Title: 12 Monkeys: “After” Review
Air Date: June 22, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction, Drama
Warning: Full spoilers for the fifth episode of 12 Monkeys‘ fourth season!
Remember how “Atari” blew us away with the revelation that the episode was a big casual loop? Well, this episode seeks to invite us to another “oops loop” as Cassie phrases it to Cole during their mission. Before everything goes haywire, fans of their favorite time-traveling couple might have started the episode cheering and popping their best champagne to rejoice the couple’s happy moment. The episode’s focus on Cole and Cassie’s relationship ironically did not strengthen it but apparently, it was straining. They might be together at the moment, but what about after the mission has been accomplished? Not this sole mission, but the overall goal. Will it erase every past moment of them being together?
This dilemma would linger in Cassie more than Cole by the end of the episode.
I am getting ahead of myself, again.
Zalmon Shaw’s backstory in the episode’s opening minutes came across as unnecessary when Cassie realized the causality loop they were stuck in. However, just like the causality loop came full circle by the episode’s end, also did the importance of his backstory. The undying love that Cassie and Cole have for each other, was reminiscent of Shaw’s love for her wife. The latter had died and for Shaw, the Red Forest was the answer for him to relieve all his memories, all at the same time. The end of time would bring her back to him in a sense.
Their tragic love story also draws parallels to Athan’s relationship with his wife. They both gave in to the promise of being with their loved ones in the Red Forest, however, Athan ultimately found redemption. I could even add that Cassie and Cole’s situation in this episode parallels Athan’s. Albeit Cassie did not end up repeating her loop over hundred times, she was willing to do so if it were necessary. Just like the idea of the Red Forest became compelling to the Shaw and Athan, by the end of the episode, Cassie’s might join the Red Forest train. All these connections make this episode so much powerful than a simple trip to 1966. Sure it was fun seeing our main characters in 60’s clothes.
After all, “After” is part of this trio of episodes which appear that their sole focus is the adventures which the characters go into different times. It could have really just been that. A merry trip to 1966 and I would have been happy. However, the icing on the cake was the fact that the episode went even deeper than that and sprinkled more questions by the end of the episode. At this point, I am confident that the show will be able to wrap them up in a nice little bow.
This episode actually wrapped up nicely Agent Gale’s involvement with the time travelers. It was nice to see his willingness to help Jennifer after their comedic encounter in the same bar he had encountered Cole. He was so used to those meetings, that all the talk about the 12 Monkeys seemed like his usual routine to follow. The reveal that he had cheated his predestined death, swirled up concerning thoughts about his fate in this episode.
Especially his encounter with Shaw, and his men. We also witness (no pun intended, well maybe a little) Gale’s involvement in the Pallid Man’s survival, as well as to how the latter got his signature hat. What if Gale had shot the Pallid Man? One what if scenario out of the myriad of possibilities that 12 Monkeys’ is able to cleverly pop in its audience.
I forgot to mention, Cristopher Lloyd is the one to portray Mantis’ husband. Why do I have to mention it? Well, Mr. Lloyd is a veteran with these time travel shenanigans since he is famously known for portraying Emmet Brown in Back to the Future. So the fact that he was cast in another media involving time travel is just brilliant.
Ok, back to the point. It is surprising how attached to this recurring side character I was. Not to mention, that it was worrying that he might die. His character is so well written despite not being part of the main cast. Gale proved to be a kindhearted and supportive partner till the very end. With the amount of twist and heartbreaks this show has given me, I was not expecting the man to walk out of the hotel alive. The camera lingering behind for a fairly substantial amount, almost made me give up hope for his fate. What if Olivia became aware of his involvement in helping our good guys and gave the order to kill him before he left the hotel?
Jennifer saving the day was satisfying. Mainly after the hurtful and resounding “No” both Cassie and Cole gave to her after asking to join them. Her odd and brief alliance with Agent Gale was a delight. The unfolding of events surrounding her actions also revealed to us that all about this mission had already happened. They caused the deaths of the Russian agents, leading to Cole and Cassie hearing the gunshots. She was the one who painted the sign on the wall, in order to let the loop to continue, while also being the preventing Cassie from opening the door. On the other hand, Cassie traveling back in time to save Cole was the action that led to Shaw and his men to poison them. Everything balanced. As it should be.
Ah. Time loops. Even I get stuck in circles trying to describe it.
This episode might even negate a con I had with the third episode, That is the reveal of Deacon’s allegiance. I gave a resounding “yes” when he winked back at Jennifer. I just love Deacon’s move to be the mole within Olivia’s army. Muah. Bonus points for proving that it would have been detrimental to the character to simply revert to being evil again.
You can read my review of the fourth season’s third episode right here. If you want to read my review “Legacy,” which is the previous episode, click right here. For more episode reviews of the final season of 12 Monkeys and other popular shows and movies, check back to our website!
Verdict: A captivating episode reminiscent of “Atari” filled with an unexpected reveal of its causality loop. Ironically, it ends up moving the plot forward as well as the main characters’ motivations and alliances.
- Clever and complex casual loop
- Deacon's allegiance reveal
- Compelling reveals
- Agent Gale's return
- A parallel to other episodes and storylines.
- Nearing the end of the journey
Annette is a Mexican/American writer born and raised beside the beaches of San Diego, California. Mention any video game, and she won’t stop gushing about her favorite titles. Proud owner of a black cat and lover of chocolate chip cookies. Follow me back on my social media to see what I am up to every day!