It's been one of the best years for season finales I've ever experienced, and this episode of Continuum stands shoulder to shoulder with the excellent finales of Agents of SHIELD and Arrow in that respect. While bringing closure to some of the plot threads in surprising and highly satisfying ways, "Last Minute" also brought out fresh problems for our characters that will (hopefully!) make for a thrilling Season 4. One aspect that was certainly confirmed by this finale was that Season 3 has been, to me, the greatest set of episodes so far in Continuum's run. As much as I enjoyed the "slow burn" sort of tone and pacing that Seasons 1 and 2 had, there's no denying the excitement of going full throttle. Season 3 has done that to exquisite perfection, with twists ranging from Kiera and Scar Alec's time travel at the start of the season, to Liber8 seeming increasingly less evil and then falling apart, to the crazy premise of The Traveler and the unceremonious defeat of the Freelancers. The harder Kiera tries to save the future, even as selflessly as she did in "Last Minute," some new denouement always springs up to make everything even more complicated and problematic.
As I'd expected, we got to see Brad's future again via flashback, as the beginning of this episode showed us the moments preceding his trip back to 2014. It turned out that while Brad was less than thrilled to have been chosen for this "Hail Mary" mission, he was committed to seeing it through, and even got a send-off from Old Kellog. It was totally brilliant to have the opening scene end with the aged trickster and now cult leader smiling. It makes me happy to see that even as a grizzled warlord, Kellog still has that same twinkle in his eye.
Kiera: "I just feel like I have this bizarre perspective that nobody will ever understand. Except you."
Brad: "It's like we're two sides of the same argument."
Kiera: "The genius thing is, not to have the argument."
This led into a sweet kiss between Kiera and Brad that was classy and subtle in presentation. But alas, the two were not going to be allowed to continue their pleasant respite for long.
The calm before the storm that this northern getaway represented, both for Kiera/Brad and for Scar Alec/Emily (who were merrily plotting life on the lam elsewhere), was rudely interrupted by Past Alec's brutal assault on the latter couple. Clearly, Past Alec was not going to allow his other self to escape into obscurity, always existing as a threat to his prosperity. So the gang was jolted back into action, and awesomely this inspired Kiera to seek outside help...from Liber8! Though they had now parted ways, it was easy enough for Travis to re-recruit a crabby Garza and a hilariously enthusiastic Lucas to join the mission to take Past Alec out of play. I felt that Lucas' exuberant statement, as he looked around at the gaggle of disparate participants in this plot, "whatever this is...I am in!" represented the thoughts of most viewers at this fantastic and unconventional collaboration.
Kiera told the Liber8 trio that she now understands how wrong she had been for staying on the Corporate Congress' side. Even though she can never condone Liber8's methods, their cause was the right one, and despite the unlikelihood that Kiera and Liber8 will ever be buddies, now they can join forces to save the day. Both Brad's future and a future dominated by corporate oppression could be prevented in favor of a brighter chance for a positive outcome. Perhaps one of the most consistent themes of this episode was that if a situation called for some kind of explanation, Kiera was there waiting with a mind-blowingly deep speech. You know, like this one:
"But it does mean that we want to change our future before it comes into being. That is a fight I can get behind, that is a fight worth sacrificing for. And it's a legacy I want to leave for those who come after us." -Kiera
Past Alec: "This is like kidnapping."
Carlos: "No, this is exactly kidnapping."
Ha! Excellent. But since Past Alec had a tracking device in him that led his team to retrieve him, he was able to scurry on back to Piron, where Scar Alec was busy retrieving the "Frankenstein" time travel device that Jason had told our heroes about. Thus commenced possibly one of the greatest showdowns I have ever seen in television: Alec versus Alec!
First, Past Alec showed his emotional and psychotic agenda by revealing that his hatred of Scar Alec has more to do with Emily than anything else. He'd rather have seen Scar Alec and Emily dead than ever let them be happy together, and he didn't care how many times Scar Alec had to travel through time and play out the tragic cycle, as long as he always wound up miserable. Yeesh!
"I chose you. I chose you because I believe in a better future than mine, one that I know you will build."
Then the friends hugged, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house...at my house anyway! This was possibly the most emotional scene in a very moving episode, and in an hour replete with exceptional acting, Rachel Nichols and Erik Knudsen were especially wonderful.
After settling in back at Piron, where he could ruin the company and prevent some of the negative consequences that Past Alec was going to cause with his shenanigans, Alec came face to face with Kellog. That's when we started to glean that Kiera and Liber8's plan might not have come off as smoothly as we'd hoped. Kellog knew that there'd been an Alec switch and that this new CEO would be eager to fire him, but that was no problem for him. Nope, seems that Kellog had been tricking the other Alec into signing all kinds of papers that cut Sadler loose from Piron and put Kellog himself in charge. Past Alec, you distracted-by-becoming-evil idiot! Urgh. After a bragging speech about his new power and Alec being ousted, Kellog had his old frenemy thrown out. I have to say that as terrible as this twist was for all of the other characters we are rooting for...I had to chuckle because Matthew Kellog is such a fabulous, well-played character full of mischief that one can't help but love him even as he monumentally screws everyone over.
Kiera went and found Brad and the two discussed whether they could ever know if they had succeeded in preventing the disasters of each of the futures from which they had come. While Kiera was content not to know, and gave a darn good speech explaining why that was best, with which I must agree, Brad felt restless. This was mainly because Brad happened to have a nifty device that could tell them for sure whether or not they had succeeded. The problem that Brad, perhaps between optimism that Kiera had prevailed or hastiness to know for sure, sort of ignored was one he mentioned earlier in the episode while explaining the device's purpose. Namely, he never found out what measures the armed forces from his time were planning to take to fix the point in time that was marked by the beacon. Umm, Brad. You're adorable, I love your beard, you're so good for Kiera, you're such a marvelous addition to the group of characters on the show. But...what if the planned measure from your military leaders was....scary mechanized soldiers from the future who seem violent? Might have been worth considering before you set off the beacon.
Because yep, although at first all seemed well once the beacon was activated, said robot-looking soldiers quickly materialized, leading Kiera to ask Brad what they should do now, and Brad to aptly reply, "Run!" What a magnificent cliffhanger! Also, beautiful special effects in a haunting final scene of the season.
We have a few other lingering questions to ponder. For example, we saw The Traveler again, though he didn't feature as prominently in this episode as I thought he would. He's definitely male, but he could still be just about any male character on the show or a new person we don't know yet. Did anyone think they recognized him as one of the preexisting characters? Anyway, The Traveler told Curtis that it has begun, which likely refers to the newly arrived mech-soldiers.
Present Kellog, in his aim to aggrandize himself, seems to be at odds with Future Kellog, who (to my understanding) sent Brad back to kill Scar Alec and prevent the post-apocalyptic battlefield future from being earth's cursed destiny. But Kellog taking over Piron seems to be the unforeseen circumstance that thwarted Kiera's plan and kept Brad's future intact. And Present Kellog was seen meeting with Curtis last week, seeming to help him plot whatever it is he's plotting, so what is that all about?
Liber8 found a facility that suits them just fine for whatever they're going to do next. It's the Freelancers' hideout. Interesting!
There have been so many amazing moments this season, with each episode just getting progressively better and downright impressive, showing off the depth of what the show can achieve in terms of character development and sci-fi action adventure mixed with ponderous questions about the nature of time and destiny. We lost a few characters, in this current timeline at least, like Sonya and Betty, but apparently not Dillon...did you notice that the reporter interviewing Past Alec said "we pray for his recovery?" How did Dillon survive the blast?
In the midst of Kiera and Liber8's takedown of Past Alec, Emily was arrested for his attempted murder, but Carlos hinted that he'll do his best to help with that. Definite nominee for cutest moment of the finale (okay, non-Kiera/Brad cutest moment) was Carlos telling Kiera that it's now as if he's Commissioner Gordon to her...what's that character named again? Gotta love Kiera's Captain America-esque pop culture knowledge gaps. Carlos seems to have aged a lot this season, having gone through the ringer of disillusionment. He's still a little bitter, but ultimately, I think he's going to be just fine, and I hope he can stay in his current high-ranking position on the VPD.
Kiera as Batman to Carlos' Gordon with robots circling, Liber8 rebuilding, Kellog as Piron CEO, and Alec back on the fringes where he just seems to keep getting tossed... Season 4 of Continuum, which we seriously need, is poised to be quite fascinating.
What did you think of the season finale? Share your thoughts in the comments!