As y’all know, the first season of 12 Monkeys was appointment TV for us here at TV Goodness, and when word came down last fall that the second season would kick off in April instead of January (which is when we got the first season), to say that we were disappointed would be a kind assessment. Well, we’re finally here, and, because the PR team at Syfy are kind and benevolent, I’ve seen the first eight episodes, and OMG is it worth the wait.
While I had the benefit of a rapid binge of two months worth of shows, I’m completely cognizant of how that’s going to play at home. So let’s get to some straight talk about what you can expect this season (only mild/general spoilers follow because I’m not an asshat).
Based on what I’ve seen so far, the second season takes everything you knew and loved about the first season, tosses it in a blender and then asks you to accept that the rules, the timeline, and the characters themselves are fluid. It’s terrifying, it’s funny, and sometimes, it’s extremely dramatic and emotional. Give yourself over to the infinite possibilities and you will not be disappointed. Frustrated, yes. Exasperated? Sure. But always, always, enthralled. When this show fires on all cylinders, it’s phenomenal television. Episode 8 is mind-blowing and heartfelt and will break you for many reasons.
First up, as the preview and promos attest, Cassie does indeed survive her trip back to Jones (shocker, and yay!) but when, where, and how she meets Cole again is a more circuitous path. Ramse is back in the picture, too, this time with refocused alliances. Back (or forward, if you will) in 2043, Jones and her team are still dealing with interlopers in the form of Deacon and his crew, the blue boys and girls who want to commandeer the machine, and now, Cassie. The basic goal of preventing the plague and saving humanity is still in play, but the dial on that clock is now spinning way, way back to 1944 for starters, which opens the show up to some mad costuming and set design.
Here’s a rundown of what’s up with our core characters.
Cole comes through the trauma of the first season much more introspective than we’re used to, and while he’s still lethal when necessary, this season, he traffics in the quieter moments, making decisions based on emotion instead of rational, tactical thought. It’s a really soft, dare I say sweet, side of Cole, and Aaron Stanford has a lot of fun playing Cole’s wonder about new things in each timeline without the heavy handed “fate of the world” overtones. Cole is very much rolling with it this year. In doing so, he gives Cassie her space while she adapts without completely letting go, and he grounds Jennifer in a reality that propels her forwardÂ on her own path.
Cassie flips the script this year, emotionally changing places with Cole and stripping out her humanity, to a point, because it’s necessary to the mission. That keeps her and Cole at odds for a while as she walls herself off for the sake of her own survival, and it leads her to an unlikely friendship of sorts with Jennifer. She does finally realize that despite trying really hard to go it alone, it literally takes a village to do what they do, and on the best and worst days, they only have each other. Amanda Schull is terrific playing an evolution of Cassie we haven’t seen before.
Emily Hampshire has the most fun, hands down, this season, playing multiple versions of Jennifer on a sliding scale of sane. It’s a bewitching performance to watch her be the only character to track ALL of the timelines and still sort out the right path and the right memories at the right time. She is truly amazing as a woman struggling desperately with both a mental illness and a universe that’s way beyond her control. Or is it?
Cassie’s arrival is just the first surprise for Jones, in a season of many, and Barbara Sukowa is as awesome as ever. She has a fantastic arc with guest star Michael Hogan (Gerard Argent from Teen Wolf), and in episode 8, she’s going to break you. You’ve been warned.
At the end of the day, Ramse and Cole have the longest bond, and that is readily apparent the deeper you get into the season. It’s the old adage about forgiving family most things. They still butt heads regularly, but they love each other. And that cuts through all the other bullsh-t.
Initially thrust into the lab as the muscle for an overthrow, he finds himself aligned to the team for reasons that are wholly unclear, although Cassie’s a big reason for him to buckle down and behave. That doesn’t mean he’s not still a homicidal manchild with a short fuse. He most definitely is.
I love this show. I love this cast. I can’t wait for you to see it. Season 2 formally begins Monday, April 18th, at 10/9c on Syfy. You can get ready with a new series of webisodes, and this Monday, you’ll be able to see the season premiere two weeks early on Hulu, Syfy, the Syfy Now app, and VOD. Here’s a sneak peek of the cast teasing this season.
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