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Continuum - Episode 3.01 - Minute by Minute - Review

Season 3 of Continuum got off to a powerful, fascinating start with the brilliant episode "Minute by Minute."  I loved everything about this hour, from the direct delve into the motives and backstory of the Freelancers, to the consequences of Alec's jump back in time, and the development of a new timeline that literally opens up a whole world of possibilities to be explored this season.

As much as I sympathize with Alec's desire to save Emily, I had to work really hard to maintain that feeling once he stole Keira's (apparent) one shot to go back to her own time and her son.  Poor Keira was then placed into a creepy glass holding cell along with Liber8 so that the Freelancers could contain all of the anomalous people who threatened the timeline's integrity.  It was cool to see the script flipped a little as Liber8's members, Keira's natural enemies, were now her fellow prisoners, leading to a temporary alliance with Garza that had its own complex and touching follow-through.  

After questioning Keira about Alec's whereabouts, Chen revealed the Freelancers' vulnerability by introducing her to Catherine, who proceeded to monologue an excessive amount of wonderful exposition that was an absolute delight.  We learned all about the organization (or cult, as Keira cuttingly dubs it) which evolved from one man's traveling back a thousand years to stop a war that began a hundred years after Keira's birth.  This war was so horrible that the Freelancers will stop at no retroactive tinkering to continually prevent every piece of the puzzle from coming together to form that awful eventuality.   The explanation of the timeline's not being immutable, and the continuum's being like a tree was illuminating and clarifies a lot about the rules of the show's world.

Not impressed (due to their evil behavior last season) by the Freelancer's job offer to help them out with Alec's potentially catastrophic time jump, Keira was pretty much fine going back to her cell...but on the way there she ran into the badass and increasingly likable Garza, and the two women teamed up to escape.  Then after agreeing not to mess with each other and even to continue helping one another out, Garza was gunned down by the Freelancers, which Keira had little time to digest prior to the world around her starting to crumble.  The pacing of this episode was fabulously tight and action-packed.

Once Catherine gave Keira to understand that this timeline was disintegrating due to the presence of two Alecs in the One Week Ago timeline, Keira agreed to travel back and fix things to whatever extent was possible.  I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed her self-righteous and cold attitude towards the Freelancers, btw.  They might have the world's best interest at heart, but those are some smug bastards.

Meanwhile, One Week Ago, our Alec started making rookie mistakes like the millisecond he landed.  Luckily for Alec, he ran into his convenient stalker / son Jason, who provided some quiet and quirky assistance.  Seriously, until Alec looked across the street and noticed his Other self, it seems he had not thought about the immensity of his decision's potential impact on the timeline.  Yup, Alec, now there's two of you, and one Emily, and a couple of possible futures that might not have been on the table before.  After approaching Emily and her cute little conflicted jeggings to suggest that they run away to Thailand (I liked how he fluidly dismissed out of hand her attempts to fill him in on her sketchy ass backstory), Alec decided it would be a good idea to leave her and go do some other stuff.  Alec, have you never seen any movie, or any other show, ever?  And then he even said to himself, "this is going to work."  Never do that.  To quote Han Solo, I have a bad feeling about this.
So then Alec found time for some other fun sidetracks like telling the Kellog and Keira of this time a whole lot of interesting information that will completely alter their own trajectories.    Escher is killed by Emily in this new version of events, and when I watched the episode, I suspected Kellog was somehow complicit in this because the timing and his facial expression seemed segued.  But perhaps Emily took it on herself to kill Escher so she could escape with Alec.

Then Keira of One Week Ago showed up dead with a bullet to the head, leading Alec to the shocking realization that due to his actions, not only had he betrayed the Keira of the present time, but chances are, given the fact that the only thing different here is him, he's probably inadvertently responsible for past Keira's demise as well.  

As Alec wept with the full force of this tragic series of events (let's face it, he screws up a lot, but it's really hard to be young Alec Sadler), I adored the perfect dramatic symmetry of the time jumping Keira standing behind him with an intriguing expression - reflecting, perhaps, an ironic acknowledgement of poetic justice, among many other things - setting up quite a cliffhanger for next week.

We have so many questions going into the rest of the season that I see the potential for an even more layered and complicated version of Continuum than we have previously been treated to.  Who killed the Keira of One Week Ago, and why?  Which Alec Sadler is the one who will bring about the correct future, and what will happen to the extra Alec?  Will Keira get any closer to being able to return to her own time and her son?  

One aspect that I think contributed to the excellent pace of this episode was actually the lack of the police characters and plotline.  I like Carlos a lot, but sometimes that whole side of the show tends to take time away from the full-fledged science fiction I'd rather see.  Once they bring that part back into the show, hopefully it can play a less impeding and more accommodating role in the overall mythology.  
Another neat twist to "Minute by Minute" was that as soon as she got to One Week Ago, Keira's first move was to free Garza to repay the Liber8 baddie for saving her in the other timeline.  Now that a shaky, yet sincere semi-alliance has been forged between these two characters (in the tradition of shaky alliances that Continuum always pursues so well; see also, anytime someone has dealings with Kellog), I'm very interested to see how that will play into future events and clashes between Keira and Liber8.

What did you think of this episode?  What are you hoping to see happen during Season 3? Share your thoughts in the comments!

About the Author - Virginia Mae Fontana
Virginia is happy to be reviewing The Vampire Diaries, Hart of Dixie, Nashville, Beauty and the Beast, Elementary, Witches of East End, Covert Affairs, and Continuum for Spoiler TV. She is a college English instructor and enjoys obsessing over films and pop music - in addition to tv shows, of course! You can find her blog, SugarRushed, at and her Twitter handle is @SugarRushedBlog


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