12 Monkeys: Emergence Review

Plenty of reveals, especially this early in the season, and the mission changes direction in an awe-inspiring turn of events.

This 12 Monkeys review contains spoilers.

12 Monkeys Season 2, Episode 4

This wasn’t the finale, was it? It sure felt like it! With the larger goals of the Messengers – and by extension those of the Army of the 12 Monkeys – being made clearer each week, the release of the virus becomes minuscule by comparison. As science starts to bleed into mysticism, the philosophy of 12 Monkeys takes on epic proportions in a battle between good and evil, existence and destruction. Suddenly the question becomes why the virus is important at all in the larger scheme of things! In essence, this episode is part rescue mission, part exposition with a healthy dose of relationship adjustments that were sorely needed.

Involving Ramse certainly seems risky, though. Couldn’t Jones just inject Deacon — or heck, Whitley — with the serum? Admittedly, Ramse is more trustworthy at this point even if Cassie and Jones are blind to his change of heart, but the idea that they’re out of options doesn’t ring true. Having him go back a few days before Cassie’s arrival was a nice touch, though, especially in getting to see the other end of the silent phone call from last week. Ramse’s convalescence kept him from changing what viewers already witnessed – a hallmark time travel rule of the series.

There was a brilliant, pivotal moment when Ramse encountered the female Messenger and appeared to be using his connection with the Army of the 12 Monkeys to keep from getting killed. After a moment of suspicion for the audience as he reminded the Messenger of his duplicity in trying to save his son, she seemed to have a twinge of sympathy despite the fact that he lied about being “asked” by the Witness or the fact that his cycle is complete. It was perhaps this rare moment of emotion from the mysterious woman that explains her later reaction to still being alive after the paradox killing of the Primary has been carried out.

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Did she know she would someday become the mother to a supremely creepy member of the Army of the 12 Monkeys that would carry on her tradition of sprinkling jasmine and lavender around his targets? Did the mysterious “father” she refers to as having made them too well know that she would survive the explosion and create a cycle of her own? Whatever the case, the Messenger creating a member of the Army that brought about the Messengers’ birth is a mind-blowing circle of causality.

Agent Gale’s cooperation with the time travelers was unexpected as well, especially since the loose lips of Cassie and Cole in front of the FBI at first seemed rather careless. The fact that Gale himself would be the one to write the facts on the back of the photograph that Cole would discover in the 2016 Emerson Hotel was quite a shocker. Obviously, Gale’s cooperation allows Cole to discover the Messengers’ true mission, but apparently he needn’t have bothered.

Jones, of course, learned the same thing in her eye-opening red leaf tea vision, courtesy of elder Jennifer. True to character, she didn’t buy into the metaphysical nature of the altered vegetation, which is why the brilliant character of Dr. Eckland was able to score another priceless line in his brief time on screen: “Why are you being such an asshole?” The Jones-Eckland relationship is truly a gem to be treasured! And Jennifer’s success in showing Jones the consequences of the destruction of time is introduced perfectly by the “ant stepping out of the line” illustration. Hopefully, Jones’ awakening will help her gain a broader perspective!

Likewise, Cassie got a little perspective on Cole’s loyalty courtesy of Ramse, and it was so nice to see her soften a bit, even as much as she hates the one delivering the message. Cole is so right when he says, “We need to come together.” After all, once Ramse is able to use the classified ad to bring them home — a wonderful gamble on Jones’ part — the urgency of the red storm outside takes center stage. If the death of one Primary can cause such a change, what will they do if other Messengers are successful in their assassination missions?

Speaking of which, the return of Tom Noonan as the Pallid Man is awesome, but is he seeking to kill a Primary himself: young Jennifer in 2016? As viewers of the larger timeline which includes an older version of Jennifer, can the audience be sure she’s safe? One would think Pallid Man has had ample opportunity to take her out, but her survival through 2044 indicates protection of some sort, perhaps from her band of badass women warriors.

Just another top-notch episode! Bonus points to 12 Monkeys in general for being so consistently good. For more discussion of 12 Monkeys, subscribe to the author’s 12 Monkeys Uncaged podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

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4.5 out of 5