Just when I thought things couldn’t get crazier on “12 Monkeys” I was happily proved wrong, because it can and it did.
This week’s episode was particularly fantastic because time travel itself was the unspoken major character that finally got some much deserved airtime and what a tempestuous lady she is! In addition, we also got to meet more enigmatic characters tied to the Army of the 12 Monkeys and got a taste of their mysterious leader, The Witness.
Cole finds himself in a strange new future, where the time machine room resembles a sad apocalyptic laundromat. Hoping to find Jones and the others, Cole comes across an unfamiliar group after noticing the “VII” sign on a wall. Cole quickly realizes something has gone terribly wrong. Luckily he still has his old West VII brand on his arm so the two thugs think he is one of them. Poor Cole soon begins suffering terrible headaches and strange visions of the Splinter Project scientists superimposed in the compound. He asks to be taken to Jones who has no idea who he is. Release collective gasp now!
Yes that’s right. We are in an alternate future timeline guys. After the incident at the Night Room last week something happened that changed the future. At the moment Jones tells Cole that none of her trials ever worked and while it was the year 2043, the West VII had attacked them two years earlier and they lost. A frantic Cole manages to convince the doctor that she had succeeded and he had gone back in time. He proves this by showing her the injection marks on his arm that had come from her, which leads Jones to take a sample of his blood and find that his molecules are in a constant state of flux that could only have been caused by her injections. Bingo doc!
Jones determines that something must have happened the last time Cole went back that altered his present. Cole informs Jones that he had gone back to 2015 to stop the plague and she comments, “To Chechnya yes? To 2015. The first outbreak was in the hands of an intelligence agency, they called it Operation Troy.” What the what?!? So in this timeline the virus was released one year earlier. And this wasn’t the only change as Jones also had no idea who Cassie was. After searching for Dr. Railly in a still functioning computer, turns out the virologist was murdered in 2015.
It appears her death triggered the massive change in the original timeline. Cole knows he needs to go back to keep Cassie alive and prevent the future from being worse off. Another obstacle however is that Jones no longer in charge of the facility and he needs to talk to the leader of the West VII to get permission. Cole follows Jones to go see Deacon, but holy crap its not Deacon who’s the boss now, it’s RAMSE.
Alternate future Ramse is sporting a badass eye patch (courtesy of a fight with Deacon who died naturally) and is the head honcho of the West VII! Ramse freaks out when he sees Cole because in the alternate future he buried his best friend a long time ago. Cole convinces Ramse as well that he is really himself and that he’s here from another timeline. He asks to get sent back to 2015 so that he can fix the future and stop Cassie’s death.
Things take a turn for the worse though when Whitley shows up and says that they can’t do that because if they use the time machine, they will run out of power and won’t survive. Ramse decides to send Cole back anyways and Whitley flips out by shooting Jones. Ramse tackles the other man and ends up killing him and Jones tells Cole to ask her other self about sacrifice before he splinters back to the past. Ugh, Whitley is pretty much an ass in both timelines while Ramse is even more awesome.
Cole returns to July 10, 2015 and he enlists the help of Aaron (Cassie’s political aide ex) to help save Dr. Railly. Aaron bless his heart is still convinced that Cole is super crazy and only marginally trusts him. The chrononaut though mentions Operation Troy and Aaron’s interest is piqued because he just gave his boss the senator a classified briefing containing that very name on the cover sheet. How could Cole possibly know that? Exactly!
The unlikely twosome head to the Night Room where they catch Pallid Man, Cassie, and the goons coming out and a terrible gun battle ensues where Aaron ends up shooting Cole in the shoulder. Right, that was an “accident.” The Army of the 12 Monkeys get away as the Markridge group shows up, taking Jennifer into their custody. Cole and Aaron then work on finding the getaway truck because Cole remembered their license plate without understanding the importance of it. His continued ignorance of normal everyday things is adorable.
From his sources, Aaron finds out that the truck had been off the grid since 2011 and previously had been used for all sorts of jobs including selling ice cream and landscaping. Oh landscaping you say? Cole decides this could be a solid lead since Pallid Man loves flowers and they head to a location that has a numerous greenhouses. They run into some goons and somehow the duo ends up playing good cop (Aaron) bad cop (Cole). Thanks to Aaron one of the goons discloses Cassie’s location and they race to save her.
Dr. Railly in the meantime has not been having a good day. She overhears PM talking to a female colleague and finds out that The Witness has taken an interest in her. Cassie is then fed some kind of drug (from crushed flowers!) and the strange woman starts to induce a hallucination of being in a red forest, seeing a house, and a strange man (whom we are led to believe is The Witness). I am just as confused as Cassie at this point. Why did she have to be drugged to see the guy? Is he in some alternate plane of existence and reachable if you were high? I’m sure there’s a more logical explanation but the whole trip was freaky nonetheless.
Cassie manages to get away and runs into Cole and Aaron, the latter of whom she’s totally surprised to see. She tells them that The Witness is there and that they have to stop them. Cole however is determined to get Cassie out of harms way, knowing how important she is to the future timeline. He hands her an image he found inside the greenhouse and tells her to investigate it no matter what happens to him. Before he has a chance to do anything else he splinters and disappears, leaving Aaron with the best line of the episode as he finally becomes a believer. Holy shit is right dude.
At the bookstore Aaron apologies to Cassie as she is still trying to shake off the effects of the drug. He himself is still shocked at how everything she had been saying was true and that Cole really is a time traveler and that a virus that kills humanity does exist. Aaron also realizes how much of an douche he’s been by not being there for her for the last two years. He remembers Operation Troy and suggests that they should investigate it next. Looks like Aaron has joined the party! Still, I don’t trust him. I think he’s going to have to prove himself by going against the interest of the senator and I have a feeling he’s going to have to choose between helping Cassie and Cole save the world and his own political career.
Meanwhile Cole arrives back in 2043 and everything looks back to normal. Jones comments that he’s late and the time traveler can’t help but start laughing uncontrollably after everything he’d just been through. Ramse comes to visit him in recovery and it’s so nice to see the two BFFs reunited because let’s be honest, Ramse really is Cole’s number one (sorry Cassie).
Team Splinter Project decides that Operation Troy needs to be their priority as well and the name makes me wonder if there is any relation to the Greek saga of Troy. Is there some kind of Trojan horse that the Army of the 12 Monkeys use to release the virus in Chechnya? In addition, since an intelligence agency is involved, it’s likely that the Army of the 12 Monkeys have government officials (ahem maybe like Senator William Royce who asked Aaron why he investigated the death of Leland Goines) as members.
Cole and Jones have some one-on-one time at the very end of the episode and he tells her that he feels like he gets ripped apart every time he travels through time. Jones confirms that eventually splintering will kill him because they are going against the rules of the universe and time is going to take what it’s owed, aka Cole’s life. And yet this is their best shot at giving the human race a worthwhile future and Cole is going to make sure he gets the job done.
So much has happened this episode and it was fantastic follow-up to “The Night Room.” We got a divergent timeline with Ramse as the West VII leader, Aaron joining the virus scavenger hunt, a new creepy woman in the Army of the 12 Monkeys, Cassie hallucinating to meet The Witness, Cole finding out that he’ll eventually die from time traveling, and somehow the government being involved with ushering the apocalypse via Operation Troy.
Surely things will get even more complicated next week. Stay tuned folks.
“12 Monkeys” airs Fridays 9/8 central on Syfy.
Follow Nicole on Twitter: @niixc.
Images courtesy of Syfy.