This was probably my favorite episode of Continuum yet. In so may ways, "The Dying Minutes" played to the show's greatest strengths by developing the fascinating personal relationships in wonderfully deep ways (especially the Kiera/Brad bond and the damaged friendship between Kiera and Scar Alec) while bringing out shocking hints about the mythology and going for some daring twists that left numerous dead bodies. From the tragic to the frightening or heartwarming, this episode had it all, along with the mind-bending examination of time travel and its ramifications that has always been a major draw to Continuum.
We went back three months to get a closer look at what happened when the Freelancers brought Curtis back to life. After being touched by the mysterious dreadlocked character known only as "The Traveler," Curtis jerked back to consciousness with a major sense of horror at the memories of pain and death he endured that makes me think maybe he and Phil Coulson from Agents of SHIELD should join the same support group. Of particular interest in this flashback was Catherine's explanation that Curtis had been "merged." What does that mean?
This was Sonya's heaviest episode of all, and that's something we caught a clue to when she met up with Travis before going to Piron. Travis had essentially accepted the failure of the Liber8 Eight's plans and proposed that he and Sonya go away together somewhere "up North," where they might start anew. Now, this "up North" verbiage was highly intriguing because that's just where Scar Alec wanted to go when he got out of Freelancer prison and it's where Kiera and Brad continue to grow closer (more on both of those elements to follow). The idea of going "up North" apparently refers symbolically to the notion of a clean slate and a new chance at happiness and peace, even if it's just a calm before the storm wherein the fight must still be won, and the hope that a positive outcome awaits.
But for Sonya, the idea of that peace just didn't fit, and she needed to do something drastic to prove to herself that what she has done since traveling back in time meant something and achieved real and tangible results despite all of the negative consequences. There was no way she was going to hit pause and step away from her urge to act definitively right then.
After infiltrating Piron, Sonya was busted by Carlos and Dillon, with the latter ready to kill her on sight, an instinct that further frustrated Carlos, who was planning to report some of Dillion's shady conduct to higher ups at the VPD. Once back at the station and being questioned by Dillon and Kiera, Sonya made some vague references that seemed to indicate Dillon may have some secret past or side dealings we do not know about yet. The idea that he'd abandoned his people...does that merely refer to his treatment of his daughter, or is it something more? And Sonya seemed to also suggest that his strict, on the up-and-up persona was some kind of mask, though it wasn't clear if she just meant he was greedy and corrupt due to his dealings with Alec and Piron, or if it was more complicated than that. In any case, Dillon seemed hesitant for Kiera to hear much more of what Sonya was letting slip. "Fight or flight?" Sonya asked Kiera, explaining that neither was a good choice before dropping an immensely wise speech on the Protector out of nowhere. This was one of the best quotes in an episode filled with fantastic dialogue:
"I believed an ideal was greater than love. Don't wait till it's too late. You'll figure it out." -Sonya
This bittersweet moment was stunningly well-played by Lexa Doig. I love that it was one of Kiera's worst enemies who managed to push her towards the realization she's been stumbling closer to all along: that the world is not as black and white as she thought it was while going with whatever the Corporate Congress told her to do, even to the detriment of her moral inclinations and her relationship with her family. It's through the acceptance of love and the understanding of the gray area where most of the truth lives that Kiera has "awoken" to the path she needs to take. But it was too late for Sonya, who had rigged her arms with explosives. Once Kiera exited the room, Sonya told Dillon she had judged him and found him guilty, right before doing the ultimate "clap on" and blowing them both up. Sonya's choice to go out this way was right in line with her personality and commitment to her cause, and also very sad, especially when Travis got the news of her death after waiting for her all night at the bar where she had told him they would meet.
Poor Carlos realized that his investigation into Dillon's misdeeds was kind of a moot point now, and Kiera had to leave him in that quandary in order to go North and try to resolve her issues with Scar Alec while also reuniting with Brad. Carlos gave Kiera the time travel device that Dillon had, which showed that Carlos trusts her quite a bit...and raises the question of what she will do with the device.
Prior to witnessing Sonya and Dillon's "dying minutes," Kiera teamed up with Brad to finally rescue Scar Alec from the Freelancers. Thank goodness, because even though Catherine insisted on keeping Alec alive as a favor to Kiera, he was treated horribly by the other jailers. Kiera suggested to Brad that they try and avoid violence, which warranted an amused reaction as he loaded up on weapons and endearingly proclaimed, "let's go get your boy." In an awesome action sequence, Brad and Kiera came in under the auspices that she was going to trade him for Scar Alec (a ruse which required Brad to wear handcuffs, making for some delightful flirtation between him and Kiera before they headed in). At first, it seemed as if Kiera and Brad only had to take out a few Freelancers, but then a large gaggle appeared and a more intense battle ensued. The badassness of Kiera and Brad in this scene was formidable and showed what an amazing team they make. I also got a kick out of this exchange once they'd subdued their enemies and split up so that Brad could go seek out yet more weapons as a "plan B":
Kiera: "Learn to communicate."
Brad: "It's like we're married!"
During a fabulously complicated car ride conversation, Kiera and Brad filled Scar Alec in on what the Piron businessman Alec has been up to and how that made Kiera suspect she'd chosen the wrong Alec to turn into the Freelancers. Still resentful towards Kiera, Scar Alec sarcastically questioned why Brad stopped at killing just one Kiera after she pointed out that she and Brad get along just fine against all odds. Brad explained that he felt guilty after the first one, leading to an adorable smile from Kiera. The way these two are bonded by the very experiences that should forever keep them apart is amazing. I also enjoyed Scar Alec's observation, "so no one in this car is from now," as well as his quick increase of worry for the new future after hearing that Kellog is in charge there. We heard more details about Brad's future, which he described as "tribal...half a dozen different factions...all the tools to destroy life, nothing to sustain it." Yikes!
Back in the city, Kellog (who is playing every single possible angle to increase his own likelihood of survival, success, power, and wealth) filled Past Alec in on what Kiera has been up to and that she and Scar Alec are working together again. I'm sure Kellog is betting that Past Alec is the one whose coattails should be clung to in order to achieve prosperity, yet he's also keen to be involved in whatever Curtis is up to, which seems to be more connected to Kellog's knowledge of the alternate future where he himself is in charge and his wanting to keep one eye on that possible destiny. I think that Curtis' schemes are still too murky for me to claim much understanding of what he and Kellog are up to, though I thoroughly expect to learn more about that in the finale.
*The cabin is apparently the same one famously frequented by Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG1, or so some fans have noted online. This makes me extremely happy.
What did you think of this episode? Share your thoughts in the comments!