“Split Second” is one of those episodes that reminds me why I watch television. It isn’t the greatest hour of television, but it is one that gives you a lot to think about as well as deepens character relationships while building on seasonal story arcs. It isn’t often we get such well-plotted, beautiful, moving stories.
The flashbacks in “Split Second” revolve around two of the Liber8 terrorists, who were once a doctor (Sonya Valentine) and a super-soldier (Travis Verta). Doctor Valentine was part of the program to make better soldiers, but was told that the program was too expensive to be kept and that it would be terminated. When asked what that meant for the soldiers, the official responded to Valentine with the words, “Terminate means terminate,” meaning that Travis would be killed along with the other soldiers in the program. Doctor Valentine injects Travis with something out of a syringe and kisses him, but before we can find out what has occurred, we are back in 2012.
“Split Second” picks up in 2012 with Lucas Ingram watching a video of the hospital where Sonya Valentine and Travis Verta had been visiting Edouard Kagame. Ingram realizes that Valentine was responsible for shooting Travis, and Jasmine Garza wants to break him out of jail while Valentine tries to put her off by telling her there’s already a plan in place.
Alec Sadler goes to work at his new job, but Kiera stops him and wants to talk about options. She warns him about sticking to the decisions that will create the future she knows, but Alec is fed up and tells her she’ll have to make a decision sooner or later: to protect the future for her future loved ones, or to protect the future for the people around her now.
Meanwhile, Agent Gardiner asks his superior if he can continue digging up information on Kiera Cameron, who he believes has sided with Liber8. He is cautioned to keep it under wraps but allowed to keep investigating. He inserts himself in a prison transfer Kiera is part of, which happens to be the removal of Travis Verta from a prison where he killed several men while protecting Julian Randol, Alec Sadler’s stepbrother.
This is where “Split Second” starts earning its name. Alec Sadler is working his menial tech job when the slithery Kellogg enters and offers the hand of friendship. We know what Kellogg’s capable of, and although Alec is somewhat aware of his identity and doesn’t end up buying what Kellogg’s offering in this first encounter, a seed of discontent is planted, and it takes just a split second to take root.
Ingram and Valentine team up after Ingram discovers that Valentine wants Travis out of the way and nowhere near Theseus (future Julian Randol), worrying that Garza will catch on and stop them. Kiera and Carlos ride in the transfer van, Carlos taking the seat opposite Travis, who then begins to taunt him with all the mystery surrounding Kiera.
Travis even asks Kiera to consider joining Liber8, telling her that she’s fighting on the wrong side, and criticizing Carlos for his complacency in the system already poised to take his freedoms away.
Alec, now curious about Kellogg, visits him on the boat and asks what sort of person old Alec Sadler is, which Kellogg asserts doesn’t matter, since he’s loaded. Alec wavers between doing what he knows is right and doing what will be easy. While they speculate on whether old Alec sent Kellogg back to help the young Alec Sadler begin the company that will become SadTech, it’s pretty obvious that Alec still distrusts Kellogg.
Travis makes things awkward for Kiera in the van and she has to cover up his time-traveler stories with quips about a mental ward. Carlos is still in the dark, and while he’s wondering how Kiera and Travis know each other so well, a car rams into the transfer van and the driver is shot, leaving Kiera to take the wheel.
In a split second, everything changes. Kiera and Carlos go from having a plan to running for their lives, Alec goes from trying to do the right thing to taking the easy way out after a run-in with a particularly annoying customer, and Liber8 is splintered.
Travis escapes thanks to Garza, who, it is discovered, has taken all the guns from Liber8’s headquarters, leaving Ingram and Valentine no choice but to run. Kiera returns to the Police Department and faces Gardiner’s wrath, only to be backed up by Inspector Dillon.
We then see the rest of the flashback, which consists of Valentine giving Verta something to “keep him moving”. She shoots the official that told her the soldiers would die and escapes with Verta. Love made her choose this path, but love is not her guide now. Valentine must succeed Kagame and wage a war of ideas instead of violence. Verta now stands in her way.
Kiera and Carlos get a drink and wonder aloud if there is indeed a ‘mole’ at the police department who could have alerted Liber8 and its followers to the transfer so that they could rescue Travis Verta, and Kiera, by all appearances, seems to believe Gardiner the best choice. Carlos still looks as if it could be anyone, since Kiera is still not forthcoming with answers.
And Alec Sadler has joined the ranks of Kellogg, who quotes T.S. Eliot and admonishes Alec that fear keeps their opponents oppressed and highlights their bravery. It’s a slippery slope for Alec, I’m afraid, and I can only hope that Kiera can talk some sense into him before it’s too late.
All of these emotions and storylines turn on a dime. None are expected and yet none are shocking. People make snap decisions, take a split second to decide the course of their future. I can’t wait to see what happens next!