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Continuum - 3 Minutes to Midnight - Review

And I thought last week's episode was a game-changer!  "3 Minutes to Midnight" easily went beyond its predecessor in terms of plot progress and surprising twists, and was one of the most action-packed episodes of Continuum to date.  As the events ran the gamut of emotional beats from scary to hopeful and from disillusioning to relieving, this hour went by so fast, it almost did feel like three minutes.

We basically had two major plotlines and one subplot in this episode, and I liked the simplicity of that.  This worked especially well, because the Kiera/Brad story intersected with Liber8, Kellog, and Curtis, making for a cohesive "full circle" feeling at the end of the episode.  The subplot about Carlos' discovery of Dillon's underhanded dealings played back into the Alec/Jason/Halo plot.  

After a series of flashbacks reminded Brad that he was the one that killed Past Kiera, he was highly frustrated, although Kiera was chirpily oblivious, at first, to his crisis.  However, after returning home to find no Brad, but some shattered glass and blood, Kiera quickly realized something weird was going on.  Brilliantly, she tracked Brad to his childhood home, where he was retrieving some mysterious items that he had hidden there.  The awkward, cute, commonsensical exchange between Kiera, Brad, and little Brad showed again the sweet connection between Kiera and Brad that persists against all odds.  Despite the obvious problems presented by Brad's past actions, I'm beyond pleased that this episode suggested we may not have seen the last of the Brad/Kiera could-be romance.

Alec's pursuit of Halo intensified as Piron rolled out ads and started getting bracelets on more trial subjects' wrists.  As we learned via Carlos' smart analysis of the situation, Dillon was covering up for a number of Halo participants who had negative (aka psychotic) side effects.  Naturally, Dillon's excuse was his tired old "protect and serve" speech that just keeps seeming like meaningless propaganda to cover up his ultimately self-serving or short-sighted projects.  And Alec was just as determined to bring his ahead-of-its-time tech to fruition no matter the consequence.  Similarly to Dillon's own willingness to put his daughter in the line of fire with Liber8, Alec ignored the problems inherent with letting Jason use Halo until his son had unraveled really badly.  
Jason had quite the eventful episode, from digging up a second time travel device, to hitting an innocent victim with a shovel thinking it was a Freelancer, and later attacking Julian after a pretty awesome rant about what Theseus got up to in the future.  Jason's segue from cracking up to smoothly confident has been played excellently by Ian Tracey.  Finally, after preventing his son from killing Julian, Alec seemed to realize that he needs to treat Jason with more consideration.  I know that Alec is not so far gone morally that he doesn't feel guilty for his reprehensible actions, but he's also so increasingly corrupt that I continually wonder if he'll do the right thing when he gets to a crossroads like this.  I am interested to see how the father/son relationship will progress, for better or worse.
Kiera and Brad were snatched up after leaving his old house, as Liber8 had them totally surrounded.  Once they were tied up and being circled by Travis, Sonya, Lucas, and Garza, it seemed as if the terrorists finally had the upper hand.  However, during Liber8's aggressive interrogation of Brad, a few revelations occurred.  Firstly, Kiera was horrified to see Brad brutally beat up by Travis, and then Garza realized that she'd gain more headway in her own line of questioning with Brad by hurting Kiera.  Seeing Garza nail Kiera's foot to the floor was viscerally terrifying, and a harsh reminder that Kiera's past kindness to her will not cause Garza to show any reciprocation in a scenario like this.  From Brad's quick launch into his backstory as soon as Kiera was threatened, we saw his willingness to sacrifice the secrets he'd seemed ready to take to his grave, in order to protect her.  This relationship and its dark complexity has been my favorite unexpected development of Season 3.
It turns out that Brad is from the year 2039, and traveled back to this time because based on intel culled by the organization that sent him (who are not the Freelancers, but had access to Freelancer information), this is when the world's destiny became damaged.

Brad: "They were convinced that this city, this time was ground zero for a cataclysmic time anomaly."
Sonya: "Cataclysmic how?"
Brad: "I don't know. But it went into my time."
At first, Sonya was downright enchanted to hear Brad tell of how corporations were torn asunder by the people, as it seemed to her that Liber8 had indeed succeeded in their mission to change history and bring Kagame's vision to life.  However, everyone else started to see the cracks in the paint, because as Brad told it, a Corporations vs the Government war with The People caught up in the middle caused a great deal of trouble, in a conflict that didn't let anyone really win.  It actually sounds as if Liber8 did a lot more harm than good, as even the 2077 that Kiera and Liber8 come from, where the Corporate Congress harassed and suppressed the populace to within an inch of their lives, was preferable to the basically post-apocalyptic result described by Brad.  To what extent was the world physically compromised by the timeline corruption that was set off by Scar Alec, and how much of the disaster was caused by the war between various factions which was set off by Liber8?  In trying to understand the whole sweep of events, it's also important to note that Brad did not tell Liber8 everything, as he confided in Kiera that he held some things back.  I wonder what he failed to disclose and why it was advantageous to hide it from Liber8.

At any rate, Liber8 quickly started to disintegrate with Lucas declaring that there isn't anything they can do to avert a future that is undesirable in one way or the other.  While Lucas' neurotic response to this reveal contrasted with Travis' calmer, more logical acknowledgement of Liber8's ironic failure, both men seemed to basically agree that there isn't a solution they can implement to try to improve the world.  Garza, tired of "being someone's bitch," shared this irritation, but Sonya really tried to cling onto the possibility that Liber8 hadn't failed or lost, or that there could somehow be a turnaround that would preserve their dream.  With Sonya at gunpoint, Kiera (after wrenching herself up from her chair and detaching from the nail in her foot - ouch!) rather fabulously dressed her nemesis down, chillingly recalling how in her own time, she'd killed Travis, and that she understands aspects of the universe they can't even fathom.  For example, there's Kiera's own origin, as well as the presence of two Alecs in this timeline.  Yup, Liber8's been pretty clueless. I loved the utter hatred and haughtiness Kiera put into her words, "if you people only knew what you don't know."  Rachel Nichols was amazing in this scene.
This lovely conversation was offset by the arrival of Kellog and Curtis.  Earlier, Brad had asked Kellog to put him in touch with the Freelancers.  We know from flashbacks that Brad and Chen were in on the scheme to assassinate Past Kiera together, and that Brad was hit by a truck almost immediately after shooting Past Kiera.  Kiera was angered by Brad's confession that he was her past self's killer, but as he pointed out later, he isn't the same person he was when he first traveled back in time.  Speaking of his original mission, Brad showed the whole assembled group a holo-message from a future version of Kellog that corroborates Brad's story.  It seems that it was Kellog who sent Brad back in time.

Lucas, Travis, and Garza were ready to all go running off in separate directions by the time the crushing pointlessness of their situation came to light, while Sonya is just too true blue Liber8 to back down from her ideals.  Kellog and Curtis seem oddly aligned now, since they were both involved with the mission to fix the timeline (there's no way Kellog won't try to benefit from the fact that his future self seems powerful and influential  How?  Who knows - he always thinks of something).  While Garza was originally sent back by Alec Sadler, does she still even care about trying to follow his request that she keep his past self on track?  And what's next for Kiera and Brad?  Will Scar Alec be freed from Freelancer jail?  

We only have two more episodes left in the season, and the stakes are higher for all of the characters than they've ever been.  As Kiera noted, "No one controls the future. It is an ever-evolving organism, free to change as it sees fit.”  With this being the case, and everyone's attempts to shape the future blowing up in their faces, what are they all to do now?  Due to its own "ever-evolving" look at time travel's implications and possibilities, and its eclectic collection of compelling and unpredictable characters, Continuum keeps raising its game this season and gets more impressive from week to week.

What did you think of this episode?  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, 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 http://virginiamaeblog.blogspot.com/ and her Twitter handle is @SugarRushedBlog
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