12 Monkeys: Primary

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

12 Monkeys returned with a solid sophomore debut, while “Primary” was a small step back. There were some new, twisty plot points introduced, but there were also some problematic character developments.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Overall, this was a good episode. We learned more about Deacon, Ramse’s kid is alive, and 2016 Jones was channeling Doc from Back to the Future. There was an interesting plot twist in “Primary,” I’m still on the fence about. But, my biggest problem from the episode was how the female characters are being written, namely Jennifer Goines. If “Primary” is any indication of how the series will continue writing the character, I have issues.

From the beginning of the series, she has been a delight to watch. Every series has that one character who somehow ends up knowing more than the rest of the characters on the canvas. Jennifer Goines is that person. She knows what is going on with Cole and company and she somewhat knows what’s going on with the mysterious lady. That makes her an important character.

We’ve known for a while she has a thing for Cole. But, her entire character can’t be devoted to serving him or getting his attention. That’s what this episode was overtly saying. She even cut her arm to get him to notice her. Cole told her to find her purpose; she did. In the future she returns as the leader of The Daughters group, writing a note telling him she found her purpose. That purpose better not be him and it’s awfully coincidental that she is the one who ends up saving him from 2016. The writing on this series is above that.

The previous episode ended with Cole and Cassie in a standoff. This episode picks right up at that point. Here we see how much Cassie has changed in those eight months. The problem with her change is that there was no build up. I was expecting, and hoping, to see more than one flashback of Deacon molding her into a cold-blooded killer. But, that’s all the audience got. One flashback sequence.

One of the reasons Cole was such an interesting character was because he was so nuanced. He was complex. In theory, I do like the idea of Cole and Cassie switching philosophies about how to save the world, but it was rushed.

So the big plot twist in the episode was Cole and company changed the future. They didn’t eradicate the plague. However, when they destroyed the tubes, they changed timelines. In this timeline, more people were saved and the plague’s spread was moved back two years, to 2018.

Now that that everyone is reunited in the future, it almost feels like a cheat. What made the spread of the virus so compelling in season one was that it was immediately imminent. Sure, Cole was able to time travel to any period to fix things, but there was always a sense of urgency because Cassie was in the present and it could happen at any moment. Now, the show took away some of the stakes with Cassie now residing in the future and the spread of the disease being two years down the road.

On a final note, I’m thrilled that Michael Hogan (a Battlestar Galactica alum) is on the series as Jones’ love interest.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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