There are a few moments where ‘Fast Times’ gets lost up its own ass – specifically when it goes on long-winded dialogues trying to define or scientifically justify different aspects of the time traveling portal Liber8 is trying to reproduce in the episode. And there are other times when Kiera’s mission to fool the police while she’s chasing Liber8 can feel silly – wouldn’t Carlos wonder how the hell she tased the shit out of him? But where Continuum‘s logic raises a few eyebrows, it lowers them in Kiera’s complex character – the only one whose characterizations don’t shout ‘stock archetype’ or ‘obvious seed-planting for story line later’. In other words, ‘Fast Times’ is the definition of a mixed bag, falling privy to second episode reinforcements and poor characterizations in spots.
‘Fast Times’ revolves around a plan by Liber8 to try and use the same fusion ball from the pilot to travel to 2071, their originally planned destination. Lucas (the brainy member) tries to first do it using an underground power transformer, but when that fails, they kidnap a well-known scientist and try to use his fancy equipment to travel through time. The most interesting part of the episode is when Kiera – who is on the run from the police throughout, having been identified as NOT being Linda Williams – ambushes them. It points out that she needs them to get home, and when she talking about “stopping them”, it’s only to prevent them from leaving her behind.
It’s an interesting connection between the good and evil of the show – something compounded by young Alec, who clearly has no idea that his elderly self orchestrated this event (remember the look on his face at the end of the pilot). We don’t have any details yet, but it appears that Sadler has some kind of master plan in place to try and change the future – of course, if that’s something he can do, the pilot suggested that may not be possible. Right now, he’s busy updating his firmware and trying to cover Kiera’s trail of lies, so we don’t have much time to dig into his character, and what his motivations are creating this technology of the future (we do learn he has a stepbrother and father, which should lead us into some soapy family emotional drama at some point).
What surrounds the heart of ‘Fast Times’, however, isn’t as strong. Kiera missing her family is an important emotional crux of the show, but having her discussion with Alec happen as she’s mere steps away from the members of Liber8 is a little hokey – as is the police department’s complete turn of attitude in the final seconds, when she goes from being in handcuffs to being the head of a new task force with federal credentials and a gun from 2012 (which I hope she never uses, the button activated one is so much better).
There’s obviously some romance budding between Carlos and Kiera, something the show really needs to stay away from in the future – Kiera’s dedication to her family is her driving force, and trying to wedge Carlos in there would feel forced and arbitrary (“you’re not my type” Kiera says to Carlos,. Introducing Betty as his ex also leads to some groan-worthy possibilities for inter-office drama, especially if she’s going to try and foil Kiera’s assumed identity – something which will only appear to be fueled by an unhealthy obsession with her boyfriend – exactly the kind of female characters we don’t need on television (her bejeweled mouse also raises some concerns).
It’s going to take most of the first season (if not all of it) before some of the breadcrumbs the writers are dropping through each episode start forming into a coherent narrative. The mythology of corporate takeovers and time traveling social justice groups should be background to the emotional journey of a tough, technology-dependent woman living in an unknown world without her family – it just remains to be seen if Continuum can strike that balance between sci-fi action and the emotions of its protagonist.
– SO MANY LETTER NAMES for things.
– Kellogg’s desire to stay in the past needs to go farther than him standing in front of the house he’d own in sixty years. His character’s small rebellion within the rebellion is a thread the show needs to pull on, and hard.
– Kiera drives a Prius. Make of that what you may.
– “Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Kiera’s husband warns her in a flashback.
– I love how as soon as the reactor isn’t working, the supposed COP yells “cease fire over” and starts shooting away at her best chance to get home.