’ idea is reasonable enough one but again, is it all going to be just too neat? Paralleled patterns within patterns. Profound Shakespearean stuff where future and past Alec both create and then change a future past because of a lost love? Battlestar Galactica tried this with the “it’s all happened before” thing and its ending wasn’t very satisfying.

Nonetheless, the Alec meets Alec scene did have something to it. It did seem important somehow. He had sent messages to himself before and, despite the plot’s insistence that Kiera is the key to everything, Alec is so clearly the central character in the time travel – the orchestrator of it all. And at least it all being about a girl gives us a chance to get an answer to the Jason’s mother question, which I actually thought this episode was going to set up and then dodge: I was convinced for a while that Jason had just found a random hot girl to distract Alec with.

I think too, that these reveals confirm that Continuum is trying to give us an answer to absolutely everything that’s been set up: Kiera going home and how we should live to create a good future. Despite all the answers though, I still find myself quite confused. We’re still getting questioned posed about what actions the characters should be taking – even with that reference to Sliding Doors? Sneaky little ‘time-travel is accessible’ for all reference? So, fine, we can’t have all the answers yet because it’s not the end of the show and Alec does make a good point. It seems perfectly reasonable for him to fear choice now that he knows the consequences of bad ones.

Past meets future: Alec and Alec

Past meets future: Alec and Alec

Even knowing that though, I’m still having trouble reconciling this with the idea that there is a possibility that Kiera can yet go home. The show says the future-soldiers’ portal is two way but surely Kiera’s future doesn’t exist? OK, so maybe the Traveller is trying to recreate her future but there are all these people due to come through from another future and they will surely create another timeline? Will Kiera have to doom all these people, and those of her corporate future in fact, to get home? Actually maybe that’s a good finale choice.

Even if that does come off though, I’m starting to think I’m never quite going to fully accept the Kiera in this final season. She has been back and forth so many times with her aims. Is she trying to get home or not? At Lucas’s memorial she seems to have settled on stopping a bad future. This matches her acceptance of Travis’s advice from last episode. But she’s constantly also talking about getting home and now there’s finally this portal that will allow it?

Up and down, up and down, back and forth. Maybe it’s her rationalising of her own actions that’s causing me question it all. We learn this episode that Brad chose to shoot Lucas – for reasons – but I really didn’t get that from the scene shown. Either way, Kiera challenges him on this and also on putting a tracking device in her phone. How can she make these challenges? The phone tracker thing at least is something she’d happily do herself. A bit of lying here and there for someone else’s benefit? Like to Carlos? Fortunately for her in this episode she has Alec to talk her out of feeling guilty about that. Back and forth, back and forth, up and down.

The beginning or the end: a portal to the future

The beginning or the end: a portal to the future

Kiera aside though, the other characters are nicely grounded. Zorin shows his experience ‘handling the money’ when Kellogg shows up at the warehouse. Kellogg shows his intelligence by calling the soldier’s bluff that Marcellus is still comfortably in charge. And then there’s Jason.

I’ve liked Ian Tracey’s playing of Jason right from his first appearance. Normally with characters that have an air of madness about them it’s overplayed. Maybe it’s the writing, maybe it’s the acting, I’m not sure. Jason’s madness is so nicely underplayed though in every appearance that he’s believably troubled. In fact, he’s so well played that even the ‘too many coincidences’ problem didn’t happen in the scene with Jason’s mother. Normally something like that “apple pie, just like mother used to make” comment would rub me up the wrong way – it would seemed too forced. To make it believable the characters need to react to the coincidence and here they do, in the way you’d think: it’s just too close to the bone for him and he makes a break for it.

So, there’s the bad and the good for me in this episode. I still enjoyed it but perhaps the danger of the reveal living up to the mystery has realised itself a little. I just can’t get my head round what on Earth Kiera is doing and I was a little disappointed to find out that Chen is in fact just Chen. However, I can see my way to a great final episode where Kiera has to choose between going home and creating a better future. That would be great. Maybe they even leave it hanging so we have to decide for ourselves which way it goes.

  • 7.5/10
    Zero Hour - 7.5/10


‘Zero Hour’ is the hour of answers. We now know who everyone is. The Traveller is a parallel to Kiera and Alec, a time traveller who just needs to put everything right, and Chen is in fact Chen, resurrected from the energy of his consciousness from another timeline. We also know how the end of the season is going to come: the future soldiers are building a portal to the future that everyone else will want to shut down but that also offers Kiera hope that she might yet get home.

It’s become all just so nice and neat. We’re going to see an answer perhaps to the questions about how you should live your life to create that better future and see Kiera go home? Too neat? I think if the final scene of the final episode is something like Kiera has to decide between going home to a grim future where many people suffer and staying in the present in order to create a better future for all then this neatness will serve a great purpose. However, if it’s just a way of giving us a happy ending then I’m not sure I welcome it; I might prefer a few answers left ungiven so we have something to debate once it’s all over. Previous episodes give me a trust in the writers though, so I’m hopeful.

Jason stood out for me in this episode. He’s not had a lot of screen time this season, even if only because there have been quite a lot of characters to get through. Better perhaps for characters not be centre stage in all episodes and then get a proper outing when they are. I’ve always liked Ian Tracey’s playing of Jason. The character’s madness is nicely underplayed. It’s part of who he is and not totally defining. In less clever writing his rambling would be almost slapstick comedy, rude and in your face, but in Continuum it’s only ever an addition to the rest of his speech. I like it the way he’s played so much that I found it overcomes a potential problem that might have come up when Alec and Jason meet Jason’s mother. When she speaks of “apple pie, just like mother used to make” there’s a danger that her words are one co-incidence too far for the scene not to be funny in the wrong way. Instead Jason responds to the words with a quite comment and believable run for cover.

The neat coming together of all strands of the plot, thrown in with a little spiritualism, could detract from the show for me if they’re not handled well from here. I’m not looking for a Kiera to get happily home and everything working out well for everyone with no consequences. Sci-fi should pose questions and then several possible answers for the viewer to consider and Continuum has so far done that well for me, in a way that haven’t seen for a good while. Perhaps not my favourite episode of this season so far but it definitely sets up the final episode and if the plot turns back to those sci-fi principles I want to see then I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.

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