Very few shows manage to be so sure of themselves that they are willing to stick to plan A for a plot. There are so many voices that are involved from inception towhees a show finally makes it onto our screens that the odds of that series being actually any good are astronomically low. 12 Monkeys has managed to take a simple premise and build it into not only something fun, but something that is basically crack for a weird cross section of sci-fi fans. I happen to be a member of that cross section and as we look at the penultimate episode of the season “Paradox” I just want the finale so badly. Watching Cole basically be sidelined for an entire episode and allow the side characters to totally flourish under the weight of the situation was overall a smart move. Also we got some big developments in terms of questions being answered which was pretty neat.
This episode made a ton of smart moves but none were more intelligent than pairing up Cassie with 2015 Jones. One of the major faults of the series so far was the fact that Cassie was either given very little screen time or nothing to do in general. This week however she took center stage in not only attempting to save Cole’s life but also find a way to start fighting back against the 12 Monkeys. Watching Cassie fumble her way into making Jones not only work with her, but save Cole’s life was a smart move for the series as we were clearly moving towards Aaron betraying the group. This episode was very much about Cassie finally growing up and taking a position of authority now that Cole is officially stuck in 2015. It was interesting mostly because we also had Jones who even in 2015 was a super commanding presence and really not open to taking orders unless they benefited her. I makes the fact that she is so hard and determined in the future more believable as it is just her personality and not something she gained post plague.
Speaking of Jones I loved the dueling performances of the past and present as we got to see the beginnings of Project Splinter and realize that the season has always been building towards this moment. “Paradox” easily explains why Jones has been so calm and collected as she knew how certain things were going to go down in the same way Ramse did last week. The difference however is unlike Ramse, now that she has lost Cole she is still continuing to help him in her own way by rebuilding the big board. With all of the information she has acquired and the new red ivy growing on the machine, there should hopefully be some big implications for what the future holds. While that and the fact Deacon and a bunch of creepy plague ritual guys are right at the front door aiming to murder everyone.
Another character who got a bit of development this week was Jennifer who staged a hostile takeover of her fathers company with what I will assume is backing from the Monkeys. For being such an important character Jennifer has been really under utilized so for her to begin taking charge and being a shot caller was exciting to watch. It will be interesting to see how her time as CEO works out considering in 2017 she is outside the CDC looking like a homeless person, but I will assume that this is all part of the master plan.
We also got some good Cole material despite him being bedridden most of the episode as we learned more about his childhood as well as the fact he has seemingly been hunted his entire life. Getting to meet Cole’s father was kind of an eye opener as he was a really kind and determined person who loved his son, which is totally not what I imagined. I knew there would be some raw selfless dedication but for him to completely sacrifice himself to the Pallid Man after Aaron’s betrayal was a bold move. Almost as bold as Cole turning himself into a Paradox and seemingly killing the Pallid Man in an explosion which was a really cool effect to watch play out. So now Cole is completely stranded in 2015 with no way back home and all he can do is take the fight to Ramse and the 12 Monkeys so we are set up for a big epic finale.
Overall an amazingly strong episode.
Final Grade A-
+Cassie and Jones team up
+Jennifer taking over
+Cole becoming the paradox
+Jones still fighting in the future
-Aaron acting indignant as all shit about Cassie not wanting to hide away
-I really want to know Aaron’s thought process of how he thought Cassie would react once he betrayed her and Cole.
-Whitley is just sitting there with a severed head. That is my nightmare tonight
-I know they can’t kill kid Ramse, but he is right there, out in the open. Shouldn’t Ramse be protecting his own future same way Cole is?