12 Monkeys: Fatherland Review

With cause and effect leading back to cause, 12 Monkeys shows how time travel can be both futile and enlightening.

This 12 Monkeys review contains spoilers.

12 Monkeys Season 2, Episode 10

12 Monkeys is judged sometimes on its emotional content and other times on the impressiveness of it’s time travel complexity. This week, the episode’s merits are in the latter category, and the causal loops were magnificently mind-bending. The story left viewers wondering, among other things, how the time travelers will proceed with Ramse and Cassie locked up and what Olivia will do now that she’s off the leash. The possibilities are intriguing to say the least.

The most important causal loop revealed in this episode was the identity of the “Father” and “Mother” that Olivia and Pallid Man have been referring to since season one. That Matt Frewer would play the German eugenicist, Dr. Albert Kirshner (a.k.a. “Father”), should be no surprise given his neolutionist leanings in Orphan Black and the prevalence of other Orphan Black actors in this series. But for the 1944 female Messenger to be the Mother figure for both leaders of the Army was surprising since she herself was raised by her own wards in a head-spinning circle of predestination.

The additional detail that Olivia was the result of genetic tampering explains nicely how she has avoided aging, not to mention the fact that her paralysis now seems to be completely healed! Traveling to Berlin to see the site of her “control through confinement” seems to have been the final catalyst in her rejection of the Witness. Was her rebellion foreseen by those that created her, and does this mean she will join the other side or follow her own completely separate agenda?

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The other bootstrap paradox came from the realization that Cassie and Ramse followed the clues from a redacted document that they themselves created through their interference with the Mossad mission to capture the ex-Nazi, Kirshner. Anyone who attempts to then figure out how Kirshner’s actual involvement with the Witness was subsequently revealed will only receive a headache for their trouble. As Cole said, they were chasing their own tail, but they still caught their prey!

It’s difficult to judge either Cole and Jones for wanting to prevent the final paradox in 1957 or Cassie and Ramse (and shockingly, Adler) for deceiving their colleagues and pursuing clues about Titan instead. The first mission seems correct but too risky because it allows the storms to overtake the facility, and the second seems faulty due to a lack of enough clues but quick enough to warrant an attempt. A pleasantly problematic question of who’s right and who’s wrong.

Agent Gale’s reappearance was not unexpected but had its own interesting time travel associations. Of course, like Cassie after the series premiere, Gale is unable to shake the gloominess that results from knowing the plague is coming, and his noble sacrifice after losing his connection to his family over the years made perfect sense. But the best subtle detail about Gale was the dropped hint that he and Cole have had dealings before that Cole himself has yet to experience in his timeline. That’s time travel twistiness at its best!

The backdrop of the Berlin Wall going up along with the involvement of the Nazis was a nice historical touch that added a bit of context to the formation of the Army of the 12 Monkeys. While some questions got answers, such as the origins of the missing corner of the Word of the Witness, other details give viewers pause. Why did that scav boy walk back into the storm? Why are Deacon’s men deserting? And why do the GPS coordinates for Titan appear to be in eastern Colorado?

To hear some theories about this and other fan reaction for 12 Monkeys, subscribe to the author’s 12 Monkeys Uncaged podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.


4.5 out of 5