Title: 12 Monkeys: “The End” Review
Air Date: June 14, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction, Drama
Alright fellow monkeys, it is time for you to be the witness of the end of 12 Monkeys.
Get it? Of course, you did, right?
If I were to be having multiple voices in my head like Jennifer Goines, then one would say “It sucked,” while the other would say “Brilliant.” It probably leans more towards the former, though.
What went with a better start than this review was the premiere of 12 Monkeys’ fourth and final season. Just like season premieres before, this one does not fall behind in the “What the hell are they going to do next?” department. It leaves the pieces of the puzzles up in the air, scattered. This time, however, it appears that it is finally the end, and I am not just talking about the show itself, but the end of the continuous cycle that the characters seem to get stuck. However, just as it seems that the pieces (the characters) are free to move and they have reached the end, the connections to the mythological Ouroboros makes me question if they are indeed free to decide?
Before I get ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning of the episode.
See that? I just began this review at the end to start anew. The end of the beginning. Boom.
Just like the overall theme of the episode is the end of the beginning, the episode itself wastes no time to remind us of whom we started this journey full of time travel shenanigans. The third season of 12 Monkeys revolved much of its time building up Cole’s son as a major character.
However, James Cole is about to reclaim his spotlight as the central protagonist, as he always has been. It is safe to say that in order to know why Mr. Cole has always been “the chosen one” we will have to come back to the unknown time period that the premiere kicks off with. What has compelled me to stick to this show is the infinite mysteries that it offers in its time traveling buffet. We are not even finishing seeing the first five minutes of the premiere, and the show is already full of intrigue. Why did the girl utter our protagonist’s name while holding the Ouroboros artifact? Why did the witness travel to that specific time? Who are all these people?!
So, before my brain could have a chance to blow itself with nonsense theories, we are taken back to the year 2043 where our heroes(?) were left off in the season three finale. In a clever way as to not get the “previously on…”, we get a quick recap of where each of our characters were left through flashbacks of a dying Katerina. Right off the bat, we feel the urgent situation these characters are in. We don’t waste time with over the top and unnecessary melodrama between the characters. Even if our heroes stood at odds in the last episode, here we can see that despite their conflicting ideas, there is a strong bond that has formed throughout their journey that allows them to stand by each other when facing death.
We can see a clear example of this on two occasions with Cassey. The first occasion is the very beginning with Cassey saving Katarina’s life. While the two women, alongside the latter’s daughter, were trying to fly a bullet in each other’s heads not long ago, Cassey does her best to save her life. The other instance is her being distraught when she was not in time to save Deacon. Cassey acknowledges that she would have let Katarina die, but she didn’t. We see Cole trusting Katarina “one last time,” in order to fight a common enemy. An enemy whom they have been chasing since the very beginning.
Her choice in these instances defines one of the show’s strongest point; characters staying true to themselves. The characters don’t flip-flop their personalities like a sandal. They have believable reasons and motives that make the audience understand why they are in that position. In Deacon’s case, I would have never believed he would be one of my favorite characters. He started as a very one-note villain that if it had been any other show, they could have killed him before the first season even ended. Despite 12 Monkeys making us wonder if he is really integral to this endless loop, this did not stop Deacon’s face of hopelessness feel heartbreaking.
We then shift scenes with Olivia’s henchmen marching and blazing their guns against our gang. The group manages to fend them off with the last resort that Katarina offered Cole to use. They would trick Olivia and move the entire facility before she slaughters them all. While some get behind (like Deacon), most of the gang gets through the splinter just in time.
If the episode wasn’t already filled with throwbacks to the start, well the gang literally ends up right in the beginning. The group ends up in that same hotel that Cole told Cassie in the pilot to meet him two years from their time. This is an example of how the episode manages to stay focused to its original theme. The episode handles its thematic concepts well without being sloppily hammering it into our heads. On the contrary, it leaves our brains trying to figure out what will the endgame be?
As always, the wild card in 12 Monkeys is the loveable and spirited Jennifer Goines. Her scenes are the definition of how to successfully shift an episode’s tone. With the little time that we spend with her, her scenes are a welcome break to the gloomy future most of our characters are in. The editing and was spot on with her scenes, and if it weren’t for the reveal, I would have completely bought that there were two Jennifers working together. After all, this is a time traveling show and the possibility of meeting with your multiple personas can’t be taken out of the bag.
Fortunately, fans won’t have to wait long to see what will happen next in 12 Monkeys. Syfy knows that we love binge-watching, so they have premiered the show with the first three episodes.
Verdict: 12 Monkeys’ season four premiere lands with the right steps. The first episode knows how to embrace its central theme and spreads around promising tidbits for it to unravel throughout the rest of the season.
- Great Performances
- Laying intriguing mysteries
- Every scene with Jennifer Goines
- Can't binge-watch the entire season.