In “Second Last,” we find that Continuum remains science fiction at its best. Beneath all the trappings of technology, philosophy and pioneer experiments lies the most powerful motivator in the universe: love.
Whether it’s Kellogg’s love of self, Kiera’s love for her son, Verta’s love of power or Alec’s love for Emily, “Second Last” shows almost every character’s love pushing them toward their respective futures. Not all of them are bright.
Kiera’s love for her son causes her to seek a solution to return home. This results in the time travel device switching hands from Liber8 to Kiera, with Kellogg as the middle man, providing Alec with the resources to work on powering the device. However, the unexpected consequences of Kiera’s love involves the death of Alec’s beloved girlfriend, Emily.
Kellogg’s love of self has led him to setting up shop opposite Mr. Escher in hopes of making his own fortune, but he unfortunately finds Mr. Escher a formidable ally. This ends with Kellogg helping Verta recover his CMR and a CPS suit from Alec’s lab in order to stop Mr. Escher from taking the time travel device.
Carlos’ platonic friendship love for Kiera even puts him in jeopardy. He asks for a favor from Betty, warns Kiera to stay away, and sticks up for her during a meeting with Dillon. Carlos doesn’t know the entire story, but his experiences working with Kiera have shown him that she can be trusted, even when she can’t disclose all the answers. He may not like it, but he’s tied to her story now.
Emily’s love for Alec results in a confession of what she’s really been doing. Because she’s in love with Alec, she tells him the truth about her work for Mr. Escher and the race to the time travel device. This causes Alec to decide that the device is not worth the trouble, which worries to Kiera, who only wants to use it to return home.
Kiera’s only hope is to get Jason and Alec on board, but Alec and Jason are having to work through their own issues. Alec confronts him about why Jason (revealed to be his father) wasn’t around while Alec was growing up. Jason was trying to protect Alec from the other time-travelers. Fatherly love protected Alec, even though he was unaware.
“Second Last” shows what happens when various groups of individuals with the same goal and different motivators (in the people or things they love) clash: a chaotic, brutal mess that results in tragedy, and possibly a life-changing decision. Emily’s death could have several different effects on Alec, and I think we’ll see how next week during the finale.
Loving someone is dangerous; when you love someone very much, and you lose them, your entire world changes. You have to decide how to go on. Your view of reality has been altered. When your reality changes, so do you. You begin to question all your beliefs, your values, your choices.
When this story began, it was about an old, lonely Alec Sadler. He created the technology that sent Kiera back in time. He is to blame for the separation of Kiera and her son. Is it possible that old Alec is allowing Kiera to suffer for what she did to Emily?
Or does “Second Last” show us an alternate timeline? Is it possible that because of Emily’s death, Alec decides to destroy the technology for time travel, ARC, and all his other inventions for good? Does he finally see the damage caused by his own love of knowledge?
The best science fiction may come with trappings of futuristic gadgets, top-notch tech and new horizons, but it always goes deeper into the human existence to explain why all of that is there in the first place. Love pushes us toward the future. It influences and informs all we do.