It’s a nice thing when a TV series isn’t predictable. A good twist can redefine the story and keep the audience guessing.
12 Monkeys, though, takes it to another level. This isn’t just the occasional twist, or even the end-of-epiosde cliffhanger. I genuinely have very little clue where this is going, and each new episode seems to invalidate my predictions born out of its predecessors.
It’s a good thing. But as I’ve said before, it’s a bit concerning. I don’t mind not knowing where it’s going, but the thing that does and which would worry me is if the writers don’t.
That, after all, was what turned me off Lost; the sense that the title was a description of the writers.
I’m not feeling that way yet with 12 Monkeys. It has the film to guide it, and it’s fast-paced, take no prisoners attitude to the story is a big plus in my book. With the end of the season on the horizon, though, and with a second confirmed, I will be wondering a little if a grander idea for a longer series is going to emerge soon.
This episode a deteriorating Cole is running out of time to stop the virus. With his body coming apart from all the splintering, Jones tries to put him back toegther enough to finish the mission. In 2015, Cassie and Burke hunt for Peters, the scientist who created the virus. And Ramse, after seeing what Jones is capable of, declares war on Project Splinter.
So, the conflict between Ramse and Cole has been brewing since the last episode. Ramse is apparently living with a community on the outside, along with Elena and his son. Whilst Cole is in 2015, he torches the pinboard and steals the vials of the drug which Cole uses to time travel. His motivation is that if Cole stops the plague from happening, then his son will never have been born. Which is a more sane reason that Foster’s “God wills it” schitck.
When Whitley comes after Ramse — with orders to take him alive — Elena is the inevitable casualty in the inevitable firefight. So Ramse’s son is without a mother. You have to feel for the poor guy. Ramse’s response is to launch a one-man assault on the bunker.
In 2015, Cassie and Burke aren’t terribly happy to see Cole reappear, with the news that they didn’t stop the virus. For some reason it didn’t occur to anyone to get rid of the invetor of the virus, who the Twelve Monkeys now have. They track him down, but too late to stop the Monkeys from getting the virus. And when it comes to it, Cassie can’t kill Dr Peters to prevent him from making it all over again. She’s just not Cole.
Burke, meanwhile, ends up having a chat with the woman from the Twelve Monkeys a few episodes back. She emphasises Cassie’s importance, and presumably tries to enlist him to their side.
As Cole is in the reconditioning chamber, before the last jump (Where have we heard that before? -Ed) to 1987. Except, Ramse attacks and tries to destroy the time machine. He fails, only managing to put a bullet through Max, before sending himself back to 1987. Cole, under no illusions that he can jump more than one more time, heads after his former friend.
This was an excellent episode. But far and away the best scene was Ramse’s chat with “The Daughters”. A group of all-female nomads, he spies the Twelve Monkeys symbol on their wagon and ends up having a conversation with an elderly Jennifer Goines. Time has done nothing for her sanity. But she knows so much that has happened, is happening, and will happen, and mentions — over scenes of Elena dying — that death can be cause and effect. She gives him a necklace, which “is his”, which is an interesting phrase.
My theory? I think Ramse is the the Witness. At the end of this episode he goes back to 1987, which is important as far as Markridge getting the virus. The Witness and the Army both have a near-fundamentalist determination to unleash the virus, which follows with Ramse’s desire to make sure that his son isn’t erased. And the antagonism between Cole and Ramse, between stopping the virus and protecting the timeline, has been at the core of the series. This would be a beautifully symetrical answer.
Of course, I’ve been wrong every time so far, haven’t I?
There are three episodes left, but there is also a second series to come. So it’s hard to say how it’s going to play out further than that. I love that they’ve been able to pull back a conflict of epic proportions to a personal drama. And, of course, it is bound to be love which unleashes the apocalpyse.
The best show on TV at the moment. Seriously.
- Cole puts “Don’t fear the Reaper” on the jukebox. Heh.
- Those memories Cole keeps having, of a glass breaking and a shot being fired. Will we see that play out at the end of this season, or is that the longer game?
- Future Goines is very interested in finding where Cole is. Unfinished business? Or does she want to stop the past to change the future?
- Burke is going to turn on Cassie. To protect her. He’ll probably screw everything up in the process, mind.
- More plague imagery. When we caught a glimpse of the Witness a few episodes back, he was wearing a plague doctor mask. Now the Pallid Man uses flowers to cover up the smell of death.
- But didn’t the Pallid Man die a few episodes ago, when the Twelve Monkeys kidnapped Cassie?