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Friday, March 15, 2013

Time Travel in Continuum

Continuum is a great show and it relies on time travel as its central conceit.  Since the season finale is Monday, I wanted to look (briefly) at time travel in the show and some interesting thoughts I had.

First off, as Alec said in the pilot, there are a few schools of thought on time travel.  One is that time travel is impossible (we'll ignore this one for purposes of this).  The others contend that time travel is possible, but vary on whether or not a person traveling back in time can in fact affect the future.  One maintains that it is impossible to change the future because there are too many variables to effect an actual change.  The other contends that it is possible to effect a change by changing certain events.

Continuum has not come down on either side yet, but given the events we have seen thus far, I would hypothesize that the show would come down on the side of not being able to change the future.  In the pilot, future Alec seems to know Keira when she is introduced to him for the first time, which would really only make sense if he had already met her in the past.  And in the last episode, Kagame said that the events at the farm would shape his future and make him who he was to become.

Taking this line of thought a bit further, I would hypothesize that future Alec was working with Liber8 tosend them back to the past.  Given the fact that his step-father was killed by the police and that his step-brother is the leader of Liber8, it would make sense that Alec would work with them.  Also, by sending them and Keira back, Alec would ensure that the future would unfold the way it already had.

Now, there have been hints that the future could be changed when Kiera and the members of Liber8 were talking about eliminating each other's ancestors.  However, when Kellogg's ancestor was killed, nothing happened to him, leading me to think even more that the show is saying that the future is immutable.

If the future is immutable, I wonder what the point of the show is then.  Normally, you would think that this type of show is about changing the future for the better.  But can that be done?  Or is the show merely a commentary on contemporary events?  If so, it is fairly dark for a sci-fi show.