12 Monkeys: Lullaby Review

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

“Lullaby” was an outstanding episode of 12 Monkeys. The series has jumped head first into mythology during the sophomore season, but “Lullaby” was a rare standalone episode.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Since its very first episode, 12 Monkeys has been built on the concept of saving the world from a disastrous, world-ending plague via time travel. Along the way, there have been deaths and missteps by Team Time Travel. As a result of the previous episode’s disastrous consequences, Dr. Jones is determined to set things right in “Lullaby.”

It’s obvious the writers borrowed the concept of a time loop from Edge of Tomorrow, Groundhog Day, and Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Cause and Effect.” At one point, Jennifer Goines even quotes Groundhog Day. There are only so many time travel tropes that the series can use, so it’s not surprising that 12 Monkeys would eventually borrow from Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. All of the aforementioned excel at the time loop saga and 12 Monkeys achieved the same level of excellence.

I dare say that 12 Monkeys actually improves on the time loop trope. What makes 12 Monkeys so successful at using this device is that there have been hours of character work before it. The audience is invested in the story and the characters. As a result, there is so much heart in “Lullaby.” From the very beginning of the episode, Cassandra apologizes when she shoots Jones. She struggles with completing the orders Jones gave her in 2044. Even though she knows it’s for the best, she still wrestles with it. (Bonus points for bringing back Spearhead and Foster.)

Jones ordering the Team Time Travel to kill her younger self is yet another reason Jones is the most logical and level-headed character on the series. Since she’s the one who invented time travel, it’s only logical that she be killed. If she’s killed, no time travel. All she wants to do is fix the mayhem Team Time Travel has caused. She doesn’t have anything to live for anymore. Her daughter died years ago and Dr. Eckland died in the previous episode. Once again, she’s all alone…at least until that big reveal in the last act of the episode: Cole and Cassandra reunited Dr. Jones and Hannah. It was an emotional scene that the series earned through the course of two seasons. This reveal creates a question: Was Hannah always alive? Or was this something that Cole and Cassandra changed?

I’ve always had this theory that on every TV show, there is one character the writers like to pick on or that one character who just can’t catch a break. On 12 Monkeys, that character is Ramse. He got stuck in time, lost his son twice, and almost died. The guy has had a rough go of it. Because of this, when he pulls out a gun and threatens to kill Cassandra at the end of the episode, it doesn’t come as a shock. She’s the reason his son disappeared, or in Ramse’s case he thinks Sam died. Also, he’s never had a strong relationship with Cassandra. So, right now, she’s the one person he can blame for his son’s disappearance.

“Lullaby” brought emotion, time loops, some humor via Jennifer Goines, and twists. This episode is an outstanding example of why people should be watching 12 Monkeys.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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