Monday, January 19, 2015

12 Monkeys, Season One, Episode One: Pilot

The pilot begins in the year 2043.  Two men walk through a clearly destroyed city, as the narrator asks what if the only thing you could do is survive?  The men head into a quarantine area, where the narrator asks what if you could hit a reset switch.

It switches to the year 2013 with Dr. Cassandra Railly giving a speech about her belief that it is only a matter of time before humanity faces its next epidemic or pandemic.  Railly tells the audience that  while they cannot predict the future, they can plan for it.  Later that evening, Cassandra gets a call from her partner Aaron and they chat about when he is coming home.  Aaron promises to make up for his absences with a long weekend in a cabin.  Aaron then promises to head home, as soon as he can.  When Cassandra gets into her car, she discovers James Cole is in her back seat. Cassandra tells Aaron to call the police and Cole threatens that he has knife and will use it if he has to.  Aaron grabs his other phone to call the police, as Cassandra struggles to get out of the car.  Cole demands that Cassandra put the car in gear and Cassandra complies. 

Cassandra offers Cole money and he says that he doesn't want her money and is not here to hurt her. Cole adds that he is running out of time and that it took too long to find her because there are too many dead people.  Cole again questions Cassandra identity, causing her to ask how he knows her name.  James rattles off Cassandra's history, including what she does in the future (in 2015) for the CDC.  When Cassandra points out that it's 2013, James again affirms that she is the right person.  Cole then asks where Leeland Frost is and Cassandra says that she doesn't know anyone by that name.  Cole again says the name Leeland Frost, saying that he needs to find him and gets more and more agitated, when Cassandra continues to say that she doesn't know anyone by that name.  When sirens sound in the background, Cole demands that Cassandra pull into a dark alley and drags her out of the vehicle into an abandoned building.

As Cole is tying Cassandra to a chair, she starts to ask him about himself and instead of answering,  Cole complains that he was sent back to early. Cole tells Cassandra that he is in the past and that 2043 is the present.  Cassandra asks why he was sent back and Cole explains that 40 years from now, most of humanity has been wiped out by a plague and all of it is because of a man named Leeland Frost.  Cassandra then assumes that Cole saw her lecture and is delusional but he is emphatic that he is not "crazy". Cole shows Cassandra her watch, which he brought back from the future and instructs her not to take her eyes off of it.  When Cole scratches the surface of Cassandra's watch, the lights flash and the same scratch appears on the watch Cole brought from the future. Cole tells Cassandra that it is hard to wrap your mind around.  Cole says that he has one minute left, as they once again hear cop sirens.  Cole drags Cassandra back into the alley and  they find that they are completely surrounded by cops. Cassandra again tells Cole that he is not traveling through time and begs him to put down the knife.  Cole says that he can feel it and that it's happening.  When Cole sticks his head out, he is shot by the cops.  Cassandra tries to go to Cole's aid but he tells her that if she really wants to help, to find him two years from today, at the John Adams hotel.  Cole then disappears, leaving Cassandra in shock. 

It's now the year 2015 and Cassandra sits at a bar having a drink.  Later, Cassandra falls asleep on the hotel sofa and is awoken by the bartender who served her. Cassandra decides to check out of her room, when she hears security trying to stop Cole.  Cassandra rushes forward and tells the security guard that Cole is with her.  Cole is still bleeding from when he got shot in 2013 and though Cassandra suggests that he should be in the hospital, Cole instead asks her to take care of him.  Cassandra starts to treat Cole, explaining that she came because she had to see if he was real.  Cole then passes out.

We flash to Cole in the future in a cell.  He is asked if he believes in karma by Jones and is told that something led the both of them to this place and this moment.  Cole is told that he has a destiny and that he is going to help Jones change the world.

Next, we see Cole injected with a substance and he is told that time is different for him now.  Cole is specifically told that Cassandra is not his mission but a puzzle piece.  Cole is reminded that everyone he sees is already dead and to focus on his mission.

Back in 2015, Cole wakes up to find out that he has been unconscious for three days.  When Cole tries to sit up, Cassandra tells him that he is not 100% yet and is lucky that the bullet passed clean through.  Cole questions if Cassandra believes him now and she seems excited about sewing up a bullet wound Cole got two years ago. Cole stands and says that they have to move because he doesn't have a second.  Cassandra has to scream at Cole to stop and tells him that he has no idea what the last two years have been for her.  Cassandra reveals that she is no longer a doctor and was unable to keep her practice because everyone thinks she is a lunatic.  Cassandra then demands that Cole answer her questions, to which Cole concedes that she is right.

Cole explains that the plague started in 2017 and killed 7 billion people.  Cole says that the virus is mutating and humanity is on its way out, because only a few people are immune.  The scavenging happened then with people turning violent, fighting for the few resources still left.  The people then move underground, until a group of scientists return to the surface to gather information and discovered a reset switch which was started in Cassandra's time.  Cole says that the only option is to stop the plague from ever happening in the first place.  Cassandra asks why he came for her and he explains that when the world was falling apart Cassandra was with the CDC and though she died there, she was able to send a message to anyone who would listen.  The message that they have is broken and the data has been corrupted.  The message says that the plague stars with Leeland Frost and even says Cole's name.  Cole again asks who Leeland Frost is but Cassandra still has not met him.

On the street, Cassandra tells Cole that she has been looking for Leeland Frost but has not found anyone yet who fits the parameters of the search.  Cassandra explains that she has enlisted help.  Cassandra has taken Cole to meet Jeremy, who worked for the NSA.  Jeremy explains that they are looking for someone in bio engineering and that the person they are in fact looking for is Leeland Goines, the CEO of Markarage group.  Cassandra says that they were supposed to be working on a malaria vaccine.  Cole asks where Goines is and Jeremy explains that Groines will be at a big soiree in DC.  Jeremy adds that there will be a lot of security.

Cole and Cassandra are driving and Cole is ecstatic to be eating a hamburger. Cassandra suggests they develop a plan for when they find Leeland and Cole believes that it's simple because all he has to do is kill Leeland.  Cassandra is aghast and says that Cole cannot just murder someone.  Cole reminds Cassandra that Leeland is responsible for the death of 7 billion people; however, Cassandra says that it's not that simple because whatever Leeland has done to create the plague, might already be underway.  Cassandra asks if they stop Leeland how they will know that the future has changed and Cole says that he will be erased; "it's not death, it's something else."  Cole adds that who he is today will never have existed  and that he knew this was a one way trip from the beginning.  Cassandra asks about the future and is told that it will be rewritten into something better and Cole's time will be gone.  Cole is adamant that there is nothing in the future worth saving.

Cole and Cassandra arrive at the party and Cassandra suggests that they make their way in slowly.  They arrive at the concierge, who of course cannot find Cassandra's name on the list.  Aaron makes his way over and smooths over their entry by saying that Cassandra is with him.  Aaron questions how Cole and Cassandra know each other and having not come up with an answer to that question, Cole and Cassandra stare at each other, before Cole says that Cassandra bought him a cheeseburger. When Aaron gets called away, Cassandra and Cole decide to search the party for Leeland.  Cassandra spies Leeland first and he is surrounded by security.  Before they can approach Leeland, they are rejoined by Aaron, who tells Cassandra that it's great to see her back on her feet.  Cole take the opportunity to disappear into the kitchen and grab a knife.

Cole heads out onto the patio and attacks a security guard, as Aaron and Cassandra continue to talk.  Aaron tells Cassandra that she didn't have to leave and they rehash what happened two years ago when Cole first appeared to Cassandra.  Cassandra excuses herself saying that she cannot do this right now, as on the patio, Cole takes the security guard's gun.  Cassandra finds Leeland, introducing Oliver to a group of scientist. Leeland tells Cassandra that Oliver plays God.  Cole makes his way into the room,  and starts reaching into his jacket, as Cassandra shakes her head no.  Cole pulls out the gun and is quickly surrounded and subdued by security, as Cassandra screams no.

Cassandra and Cole are taken out by the cops in handcuffs but before Cassandra can be placed in a car, she is confronted by Aaron, who wants to know what is going on.  Aaron makes it clear that since she used him to get into the soirée, he is now on the line. Aaron demands to know if Cassandra found Cole, or if he found her.  Cassandra is placed in the car, as Aaron asks if this is some kind of twisted Stockholm syndrome. 

In the back of the car, Cole demands to know why Cassandra stopped him and she explains again that he cannot just kill someone.  Cole argues back that Leeland is already dead and to him, Leeland already is. Cole screams that Cassandra is already dead because of Leeland.  Suddenly, the car stops and Cole and Cassandra are dragged out.

They are taken to a facility and separated, while Leeland is informed of the link between Cole and Cassandra.  Under examination, a scientist explains that Cole is a scientific impossibility, with unexplainable physiology.  After  the exam, Cole is thrown into the same room with Cassandra.  Cole tells Cassandra that he is going to splinter and she encourages him to go back five hours and erase what happened at the party.  Cole says that this is impossible because he could run into another instance of himself.  Leeland bursts into the room and Cole asks Cassandra to give him the watch.  Leeland informs Cole that should he get violent again, the guards have orders to kill Cassandra first.  Leeland tells Cole that he remembers meeting him 20 years ago and he looks exactly the same. Cole tells Leeland that they didn't meet in 1987 but Leeland simply says that they will and asks Cole what he was looking for. Leeland remembers that Cole was looking for the army of the 12 monkeys and was talking about the end of the world.  When Cole doesn't answer, Leeland realises that not only does Cole not know what the 12 monkey are yet, he is proof that somewhere, the impossible has been made possible.  Leeland is amazed that this has to do with him and realises that after what happened today, Cole clearly sees him as a threat.  Leeland asks what he does which inspires breaking the laws of physics to chase after him.  Cole does not answer, so Leeland tells Cole that it was all for nothing and that he plans to cut Cole up and see what makes him tick.

The guards move towards Cole and so Cole stands and asks Leeland if he wants to see what a paradox looks like.  Cole pulls both watches out of his pocket, telling Leeland to look closely, as he pushes the watches together until they touch.  The hour hand on both watches start moving and a bright light comes from the watches.  As Leeland and the guards become transfixed on the watches, Cole grabs Cassandra, tosses her over his shoulder and makes a run for it.  When the watches finally reach the same time, they explode, as Cole and Cassandra make it into the hallway.

Cole explains that when something comes back in time and comes into contact with itself, it creates a paradox.  Before he can say more however, Leeland stumbles out of the room and shoots, causing Cole and Cassandra to hide around the corner.  Leeland collapses to the ground and Cole approaches him and picks up the gun.  Leeland tells Cole that he cannot kill him because that would mean he would have no reason to come for him in the first place.  Cole fires the gun. A horrified Cassandra realises that Leeland is dead and James is still here.  A confused Cole screams, wondering how this is possible.  Cole finds the watch on the ground and gives it to Cassandra to keep safe because it will be needed and the two take off running, as the alarm sounds.

Cole tells Cassandra that she has to get as far away from there as possible because he is going back to tell them about going into the army and the 12 monkeys.  Cassandra asks if she will see Cole again and he admits that he doesn't know.  Cassandra runs outside and Cole disappears and arrives in the future where Jones is waiting for him.

Cole reports that he found Leeland and killed him as he was ordered but killing Leeland didn't change anything.  Cole says that there were others, causing Jones to ask what Cole means by others.  Cole looks at newspaper clippings from the past and sees the 12 monkeys symbol on the wall.

In the year 2015, in a psychiatric center Jennifer Goines learns that her father is dead and that she has been left a great deal of money.  Jennifer is told that she is considered her father's legacy, as she draws a monkey on the wall.

I think that 12 Monkeys did a great job setting up the premise and story of the dystopian world.  I must admit that I watched the movie from which this series is based and so far, I enjoyed the show a lot more.  It does however make me wonder if the show is going to follow the same path and if we are going to get an alternate ending.  I won't say anymore because spoilers.

So far we have Cassandra as the female lead.  She seems capable and smart however because she is from the past, it makes Cole not only the expert but the leader.  Having a male protagonist running around trying to save the world is anything but new.  Unless Cassandra's expertise with biology and illness become necessary to the plot she will always be a sidekick.

We didn't really see a lot of inclusion in this first episode.  We had Jeremy who appeared briefly to give Cole and Cassandra information about Groines but other than the fact that he worked for NSA and was a friend of Cassandra's father, we learned little about him.  At this point I can only hope that if his character is not a one off, that he won't be reduced to showing up to provide information for the two White characters.  The other character of colour who we saw very briefly is Ramse played by Kirk Acevedo.  Ramse helped Cole get off the stretcher when he returned from the past after killing Groins.  I knew instantly that this character would have a larger role, given the fact that Acevedo is an easily recognizable actor having been in shows like, The Walking Dead and Fringe. I do however hope that his characters does not follow true to Acevedo's history as the the character's he plays have a habit of dying early.

We were briefly introduced to Jennifer Goines.  At this point, I am going to assume that she is neurologically atypical.  Because she was only on camera for a few moments, we will just have to see if the portrayal is a good one.