It's official ladies and germs, 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 5 takes the honor of being my first five star review here at TV Fanatic.
Every so often, a sci-fi show comes along that's well written, has a great cast and delivers consistently on its promise to dazzle us. I'm talking The X-files, Fringe, Battlestar Galactica, Orphan Black and, yes, 12 Monkeys is already right up there for me.
If you're not watching yet, get on board now, otherwise we face losing another brilliant genre show before its time.
We're only on episode five, and one of the show's big mysteries was revealed to us this week. Can you believe the Night Room was real and that we've actually seen it already?
How amazing was that flashback to 2011 and watching Jennifer arrive at the Night Room, complete with black hood over her head? I've got to hand it to Emily Hampshire, Jennifer Goines is the best thing to happen to TV since Walter Bishop. She's brilliant on this show.
I felt like a kid in a candy store watching Jennifer look up at the "Big Burn" and say "complete with evening stars," a call back to 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 2 when she told Cole about the lab. It's these little things, the attention to detail that hooks a sci-fi geek like myself. If you're reading this, I'm sure you're hooked by now too.
When I heard Ivan say Jennifer's the only person that can open the vault, I knew that meant trouble later in the episode. Boy did that prove to be true.
Ivan: You don't think someone would try and steal this thing?
Jennifer: Its happened before.
Okay, what exactly did that mean? The best sci-fi always dangles these little carrots in front of us to keep us engaged. Does Jennifer have visions of the future? Is she a time traveler herself? What's your best guess? Please feel free to theorize in the comments below.
I love that Jones has mellowed out a bit, her relationship with Cole is much more personal now. Watching her knock a few back with Cole, Ramse and Max was hilarious. I totally think fans at home should start taking a shot whenever Jones says 'mission.' Then again, we'd probably all be too smashed to get through an episode. Can you imagine what that drunk-tweeting would look like? Haha
And how sad was it to learn that Jones was only married for a few days? Series co-creator, Terry Matalas, confirmed on our 12 Monkeys Podcast we will flashback to Jones in her youth. Will we meet her husband? That's the beauty of serialized storytelling, we can start looking forward to that.
Back in 2015 the real fun began, as Cole and Cassie located and entered the Night Room. Funny how well she knows the guy after just a few visits, right?
Cassie: I've seen that face before, right before you shot Leland Goines.
Cole: Look Cassie, this is it. We've found it, what we've been looking for this whole time. This is the Night Room. We're going to be careful okay, but one way or another I'm getting into that lab.
Naturally, the Army of the 12 Monkeys was already at the facility because the Pallid Man broke Jennifer. Did he have to kill poor Ivan though? Hey, at least he had a chance to explain how the "Big Burn" works to Cole and Cassie.
The bamboo torture scene was intense, but another important detail surfaced. The Pallid Man mentioned "The Witness" and Cole asked if that's his boss. I theorized early on that the pale dude was either from the future or worked for someone who was. Could that person be "The Witness"?
Meanwhile, in 2043, Max made Ramse suspicious of Jones and he discovered her files. I wondered if there were time travelers before Cole and what became of them. Well, we got that answer. Those photographs were disturbing weren't they? Jones committed atrocities, but in the name of saving mankind. You know the saying, "you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette."
Ramse: Cole wasn't the first was he?
Jones: No, there were others. Others lost in time.
I found the timing of that comment and the reveal of "The Origin" inside the vault very interesting. Not to mention that when Cole approaches "The Origin" he has a similar physical reaction to last episode when he was too close to alt-Cole. Jennifer also comments "there's something about its eyes" (otter eyes?). Is Cole "The Origin" of the virus that kills seven billion people in 2043? For now, that's my theory.
Jennifer's reaction to the vault fail-safe was a trip. "I got 'em otter eyes," she tells Cole. I lost it when her attention shifted to Cassie and she asked, "Quick question, who's this bitch?" What did Jennifer mean when she said the doctors were always saying her name, but never specifying which one? Is it possible there are alt-Jennifer's running around time?
I wondered how long it would be before Cassie learned Cole killed Henri. I'm glad it came up sooner rather than later. The writers are definitely not dragging things out; the pacing on this show is perfect.
Both of Cole's girls learned he killed someone they cared about this week. Cassie didn't take it so well, but Jennifer was thrilled to pieces. I honestly wasn't expecting that reaction, yet it worked perfectly. Every actor on this series brings their A game. I'm constantly impressed by Aaron Stanford and Amanda Schull, and Emily Hampshire is just a force of nature.
That reminds me, the scene between Jones and Ramse made my eyes water. Barbara Sukowa is fantastic as Jones, there's such depth to her performance. And Kirk Acevedo I've loved since Fringe, but he's knocking it out of the park on 12 Monkeys. When you've got a great story and actors like these to bring it to life, it's a win-win for everyone; creative team and fans alike.
Jones: Go, call me a monster.
Ramse: This is wrong.
Jones: This was necessary. You don't think I felt the pain of those men.
Ramse: You kept going.
Jones: Because in a thousand generations we could not rebuild what was lost. What is the lives of a few people, compared to the whole of human history? Without it, there's nothing. Nothing, no future; just drifting in the ocean of time. No shore in sight.
Ramse: You tell me the truth, this going to happen to Cole?
Jones: I won't let it happen.
So, Cole and Jennifer opened the vault and I spazzed out. Would they set off the "Big Burn" and destroy the virus? If so, what the heck would come next? Was it possible the 12 Monkeys would walk away with the virus? I don't remember feeling as anxious watching a scene like this in ages. That's just great frakkin' television people.
Then of course, Cole splintered back to 2043 and we realize everything had changed. The West VII had moved into the temporal facility and we had our first alternate timeline; mind blown!
What did you think of "The Night Room"? What changed in 2015 that caused the alternate timeline in 2043? Do you think Cole is "The Origin" of the virus? You're up my fellow 12 Monkeys fans, please share your thoughts in the comments below. Keep an eye out for my interview with series co-creator Terry Matalas next week.
It's up to us to spread the word about this phenomenal series. Tell a friend they can watch 12 Monkeys online right here via TV Fanatic! It's still early enough in the show's run that we can turn new people on to the show. That's your 'mission' friends; take a shot in Jones' name.
NOTE: 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 5 is titled "The Red Forest" and airs on Friday, February 20.