12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 7 Review: The Keys

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Well it took seven episodes, but the writers finally managed to confuse the hell out of me with 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 7.

Until tonight, I was following the Back to the Future style causality loops pretty well. Now, I'm as lost as the next guy.

If Cole died in Chechnya, what comes next? Does the timeline change again at some point? Let's start at the top.

The installment opened with several disturbing flashes. The previous milk and bullet mixed with Cole talking about the Keys, and the fact he was glad he got to know her. We now know he was talking about Cassie and the Keys in Florida at the end. Then everything went boom!

Next, we got some background on the killer virus (or M-510 strain) which came from the "origin" corpse discovered in the Himalayas mid-80s. It's interesting that the year Cole and Frost first meet is 1987 as well. How do these two things connect? What is the previously unknown pathogen used to create the Operation TROY weapon? It's got to have something to do with Cole's unstable DNA from splintering, right? That's my guess for right now.

Leland's brilliant rockstar, Oliver Peters, reappeared this week and boy was his speech unsettling. The goal was to weaponize this thing after all; unbelievable.

If released in this room, this virus would kill every one of us in two to three hours.

Oliver Peters

Wasn't it insane the way Peters discussed the engineering of the virus with a smile on his face? I mean, scientifically speaking it's astounding, but didn't anyone stop to think of the global repercussions? The big frakkin' picture? "The key to containment is the geographic isolation," Peters explained. Right away, I knew we were in for an interesting ride.

So, Wexler had dirt on all these political types and he had been targeted for elimination via the M-510 virus. The scary thing is, how many of these bio-weapons exist in real life? Did the deadly Ebola epidemic's we've heard of lately begin in a lab somewhere? It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

It appeared in 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 6 that the "Striking Woman" programmed or brainwashed Cassie. The incident with the tea proved the effects might be permanent, but to what end? Is she now able to communicate with the "Witness" freely? I've got a feeling he's one of Jones' volunteers lost in time. It makes sense, don't you think? Sadly, we were not given any more info this week.

The only lead our heroes had was that photo of a plate with a monkey on it. It's a good thing the name Dr. Edward Garrett appeared on the photo. He was easy enough to track down at a benefit event, but he got nervous at the mention of the 12 Monkeys. At least the doc cleared up the mystery of the plate, leading them to Chechnya. By the way, did I hear Garrett say, "time's custodian?" Is that the 12 Monkeys or the "Witness" himself, I wonder?

Cole: This is amazing, all of it. During the outbreak people raided the museums. Took what they wanted, destroyed the rest. Never seen anything like this.
Cassie: Oh no Cole, you can't touch the art; you just look.
Cole: Well that's bullshit.
Cassie: Okay, Garrett's in the main hall.
Cole: Hey wait a minute. What's the rush he's not going anywhere. Why don't you grab a drink or some food and just be us for a while.
Cassie: I'm sorry have we met? The mission is this way.

After losing her last week, it was nice to see a softer side to Cole. He's not only enjoying his time with Cassie, but he's taking it all in, soaking up the experiences he was denied in his post-apocalyptic future; even taking a moment to learn to dance. I'm not sure why, but I hadn't really connected with Cole until this episode. He felt more human, smiled more and there was less of the old scav present. I've always rooted for him, but now I don't want him to die; or be the "origin" of the virus, etc.

I wasn't crazy about Aaron either, but he grew on me last week. Now that he's officially part of the team, I like the guy. He's the only one with info on Operation TROY, so it makes sense he made the Chechnya/Wexler connection. Since Wexler was a Snowden whistleblower type, Cassie assumed the CIA was going to use the virus to kill him. Aaron did a fine job swiping the pen drive, very mission impossible.

Actually, this episode was like an Ethan Hunt or Jason Bourne adventure. I love that every episode so far has had a different feel, yet they all gel together perfectly.

At first, I was confused about how Cole tracked down the guy with the briefcase. It made sense later on of course, but this episode had several moments like that. Were you as lost as I was?

Cole: Cassie I don't have time to explain, but I'm in Chechnya.
Cassie: Cole?
Cole: Listen, this isn't gonna make a lot of sense. I have the virus, but someone's trying to kill me.
Cassie: But you were just here?
Cole: Operation TROY is happening right now. I have a chance to end it.

I've followed the series pretty well up to this point, but the time travel this week threw me for a (causality) loop. I know it makes sense, but I'm just not getting it. This is the first time I can really sympathize with folks that claim that time travel gives them a headache. I'm sure I'll read something later on or in another review and everything will make sense, but for now I'm lost.

Ultimately, Cole was captured and came face to face with Wexler. The guy stupidly ignored Cole and the virus was spritzed all over his face. Of course, everyone started getting sick except Cole who's immune. I liked that the CIA took Cassie seriously and that Peters recognized her from the party in 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 1. The creator of the virus gave her story some weight. Would killing Peters instead of Goines have made a difference?

Wexler had a valid point when he said, "What about this world is worth saving if they would risk extinction to swat a fly?" It's a good thing Wexler came to his senses killing the Russian soldiers and riding out the disease. Wexler knew of the 12 Monkeys; he mentioned 1987, Toyko and the White Dragon. I guess where we're going next week.

It must have been torture for Cassie to stay on the line as the CIA bombed the compound. Here's where it got tricky. Cole told Cassie she'd see him again in a week, the him from before. I understand she couldn't change the outcome; it's Cole's death that's confusing to me. Is that always the end of the line for him? We watched him return days later, unaware of the event in Chechnya. It's weird that this time around it's Cassie and Aaron who knew what was coming. Things seemed to come full circle with the story about the Keys, but I'm still confused.

What did you think of "The Keys"? Did the time travel this week confuse you? If Cole died in Chechnya, what's next? You're up guys, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

As always, remember you can watch 12 Monkeys online via TV Fanatic. There's no doubt this is an installment that I'll have to watch a few times. Perhaps after three or four viewings I'll finally get it.

NOTE: 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 8 is titled "Yesterday" and airs on Friday, March 6.

The Keys Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (19 Votes)
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12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 7 Quotes

Cole: This is amazing, all of it. During the outbreak people raided the museums. Took what they wanted, destroyed the rest. Never seen anything like this.
Cassie: Oh no Cole, you can't touch the art; you just look.
Cole: Well that's bullshit.
Cassie: Okay, Garrett's in the main hall.
Cole: Hey wait a minute. What's the rush he's not going anywhere. Why don't you grab a drink or some food and just be us for a while.
Cassie: I'm sorry have we met? The mission is this way.

If released in this room, this virus would kill every one of us in two to three hours.

Oliver Peters