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REVIEW: 12 Monkeys 1×05 “The Night Room”

Welcome to 12 Monkeys or as I like to call it, watch a scary pale white guy do completely insane things to people. That is the basic definition to this show and all intents and purposes “The Night Room” as we are stuck in a basic bottle episode with no way out and only rising tension. Granted, this tension manages to work as we have no idea how many of the different parties will reasonably react because hey they are all crazy. Watching Jennifer and The Pallid Man play off all of the characters in the room is only the beginning of the craziness and bizarre happenings. Let alone that we also have to deal with the future and what the supposed ramifications are for Cole actually finding the Night Room. There was just so much material and a lot of it left me wondering where we are supposed to go from here. So, lets dive in.

This episode was basically the story telling equivalent of playing Russian Roulette as all of the characters involved were dangerous in their own right. We have Cole whose sole mission is to destroy The Night Room at all cost, The Pallid Man who wants something from the room, and Jennifer who is just crazy for crazy sake. Each one of them only exists to escalate the others situation whether it be Jennifer’s incoherent ramblings, or the Pallid Man doing utterly disgusting torture, you are never quite sure what any of them are going to do next. That what makes this episode so enjoyable in a lot of ways as at any moment someone could just fly off the rails and completely ruin everyone else’s plan. In reality there is really only one trustworthy character as we know Cole is going to constantly aim to press those two buttons in order to destroy the Night Room. Each of the actors performances manages to work extremely well and it kind of makes me mad that we have spent so little time with what are supposedly important characters.

Speaking of important characters we finally learned that Cole is not the first person that the future has tried to send back to the past. It was great for Ramse to confront the doc about how they seemingly managed to get Cole back to the past so safely without any previous trials. To know not only were there past attempts, but also that they all ended horribly wrong puts a lot of added pressure on Cole as we don’t know how much longer his body will be able to take the jumps before it ends up like pudding. It also possibly explains where the Night Room got the “sample” they were housing as well as the Pallid Man’s boss The Witness. If we can assume anything it appears that The Witness is from the future and likes the way things have turned out. I am going to assume that this means The Witness is possibly a character we have already met and one who has a vendetta against Cole. It will be fun to see how this plot line evolves over the coming weeks, as I feel Cassie has somewhat run her course as a moving plot device.

The big surprise was that not only was Cole able to destroy the Night Room, but that it would actually affect his future for the worse. We knew on some level that this would not be an easy fix but for Cole to jump back and discover that the West Seven have taken over the compound opens up a ton of different questions. Is this the same West Seven we saw last week? Where is the compound team? Who is in control of the machine? All we can assume right now is that Cole is in danger, as is everyone that he cares about. I am definitely excited to see how these changes effect the overall direction of the show as well as the writers continuing to develop the concrete rules of their time travel. For all we know the doc has no concept of what will actually happen if Cole succeeds, so maybe Cole doesn’t fade out of existence and only assimilates into the new future. I am definitely excited to find out regardless.

Overall another strong outing for the show.

Final Grade B

+So many uncontrollable variables

+The “success” of the mission

+Literally a million possibilities for where we go from here

-No one cares about Cassie

Extra Thoughts

-I will never watch the scene with the toothpicks ever again as it was super terrifying.

-Jennifer looked like she was straight out of an 80’s children clothing store.

-The sample was really a cool looking practical effect so I approve.

About the author

Scott Swartz