Tying time in knots…
UK Broadcast Syfy, finished US Broadcast Syfy, finished Episodes Reviewed 2.01-2.11
VOICEOVER Previously on 12 Monkeys… it was a bit like the film but not much. It was more like Continuum without the cool suit, or The Terminator with a plague instead of a techno-apocalypse. Lots of stuff happened that’ll make no sense condensed into a “previously on” segment, so all you really need to know is scientists in a bleak future keep sending James Cole back into the past to try to prevent a plague but he keeps making a pig’s ear of it. And there are some baddies creating an alternate future where forests are red. A mad girl in the past called Jennifer wants to be Harley Quinn but turns into Helena Bonham Carter in the future. And everybody argues. Continually.
COLE I’m stuck in the past.
CASSIE I’m stuck in the future.
COLE I got it worse.
CASSIE No. I got it worse. Hey, how come we’re arguing even when we’re separated by a century?
DR JONES Hang on, time’s changed and I suddenly have a husband I never knew about. That’s awkward.
CASSIE While we’re waiting I’ll have a fling with the dodgy paramilitary guy guarding the base and go all badass like Sarah Connor…
DR JONES Psst… best not to draw too many parallels.
Meanwhile, in the past...
COLE Ramse, you may have betrayed us all by selling out to bad guys to save your son, but we’re still best buds, yeah?
RAMSE Yeah. No. Probably. Let’s face it, we’ll all be swapping allegiances on a weekly basis for the rest of the season, so let’s just wrap up the plague plot quickly and get on with this season’s arc.
JENNIFER I’m mad me! Turnip?
COLE No thanks. Plague?
JENNIFER Here you go. Can I help kill baddies now? The baddies carry on trying to create their red forest. Cole bounces around in time with whoever he’s arguing with the least that week. There’s a really dull bottle episode and a fantastic Groundhog Day one. Allegiances shift weekly. There are surreal druggy dream sequences. The machine breaks down regularly at dramatic moments.
DR JONES Oh my husband’s died, but now I seem to have a daughter.
COLE Yeah, I saved her in the past and she been secretly brought up by Helena Bonham Carter.
DR JONES Isn’t time travel wonderful?
Dr Jones vanishes in a puff of time paradox…