Episode 2.03 “Second Thoughts”
This is the “drugs are bad” episode, but it gives us an interesting new piece of Kiera’s back story that plays to her role as a Protector.
The drug: Flash. It’s a ritzy bit of pharmaceutical blend from the future, originally developed to help Alzheimer’s patients “before we cured it”. It enhances a specific memory so much that you actually feel like you’re in that moment reliving it with perfect clarity. Problem is, you get so wrapped up in those moments, you check out of your present and run the risk of dying. Not a good way to go.
So when Alec gets into a car with a bunch that’s taken it… erm, bad things happen. The car wreck, of course. And the setup is almost reminiscent of an after school special, only it’s played with considerably less hyperbole and melodrama.
Kiera’s reaction to all this is a little over the top, until we get to the reason why it’s personal for her. More on that in a moment.
Flash is being distributed by the Coalition Kings — local gang — who get the drug from Sonia in exchange for watching over Julian inside prison. And while Lucas is the conscience of the group — constantly reminding Sonia that Travis is a Bad Dude and Kagame really wasn’t all about platitudes — Sonia has even more of a disconnect between the violence of her minions and her stated goals for Liber8. Either this is an act, or shooting Travis has sent her over the edge and her grip on reality is slipping.
Travis, meantime, is setting himself up as the new de facto head of the gangs all over the city. Literally, since he’s decapitated several of the gang lords and dumped the heads on a pool table in front of all the gangs at the little pow-wow he organized. This is after gunning for the Coalition Kings, picking them off piece by piece because he knows Sonia’s using them to distribute the Flash.
(I write “the Flash” here, and it makes me sad that we’re not getting a movie anytime soon, but I digress…)
Julian gets a visit from Mom, who brings his journals and his father’s notebooks. Turns out, now Julian’s a hero in her eyes, as the building Kagame bombed was where a bunch of pharmaceutical CEOs were plotting to withhold cures for certain diseases in order to milk the market with treatments that keep people dependent on Big Pharma. Besides being a silly notion — cures would be extremely profitable — this is just one of those rare instances where Hollywood politics gets inserted into a pretty good sci-fi soap thriller. Leave the politics at home, boys. It only plays to the cheap seats.
Anyway, the whole drug CEO thread dovetails off the Flash bit, so I guess it makes sense to have some sort of conspiracy lurking about for depth…
The crux of this episode is Kiera’s attitude toward Flash, especially as it concerns young Alec. Knowing Alec is dealing with Kellog, she’s got some choice words for the older opportunist entrepreneur — don’t hurt Alec, or answer to her. He says he just wants a ringside seat to the growth of Alec as a mogul. She’s very protective of the younger version of the man who created all this mess in the first place, and we learn why in the last few minutes of the episode: Kiera’s younger sister, who was hooked on Flash, took a swan dive off the roof of a building. Not a short building, either…
Other bits: our wandering time traveler Jason tells Kiera that there are other “freelancers” running amok — time-travelers who have been jumping into history at various points, creating the leaps in technology, invention, science, medicine, weapons, etc. So our whole history is a product of tampering with the time stream, according to him. Best line of the episode from Kiera: “We both sound like we’re off our meds.”
And once Alec finally takes a hit on Flash, is that Jason he sees? Is this memory real? Could Jason be his father?
Overall, a solid episode that gives us more depth into Kiera’s character, and starts to really dip into the question of just how her activity in 2013 will effectively change 2077. That seed’s been planted, and now we’ll get a few episodes to let it germinate and see where it goes. Jason rightly points out that the longer she’s in her past, the more likely it is that things are changing, which will eventually mess with her memory. Since the past is changing, how much of it will still be intact when/if she ever gets back? Or will she be like Kellog? An anomaly adrift in a 2077 that she doesn’t recognize or fit into?