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Recaps

12 Monkeys “The Night Room” 

Photo Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

There was a lot going on in tonight’s 12 Monkeys as the Night Room was in fact discovered, breached, and detonated. Let’s break down what we learned, and maybe (maybe) what it means.

Jones’s truth is revealed

After last week’s exchange between Cole and Jones where they called each other “James” and “Katarina,” he invites her to join Ramse, Max, and him in a traditional pre-splinter cocktail. She breaks out the good stuff and starts to get very chatty and philosophical until Ramse asks her how she came by the name Jones. She turns sober very quickly and says Jones was her husband, but only for three days.

Later on, after Cole has jumped, Max lets slip that the rebels called Jones “Dr. Grim” because she was rumored to have killed men during experiments. Ramse goes looking for proof and finds it, and he and Jones have a heated discussion about the lives of the few vs. everyone on the planet. He makes her promise that Cole will not die the same way his predecessors did and she tells him she will not allow it to happen.

Cole’s truth is revealed

Once back in 2015, Cole breezes right past any leftover warm and fuzzies toward Cassie from last week and they head to the site she found. Once inside, they run headlong into the Pallid Man’s goon squad, who have brought along Jennifer Goines. PM interrogates/taunts/mutilates Cole while he drops the bomb on Cassie that Cole killed Henri. She’s none too happy to hear it. Later, when PM tries to duplicate the same reaction from Jennifer by telling her Cole killed her dad, he instead gets the response of “awesome!”

Cole and Cassie have a chat similar to Ramse and Jones about sacrificing the one for the many, and Cassie calls him out that she had a good, happy, and full life before he dropped into it. She rightly tells him he could work with anyone else now, that he no longer specifically needs her.

He doesn’t really apologize for killing Henri. Instead, he tells her about how he has lived, and survived, in the future, and how he and Ramse would justify it when they had to kill. He tells her about being forgiven by one of his victims at the moment of her death. He feels the weight of it, yes, but he can’t process it on the same level that Cassie does because it would buckle his resolve to complete his mission.Cassie’s not wrong in demanding to be freed of the job now, and it’s on Cole to articulate why he wants her, and only her, on this path. I wonder if we’ll get to a point where he has to jump her forward to his timeline to truly explain himself.

Photo Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy
Photo Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

Jennifer’s clarity around Cole

Jennifer is as fractured as ever. We get a flashback to her saner days when she was first introduced to the room, before jumping to the present as she’s mid-interrogation from PM. Once she’s in the room with Cole and Cassie, Cole’s voice gives her hyper-focus, and she clearly recalls all the codes (which I call bullsh-t would still be the same, but go with it). All of this turns out to be a PM fakeout because he gets it that Jennifer is fixated on Cole and will do what Cole asks.

When Cole realizes this, he secret-handshake nods to Cassie up in the observation deck and they jointly blow the room as he and Jennifer dive into the vault. When they emerge, Cassie’s being dragged out by the goons. Although the origin specimen would seem to have been destroyed, Cole starts to falter. He and Jennifer race outside and just as they reach Cassie, he blips out–in front of Jennifer. That’s the last thing she needed to see.

Cole returns home to a 2043 that’s not his own.

I liked the parallelism of the few vs. the world discussions, and that while Katarina has formed an unlikely bond with Ramse over keeping Cole safe, Cole might have just blown his shot with Cassie (although plot 101 tells us no). And I know absolutely nothing about anything, but it crossed my mind that perhaps the specimen is somehow Cole who jumped back to whatever ancient time the specimen was discovered, and that’s why he faltered, and that’s why Jennifer is drawn to him? Completely spitballing, but hey, it’s Syfy. (Also, an excellent The Outer Limits episode posited this same idea here).

I hope Cassie and Cole’s separation is not dragged out. I missed them being together last week.

I continue to adore what Aaron Stanford is doing in the role. I do not adore the slapping him around and otherwise torture porning him. We can stop that anytime.

Next week is episode 6 and we’ll only have 13. I’d love to hear we have a season two before we get to the end of season one.

12 Monkeys airs Fridays at 9/8c. You can catch this episode online at Syfy.com and throughout the week on Syfy.

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1 Comment

  1. Maria Foss

    Yes – I am right with you on stopping the regular incidents of “torture-porn” on Cole. In this episode, it seemed that gaining information was almost a casual afterthought for Pallid Man during his time inflicting “aggressive negotiation tactics” (assisted by bamboo skewers) upon Cole. Took everything I had not to walk out of the room during that scene. I think I understand some of the reasons the plot calls for Cole to experience persistent and repeated physical assaults. It is rather too much to get into here in depth, but briefly regularly getting beaten up and/or tortured shows compelling evidence of why Cole considers the future too contaminated and awful to save, serve as a counter balance to those moments where Cole shows ruthlessness or uses violent tactics (i.e. beating someone else up) to further his mission. But perhaps most importantly allows for “hurt/comfort” scenes where somebody (Cassie?) needs to patch him up, making plausible Cole’s belief that the future is too messed up to save. But you’re right – they need to step back from that particular plot device.

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