12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Atari

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I found this week's West 7 storyline fascinating because it gave us a glimpse into the kind of human beings Cole and Ramse are. Also, we now know Ramse has the stronger moral compass of the two. That's interesting right?

12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 4 was quite different from the first three installments. There were more flashbacks than time travel for one, but not just that, the tone was incredibly bleak and unpleasant. We really had a chance to see how awful 2043 is.

Todd Stashwick was brilliant as Deacon too, so I'm hoping we'll see the character again.

I must admit, I missed both Cassie and Jennifer this week. Sure, Cassie had a few scenes but she was out of the picture for the most part. As far as Jennifer, I recently interviewed Emily Hampshire on the 12 Monkeys podcast I co-host, and learned that 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 5 is a big one for Jennifer Goines. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to that one.

It was about time Cassie put her foot down and insisted Cole share a little about himself with her. He knows her entire story, including the place of her demise. Though I'm starting to question whether or not that corpse was really Cassie.

As I mentioned at the top, this episode gave us a better understanding of Cole and Ramse's humanity. There's no better example than the dog (aka dinner) being spared despite the two of them at the verge of starving to death. They're not bad guys, that's the point.

Ramse: We're in Atari.
Cole: Atari, what's that?
Ramse: It's a game called Go. A game I played when I was a little kid. Means you're outta moves.

Now, Deacon, that's an entirely different story. The "Scav King" as he was referred to at one point is a killer without remorse. He killed kids, so yeah he's plain evil. I'd like to point out that I was expecting a much more aggressive psychopath, but the level-headed way Stashwick played Deacon made him even scarier. He's the kind of guy that'll snap at a moments notice and kill everyone in the room.

Many folks (including a couple of my fellow round table panelists) weren't sold on the West 7 arc. I wonder if this episode changed their minds? I mean, without a threat in 2043, the stakes are just too low in my opinion. I'm actually wondering if Deacon and his crew have a larger role to play in all this. Remember my theory about the Pallid Man having a boss in the future? Hey you never know right?

When the West 7 attacked the facility through the secret tunnels and "killed" Ramse, I freaked out. How could Kevin Acevedo only last four episodes? Then he said "I'm in Atari" which was devastating. Jones sends Cole back in time saying they would probably never see each other again. What?!? In that moment, theories that Jones is future Cassie and that Ramse is a member of the 12 Monkeys went out the window.

If this facility were to fall, all would be lost. The mission is everything.


Of course, the true timey wimey scenario was a hell of a lot more intricate. Writers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett are amazing aren't they?

Though I felt a bit disoriented when Cole first splintered back, I quickly realized he wasn't in Kansas anymore. Loved that Cole explained that the damage to the time machine prevented him from traveling further back to 2015. That's Matalas/Fickett covering all their bases.

I was glad to see the flashbacks revealed that Deacon wanted Ramse dead, but Cole couldn't do it opting to abandon the West 7. Their leaving had nothing to do with jealously over a girl as was hinted at last week. Besides Ramse's speech made far too much sense.

Deacon's taking for power; okay. He's murdering 'cause he likes it. Whatever this world is now, it shouldn't be this man.


The hallucinations were cool, visually, though I'm not sure I'm any closer to understanding their meaning. In them, Cassie warned Cole he can't change fate yet he clearly changed the outcome by revealing the location of the tunnels, saving Ramse and Jones etc. Or is the whole point that this "loop" is exactly the way the events were supposed to go down? It can give you a real headache thinking about this stuff, but at least this show makes us think.

Did you catch a female voice calling out to Cole during the original shootout? Naturally, that didn't make much sense until we witnessed the events from alt-Cole's perspective. That was Max's voice and she arrived late to Deacon's side because she was helping alt-Cole. All the pieces fit nicely.

"Trust the distraction" Cole told Max already aware of the outcome of the battle. He sent Max to save Jones, went to rescue Ramse and I could not be more pleased with the way things played out. Anyone that can't appreciate the writing on this show needs to get their head checked.

I'm assuming Jones and the team repaired the time machine because Cole made it back to 2015 in a jiffy. Next week's installment is titled "The Night Room," so it made sense Cassie informed Cole she found it in the final scene.

What did you think of "Atari"? Did you find Deacon to be a worthy adversary? Were Max's actions surprising to you? Were you shocked Ramse and Jones were killed or did you have a feeling Cole would save the day? You're up folks, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments below. Keep an eye out for our 12 Monkeys round table later this week.

Remember you can watch 12 Monkeys online via TV Fanatic any time. Rewatch this episode, there are plenty of things you miss the first time around. Trust me, I've seen the installment four times now.

NOTE: 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 5 is titled "The Night Room" and airs on Friday, February 13.

Atari Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (13 Votes)
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12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

Ramse: We're in Atari.
Cole: Atari, what's that?
Ramse: It's a game called Go. A game I played when I was a little kid. Means you're outta moves.

Cassie: The 12 Monkeys already have Jennifer Goines.
Cole: They'll have to break through a lot of crazy before she leads them anywhere.