“Second Thoughts” utilizes bookends that do a fantastic job of bringing to light Kiera’s past, opening up an avenue of thought about why she may have wanted to join the CPS.
“Second Thoughts” begins in the future, with Kiera in a helicoptor taxi. She stops off in a bad part of town and locates a young woman named Hannah. It appears that Hannah is on drugs, and while Kiera offers assistance, it’s clear this distresses Hannah more, causing her to yell at Kiera, who we then realize is Hannah’s big sister.
In the past (our present), Sonya and Lucas are meeting gang members on the street to strike a deal. Travis watches from a distance and when the time is right, he shoots one of the gang members, scaring everyone else away.
The end of the opener of “Second Thoughts” shows Jason, the “crazy” time-traveler visiting Carlos in order to pass along this chilling message to Kiera: there are freelancers.
Before we can realize the enormity of this statement, Alec is getting in car with other teenagers and being offered a drug that will help him recall memories with perfect clarity. Laser focus is also promised, but this doesn’t hold up, as Alec and the others are in a car crash when the driver, also on the drugs, loses control. Alec didn’t take the drug, and states this to Kiera when she drives him home and questions him, but he isn’t about to give up his friends to her.
Kiera tells Alec about the drug, and says that it shouldn’t be around for years. She asks him to find out everything he can on the drug and who is distributing it. While Kiera is briefing the police department on the drug, called “Flash,” Julian is in the prison, twitchy at the slightest movement. Another prisoner sits next to him and offers him protection, under Sonya’s orders.
And then there’s Kellogg. Kiera goes to him to reveal her suspicions about his involvement with “Flash” distribution and he scoffs, asking her why he would stoop to selling street drugs. He can’t help but dangle his association with Alec in her face, and when they argue about Alec’s future, Kellogg simply says he wants a ringside seat this time around. “You screw with that kid’s life, you answer to me. That’s a promise,” threatens Kiera before she leaves to meet Carlos at a crime scene.
Carlos and Kiera arrive to see what looks like gang-related violence. Kiera suspects that Sonya and Travis are in a war over control of the city’s gangs, and are providing drugs as payment. Meanwhile, Sonya and Lucas argue over Kagame’s philosophy and actions, which seem to be embodied by Sonya (philosophy of peace) and Travis (violent action).
Kiera meets with Jason to talk about the freelancers, which he asserts are responsible for all the Quantum leaps in technology, going all the way back to the telescope. Jason says there are all different kinds of freelancers, and the mysterious Mr. Escher is in a league of his own. Now that Jason and Kiera know of the existence of freelancers, their lives are in danger. Kiera wants to go home, and Jason warns her that if she stays in this time too long, she’ll start to wonder if her future life ever really happened. She’s having second thoughts about staying here.
Alec visits one of the kids he was partying with, now in the hospital. She says that experiencing “Flash” was like having a perfect memory of something, although it could possibly be controlled. Alec confides in her that his father said a lot of things to Alec before he left that Alec didn’t understand, and now wants to remember with help from the drug. When leaving the hospital, he runs into Kellogg who reminds him that he needs to make decision about joining Kellogg’s enterprise. Alec requests more time to consider. Alec is having second thoughts as well.
Kiera and Carlos spy on Sonya and just when Carlos is ready to call for backup, Kiera takes a shot. Carlos and Kiera barely avoid getting shot, and Sonya gets away, determined to start over and set an example, refusing to deal with criminals, focusing on exposing hypocrisy and corruption, using force when she must. This irritates Lucas, who says that if you can’t reason with someone, you persuade them, and you always end up having to persuade.
Travis arrives at a local gang’s hideout and after talking everyone down, terrifies them by opening a suitcase and dumping a bunch of heads on a pool table. He’s killed the leaders of the gangs so that he can become the only leader. His first act is to have someone on the inside protect Julian and get him out before Sonya can.
Alec, having got hold of some of the new drug, takes it in an attempt to remember something about his father. We glimpse his mother in the kitchen with a man who looks astonishingly like Jason. We aren’t told whether this is Alec’s brain messing with him or if this is his father. He meets Kiera later and she asks him to look into the mysterious Mr. Escher.
“Second Thoughts” completes its story arc with the bookend returning to Hannah and Kiera’s story. Kiera rushes to talk her sister into getting back on the roof instead of jumping to her death. Hannah is on “Flash” and doesn’t recognize her sister at first. Once she does, her face draws painfully, and she whispers, “Father always wanted me to be special, perfect. At least he still has you.” And then she falls.
I believe Kiera’s desire to work in CPS stems from this moment. I also have a theory about Kellogg, but I’m going to wait a few episodes before I decide whether it is worth sharing.