12 Monkeys: Year of the Monkey Review

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

Finally the wait is over and 12 Monkeys is back. The series was a surprising, time-travel delight during its first season. “Year of the Monkey” was a fun debut episode for the sophomore season.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

“Year of the Monkey” was a solid start to the second season. Let’s tell it how it is – the series is highly serialized. It’s not one of those shows that is mostly a procedural but has a little mythology sprinkled throughout. It’s the complete opposite. Since it is so serialized, it’s easy for a show like this to become so bogged down in its own mythology. Surprisingly, “Year of the Monkey” made the series relatively welcoming for a new viewer.

First, I’m going to start with a little Easter egg. Just in case you missed it, Madeleine Stowe was the person reading the voiceover at the very beginning of the episode. She was in Kathryn Railly in the movie version of 12 Monkeys. In season one, the series took their opening monologue and reused it in the finale. So, I’m expecting the second season’s opening monologue to return in the finale. I loved that a monologue at the very beginning of a season can mean one thing, then after a dozen episodes can take on an entirely different meaning. That kind of writing is on another level.

Much like many of the episodes in season one, “Year of the Monkey” was split between two different times: the present and the past. The present, 2016, storyline was a throwback to a comedic buddy cop show. From the beginning of the series, Cole and Ramse have been a dynamic pair. Even though their characters were split up toward the end of the season, as they had different end goals for the world, this episode put this pair back together to find Jennifer Goines. It’s hilarious that Cole now makes jokes about the huge “age gap” between him and Ramse.

What’s nice about the duo’s starting point for the season is that the first time we see them, they are in the middle of a mission. Instead of starting exactly where we left off with them, there have been months of time we haven’t seen. This allows for some fun nods to their adventures without directly seeing them.

While the guys were hunting down Jennifer, the audience picks up only days after her time-travel to the future. She and Dr. Jones are a great duo as well. This is the first time the two characters have gotten to interact. And Dr. Jones disintegrating that one guy? Yeah, that was pretty awesome.

Eventually, Cassie and Cole meet on top a rooftop. But for Cassie, it has been eight months since she has traveled to the future. From the last scene, it looks like Cassie and Cole have switched roles. Now Cassie is the one who will do whatever it takes to change the future. You can tell in those months something has changed in the former scientist. She now works a gun with precision and kills without any hesitation. Hopefully the series shows how she got to that point.

Once again, Jennifer Goines stole the episode with her adventures in speed dating. So good. She is such a fun character who never fails to disappoint whenever she is on screen.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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