This 12 Monkeys review contains spoilers.
12 Monkeys Season 2, Episode 5
With the new metaphysical turn the consciousness of time has introduced to 12 Monkeys, it seems appropriate to revisit those who have the most ritualistic view of their own mission: the Army of the 12 Monkeys. A return to 2016 brings back Olivia and the Pallid Man as well as some back story for the young Jennifer Goines. Together with the surprising turn of events in 2044, this week’s episode has forged new bonds and repaired old wounds between characters in the most unexpected ways.
Dr. Eckland, for example, continues to delight with his irreverent disregard for Jones’ philosophizing. It’s hard to tell if his brusque manner with Katarina is winning her over or pissing her off, but clearly he expects an eventual victory. For such a small amount of screen time, this battle of wills sure does pack a lot entertainment value. Full credit to the dialogue writing and stellar acting of Michael Hogan and Barbara Sukowa!
Even more unexpected was the bonding of Jennifer and Cassie as the latter seeks to glean information that requires the former’s unstable mental state. Even Cassie with her current do-what-needs-to-be-done attitude can surely see how exploitative her desire to trigger a traumatic break is. However, as with most road trips with snacks, the journey to the Goines summer home gives Cassie a sympathetic look at what brought Jennifer to where she was working with the Army of the 12 Monkeys: a mentally ill mother who tried to drown her along with her “monstrous” visions.
Jennifer is definitely getting a clearer picture of the manipulation as well. Although her drawings are practically begging for obsessive fans to scrutinize them frame by frame, the Word of the Witness map that she discovers in the 12 Monkeys HQ is even more rife with hidden dates, cycles, and names. But it’s Jennifer’s skillful deception with her friend Stacy, the mole, and Olivia herself that redeems her in the viewers’ eyes as well as in Cassie’s. Not that the audience hadn’t already forgiven her!
And what about Deacon? Perhaps those who, like Cole and Ramse, had lasting suspicion of his moral degradation will now see the warped logic of Deacon’s code of respect. Turning him over to a scav enemy, The Foreman, actually left Deacon feeling proud of his boys! It’s what he would have done! Even if Cole and Ramse have a harder time accepting the strange reconciliation, the tide has clearly turned. Plus, it was impossible to hide the camaraderie behind their taunts and jibes even before the betrayal.
But the true mystery lies in the nature of the Witness, who has been notably absent during the pursuit of Primaries. The insight viewers gain into how the red tea helps devotees communicate with the mysterious figure doesn’t help them understand the larger goals or motivation behind his actions. In fact, Cassie seeing Aaron’s face only confuses the issue: is that just what she sees, or was that a true vision of the Witness’ identity? Fortunately, this is the kind of confusion that intrigues rather than annoys.
So who is this new Primary, and why is he so dangerous? Looks like Cole and company are headed to 1975 next week, and things aren’t slowing down even for a second! For more discussion of 12 Monkeys, subscribe to the author’s 12 Monkeys Uncaged podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.