12 Monkeys takes a deep dive into its own mythology with 'Hyena'

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Jun 13, 2016, 9:59 PM EDT

Spoilers ahead for “Hyena,” the latest episode of Syfy’s 12 Monkeys!

The short version: Cole and Jennifer set a trap for the Pallid Man in 2016, but he’s already four or five steps ahead of them. Meanwhile in the future, Cassie and Ramse team up to visit a guy who is basically a living database for the post-apocalypse — and he really doesn’t like liars.

Cole, Jennifer and the Hyenas take 2016

The show has been putting its (excellent) spin on some classic genre tropes lately, but dove back into the meat of its own mythology with this episode. It was all about the 12 Monkeys, the conspiracy, the Pallid Man and the utter timey-wimeyness of it all. To that end, Old-Lady Jennifer sends Cole back to 2016 to team up with her younger self to track down the Pallid Man, who is apparently the only person who knows where the last remaining Primary target is located in the time stream. The temporal storms are getting worse, and the team has to try and stop one more assassination before the storms get so out of control they can’t be stopped. Following a bit of brutal torture, Cole gets his next mission target: 1957 New York.

But when Cole gets to 2016, he finds a very different Jennifer. Turns out she’s been a bit busy, busting out some fellow psychiatric patients to start up a 1.0 version of her Daughters group she runs with in the future. Sadly, this attempt doesn’t go well for anyone. A bug they planted on the Pallid Man leads them back to the man who made the virus in the first place, who has spent the better part of this season in hiding. Jennifer loses control of the group (who’d have guessed? It’s only made up of the criminally insane?) as they try to mount their own assassination to take out the Pallid Man. But the new 12 Monkeys head honcho is all about playing the long game, so he sets a trap of his own and blows up the entire building — killing hundreds, along with Jennifer’s Hyenas and the doctor, who is on the verge of blowing the conspiracy wide open.

As always, the writing is brilliant


Despite the depth at which this show tends to swim, the writers always do a  great job tying in the symmetry. That was never more present than in this very, very dense episode. Old-Lady Jennifer tried to warn Cole (in her riddle-filled way) to watch the hands, not the cup, while using an old sleight-of-hand trick as a metaphor. Sadly, Cole didn’t get the point until it was too late. The Pallid Man played them all along, but the setup was there from the beginning if you were watching closely enough. Bringing Old-Lady Jennifer into the fold this season has been a fascinating twist, since she’s literally 30 years ahead of everyone else, with memories of how all these things play out in the past (or present, whatever). Again, that could get really confusing, but it’s handled well.

On that same note, we get to see Jennifer and Cole share some encouraging words, which Jennifer told Cole in the future, only for him to tell her in the past. It’s a sweet little paradox moment, and really binds their journey in this episode full circle. It’s amazing the job Emily Hampshire is doing with this character. Increasing her role this season has been nothing short of great.

Ramse and Cassie go on a road trip


The side story with Ramse and Cassie was an excellent opportunity to trap these two together and force them to work through some things, and after this episode, here’s hoping they can share some more screen time in the future. The two seek out a man called The Keeper, who basically grabbed every shred of digital data after the apocalypse in an attempt to keep the history of humanity from being lost. He also abhors liars, just FYI.

He gets the drop on Cole and Cassie while rocking some Darth Vader-style gear, and asks them why they hate each other, after seeing the two bicker so bitterly. Turns out, it’s for the same reason — they both resent the other for what they mean to Cole, and feel Cole chose the other instead of them. These two might be a whole lot more alike than they care to admit.

Their bizzaro field trip turns out pretty well, and they leave with some intel on where to hopefully find Titan, which it turns out (thank you flashback scene to 2016) is the name of a science project being mounted by the 12 Monkeys, led by Jones’ former husband, who helped create the time-travel technology. So … are the 12 Monkeys building their own time machine? Is that how The Witness has been getting around so easily? Yeah, this Titan storyline is only heating up.

Other observations: Seeing Jones try to bond with her long-lost daughter is shaping up to be an interesting arc, and it also offers some insight into how the Daughters live. So it turns out the 12 Monkeys still have the virus under lock and key. That’s not good. Oh, and what’s up with another version of Cole immediately showing back up looking for Jennifer’s help? That’s probably not good.

Line of the night: “It's like the A Team with all Murdocks.” - Jennifer

Other line of the night: “There are many endings. The right one is the one you choose.” - Cole and Jennifer