12 Monkeys: Divine Move Review

The 12 Monkeys characters are getting desperate in the face of failure. How will Cole continue his mission in the face of sabotage?

I have to laugh when I think back to the season premiere of 12 Monkeys where Cole suggested his mission was “one and done” after the assassination of Leland Goines. With each passing episode, the search for the origin of the plague becomes more hopeless, especially here in the episode entitled “Divine Move,” and I start to wonder if everything that’s being done in the past has already happened, despite evidence to the contrary. Hope may drive people to take great risks, but hopelessness is even more dangerous in the hands of those who have nothing to lose.

Ramse, for example, starts out the episode with a reason to sabotage the Splinter Project. He thinks he can prevent his new family from being erased simply by stealing the special syringes needed for splintering. It makes sense that he’d want to defend the version of history that brought him Elena and Sam. But when Elena is lost, he does not return to Jones’ facility to try to undo her death via time travel; he comes to destroy the machine. How interesting then that circumstances conspire to send him away from his own son in an impulsive attempt to change the past. I can’t help but wonder what Ramse thinks he can do from back there in 1987.

I also sympathize with Aaron, who, like Ramse, thinks Cole is doomed to failure. Cassie and Aaron are trying to move on with their lives, and Cole’s mysterious “return from the dead” means more dangerous investigating on their part. Despite the plague looming over their future, it’s difficult to ignore the impact Cole’s need for their assistance has on their lives and the rekindling of their romance.

That’s not to say things are looking good for the couple. Although they investigate Oliver Peters, who turns out to be another method of getting the virus to the Army of the 12 Monkeys, a mysterious encounter with “Striking Woman” puts Aaron’s motivations into question. After all, he says he would do anything to protect Cassie: “Isn’t that all that matters?” he asks her. Apparently, no, according to Cassie, who remains the only character above reproach in this series.

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Even Jones seems to be having a change of heart after last week’s heartless massacre, presumably by one who sees murderous treachery and egregious deception as meaningless in this soon-to-be-erased timeline. But now she realizes, “Anything we do, even if we undo it, it happened nonetheless in God’s eyes.” It sounds like she may be buying into Ramse’s earlier insistence that “it matters what we do here in this time.” I’m both encouraged and worried by Jones’ sudden introspection.

I have no such trepidation about Jennifer Goines’ philosophizing, though. Her appearance in 2043 was both unexpected and delightful, as she confirms that she has had (or will have, depending on your perspective) more involvement with time travel in the years since the plague. She understands things about Ramse, having known him in an as-yet-unrealized capacity, and has learned details perhaps through the use of the vision-inducing plants that she and her Daughters produce.

I love the parallels drawn between the plants in the bar that turn red as Cole leaves 2015, the mention of the Red Forest in earlier episodes, and the red herbs Jennifer mentions can’t be found “unless he’s been there,” presumably referring to Cole. What does it all mean?

Cole’s journey to 1987, right on the heels of his best friend Ramse, promises to be an exciting chapter next week. In the meantime, this episode was filled with hopelessness and despair, yet still managed to create palpable tension – that’s no mean feat!

Stray Questions:

  • How did Max manage to become a medical technician? And where’s she been this whole time anyway?
  • How awesome was Whitley, executing the man who accidentally shot Elena on the spot?
  • Why did Jennifer give Ramse a necklace that looks just like the one worn by Pallid Man?
  • Want more discussion of 12 Monkeys? Check out my podcast for show news, episode analysis, and fan interaction!


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4 out of 5