This is my first review for The Game of Nerds and I’ve found myself wondering, “So where do I begin?” Now, that’s not because I am struggling to write, at least, not due to any fault of my own. Rather, it’s because I’m coming to this review straight off viewing the first episode of 12 Monkeys and my mind is in a whirlwind of curiosity.
So where do I begin, I ask myself? Or rather, when? Because 12 Monkeys, as you may soon find out (due to no help from the title or a little help from the movie of the same name) is a show about time travel. We begin in the future, at a time after a plague has devastated 98% of the world’s population, and it’s not exactly a pretty sight.
This show, coming from the marvel that is the Syfy channel, really starts off with a bang and it keeps steamrolling straight on through to the very last second. Going into it, I had two questions: Is this show going to be any good? And why the hell is it called 12 Monkeys? Coming out of the episode, I have the answer to both, the former of which is a resounding hell yeah. So far, sooo good.
Our two main characters are Dr. Cassandra Railly, a virologist and physician, and a mysterious character named Cole. It all begins with Cole being everyone’s worst nightmare and kidnapping Cassandra in her car. Her boyfriend, who she’s on the phone with at the time, hears this all happening and calls the cops.
We quickly learn Cole is a man with a mission and he’s been led to believe Cassandra may play a key part in him finding the answer he’s looking for: Where is Leland Frost? Unfortunately for him, Cassandra has no clue who he’s talking about. Leland Frost, Cole tells her, is the man behind the madness that is the future; he’s the reason for the plague. Then he proceeds to get himself shot by the police, but not before he takes Cassandra’s watch and puts a scratch across it, only for the same scratch to appear on her watch from the future.
Right off the bat, I’m intrigued. Time travel is always a fascinating premise and, when done right, it can truly be mind blowing! I can’t say anything about the future of this show (har har), but the first episode certainly got it right!
Back to the present, two years later, we meet Cole in the hotel he told Cassandra to meet him in before he “splintered” (travelled through time) and he’s suffering from the same gun shot wound he got two years previous. In and out of consciousness, we meet a shady woman named Jones who approaches past Cole with a proposition to help her change the world. With a process called Splintering, they make Cole capable of travelling through time.
Patched up now, Cole tells us about the start of his mission and how it all began with Cassandra. In the future, she left the world a message before she died. That the plague started with Frost and that she was running out of time. Before the message ends, she speaks to Cole. “Please Cole,” she says, and then the message cuts out. Good god, I have so many questions.
We learn that in the two years since Cassandra met Cole, she’s lost her practice. I guess claiming you were kidnapped by a man from the future doesn’t exactly sit well with folks? Who knew. During their time apart, she’s focused her energy on trying to find the mysterious Leland Frost, only to find out that the man they were looking for wasn’t Leland Frost at all, but Leland Goines, the CEO of the Markridge Group who are trying to find a malaria vaccine. His code name? You guessed it: Frost.
They follow Goines to a party. These two cuties dressed up be looking good! (I’m tempted to try Cassandra’s hairdo out on myself before I get a haircut.)
They share an especially cute moment outside the party before they go in and have a run in with Cassandra’s now ex. Is it just me or does this guy bare a striking resemblance to David Bowie? No?
Finally, we catch a glimpse of our villain! Goines is played by Zeljko Ivanek who, I must say, looks just like someone who would end the world with a plague. No? Either way, all around good casting so far.
An attempt on Goines’s life by none other than our resident time traveller results in both Cassandra and Cole being arrested and later kidnapped by Goines and his goons. And now this is where shit really gets good, because Goines recognizes Cole. (Loving the purple in this scene, by the way!)
See, Goines met Cole in the past, 1987 to be exact. But it doesn’t sound like he was just looking for Leland – he was looking for the Army of the 12 Monkeys. The army which he hasn’t learned about yet.
So, what’s going on? Is Goines part of the army? It’s possible… Is he trying to redirect Cole’s attention to save himself? Well… maybe, or maybe not, but when Cole shoots Leland, Cole doesn’t Splinter and return back to the world before all this happens like he thought he would. Nope. He stays right where he was.
Meanwhile, my brain splintered. This episode left me with so many questions. What does Cassandra have to do with any of this? What’s the deal with her watch? If Leland isn’t the reason behind the plague, who is? And who in the hell are the Army of the 12 Monkeys? Jones did say Cole was paradox proof. If that’s the case, doesn’t that mean Leland’s death wouldn’t restart the world before all this happened, even if he was the cause of it, because therein lies the paradox. Is he endlessly creating multiple selves/dimensions instead?
Yeah, time travel storylines rock when done right, and, needless to say, I cannot wait to see how this one ends.
Until next time,