12 Monkeys Review: Regrouping for Good or Evil

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That's a lot of monkeying around, you guys!

Syfy's decision to air the entire third season over the course of a weekend meant that from the beginning of 12 Monkeys Season 3 Episode 1 to the end of 12 Monkeys Season 3 Episode 4 we witnessed a lot of material, enough to make our heads spin.

Cole was looking every bit as hard as expected for Cassie and the four hours continued until they were reunited, much to Deacon's (always predictable) chagrin. By that point, Cole was teetering on the edge and never needed Cassie more than he did in those moments.

The End of the World - 12 Monkeys

Still, it was hard to feel any joy at their reunion after everything we'd witnessed (no pun intended). If anything, it was a sense of relief that the rest of the story could continue, whatever that might mean.

It was never in doubt Cole wouldn't stop looking for Cassie, and we caught up with him on the cusp of finding Titan. The surprise was a future version of himself was there to steer him away from Cassie and toward Jennifer.

Cole: Who are you?
Sock Mask Dude [unmasks]: That's right. Take it all in. Greetings, asshole. I'm future asshole.

A spinoff of two traveling Coles bickering back and forth would be terrific. Of course, the only person Aaron Stanford can make more even more impressive opposite himself that we haven't already seen is himself.

It was obvious straight off how much more Future Cole had been through. He made our Cole seem like a child in comparison. Considering the amount of drama Cole has suffered already, we should have been prepared for the next three hours, let alone the next nine.

Watching Cole live through them wasn't any easier even knowing the stronger man he'd become as a result.

You're gonna have to have to forgive yourself for what you've done, for what you're going to have to do. There's a beginning and there's an end, always. All you and I are ever going to have is what's in between. Wearing this means that somehow, some way, you're always going to find your way back to her. Time to go. See you soon.

Future Cole [to Cole]

And traveling away from the ever moving Titan and back toward home base in pursuit of Jennifer wasn't easy, either.

Cole was still in the dark about Cassie was going through, and that's probably a plus for what Future Cole wanted him to do. Cassie was being treated like a queen, but she was one unhappy queen. 

Goodbye Mother - 12 Monkeys Season 3 Episode 1

She eventually sussed it out that if she couldn't physically escape and they were going to make her pay for her attempts and bad behavior, not only were they crackpots, but they couldn't raise her baby. Cassie had to do something to switch up the playing field, and all she could come up with was taking herself out.

Except even killing herself didn't work. Those who grew up and around worshipping the Witness had all kinds of tricks up their sleeves, and they had sacrificing their various selves throughout time to save themselves in the future down to a science.

Cassie never even knew what hit her. One minute she was free-falling and the next she was right back where she started the hour.

But while she was just figuring out how deeply those guys were willing to go to ensure she gave birth (which she did, the Witness looking on), we finally saw how Jennifer got out of her WWI bunker situation. I think Jennifer had it worse.

The Origins - 12 Monkeys

Her whole story was all things. Sad, funny, important and interesting. Singing 99 Luft Balloons was such a Jennifer thing to do, and personally, I was very impressed she knew all of the German lyrics. I lived through both songs and didn't even know them!

Being crazy has always been very flattering to Jennifer, but it literally saved her life in the bunker. The Germans thought she was so cute, they let her live. Really, what else could they do? Report her? As what?

That meant Jennifer spent the next five years trying various methods of getting a word out to her friends in the future. When writing home didn't work, Jennifer apparently recorded an album (I wish I spoke French to get the quote right, but the gist of it is below) and finally went on stage.

Jennifer: Five years!! I've been here, alone, by myself for five years and your asking about Cassie? About Ramse?! What about me? What about, 'hey Jennifer, how did you survive WWI?' Hey, I'm really glad you asked because I was a prisoner of WAR!
Cole: Jennifer...
Jennifer: And YOU, Grandma Time!
Jones: 'Scuse me?
Jennifer: Check your mail? I've been sending you messages, leaving you clues? I even wrote an album...I'm Still In France...It's 1921...And my favorite, Jones, Send Help.
Jones: Why on earth did you use a stage name?

There was so much to love about 12 Monkeys Season 3 Episode 2, aside from the fact it's been so long since we've seen Jennifer in this capacity. Emily Hampshire makes the most of any scene she's in, and the stage acting was superb. 

Sending a Message - 12 Monkeys Season 3 Episode 2

Her acting reel will be complete after 12 Monkeys. Acting as Jennifer is akin to what Tatiana Maslany does on Orphan Black, although Hampshire doesn't get as much time to shine on Monkeys.

I was so pleased she railed at Cole when he failed to ask how she was doing after five years alone in 1920s Germany, not having ever spoken the language before. The disrespect with which all of the team, a team Jennifer is chuffed to bits to join, treats Jennifer is too apparent.

Cole should have made it more clear what his future self said. Jennifer is the key. He wouldn't have told himself that if it wasn't the truth and if he didn't want himself to take Jennifer a little bit more seriously as a result.

Jennifer has excellent instincts, too. She knew all along that when Ramse returned with Olivia, they needed to pay them far more mind than they seemed they would be willing to do.

That's right! Ramse is also back in the picture, a full return he made during 12 Monkeys Season 3 Episode 3 while pretending to deliver Olivia as a hostage. That wasn't exactly the case, though.

During the previous hour, Ramse was plagued by his own living hell, when he finally, after decades of searching for his son, found Sam. The little boy he lost was a man, and a dying one at that. 

Major kudos to casting department for choosing someone who even though bandaged gave off enough Kirk Acevedo vibes that I wanted to believe it was him with some CGI mumbo jumbo. A really good job was done there.

It allowed me to get over how easily Ramse identified his son after such a prolonged absence because he was unmistakable. Visiting mere minutes before Sam asked him to put him out of his misery was utterly devastating.

An Old Foe - 12 Monkeys

Even more so was that Ramse picked such a personal way to kill his beloved son. The way he moved Sam's head to the side of the cot, I thought for sure he was about to snap his neck and make it a swift and painless death (not that I know neck-snapping to be painless). 

Instead, he smothered his boy, Sam grasping onto his arm in the death throes, only making Ramse's pain even more intense in the process. Well, it worked. Ramse was out for blood.

Jennifer didn't believe for a second Olivia was up to any good, but she greeted Ramse honestly, which was also very like her.

What's it say about this place that in order to be human, you gotta be a little crazy?


Ramse was in pain, and he wasn't afraid to use the Sam card. That was his ticket back into the fold of his old stomping grounds. It worked on Jones, who once upon a time was more skeptical of Ramse.

At least she was skeptical enough to lock him up. 

Jones was skeptical of Olivia and torturing her was a bit of fun. Yes, Olivia has been through hell for her entire life, but so has everyone else. Nobody makes sense in this world anyway.

Hannah's way of stopping Olivia's torture was to hold a knife up against Dude whose name I cannot remember's throat. What kind of sense does that even make? If you don't stop torturing her, I'll kill him. Really? We're not even going to discuss the illogical reasoning of that one.

The thing is, every character who has a future self willing to give up their lives for them somehow seems to know more than anyone else. Olivia shouldn't know more than others, but she has a future self wearing a jiffy travel pack and so she's ahead of the game.

The playing field is so unfair.

Meanwhile, Magdelena in the future had bundled up his bundle of joy and baby Witness (aka Athan, if I understood the naming right...maybe Nathan?) was flitting all around the timeline in a box. An uncomfortable one, at that.

Did you see the inside of that box? The kid had to be slipping and sliding all around. Why couldn't they have made his little coffin a bit more restful and comfortable? That's not a cool place for a baby. No wonder the guy grows up to be a pain in the ass.

No amount of worship from adoring fans can make up for that kind of sensory deprivation. I can only hope there is some explanation as to why that was the choice for his early life. If he made it himself, surely someone told him, Hey, you've never been a parent, let us guide you down the right path.

Anyway. Cole's torture of Olivia was far better than Jones', but even that was something for which she and Ramse had already planned. Olivia is one hard bitch.

The Enemy of My Enemy - 12 Monkeys Season 3 Episode 3

But the greatest thing was that Cole wasn't buying into it, even if he was playing along with his old friend. 

All of the memories he recalled during 12 Monkeys Season 3 Episode 4 were heart-wrenching if you were hoping they'd find their way back to each other. And let's be real. Who doesn't continually hold out hope for Ramse?

Damn that Acevedo for playing him with just enough nuance that you're never 100% certain if he's been given the good guy script or the bad guy one.

While Cole, Jones and Jennifer were playing with Olivia, trying to force her hand and get her to talk, Deacon was finally getting the equivalent of an All-Deacon episode, as he struggled with his inner demon aka his dad.

Like Aaron Stanford with the two Coles, Todd Stashwick was playing Deacon and his dad, giving himself (and Jennifer!) a run for the money on the crazy train. Stashwick lost a boatload of weight for his confinement. Dedication, man!

It was fun getting to know him so much better, and all of the "semi"-bottle episodes remind me of the way The Leftovers is playing out in its final season. The cast is smaller and more focused on the characters we love. It makes the storytelling more dramatic.

I love it.

Unthinkable Consequences - 12 Monkeys

The way everything with Deacon and Cassie converged with him emerging at the end of his "moves" by rescuing her in her room was perfect. 

They still had work to do to get back to the team, but someone in the future already had it figured out. 

Too bad it's too late to lend much comfort to Cole, who got the runaround from his "brother" as he set out to kill Cassie in the hope of keeping so much of the past and future from occurring. 

Like I said, Cole was onto Ramse from the moment he returned. He never believed him fully, but also couldn't give up hope that if given enough rope, Ramse wouldn't hang himself.

The location of his memories and that of the "hospital" he sent Ramse looking for Cassie never even occurred to the broken Ramse. He was on his mission of pain and anger, paying no mind to the past in which he knew and loved Cole. The Cole he knew now brought Cassie and the Witness into his life.

Although, without the Witness, Ramse wouldn't have had Sam at all, so there were many sides to the story. Sometimes better to have loved and lost isn't the best idea after all.

The two long-time friends wound up running through the same woods they did as children, only this time, one of them didn't escape. Ramse, though, is ready to go and be with his son. 

Cole: Goddammit, why couldn't you just trust me? I always trusted you. Oh, Jesus Christ.
Ramse: We always try to do the right thing. We just end up doing it the wrong way, right?
Cole: I'm going to fix this.
Ramse: Don't undo it. Promise me. Don't undo this. Please. You're on your own, brother. I'll see you soon.
Cole: Hey, hey, hey. Brother?

The first thing Cole did after Ramse died was to find Cassie, long before he knew her, so he could ask her to come back to him. It was such a sweet gesture, and Cassie received it well.

What was even better was how quickly Cole got his wish.

He asked and received. It wasn't long that he was home and wishing to blow out Olivia's brains when someone began splintering their way home.

I don't know what happened to "ladies before gentlemen," but for dramatic effect, Deacon came home before Cassie. The look on Deacon's face when he saw his princess reunite with her prince was priceless.

At least there was still some humor after an intense three-hour journey with our returning heroes.

The premiere was everything we could have asked for and ended on a perfect note. Well, not Ramse's death, surely, but Cassie and Deacon rejoining the group.

This review is probably lacking in some areas. There are some things I didn't even touch on, but I tried to get to the big points. Covering four episodes in one review is hard, you guys! Please gather for a conversation in the comments.

Time Remnants:

  • Why does Hannah have to do her makeup like Lexa on The 100?
  • No mention of The Four Horsemen or that Magdelena is one of them. Who are the others?
  • Did Deacon survive his captivity on hamburger patties with a slice of cheese? What the hell was he eating?
  • Thank goodness Deacon survived and never stopped singing his song. We'll never forget about you, Deacon!
  • Did you see the shout out to our old friend Henry Otero? If you didn't, go back and rewatch Episode 4. It's hard to miss!

Please gather for a conversation in the comments. And don't forget, if you need to piece together the past, you can watch 12 Monkeys online to get it all straight!

We'll be doing this all over again tomorrow. Whew!

Mother Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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12 Monkeys Season 3 Episode 1 Quotes

Cole: How is this not a paradox?
Future Cole: This helps with that [points to his chest].
Cole: That's a machine?
Future Cole: No, this is just what we all wear in the future. Yes, it's a machine!

Cole: Who are you?
Sock Mask Dude [unmasks]: That's right. Take it all in. Greetings, asshole. I'm future asshole.