Review: 12 Monkeys – Atari

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Cole’s reluctance to open up to Railly puts a strain on their relationship in the present as they search for the “Night Room” before the 12 Monkeys use Goines to get there first. In 2032, a younger Cole and Ramse befriend a dog as they scavenge for food before they’re attacked—then recruited—by West 7, a gang run by Deacon (Todd Stashwick). Quickly a rift grows between Cole and Ramse as he adopts to Deacon’s philosophy as his friend rejects the brutality. Cole comes around when he learns that Max was a victim of Deacon’s violent methods as a child, and questions his leader when proposed with an ultimatum: for questioning his authority, Ramse must die by his hand or Cole’s. He goes to Ramse intent on killing him, and his friend expects the worst, but they decide to run from West 7 together.

By the time Cole returns to 2043 he learns that Deacon and Max (Romina D’Ugo) are in the area and ready to approach, and they hunt on the surface for their old group in order to preserve the facility. Which leads to a firefight not far away, but this turns out to only be a diversion as West 7 attacks in their absence. After they return, Jones (Barbara Sukiwa) and Cole try to reach the splinter to send him back as Ramse and soldiers are killed in the assault. He agrees to the one-way trip and is pulled back to Railly in 2015, but he travels back only two days and is captured by West 7. The following day, Cole endures torture as they interrogate him about the facility and how to enter. When the beatings fail, they drug him which causes his perception of time and placement to go out of whack, unable to keep persons and presents coherent.

He confesses all he knows about the facility’s entrance, proving himself to be the source of information that led to the original attack. Though Max intends to kill him when they first meet as retribution for having left her with West 7 all those years ago, she agrees to help him undermine the assault, but Deacon manages to escape after the facility is saved. In 2015, taking Ramse’s advice after the assault, Cole opens up to Railly about himself, but she’s far more enthusiastic to tell him that she’s found the Night Room.

12 Monkeys AtariThis was the follow-up to 12 Monkey’s last less-than stellar episode coming after two strong weeks. While this isn’t a return to form we witnessed in the beginning, it is an improvement. In the past time travel has been played around in all manner of ways to the point of losing its relevance within its own work, however, in this episode I actually didn’t manage to see where they were going with Cole’s return to the past. For a moment I truly believed the series would continue on in the present until some MacGuffin were introduced to get Cole back to the future. In addition to that, the exploration of a time-traveler’s mind broken with multiple realities folding in on themselves was presented in a visually-interesting way. So, as it stands, the science in this bit of sci-fi still holds some excitement in it.

Where the episode fails to maintain my interest is around Cole and the two women in his life. While I’m not a staunch hard-sci-fi kind of person, I do need to be given a reason for a character’s motivation before I can feel that it isn’t there to fill a demo gap or appease a producer’s assumption of what does and doesn’t work. So far there’s nothing to indicate that a romantic relationship between Cole and Railly would come about organically, though it feels dialogue is trying very heavy to push in that direction. I’ll reserve judgment for now; the series is course-correcting back to the main plot and the next installment brings us back to Goines and the Army of the 12 Monkeys.

 

To learn more about 12 Monkeys, go to their official site here.

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Written by Daniel Rodriguez
Daniel Rodriguez is a freelance writer and author from New York City.

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