The midpoint of Continuum Season 2, “Second Degree,” is all about trust. Now that Kiera has disclosed her past, or rather her future, to Carlos, they have an honest relationship. Meanwhile everyone else around them begins to either secretly distrust one another or put their trust in the wrong person.
“Second Degree” centers around the trial of Julian Randol, Alec’s half-brother. Julian shot Carlos while he and Kiera were at the Randol farm, and also acted as an accessory to Edouard Kagame’s terrorist attack on the city. He’s been in jail awaiting trial.
Carlos gives his testimony during the trial and bumps into Jim Martin (played by Tahmoh Penikett), who is still running for mayor despite his tarnished name. While Carlos doesn’t seem to trust him, Jim attempts to convince him that he wants nothing more than justice for Julian Randol’s misdeeds. “I can help change the future,” he asserts.
Kiera decides to bring Gardner in on a case she and Carlos are working in order to distract him from learning more about her. Kiera has learned, in her short time visiting 2012, that you must keep your friends close and your enemies closer. She can trust Gardner to be curious enough to bulldog his way to the truth.
After a close encounter with Travis Verta, Jim Martin is told that he can continue working with Sonya Valentine (although he denies their partnership), but must run their plans by Verta prior to committing to them. A cat and mouse game between Valentine and Verta has begun. Neither trusts Jim without strict supervision, and Sonya drops in on him during the trial.
Alec’s mother protects Julian at the trial by lying under oath. When Alec confronts her about it, she confesses that she lost her husband, she’s losing Alec, and she does not want to lose Julian as well. This angers Alec, as he realizes that if he tells the truth, he is sending his mother as well as his half-brother to jail. He cannot trust her to do the right thing, and now he can’t trust himself to do what he thinks is best.
The biggest surprise twists in “Second Degree” occur when Alec, having stayed the night with Emily, decides to leave and help Kiera with her case. Emily hears someone sneak in and wanders down to the kitchen, where she is confronted by a large man. Instead of the typical horror movie scenario where the slut dies horribly after wandering around the house in her underwear, Emily wrangles the man to the floor and threatens him. When he withholds information, she kills him with her bare hands. Then she calls her employer to ask for a cleanup and offer up some tech the guy had. I was really expecting her to be working with Liber8, but it looks like she’s working for Escher. I still don’t know that I can trust her, however.
At the trial, Alec decides that no matter the cost, he must tell the truth. His mother later apologizes for expecting him to lie to help his family, and commends him for doing the right thing. “You have the ability to change the world,” she says.
Unfortunately, the legal system can’t even be trusted. While Kiera and Carlos did find the juror’s family alive, someone managed to get to the judge, who declared the proceedings continue as a bench trial, and sentenced Julian to time already served plus several weeks’ more. Kiera and Carlos realize that the judge was pushed toward this decision, although it’s impossible to say who was behind it.
Jim Martin once again offers a chance for the city to change if he becomes Mayor, but we can see in Carlos’ face that the trust is not there. It’s evident that Carlos has an intuitive sense, as Jim gets in the car with none other than Sonya Valentine, his partner in crime.
In the future, we see Theseus’ verdict go awry (from execution to transfer – does this mean he was supposed to go back in time as well?) as old Alec Sadler smiles. Did the future change, or did Theseus’ plans to go back into the past change? Can we trust Old Alec Sadler?
“Second Degree” allows each character to deal with trust, whether it’s trusting their partners, those under them, those over them, or themselves. Carlos learns to trust Kiera, while Kiera still, perhaps unwisely, trusts Alec. Alec begins to distrust Emily, while Carlos has some serious doubts about Jim Martin. Verta and Valentine don’t trust anyone, especially those beneath them.
And with Emily’s boss revealed, Jim Martin’s alliances uncovered, and Gardner’s tenuous relationship with Kiera started, I’m beginning to realize I can’t even trust my own judgment anymore.