Spoilers ahead for “Year of the Monkey,” the Season 2 premiere of Syfy’s 12 Monkeys!
Throughout its first season, Syfy’s 12 Monkeys shook off the baggage of its cult hit film inspiration and grew into one of the smartest sci-fi shows on television. We’re happy to report it’s only continued to get better in Season 2. Put simply: If there was an award for the best show most people are probably not watching, 12 Monkeys would be a top contender.
Stylistically, the easiest comparison would be something akin to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but with even twistier time travel and less of the baggage that comes with being tied to a major franchise (since they basically just used the 1995 film as a jumping off point and took things in a new direction). Oh, it also features some killer chemistry between the two leads that makes the show plain ol’ fun to watch.
If you need a refresher on Season 1, this should do the trick. After that go read our interview with the cast and showrunner:
All caught up? Great! Now, let’s dive into what the Season 2 premiere of the Syfy (Corporate owner of Blastr -Ed) series had to offer.
The short version: The Season 2 premiere finds Cole and Ramse still on the run in 2016, while Cassie is stuck in the future. They team up with Deacon (remember him?) to take back the base, but blow up the time machine in the process. Fast forward eight months, and Cassie goes back in time to kill Jennifer Goines, who just so happens to be on a rooftop with Cole. Cue Mexican standoff.
Cole and Ramse are BFFs again, and it feels so good
The dynamic between these two was one of the greatest things about the first season, and though the narrative forced them onto opposite sides by the end of the year, it just feels so good to see them bro-ing it up once again. In some ways, it almost felt contrived to have Ramse turn out to be the guy pulling some of the strings in the past — dramatic, but contrived. Though, it makes sense when you consider there’s just one time machine (at least that we know about). Any player in all these time travel shenanigans is obviously going to be someone with ties to the installation.
So, Ramse and Cole are finally pushed back together in the present, as their friendship is pushed to the limit but can’t be broken. With Ramse abandoned by his cohorts, and Cole essentially stranded, the two old pals are back together again. That doesn’t mean they exactly agree on things (since Cole changing the future could still cost Ramse his son), but stick these two guys in the same era with their backs against the wall, and they end up together. Setting this story up works really well, mostly because the first season took its time truly establishing their friendship.
The past has changed Cole…
It’s amazing to go back and watch the pilot episode, and see just how much Cole has changed over the course of the first season. He was almost feral at that point, and made no qualms about killing anyone if there was even a chance it could further the mission. But, living life in the pre-virus era has changed him. Immensely. By actually getting to know the world he’s trying to save, Cole has truly found his humanity. It’s never manifested so clearly than on that rooftop, when he literally pulls a gun on Cassie to stop her from shooting Jennifer. Sure, Cole would probably shoot Jennifer if he had to do it, but he wants to give her a chance. He’s found the value in life.
… while the future has changed Cassie
Speaking of humanity, Cassie has apparently lost a bit of hers, after being stuck in the worst version of the burned out future for eight months. She’s forced into helping lead a coup to retake the base the moment she arrives, and judging by how she had no hesitation to kill those guys on the rooftop (and is ready to plug Jennifer the moment she sees her), it seems her time in the future has fundamentally affected her. It’s obvious the writers are essentially flipping the script from the first season (Cole is in the present! Cassie comes back from the future!), but boy does it work. It doesn’t feel gimmicky, because the set up from last season really laid the foundation to earn this story.
Wait, so Deacon is a good(ish) guy now?
Gang leader Deacon (Todd Stashwick) played a solid role in Season 1, and helped lead a takeover of the base in the future. For the most part, he’s a bad guy, though he’s darn likable and brought some much needed levity to the somewhat dour (for good reason, but still) proceedings. The producers noticed the chemistry, too, so Deacon started a big transition into being a semi-good guy in Season 2.
He obviously develops a soft spot for Cassie, and admittedly doesn’t really enjoy being led around by the creepy 12 Monkeys guys. So, he risks it all to take them on with Cassie — eventually being the true deciding factor in the efforts to retake control of the base and put Jones back in control. Considering how much of the gang will apparently be kicking around in the time stream, they’re going to need a few cast members to stay behind and keep the light on in the future. So, it looks like Deacon is getting a promotion.
Line of the night: “Believe me when I tell you — ‘Do no harm’ died 30 years ago.” -Deacon
Up next? It looks like Casse and Cole will need to start working out their differences, and will Jennifer make it? Does she release the virus and kill everyone (well, probably not, but still)?