12 Monkeys: Meltdown Review

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

“Meltdown” was the first lackluster episode of 12 Monkeys’ sophomore season. It lacked the urgency and mystery needed in order for the episode to succeed.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Essentially, “Meltdown” was a bottle episode. Almost all of the scenes in the episode were contained in 2044’s time machine’s facility. It was clever to have the episode double as a part mystery story and a part horror story. This allowed the episode to feel very organic in keeping it within the walls of the time machine facility.

Since a major part of the story was reliant on a “who did it?” mystery, there needed to be suspense in figuring it out who sabotaged the time machine. However, when it was revealed that Cassandra had been the one to sabotage the machine, it was not a surprise. In the previous episode, Cassandra had an encounter with The Witness and her eyes turned black. This indicated she had been ‘possessed’ by The Witness. As she had been splintered back to 2044, she brought The Witness back with her, causing her to try to destroy the machine.

While Cassandra was locked in The Witness’ creepy house, she saw an old industrial city. On one of the buildings there was a logo, which we have seen tattooed on Olivia’s neck and on a necklace she wore, as well as the word Titan on a water tower.

Dr. Eckland had a noble death. When he died, I didn’t have any emotional reaction towards the character’s death. I love the actor, but so little was known about the character that there was little emotional attachment. He was a great addition in the small amount that we saw him. Instead, I felt bad for Jones. She has been through a lot during her life and after years of suffering she was finally happy. Sadly, that was ripped away from her.

For some reason, it’s difficult for writers to make children enjoyable on screen. A majority of the time, kids come off bratty. As a testament to 12 Monkeys’ fantastic writing, Sam has been a great addition. He is an intelligent child who even tells his dad, Ramse, that he shouldn’t do things just to save him. That’s one unselfish kid. Of course, Ramse being a new dad will do everything in his power to find Sam no matter where or when he landed. Until Ramse figures out his son is alive, Sam is stuck in an unknown year with an unknown person. Keeping the year a mystery to the audience was a nice touch.

After a few episodes of dancing around each other, Cole and Cassandra had a meaningful conversation. They have drifted apart, and this episode attempted to fix their relationship. I was confused when Cole essentially gave his blessing to Cassandra and Decon having a romantic relationship. There has been so little for the audience regarding Decon and Cassandra’s relationship that this particular development came out of nowhere. Not only have we not see them interact in a romantic way, we still know so little about Decon. I understand that the series has a ton of mythology to work through, but at some point characters and relationships need to come first. Alluding to something the audience hasn’t seen on screen can be problematic. This is where the time jump could have hurt the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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