In this week’s episode of 12 Monkeys, two of the time traveling messengers have gone back to 1944 for some nefarious purpose and it’s up to Team Splinter to stop them.
In 2044, a reluctant Cassie (Amanda Schull) is convinced by Jones (Barbara Sukowa) that she needs to help Cole (Aaron Stanford) navigate through the forties in order to fulfill their mission and stop whatever it is that the Army of the 12 Monkeys are set to accomplish in the past. Meanwhile, Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) proves to be helpful and provides them with intelligence that the monkeys may be after a man named Thomas Crawford because he had remembered that they were looking for his body some time ago.
After some research, the team finds out that Crawford had been a molecular biologist and had been killed inside his office at Columbia University in 1944 by a man and a woman who were never found (suspicious much?). They believe that this must be the event that they need to stop from happening and some how discover its connection to the plague that eventually wipes out most of mankind. Cole is sent back first and then Cassie soon after. Before she leaves she shares a quiet moment with Deacon (Todd Stashwick) and I can’t help but like their relationship as unconventional and unexpected as it is. The once villainous ScavKing has been somewhat tamed by the good doctor, while some of his intensity and ruthlessness have rubbed off on her in turn. We’ve been seeing a different side of Deacon where he’s incredibly protective of Cassie and even allows her to see him vulnerable at moments. Unable to trust Cole and having lost Aaron, she must be drawn to his strong personality after being thrust into a future where she is the outsider.
Dr. Railly ends up arriving two months after Cole and meets him at The Emerson Hotel, their rendezvous point. He has done an admirable job in preparing by getting them set up in suite 607, purchasing clothes, and even getting into the military party through a generous donation to the Columbia alumni association. Cassie is still super irritated at everything he does and just wants to get the mission over with. She’s all business and no fun allowed.
Meanwhile the two messengers have killed and assumed the identities of a young couple on their way to the military party as well. At the event, the female messenger (Scottie Thompson) finds Dr. Crawford and gets him alone in his office using her feminine wiles. She quickly knocks him out though and her male companion ties him up so that they can perform their creepy ritual. What does ritual involve? Flowers! Sound familiar? Yep Pallid Man (Tom Noonan) used them as well. They begin to recite a mantra about time and the red forest and then she stabs the poor guy in the heart with a bone dagger. They were expecting something to big happen but nothing did. Whoops, they accidentally killed the wrong guy. No biggie.
Cassie and Cole arrive to find Crawford’s still body surrounded by flowers. Before they leave however, the duo notice an all too familiar image in the dead man’s office – a drawing of a monkey. Back at the Emerson, Cassie is frustrated that they failed and think that they just need to go back to 2044 and figure out another plan because she’s all about plans these days. Cole though thinks that they still need to find the messengers and wonders out loud why the monkey illustration was there. When he flips the picture frame over, he sees a little scrap of paper sticking up and removes the backing out of curiosity. Tucked inside is a photograph of a young man and a thin sheet of paper that Cassie realizes is a psych evaluation. It turns out to be Crawford’s son who is being held at a mental institution for similar symptoms as Jennifer Goines (hearing voices, delusions, paranoid schizophrenia, etc). Oh and FYI he has the same name as his dad. Cole realizes that the messengers must be after Tommy Jr. and that they’ve got to go save him because he is somehow connected to all of this. Once again, Cassie reluctantly agrees to his plan.
At the asylum we meet Tommy (Erik Knudsen) in his room furiously painting vivid illustrations of monkeys on the walls much like Jennifer in season one. He’s muttering a lot of interesting tidbits as well about primaries, mothers becoming daughters, and monkeys that are coming. Tommy comes out of the zone and realizes that the two messengers have arrived to kill him, but he seems all too happy with this. Perhaps he thinks he’s fulfilling his purpose?
Team Splinter makes it to the asylum soon after to a host of dead bodies and head to Tommy’s room, which is open and vacant. Incidentally his room number is 313 and it’s also a primary number. Nice touch guys. Inside, the walls are covered with images of monkeys, the message “catch me if you can”, and a red forest. Cassie is confused as to how Tommy could possibly know about these things and Cole answers that Jennifer calls it being primary. They are connected to time somehow but the doctor questions how this all relates to the plague. The time traveler muses that the plague likely just one part of their plan.
Drawn by sounds of commotion, Cassie and Cole race to another wing of the institution and come across the messengers who are surprised to see them. They are saved by young Tommy though a tussle ensues. Cassie shoots the male messenger while the female one uses Cole as a shield and flees with him. When they are alone, Tommy says, “Cassandra, aids the traveler.” She asks how he knows her name and he points to his head. Doesn’t seem so crazy anymore eh Cassie?
The female messenger brings Cole to a room where she proceeds to electrocute him as incentive for Dr. Railly to bring Tommy to her. Somehow she must be extra strong to have overpowered the time traveler and strapped him to an examination table. When the two parties meet in the hallway, Cassie has a plan to shoot the messenger but Tommy chooses not to go along with it, telling Team Splinter that his death needs to happen. He grabs Cole’s arm though as they cross each other and tells him that the only failure is giving up. Now Tommy is the one laid down on the table with the strange flower ritual being performed but he seems oddly at peace. Using the knife made from Tommy’s own collarbone, the messenger plunges it into his chest causing a massive paradox explosion with Cole and Cassie being knocked unconscious from the force.
Meanwhile in 2044, Ramse is told by Jones that she isn’t going to stop Deacon from killing him because his presence is upsetting the balance in the compound. While she understands why he did it from one parent to another, her reasons for building the machine was to aid mankind and preventing the plague, while his selfishness killed billions including her daughter. Accepting his circumstances, Ramse asks if he could see his boy one more time, to which Jones responds that their chess session just moments ago was it. Deacon and his men come in at some point and take him on a little ride to a remote location where he will be digging his own grave. However, things start to get weird as the plant life suddenly transitions from green to crimson and the red forest is literally coming into being.
After the paradox explosion in 1944, scientists inside the compound begin to detect massive temporal anomalies and they lose Cole and Cassie’s tethers. Jones realizes that this is the origin.
Back in the forest, strange red patches begin to emerge out of thin air and as one of the West 7 minions gets trapped in it, his body begins to age rapidly. Seeing an opportunity, Ramse manages to hit Deacon with his shovel and take the other man’s gun. He decides to do the morally right thing though and urges the ScavKing to run as they flee for the life back towards the compound. Will this even out the score between them?
In 1944, the NYPD find the unconscious messenger, Cassie, and Cole with a dead Tommy at the mental asylum, with no earthly idea what could have caused the mayhem and destruction. It’s an X-File police officer.
While in this episode Cassie continues to be cold and distant with Cole because of everything she’s gone through, I wish she’d hurry up and forgive him already because he only did what he thought was right. Though I am thoroughly enjoying the dynamic between her and Deacon. Ramse in the meantime is somewhat redeeming himself by volunteering the information on Crawford and sparing Deacon’s life when he could have killed him. Jones continues to deal with the new reality she finds herself in. All of the show’s main characters face change of some kind they are forced to adapt because of it.
If you haven’t been watching 12 Monkeys you really really really should. It’s as if Back to the Future, Doctor Who, and The Hunger Games had a threesome and this show is their beautiful baby. The narrative continues to be on point and keeps audiences on their collective toes. It’s maddening in the best possible way.
Time travel has never been more fun and mysterious as our heroes race to save humanity from mysterious forces that they don’t understand. We still need to find out what the real goal of the Army of the 12 Monkeys, the identity of The Witness, and what diabolical plans he/she has for Cassie and Cole. Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s going to be real good.
12 Monkeys airs Mondays 9/8 central on Syfy.