Sunday, March 29, 2015

12 Monkeys, Season 1, Episode 9: Tomorrow


A battered Cole limps through plague ravaged Chechnya. He sees a broadcast from the American CDC (listing US casualties at 33 million) made by Cassie. She’s asking for the Immune to go to Baltimore (the new site of the CDC) to help with their research. She also talks about quarantine zones the CDC has set up.

Cole sees one of these zones and a desperate crowd trying to force themselves in – when a woman manages to push past the soldiers they shoot her. Cole, as one of the immune, is allowed in. Well, dragged in by guards. The Russian soldiers take him to where a soldier from the US army tells him they’re taking him to the airport – and she knows Cole by name.

In the US, mobs rage in the street as panic has taken over. In the crowd, Jennifer Goins rants away – it’s possible she’s gaining a following.

The soldier escorting Cole is one of the immune and leads him to Cassie. Hugging and Cassie’s broken recitation of trying to cure the plague while knowing Cole told her it was impossible. She knew where he was because she’s seen him since then (and he will splinter back to see her). Cassie is also sick and passes out

As she comes round, she asks Cole if he’s found the “Red Forest.” Of course, he doesn’t know what that means yet. She can’t tell him anything about it – or anything else – without “changing the path he’s on.” She gives him a piece of paper with an address on it – telling him his life depends on it. She then dies tragically in his arms.

As he splinters back to the future, the scratched watch from the first episode is re-sealed.


After her foray to Colonel Foster’s enclave (Spearhead) last week, Jones is now on rumour control as it’s been spreading that the colonel has found a cure – he hasn’t. Col Foster is basing his research on the original plague despite the fact it has mutated twice since then. She says the colonel is only lying to give his people hope (which maaaaay be what others would think of Jones) and they must get Spearhead’s core to power the time machine.

Ramse tries to convince Elena to leave Foster’s “cult”. She doesn’t buy it and wants to show him how awesome Foster is – but Ramse can’t hang around for that while Cole is lost.


Time for a flashback on what good friends Cole and Ramse are. Wandering around in the freezing forest after leaving Deacon’s band, sharing gloves to try and ward off frost bite and low on supplies. They resort to trying to ambush a group of 6 men for the deer they’ve taken

They get captured by Whitley. It wasn’t a good plan. Whitley beats them to try and get some answers – but Jones intervenes when she hears Cole’s name. She plays him a recording of Cassie’s voice that mentions Cole by name (along with talking about the architects of the plague and Leland Frost). Cole does ask the pertinent question how Jones knows Cassie’s talking about this particular Cole but Jones just says “I know” which is a very weak response. She makes her time travel pitch

Which Cole didn’t buy – and he tries to escape with Ramse – but it’s Ramse who convinces Cole to stay. Because Jones may be telling the truth, maybe she can fix the world – and maybe she can erase the terrible things they’ve done to survive. Cole doesn’t buy it and tries to run and Ramse sabotages their escape, saying he is “saving Cole’s soul.”


While Ramse tries to convince Elena – and she, in turn, tries to convince him. During the convincing battle they’re found doing something they shouldn’t by Foster. Whitley approaches his father with the hard truth of Foster’s failure and lies. It’s difficult because of the 10 year rift between the two (caused by Whitley’s father killing people for Foster)

Jones tries to convince Foster about her machine but he calls it blasphemy – his rejection of Jones’s plan is more religious than scientific. He also has a moving attempt tom convince her that all what she thinks is lost – culture, art, civilisation – isn’t because they still remember it. These losses have often been pointed out as meaning as much to Jones as the people. Then she flips that script by saying that she was a mother – and shooting Foster. “Goodbye Jonathon. For now.”

Whitley has convinced is father and they bring down several guards and let in Jones’s men (and have big manly shoulder grasping of reconciliation). They invade Spearhead, guns blazing and people dying. These scenes are brutal and there’s blood everywhere and Whitley’s dad dies in the fighting along with one of Jones’s chief minions.

Surrounded by the dead, Jones gets her core. Whitley and Jones talk about his dad’s death and he now has a desperate need to cling to her vision as well. Ramse, Elena and Sam escape during the fighting and Elena is horrified by what Jones did, destroying her family. She still believes that Foster cured the plague and she overtly says what is already clear – Jones is as driven and ruthless as Foster was and maybe she was the one who lied and Foster had found the cure

To emphasise this we see Foster burning papers that seem to show that Foster had cured the 2033 mutation

She brings Cole back and he tells her what happened

Ramse returns to Cole and tells him about Jones murdering half of Spearhead and it seems Elena has convinced him – they did have a cure. But Cole is now invested in the mission (because that will bring Cassie back), even though Ramse tells him about Elena and wants him to stop, Cole just saw the world die in 2017, watched Cassie die. Ramse calls Cole blind and selfish, because Elena and Sam will be erased if Cole changes the world. Cole says Sam is already dead and Ramse hits him – but Cole stick to it “there is no future.”

I think this episode we saw a lot more of Jones, the woman who killed people to test her machine. And it’s not a woman who is an unfeeling scientist who will do anything to pursue her goal – she’s a woman trying to get her daughter back and that seems, ultimately, to outweigh everything else. There’s also a terrifying element to her faith in her machine working and resetting time: she doesn’t care what happens now. It doesn’t matter who she kills, who dies, who suffers because if she succeeds none of it will have happened, it’s the big reset switch. This makes Jones a thoroughly terrifying person.

I think this episode did a very good job of showing that. The take over of Spearhead wasn’t shown as sanitised or clean – we saw the bodies and the blood spatter and Jones walking among it face set. There was no suggestion that this was a good, neat or simple thing – all emphasised by Jones’s voice over that they would sacrifice this time to get their old time back. And it is a sacrifice

Ultimately, Foster was presented as a cult leader who killed innocents to force his own vision – and in this episode Jones is almost presented as the leader of a rival cult. The only difference is that her promise of salvation may be true. But then, that is because we see things from her group’s viewpoint – she calls Foster a liar, but his cure wouldn’t have brought her daughter back. Maybe he did find the cure – but it wasn’t her cure, wasn’t her salvation. But then, how many are invested in her salvation? Not just curing the plague but erasing it from history – erasing all the things they’ve done or been turned into by the plague. Her salvation is as much about personal redemption, a conscience reset as it is saving mankind. It is, as Ramse says, a very selfish salvation

Of course, even with the cure there is the flip side that this virus does keep mutating and Foster’s cure may have only been temporary

I’m disappointed that Whitley’s father died and not just because it was another sacrificed POC. Whitley is, generally, a very underused character, lurking in the background being all menacing. His father gave him a storyline to pursue beyond that and now he doesn’t have it

The repairing watch – what what what is this? Does this imply that the events of the first episode haven’t happened? And if so, why haven’t they?