As a doctor and research scientist living in 2077 Vancouver, Continuum’s Sonya Valentine worked for the corporate military on a variety of projects designed to enhance humans’ resistance to future disasters and diseases. One particular project involved the creation of super soldiers, but, unfortunately, her work eventually began to take a path to which she morally objected.
When the project was terminated, Sonya decided to fight back against the atrocities committed by the corporations running the world. She joined the terrorist movement Liber8, and ended up traveling back in time to 2012 Vancouver where she and a small group of fellow Libert8 members hoped to change the future. Their mission continues in the show’s second season, but with Liber8’s founder, Edouard Kagame, no longer in the picture, Sonya has stepped into his leadership role. Those shoes have, however, not been that easy to fill, as actress Lexa Doig, who plays Sonya, can attest to.
“I’m thrilled that there’s more for me to do in season two, which I knew was how it was going to go down, and it’s interesting to see where Sonya is going, but let’s just say that she’s not the most effective when it comes to being a leader,” says Doig with a laugh. “I can parallel her journey to that of a young mother; someone who’s suddenly in charge of something very, very important and doesn’t really know how to do it right, and has to figure out how to do it. Along the way, she makes some epic mistakes as well as a couple of small successes.
“Now I don’t want to confuse anyone out there. No, Sonya does not become a mother. I’m just likening that to her becoming the head of Liber8. Again, it’s been an interesting journey for me to play her as she discovers the things that work along with those that don’t and the things she wants to do. It also sort of helps further solidify how Sonya feels about what she’s attempting to accomplish. I honestly do feel that she is a true believer in certain ideals. She’s not just a chaotic type of individual out for world domination, you know? Sonya actually does want to achieve a decent goal.”
“Throughout Continuum’s second season, my character has, in my eyes, grown when it comes to the mistakes she has made and recognizing those mistakes. Both those things have helped in congealing her intentions and clarifying them for her. Being left in charge of Liber8 was obviously not something Sonya ever planned, but has had to just do. Without going into spoilers, the toughest part for me acting-wise has been all the high-stakes epic speeches and scenes. That’s the stuff that Tony Amendola [Edouard Kagame] does so well. I, however, am not Tony Amendola, so it has been challenging for me to find that commitment, but fun, too.”
It was Travis Verta (Roger Cross), a participant in the super soldier program, and Sonya’s burgeoning relationship with him that ultimately led to her decision to join Liber8. He, too, is a member of the group and, when Kagame did not initially turn up when the terrorists were sent back to 2012, he appointed himself Liber8’s temporary leader. With Sonya taking over that role, their relationship has become decidedly rocky.
“The biggest challenge for me in the season two opener [Second Chances] was the scene where my character shot Travis,” notes Doig. “It should be no surprise that two of them have had a falling out because of her actions, and I don’t think she would have shot Travis had Kagame not told her to. I do believe that Sonya cares very much for Travis. Whether she cares for him as much as he cares for her, I have a feeling Roger Cross and I would probably have different answers. Again, what I can say without spoiling things is that their relationship keeps taking some twists and turns.”
The one major crimp in Liber8’s plans to change the past in order to prevent the future rise of corporations over world governments is CPS (City Protective Services) Officer Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols). She was also sent back in time together with the members of Liber8, and has thwarted their efforts on more than one occasion. This season on Continuum, Kiera and Sonya had the chance to duke it out in a gunfight that the actress thoroughly enjoyed shooting.
“Funnily enough, we shot that gunfight on two different days,” she says. “The way it was originally done, Sonya looked like she couldn’t wait to get out of Dodge as soon as Kiera started firing at her. That came across as a little bit odd when the footage was cut together, so I came in on a second unit filming day to basically film my character’s side of trying to shoot Kiera, and it developed into this big gunfight between the two of them. That was my first time on this show that I used the guns with blanks. Other times I’ve had this sort of air gun, which makes me feel much safer, and then they add in the muzzle blasts during post-production.
“I love doing anything physical on the show, and the fight scenes I’ve had have been nothing but a blast. I had so much fun getting ‘beat up’ by Luvia Peterson [Jasmine Garza, a soldier in Liber8]. She’s great to work with, and our stunt coordinator Kimani Ray Smith is so creative. He’s like a lot of other really good stunt coordinators who understand that the fight itself is a story and there are scenes within those fights. It not just, OK, cool hit, cool hit, cool kick type of stuff. You’re actually telling a story all on its own as well as helping tell the overall story with that fight. I wish in some respects that I had more of the physical scenes to do, but that’s not who Sonya is. She’s not the physical badass of the show.”
Although she arrived all on her own back in the present, Kiera has fortunately acquired some back-up in her fight against Liber8, including Vancouver police detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) and civilian techie Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen). Coincidentally, Alec’s stepbrother Julian Randol (Richard Harmon), who ended up in jail after events in the season one finale End Times, has an important connection to Liber8 and how the group was formed in 2077.
“There’s a scene I have in season two with Richard Harmon that I had such a good time with,” says Doig. “I’m not going to go into a ton of detail about it, but I don’t think it will spoil that much to suggest that Sonya and Julian meet, considering at this point in the season, my character is protecting him in jail. I think this scene is in episode 209, and I enjoyed myself so much filming it because Richard is such a talented actor and a pleasure to work with. I’ve also had some fun this year as Sonya in scenes with Stephen Lobo, who plays Matthew Kellog.”
At the time of this interview (mid-May), Doig and the rest of the Continuum cast and crew had just finished production on the episode Second Guess, which was being directed by series creator/executive producer/head writer Simon Barry.
“Being directed by Simon is fantastic and he did a wonderful job,” enthuses the actress. “I think the hardest thing for directors, at least from my observations over the years, and especially directors who are new to TV, is managing time. That by far is the biggest challenge in television directing – making sure that your time management is effective and that you can get everything that you need to get done within the established time frame. Simon had a good handle on that. He never seemed stressed out and was able to take the time to get exactly what he wanted in a scene. He seemed very excited to be directing as well, and hopefully we’ll see more of him in, fingers cross, season three.
“As far as the episode itself, there’s a Peaches and Herb song that comes to mind and that I was playing on-set every day when I was working. I don’t think I could necessarily say what the song was because it might give away too much,” she teases, “but I think the audience is going to be a bit surprised, let’s put it that way.”
In addition to her work on Continuum, the actress’ other recent appearances include the part of Dr. Fridkin in the Primeval: New World two-part season one finale The Sound of Thunder, and the recurring role of Petra Hossa in the hit CBC series Arctic Air, for which she was nominated for a 2013 Canadian Leo Award.
“Without a doubt, the thing I enjoy most about doing Arctic Air are the people who work on the show,” she says. “They’re all extremely lovely individuals. It’s quite a drive from where I live to get to Aldergrove where the show is shot, and it’s not a pleasant drive, I’ll be dead honest, but the people who work there make the drive palatable. When you finally arrive at the studio you think, ‘Thank God there are so many nice people here.’
“It’s also a nice change to play a character that isn’t fantastical, who doesn’t have some strange sort of superpower, that doesn’t come from the future, and isn’t a super genius. My character is a mom who’s raising her kids and trying to do the best job she can, which in a lot of ways is closest to who I am in real life. I’m obviously not a warship [in the TV series Andromeda], a doctor on a secret military base that caters to alien travel [in Stargate SG-1] or a time traveler/terrorist from the future. It’s neat to play someone closest to who I am as a person.”
Season two of Continuum is currently airing Sundays @ 9:00 p.m. on Canada's Showcase Network and Fridays @ 10:00 p.m. EST/PST on Syfy in the States. As noted above, photo copyright of Shaw Media/Showcase, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!